Winchester Smokeless Propellants has released Winchester 572, a new Ball Powder available immediately in 1-pound, 4-pound, and 8-pound containers. The company says this new propellant is designed and manufactured to perform multiple functions:
Allows duplication of the famous Winchester 28-gauge AA target load.
Suits development of the original Winchester 3¼-dram-equivalent, 1330 fps, 1¼ oz, 12-gauge upland-game load;
Provides top-quality 1200 fps target loads in both 28- and 20-gauge with popular reloading components;
Allows use in shotshell field loads from 12 gauge to 28 gauge and handgun applications such as 380 Auto, 9mm Luger, 38 Special, and 45 ACP.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the handloader, it’s a great feeling to pop the flaps open on a new box of cases. New, shiny cases are a treat. However, new cases are not ready to load out of the box, and a look over them shows why — most will have noticeably dinged and dented case mouths. Here are a few tips on getting new brass ready to load:
Check Them All for Flash Holes
An easy flaw to watch for is a case without a flash hole. This is rare indeed, but I’ve seen one, and a few of my high-volume pistol-shooting friends have encountered more. Flash holes are almost always punched, but tooling isn’t perfect, or it breaks and goes unnoticed. I actually look at all of them just to get it off my mind.
Don’t Seat a Bullet to Size Case Necks
At the least run all the cases through a die that will size the outside and inside of the case necks. I just use my normal-duty sizing die. That way, I’ve also set case-neck dimensions to what I decided on; that means performance results consistent to my later loadings on these cases. There is not, or sure should not be, any worry about setting the case shoulder back to a shorter dimension than the new case has, if (and only if) the sizing die was adjusted in accordance with the concepts and process I outlined in the past articles.
Chamfer the Inside of the Case Mouth
After sizing, the next required step is to put a chamfer on the inside of the case mouth. The outside won’t need chamfering, unless you’ve decided to trim the cases.
I trim all my new cases, even though it’s not really necessary. For me, it’s more about squaring the case mouth than about shortening length. They’ll be plenty short enough. Just as I use the sizing die, I trim to the usual setting on my case trimmer that I have for used cases.
By the way, this is a simple way to set trim-to length on a case trimmer: Adjust the cutter head inward until it just touches the case mouth all the way around. That will be suitable from there on. Trimming, however, is purely optional.
Now the cases are ready to load. But there’s more you can do to get top results.
Do Any Other Case-Prep Steps
Any additional case prep steps are best done right now when new brass is at its softest. Especially if you want to outside-turn case necks, new brass is notably easier to work with. The exception is that I wait until after the first firing to do any primer-pocket uniforming. New primer pockets are snug.
Speaking of that first firing… This is important. “Fire-forming” is a term usually associated with describing changing a cartridge from its parent or original state into another state, which is a non-standard cartridge, when it’s first-fired in the non-standard chamber. Like making an Ackley-Improved version of a standard cartridge, or converting a .250 Savage into a 6XC. In other words, the firing itself expands and reforms the case to the shape of the new chamber. But! All cases are fire-formed to the chamber they’re fired in. That’s a lot of what I’ve been addressing in the past few articles.
Segregate Special Brass
I segregate my brass for my tournament rounds, and I do that when it’s new. Criteria and means are another article, but the reason I mention that now is because I select my “600-yard” cases, “300-yard,” and “200-yard” cases at the beginning, looking for the best, better, and good cases, respectively, for the three distances.
I need to know which are which before I make the initial loading because brass has a memory. More technically, it’s a “shape-memory effect,” a property that is shared by some other alloys also. It expands and contracts in a consistent pattern during each use.
Do not first-fire cases using a lighter (less pressure) load unless you intend to continue to use that load. Fire-forming with a lighter load and then using a nearer-to-max load in that same case will result in premature failures in that case. It doesn’t seem to matter much going the other direction, but, for instance, I would never charge up my 600-yard load in a case formed using my 200-yard load; there are significant pressure differences in those two.
And don’t forget to get dimensional checks and records on your new cases!
Burris Optics has released a set of ballistic tools to use with its riflescopes, including free software, cartridge and bullet libraries to match to Burris reticles, elements to build a dope card, help in programming an Eliminator LaserScope, and the ability to order custom elevation and windage knobs.
Vice President of Sales and Product Development Patrick Beckett said, “We are a company full of hunters and shooters, and we built these tools knowing we would want to use them ourselves. We believe our passion for the shooting sports and our riflescope and ballistics expertise have created a set of tools that will help anyone become a better, more confident shooter.”
