Cam-Over: Don’t Do It. Just Don’t.

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This is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Top Grade Ammo,” by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing. Click here to order from Midsouth.

by Glen Zediker

My approach to some topics has changed over the years. It used to be that I would state my version of the truth, and explain its origin, and that meant also that anything not said didn’t matter, to me, or to the advice and instruction I was set out to deliver. Well. The internet.

camming linkage effect
Here’s camming linkage and its effect. On left is the maximum height attained by the ram; on right is the ram position at the full-limit stop on the press handle. It’s 0.020 inches on this press. As long as the shellholder is not being contacted, presses with this sort of linkage have a smooth feel to them and do a little more positive job of sizing. In effect, the case gets sized twice (the ram elevates again just as the press handle is lowered). Linkage, either way, has zero effect on setting up a die because you measure what you get anyhow, and adjust the die accordingly, after you see what it is that you got.

If you’ve kept up with the advice presented in this space on the better way to set up a case-sizing die, this next has already been dispelled, but judging from some of the emails I received asking questions, here’s a little more. I’ve fielded a few about “camming-over” a reloading press.

Some reloading presses, and RCBS comes first to mind, are designed with eccentric linkage. The concept involves circular motion and linear motion, meaning that when the ram traveling in a linear path reaches full extension, the linkage, which is traveling in a circular path, can move through the 0-degree mark and go to a negative degree. What that does is change the press ram position at the very top of its travel limit to a lower position. As the handle is drawn downward, the ram top reaches its maximum height and, at the last little bit, lowers. The amount varies in different designs. This action is an asset to attain flush-plus contact with the shellholder and the bottom of the sizing die, for them that wants it.

Now, any substantial press, whether it has eccentric linkage or not, can produce the effect of camming-over. A Forster Co-Ax, for good example, can just about crush a chrome bumper and doesn’t have eccentric linkage. To set up that press, any press, to cam-over, turn the sizing die downward beyond what provides full and flush contact with the shellholder when the ram is at its full height. Say, another 1/8 turn down.

Then, when the press handle is fully depressed, the additional pressure in the last bit of the handle stroke goes toward flexing the press. Simple as that, and that is what camming-over does: flex the press. That’s true whether it has eccentric linkage or not.

Don’t do it. Just don’t.

A press like this can be set up to “cam-over,” which is really just set up to flex. Any press with enough leverage can warp on itself. I’ve heard it said that the (excessive) lock down between press ram and shell holder “brings everything into perfect alignment…” No it doesn’t. Bud, if your press ain’t straight, bending it more won’t help. By the way, it’s one reason why cast iron is the traditional and proven material for presses: it has the characteristics that allow for flex without permanent change, even though it’s pretty rigid. It’s the parts that aren’t cast iron that bear the brunt of continual flexing. This is a Forster Co-Ax, a press design, favored by the author).

There’s no need to cam-over a press for a case-sizing operation. It stresses the machine and the tooling. Dies can get deformed and bent, carbide dies can break, and the press itself can suffer. I’ve known them to break. Some say that presses are designed to “take it,” but there’s an eventual penalty for repeatedly taking any machine to its limits. Ask any racer.

The main point is this: It’s not necessary. And it’s wrong. Going over the previous material on using a cartridge case headspace gage to determine sizing die positioning to get the correct amount of case shoulder setback, it’s clear that this sure should occur at a point shy of full contact of the die bottom and the shellholder surfaces. And, if it’s not enough, trying to push a case farther into the die by crushing the shellholder against the die isn’t going to do much. Folks. Done is done. The flexing might, maybe (maybe), increase setback 0.001.

If your sizing die doesn’t adequately set back a case shoulder, have a machinist remove metal from the die bottom. Best to use a surface grinder to avoid messing with the heat-treat on the die.

I’m rehashing a few things already covered because they’re germane to the whole camming tactic. Tooling manufacturers tend to suggest the “turn the die down to the shellholder, and then another xx-th turn…” to ensure that someone’s reloads are plenty short enough in headspace to fit any rifle made out there. As mentioned a few times back, I applied that tactic with a new Forster Full-Length .223 Rem. die (without adding any extra down-turns to cam-over the press) and that netted 0.008 additional case shoulder height reduction on a new, unfired commercial case. A foolish amount, in my belief. Since I then adjusted the die to provide 0.004 setback from fired, which was 0.002 taller than the new case read (on my headspace gage), it’s clear that this die is not touching the shellholder to produce well-beyond-safe shoulder reduction. One-eighth turn is about 0.009 inches.

Harrell Precision Sportsman press
If your press isn’t straight, get one of these, my day-in, day-out favorite of the “big” presses: a Harrell’s Precision Sportsman. Billet-made and precise, and very powerful. It doesn’t have eccentric linkage, just extreme strength and precision alignment. A press doesn’t have to weigh a ton to be strong, and it doesn’t have to be pressured to deliver dead-consistent sizing results.

To find out if you have a “cammer,” run the press ram fully up (press handle fully down) and thread a die in until it touches the shellholder. Try to move the handle back down. If it won’t budge, it’s got eccentric linkage. It won’t move because the ram is trying raise again. Back out the die until the handle moves and pulls the ram away. It’s at this point where “flush” contact with a die bottom will be.

Camming-over a press is a “feel-good” measure for some folks: there’s this satisfying “ka-thunk” at the bottoming limit of press handle stroke, and that lets a loader know that he or she gave it all they could get. It’s just going to be too much. The only time it’s not is for bullet swaging operations, but those aren’t on my list.

Video: Is Hillary Agreeing that Gunowners are ‘Terrorists’?

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Is Hillary Clinton nodding in approval as one of her supporters claims that gun and ammunition manufacturers “are making terrorists out of our citizens”? Click the video link below to watch the Democrat Presidential candidate’s reaction to an unbelievable smear of gun builders and gun consumers:

Top 5 Trending Cartridges 

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By Todd Woodard, Editor, Cartridges of the World 15th Edition

The 15th Edition of Cartridges of the World will be out this fall, and in the process of researching and assembling this edition, I came across a handful of new or newish rounds I’ve become interested in personally. Because of their heritage, practicality, and design, here are five cartridges I believe will be trending upward in popularity the next few years:

6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum

For the first time in decades, Weatherby unleashed a new cartridge in 2016, this one based on a necked-down .300 Weatherby Magnum: the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum. This cartridge isn’t exactly new, even though Weatherby is billing it that way. Roy Weatherby built a 6.5-300 in the early 1950s, as evidenced by an old Mauser-action rifle in the company’s collection. Also, in the early 1970s, a group of benchrest wildcatters built rifles chambered for the 6.5-300 WWH (Weatherby Wright Hoyer), a 6.5mm cartridge using the .300 Weatherby as the parent case.

6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum
6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum

“This is now the fastest production 6.5mm cartridge in the world,” said Adam Weatherby, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Weatherby Inc. “The speed and energy of this cartridge is unprecedented and worthy of carrying the Weatherby name, all while exhibiting very manageable recoil.”

The fastest factory load shoots a 127-grain Barnes LRX at 3,531 fps. Factory-supplied ballistics show that with a 300-yard zero, the 127-grain Barnes drops 7.12 inches at 400 yards and 18.99 inches at 500 yards. Flat.

 

 

28 Nosler

In 2015, Nosler created its new 28 Nosler by necking up the 26 Nosler case, itself a derivative of the 7mm RUM case, which descended from the .404 Jeffery. Nosler supports this new cartridge with Nosler brass, Trophy Grade ammunition and M48 rifles in 26-inch barrel configurations.

28 Nosler Case Specifications
28 Nosler Case Specifications

The fat case creates powder space, with a water capacity of 93.8 grains when loaded with a 150-grain AccuBond Long Range Spitzer, according to Nosler specs. The rebated-rim centerfire rifle cartridge shares the same overall cartridge length (3.340) as the 26 Nosler, which allows it to be chambered in standard-length actions. Likewise, the .284-caliber (7mm) centerfire .28 Nosler has the same 3.340-inch maximum cartridge overall length as the .30-06, but the case length is 2.590 inches with a 35-degree shoulder. Accordingly, the 28 Nosler cartridge case can be formed by necking-up a 26 Nosler case to 7mm (.284 inch) diameter.

Slower-burning powders and high load densities generally yield the best loads. Some of the best are with Norma 217 and RL 33.

7.62×40 WT (Wilson Tactical)

Kurt Buchert originated this round as the 7.62×40 USA. Introduced commercially in 2011 by Wilson Combat, the 7.62×40mm Wilson Tactical is a centerfire rifle cartridge that’s an accurate, low-recoil .30-caliber round that can be used in AR-15/M4 rifles with minimal changes beyond swapping the barrel.

7.62x40 WT
7.62×40 WT

All other standard AR-platform 5.56-caliber components are compatible. The 7.62×40 WT is based on the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge case, which is shortened to 1.560 inches and then re-sized (single operation) in a standard 7.62×40 WT sizing die. Result: A formed 7.62×40 WT case with a finished overall case length of 1.565 inches.

From a 16-inch barrel, the 7.62×40 WT fires a factory 110-grain bullet at 2534 fps muzzle velocity.

416 B&M

The 416 B&M (Bruton & McCourry) is designed for the Winchester M70 Winchester Short Magnum control-feed action with 18- and 20-inch barrels, but 20-inch barrels are optimum. In 20 inches of barrel, it runs most 350-grain bullets faster than 2450 fps and in 18 inches of barrel, 2400 fps and more. It makes an awfully good Alaskan rifle that is only 38 inches long and weighs 6.5 pounds.

416 B&M (Bruton & McCourry)
416 B&M (Bruton & McCourry)

To make 416 B&M brass, cut the .300 RUM case close to 2.240 inches, then trim, lube and run through the 416 sizing die. Firing a 300-grain ESP Raptor over 75 grains of AA 2520 will generate 2,627 fps/4,596 foot-pounds at the muzzle, according to a B&M load data sheet.

12 Gauge From Hell (GFH)

Okay, so this one is just interesting — I don’t expect too many reloaders to try this project. Cartridge researcher and collector Zachary Weighman has documented several shotshell-based cartridges designed by Ed Hubel of Lake, Michigan, one of which is the 12 Gauge From Hell, aka 12 GFH. Hubel has been building wildcat rounds since the early 1990s, and they range in caliber from .458 to .700.

12 Gauge From Hell
12 Gauge From Hell

Hubel says Rod Garnick and John McMorrow are co-designers of the 12 GFH dating back to 2004, and, in fact, the original concept was Garnick’s idea. The 12 GFH was made from a necked-up .50 BMG case, 3.85 inches overall, made to fire in a falling-block Borchardt action. Top loads tested have been 600-grain bullets at 3400 fps, but more shootable current loads run out at 1,650 to 1,700 fps.

Todd Woodard also edited Cartridges of the World 14th Edition and has been editor of Gun Tests magazine for 17 years. He loves shooting suppressed 22 LR firearms and is buying “cans” for his rifles and handguns as fast as his budget allows.COTW-14

Yeti Rambler vs. ORCA Chaser

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The Yeti Rambler vs the ORCA Chaser

In the current market, you can take advantage of any number of high-end, trendy drink-ware at your disposal. Whether you think it’s a fad or not, there are some compelling arguments for investing a little more cash in order to keep your drinks cold all day, or hot for an extended period of time. Read on to see Midsouth’s Mellissa compare the ORCA Chaser 27 oz tumbler, versus the YETI Rambler 20 oz. tumbler. Granted, there’s are size difference here, but for the cost (difference of $5) and availability (the Rambler 30 oz. wasn’t available yet), it’s the most direct comparison we could come up with at the time. We plan to retest soon with the entire line of ORCA and Yeti Products. Just to reiterate, WE KNOW THESE ARE DIFFERENT SIZES! We’ve seen the comments, and read the emails.

How does the Orca Chaser stand up to the Yeti Rambler, Tervis Tumbler, and regular Travel Coffee Mugs?

We just received our Orca Chaser travel mug and decided to compare it to the Yeti Rambler and regular travel coffee mugs. Each mug will go through two 24 hour tests. One full day with a cold beverage and one full day with a hot beverage. For the cold beverage test we will fill up each mug to the brim with ice and then pour water to fill the mug all the way. We will let them sit for the full 24 hours checking at 3, 19, and 24 hours. For the second test we will fill each mug with hot coffee and repeat the process of the cold beverage.

Pictured are the Yeti Rambler, Orca Chaser, Tervis Tumbler, Stanley Mug, and other promotional drink holders
Pictured are the Yeti Rambler, Orca Chaser, Tervis Tumbler, Stanley Mug, and other promotional drink holders

Travel Mug Competitors-
Here is What Yeti and Orca Say
About Their Mugs:

Yeti Rambler
– “Don’t you hate it when your favorite beverage loses its frosty (or piping hot) goodness before you have a chance to fully enjoy it? We sure do, and that’s why we over-engineered our Rambler Tumblers with kitchen-grade 18/8 stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulation. The result is a tough, hard-wearing personal drink cooler that maintains ice twice as long as plastic tumblers – and it works just as well for hot beverages. The lid that keeps your liquid in its place is easy to clean, shatterproof and crystal clear so you know exactly how much of your drink you still have to look forward to. Dishwasher safe. Size: 20oz and 30oz ”

Orca Chaser
– “Tired of watered down drinks? Can’t get from home to work without your coffee getting cold? The ORCA Chaser can fix that. In today’s world everyone is on the move. Whether you are going to work, the ball field, a tailgate, into the woods, down the dock, or to a party, the ORCA Chaser believes in getting you there with an ice-cold (or piping hot) liquid. The ORCA Chaser’s stainless steel double walled vacuum sealed body ensures that your ice will stay frozen and your drink will stay strong, while its clear lid makes it easy to see when it’s time for a refill.”
18/8 stainless steel double vacuum sealed body. Not dishwasher safe. Triton polymer clear lid and SIZE: 7″ height 27 fluid ounce capacity.

Other Travel Mugs Used In Comparison
– Here are the other mugs we used in the test. We won’t go into great detail about these but, if you want more info feel free to look it up. Insulated plastic and stainless steel: Tervis Tumbler, Stanley, Cool Gear, and Delton promo mug.

Facts and Comparison:

Honest Two Cents About The Yeti
– Our catalog guy borrowed his wife’s 20oz Yeti Rambler for the test. He had this to say in conclusion about the test:

“My wife loves that Rambler, so much so that she’s bought several as gifts for friends. She makes sure to let me know just about every morning that it Still Has Ice in it after however many hours it has been sitting there. She prefers the size of the 20oz Yeti over the Orca 27oz Chaser and the Yeti 30oz Rambler, and I can understand that. My thought is that the Orca is every bit as good as the Yeti and vice-versa. The Orca just fills a size in between the 2 Yetis.
From looking at the test results, I think the fact that the Orca held temperatures longer was only because of the volume. Had we have filled a Yeti 30oz Rambler and tested it, it probably would have won. My son has a Yeti also and loves it for coffee. The only complaint I’ve heard from the Rambler is the fact that the lid does not have a closable slot. This is the same for the Chaser and isn’t a deal breaker to me. The lids seal tight and won’t leak down the side, that’s what matters to me. The Yeti Rambler is a great product, and even though we don’t sell Yeti, I would still recommend it. As for me, I’m getting an Orca.”

Check out the video below:

Conclusion
– The Orca Chaser 27oz and Yeti Rambler 20oz were neck and neck, but by the end of our test, the Orca Chaser came out on top in both the hot and cold tests.
We all agree, it was hard to compare apples to apples with the sizes being different, but they are both really impressive beverage holders.

Hot and Cold liquid comparison chart
Hot and Cold liquid comparison chart


Currently, we only sell Orca products.The Yeti Rambler can be found at just about any sporting retailer or outdoor store in America. But, the Orca can be found right here- If you’d like more info or would like to try one for yourself click this link.

As new products begin to show up from ORCA, we plan to put each one through the ringer, making sure that you’re not just buying the hype, but a quality product, at a reasonable price. So far, we’re sold on ORCA, and excited to see the new offerings arrive this spring.

Do you have an ORCA or a YETI drink holder, or cooler? What’s your thoughts on their function vs. price? Hit the comments to give us your thoughts.

 

Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Reload

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In this age of instant gratification, why would anyone want to spend hours-on-end sitting in a room, at a bench, yanking a handle, and creating ammunition you’re just going to go through in a day? Well, here are 5 reasons you should leave the bench behind!

1. It’s So Time Consuming!

clock flush
In Australia, it spins in the opposite direction.

If you’re like us, then you dedicate your day to the hustle and bustle of life. Get up, drink black coffee, milk cows, feed the chickens, slop the hogs, then it’s straight outside to deal with the animals. After that, you’re off to work in the salt mines for about 10 hours. Now you’re in traffic, listening to Rush wax poetic about how the world is in good order, and we’re all excited for President Clinton, Part Deux, to climb capitol hill. Next, it’s back home to wash, rinse, and repeat. So our question is: Why on earth would you want to sit by yourself, away from all distractions, around what could be potentially soothing repetitive motions? You might want to put on a little classical music, or you might just want to listen to the gentle hush of the powder measure/scale you saved up for, as it sprinkles that last little bit of Varget you ordered from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Who’d want to do that, right?

2. It’s Dangerous!

Danger Sign
You can’t spell Danger without anger, and the letter D.

You’d better be on your game, or you will explode. It can’t be any more simple than that. You’re creating a tiny explosive, and you’re putting the entire neighborhood at risk with your…wait…you’re in an enclosed area, away from all distractions, and you’re paying close attention to every detail of every aspect of what you’re doing? Well, carry on then, but we’re watching you…always watching…

3. Zen is a Weird Word!

Zen Master
The socks were an interesting choice.

Why would you want to incorporate your body and mind in a meditative, contemplative, and intuitive state? Peaceful seems awfully dull. It also sounds like hippy-nonsense. We’ve heard of folks finding peace at the reloading bench. They’ve obviously never tried to ream the primer pocket of 1000 Lake City .223 Rem cases by hand, have they? Please see #1 of this article.

4. Is it Worth It?

Dollar signs
It’s not the size of your wallet, it’s how you use it.

Who likes to actually save money? Who really appreciates the feeling of accomplishment one feels after creating their own ammunition? Do you ever get any piece of mind after finishing a job yourself, and knowing it was done correctly, efficiently, and effectively? Will this entire section be in question form? Maybe?

5. Accuracy is Highly Overrated!

sub MOA grouping
Nice shooting, Shorty. We’re actually being serious here.

Hitting a target from several hundred yards away in the same spot repeatedly is a waste of a target. People make those pieces of paper to be used. The feeling you get when you fire 5 rounds sub MOA isn’t THAT great. Plus you spent all that time fine-tuning your specific load, for your favorite gun, only to achieve what some would call “close to perfection.” Then you try even harder, succeed, feel all this self worth, and your ego grows, and your wife finds you more attractive, your friends think you’re cool, and your drink at the end of the day tastes colder and more refreshing, all because you dominated the range today. See, that sounds exhausting.

So, there you have it. 5 great reasons to turn your reloading room into a sewing room, and your reloading bench into a lovely gift wrapping station. If you’re looking to purchase a new sense of humor, please visit Midsouth Shooters Supply where they are on sale every APRIL FOOLS DAY!

In the comments below, please feel free to brag about how awesome your reloading bench really is. Show off your latest accomplishment at the range. Brag about how good you are at this wonderful thing called reloading. We appreciate it, and we appreciate you!

 

At the Range with Springfield Armory’s SOCOM 16

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By Robert A Sadowski

Prior to the 2016 SHOT Show, I was shipped Springfield Armory’s SOCOM 16 Model AA9611PK rifle. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I am a fan of the M1A platform. My only complaints are the fixed stock and heavy weight. The new AA9611PK not only addresses these issues, it does it in a way we modern shooters expect. We expect to be able to customize our rifles with aftermarket parts. We expect a variety of sight and optic choices. We expect a lot, and the new SOCOM 16 delivers.

The Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 Model AA9611PK is a semiautomatic long-stroke piston design. It had a 16.25-inch barrel with 1:11-inch twist. Overall, it measured 35.5 to 38.5 inches in length and weighed 9.3 pounds empty.
The Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 Model AA9611PK is a semiautomatic long-stroke piston design. It had a
16.25-inch barrel with 1:11-inch twist. Overall, it measured 35.5 to 38.5 inches in length and weighed 9.3 pounds empty.

Old-school M14 dudes might wince at the non-traditional pistol-grip stock. It is an Archangel chassis that not only trims the weight of the SOCOM, it also trims the overall length. The exterior is flat-black polymer. At the shoulder end is a five-position adjustable CQB buttstock. Part of the issue with the M1A was the fixed stock.

For some shooters kitted up with gear or wearing heavy clothing, the rifle was difficult to fire comfortably. The adjustable stock not only alleviates that situation, it also fits the rifle to a variety of shooter statures. It also features a rubber buttpad and a cheek riser. The cheek riser helps get a solid cheekweld on the stock, which is important for long-range shooting, and you will soon see what the platform is capable of out to 100 yards.

If you want to swap out the stock, you can choose any other aftermarket AR stock. The rear of the chassis is built like a buffer tube. There is no denying that the pistol grip is atypical, and no doubt it is comfortable to shoot. The Archangel pistol grip flares out at the bottom and is serrated on the front and rear straps for plenty of hold when the SOCOM starts barking. It also has a storage compartment for batteries and small tools.

The perforated muzzlebrake helps reduce muzzle rise and keep you focused on the target when shooting fast.
The perforated muzzlebrake helps reduce muzzle rise and keep you focused on the target when shooting fast.

The stock will take any aftermarket AK grip—another plus for shooters who like to customize their gear. The stock has three Picatinny rails attached, two three-slot rails on either side of the forend and one seven-slot on the bottom. Want to add vertical grips, a tactical light, or laser? The new SOCOM can. The magazine well is also a gaping mouth ready to suck in magazines. It ships with a 10-round magazine but is compatible with five- and 20-round mags.

The iron sights on the SOCOM 16 have always been top-notch, adjustable, enlarged military aperture with front tritium. It has a forward rail to mount a magnified, long-eye-relief, scout-style scope. This SOCOM 16 also has a Vortex Venom red dot reflex sight that uses a Springfield Armory clip guide mount, which places the red dot at the perfect height and distance while not interfering when the rotary bolt ejects empty brass. At 25 yards offhand, the red dot was fast and accurate. The perforated muzzlebrake tamed the recoil and muzzle rise. I easily smashed a few magazines of clay pigeons like I had been shooting the rifle for years. Distance, though, is the key.

The five-position stock means the SOCOM 16 can be adjusted to fit your stature and the gear or clothing you are wearing.
The five-position stock means the SOCOM 16 can be adjusted to fit your stature and the gear or clothing you are wearing.

With an assortment of .308 Winchester cartridges—Hornady Steel Match 155-grain BTHP, Black Hills Gold 168-grain A-MAX and Hornady Match 178-grain BTHP—I put the SOCOM 16 through its paces using a rest. Though aiming a red dot at 100 yards is not exactly precision shooting, at 50 yards and under the 3-MOA dot offers fast, accurate shooting. At 100 yards, the dot is large. I assumed at 100 yards I’d experience different results. The 3 MOA placed on an 8-inch target provided a nice sight picture, a red center with a black donut outside edge.

The Hornady Steel Match 155-grain BTHPs delivered 2,400 fps and shot 1.5-inch groups (three shots) at 100 yards. Black Hills Gold 168-grain A-MAX rounds produced 2,440 fps and 2.25-inch average groups at 100 yards. Hornady Match 178-grain BTHPs hit 2,390 fps at the muzzle and shot 2.5-inch average groups at the test distance.

With the rifle adjusted to me, it all came down to trigger work. The SOCOM 16 has a two-stage military trigger. After taking up the light first stage, the second stage proved to be nice with about a 5½-pound pull weight. The rifle was comfortable to shoot. Nice.

The new SOCOM 16 offers an out-of-the-box rifle ready for defense work or hunting. I can’t think of a better round and setup for feral pigs, deer, or black bears. The adjustable stock means it’s easier and more convenient to take in and out of a vehicle and store. The sight package is a nice setup. The SOCOM 16 adapts to how you want to shoot and the situation you are in and does it with a level of modularity and customization not seen previously in the M1A platform.

Robert Sadowski has written about firearms and hunting for nearly 15 years. He is the author of four gun books, editor of three others and is a contributor to numerous gun-enthusiast magazines, including Combat Handguns, Black Guns, Tactical Weapons for Military and Police, Gun Tests, Personal and Home Defense, Gun Hunter, SHOT Business, and others. He has a personal affinity for large-caliber revolvers and the AR platform.

Federal American Eagle Introduces Varmint & Predator Ammunition Bulk Packs

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Federal Ammunition is releasing new American Eagle Varmint & Predator loads, offered in 40- or 50-count bulk packs. Shipments of this new product are now being delivered to dealers. Click here to see our selection of American Eagle loads and to check when these new loads might be in stock.

New American Eagle Varmint & Predator loads feature reloadable brass and Federal primers with a jacketed hollow point or Tipped Varmint bullet, depending on caliber. Both designs expand explosively on impact for maximum lethality.

Here are the product numbers for the new offerings and MSRPs for the loads.

AE17HGTV / 17 Hornet 20-grain Tipped Varmint, 50-count / $52.95

AE22HGTV / 22 Hornet 20-grain Tipped Varmint, 50-count / $52.95

AE22350VP / 223 Rem. 50-grain JHP, 50-count / $33.95

AE2225050VP / 22-250 Rem. 50-grain JHP, 50-count / $52.95

AE24375VP / 243 Win. 75-grain JHP, 40-count / $46.95

AE308130VP / 308 Win. 130-grain JHP 40-count / $52.95

This is one of the new bulk-packed American Eagle varmint and predator loads, a 22-250 Rem. 50-grain JHP, now available in a box of 50 rounds.
This is one of the new bulk-packed American Eagle varmint and predator loads, a 22-250 Rem. 50-grain JHP, now available in a box of 50 rounds.

Two Essential AR-15 Case Preps

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This is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Handloading For Competition,” by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing. Click here to order from Midsouth.

by Glen Zediker

Maybe the headline above oversells two case preps I routinely perform, but if they aren’t “essential,” let’s at the least say they are “worthwhile.” I don’t like telling folks to endure more tedium than is necessary. Time is not only money: It’s also shooting, relaxation, family, and on down the list of activities that substitute for removing miniscule amounts of brass from cartridge cases.

The 3-pronged anvil is supposed to compress; if the pocket isn’t flat, it won’t do so correctly.
The 3-pronged anvil is supposed to compress; if the pocket isn’t flat, it won’t do so correctly.
Inside flash hole deburring: Just do it. It’s too easy not to.
Inside flash hole deburring: Just do it. It’s too easy not to.
This is a round that got placed into the chamber and then the bolt carrier released (how we load the “Slow-Fire” rounds in competition). The firing pin tapped off the primer and left a nice dimple. A primer sitting too high can more easily pop under this sort of abuse.
This is a round that got placed into the chamber and then the bolt carrier released (how we load the “Slow-Fire” rounds in competition). The firing pin tapped off the primer and left a nice dimple. A primer sitting too high can more easily pop under this sort of abuse.
Check each and every round you load to ensure that the primer is below flush with the case head. Just run a finger over it (use your own for reasons I can’t approach here). Uniforming pockets goes a long way to ensure correct, full seating, and is especially important if priming is done using a mechanism that precludes feedback, like a progressive reloading machine.
Check each and every round you load to ensure that the primer is below flush with the case head. Just run a finger over it (use your own for reasons I can’t approach here). Uniforming pockets goes a long way to ensure correct, full seating, and is especially important if priming is done using a mechanism that precludes feedback, like a progressive reloading machine.
I can always see a difference in the anvil prints on cases that have uniformed pockets and those that don’t. Telling…
I can always see a difference in the anvil prints on cases that have uniformed pockets and those that don’t. Telling…
There are a variety of primer pocket uniformers. The author prefers those that can chuck into an electric drill as well as also mount in a screwdriver-style handle. Way less tedious. Run it no more than 1100 rpm. The author doesn’t like doing this job by hand, so he uses an adjustable-depth tool. It’s safer to get a fixed-depth unless you have the sort of measuring device necessary to do an accurate job of setting the tool.
There are a variety of primer pocket uniformers. The author prefers those that can chuck into an electric drill as well as also mount in a screwdriver-style handle. Way less tedious. Run it no more than 1100 rpm. The author doesn’t like doing this job by hand, so he uses an adjustable-depth tool. It’s safer to get a fixed-depth unless you have the sort of measuring device necessary to do an accurate job of setting the tool.

However, for reasons I’ll hit upon, a couple of actions on the bench make things better, and one makes things safer. The first is a primer-pocket uniforming tool; the other is an inside-flash-hole deburring tool.

The tasks these tools perform only need to be taken once.

When a domestically-produced cartridge case is made, the primer pocket and the flash hole are formed, not cut. The primer pocket is done with a swaging process, and the flash hole is punched. The primer pocket and headstamp are normally produced at the same time with a punch called a “bunter.” I also call it a “blunter” because that’s the result: cross section a case and you’ll see that the bottom of the primer pocket is not square; it looks a little like a cereal bowl. The flash hole is normally punched separately.

A well-designed primer pocket-uniformer’s job, in my view, is mostly to put a 90-degree corner on the pocket bottom, so the bottom is flat. Primers are flat, coincidentally. And this is why it should be done. A uniformer also cuts the pockets to the same depth, which is also within the correct depth range; or, at the least and depending on the combination of the primer pocket and the tool itself, ensures that a minimum depth has been created. That’s between 0.118-0.122 inches for Small Rifle primers.

Now, there are differences among manufacturers in primer-cup heights. They’re small, but tend to be consistent brand-to-brand. A uniformed primer pocket pretty much eliminates the chance of a shallowish primer pocket combining with a tallish primer to create a primer that’s not seated beyond flush with the case bottom.

And all primers should be seated below flush! The actual amount advised or warranted varies with the source, but I give it a minimum of 0.006 inches.

So, after uniforming a primer pocket, the primer should be sitting “flat” on the pocket bottom (more in a bit); ultimately, this means all primers in all cases are seated fully. Measurement of the amount below flush with the case bottom doesn’t really matter; just that the primers are seated fully.

The reason I said “more in a bit” is because primers have an anvil. It’s the three-pronged sort of spring-looking piece on the bottom of a primer. (“Top” or “bottom” is a matter of perspective…) When a primer is seated, the anvil feet compress. Using a hand-held seating tool, you can feel it. They are supposed to compress and be sitting equally on the primer pocket bottom.

There are two reasons this is essential. One is a matter of performance. If the primer is not seated flush against the pocket bottom, then some force from the firing pin or striker is redirected toward fully seating the primer. It’s a softer hit, in effect. This leads to inconsistent ignition, and, to a smaller degree only worried about by the fastidious, differing initial vibration nodes.

The other reason I say this is essential for AR-15 ammo (or for any ammo destined for use in a rifle with a floating firing pin) is assurance against a “slam fire.” Out-of-battery discharge. Ugly. When the bolt carrier sends the cartridge home into the chamber, the inertia can cause the firing pin to continue forward and “tap” off the primer. It’s not supposed to happen, but it dang sure does. The mechanism intended to prevent this is faulty. A primer that’s sitting a little high gets tapped harder, and if it gets tapped hard enough: BLAM. It’s more of a problem with M1As, but I have seen them in ARs, more than once.

Inside-flash-hole deburring is too easy. Of course, you’ll need a tool, and there are several that all work well. When the flash hole is punched, there’s a burr turned up on the inside of the case. These vary in height and scope, but without a doubt interfere with ignition. It’s also possible that a die decapping pin can fold one such that it obscures the hole. Just get it gone. Takes virtually no effort.

It makes a noticeable difference on target, especially in small-capacity, small-diameter cases, like .223 Rem. Reason is clear: the flash from the primer enters consistently and therefore spreads consistently to get the propellant burning. A tall, narrow column of medium-burning propellant is a tougher chore to ignite, or that’s what I think.

The Gutless Method

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We saw this on YouTube was intrigued enough by it to share with our fellow Midsouth shooters, even if it is out of season. Really, there’s no closed season on learning better ways to skin a cat, or in this case, a deer. The video is by Randy Newberg.

This video shows you how to break down an animal, in this case a deer, and convert it to manageable pieces you can haul out on your back. The “gutless method” is the most efficient manner to get all useable meat off the carcass.

It’s easy to see why a gutless method of field-dressing a deer or elk is becoming more popular, in part because keeps the cape and head in good shape for trophy mounting.

Do you use this technique?