The centerpiece of the roll-out are bullet libraries that contain nearly 7,000 cartridges and bullets from every major ammunition and bullet manufacturer. Rimfire, centerfire, muzzleloader and shotgun shells are included, as well as G1 and G7 profiles (where available) for precise accuracy. Other specific elements include:
This tool allows a user to select ammunition and define exact environmental shooting conditions, such as altitude, humidity, wind speed, and more to deliver accurate aiming solutions for a Burris reticle at any distance. The results are customizable and printable.
The Burris Eliminator LaserScope can range a target, calculate holdover, and provide a wind value to help you estimate the correct wind hold-off, all based on the exact ammunition you choose. The Eliminator Programming Tool helps you determine the correct Drop Number and Ballistic Coefficient, and lets you fine-tune your results by adjusting for your actual shooting conditions.
Barnes Bullets has added three loads to the VOR-TX ammunition lineup and new 300AAC Blackout and 450 Bushmaster components for handloaders.
The VOR-TX line extensions will bring three new loads to the Barnes VOR-TX family: A 308 Win. load featuring the 130-grain TTSX bullet, a 300 Winchester Magnum load with a new 190-grain LRX bullet, optimized for long-range performance, and a 35 Whelen load featuring the Barnes TTSX 200-grain projectile.
Click here to see our stock of Barnes VOR-TX ammunition and to check to see when the new loads are in stock.
For handloaders who want to fine-tune and optimize their 300 AAC Blackout and 450 Bushmaster ammunition, Barnes will now offer the 300 AAC BLK 120 grain TAC-TX BT bullet, previously only available in VOR-TX ammunition, as a separate item.
Also available for the first time, Barnes will offer a 275-grain TSX FB bullet specifically designed for 450 Bushmaster platforms.
Click here to see our stock of Barnes bullets and to check when the new bullets are in stock.
Southwick Associates, a Fernandina Beach, Fla.–based market research and economics firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor-recreation markets, released what it says are the top brands for many hunting- and shooting-product categories in 2015. This list was compiled from internet-based surveys completed in 2015 HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com panels.
Midsouth Shooters Supply looked over Southwick’s product-category winners and assembled the 10-most-popular category winners for 2015:
In a previous survey of people who said they reloaded, 88 percent cited “saving money” as the key reason. The survey, conducted in September 2015, said that “improving accuracy” was the second largest interest of handloaders at 70 percent. “Obtaining rounds difficult to find in stores” came in third with 40 percent, and “reducing waste” was cited as a reason by only 30 percent. Survey participants could choose more than one reason.
Of the types of ammunition reloaded, 76 percent reload rifle ammo, 64 percent reload for their handguns, and 30 percent reload shells for their shotguns.
“Over time, ammunition can be the most expensive aspect of recreational shooting, so it makes sense that avid shooters see reloading as a way to cut costs without cutting time at the range,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates. “Of course, a key byproduct of saving money through reloading is a person also becomes more knowledgeable about their firearm’s performance and can even potentially achieve better performance by fine-tuning a specific load to their firearm.”
You can participate in the surveys at HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com.
How do these survey results stack up, in your opinion?
Midsouth Shooters Supply customers may find it hard to believe, but three U.S. Army engineers have received a patent for a bullet that will become “aerodynamically unstable” after flying a certain distance.
The proof-of-concept bullet developed by the U.S. Army will disable after flying a certain distance, helping to prevent injuries from stray rounds.
Recently awarded U.S. patent 9,121,679 B1, the bullet is equipped with a reactive material that will ignite when the bullet is fired and burn during flight, causing the bullet to become aerodynamically unstable at the desired range.
Brian Kim, Mark Minisi, and Stephen McFarlane filed collectively for the patent on May 7, 2013 and were notified of its approval on Sept. 1, 2015.
“We wanted to protect the US government’s interests and position,” McFarlane said. “The biggest advantage is reduced risk of collateral damage. In today’s urban environments, others could become significantly hurt or killed, especially by a round the size of a .50 caliber, if it goes too far.”
The concept for the limited range projectile includes pyrotechnic and reactive material. The pyrotechnic material is ignited at projectile launch. The pyrotechnic material ignites the reactive material, and if the projectile reaches a maximum desired range prior to impact with a target, the ignited reactive material makes the projectile aerodynamically unstable.
The original idea was intended to apply to .50 caliber ammunition. However, the patent covers the idea and technology, so it could theoretically be used in various small arms munitions.
The concept for the limited range projectile came to fruition when the small caliber ammo development team was funded to investigate the feasibility of a pyrotechnically actuated disassembling limited range .50 caliber bullet.
“It was essentially my idea to create a self-destructing small caliber round akin to the larger caliber ones,” Minisi said. “The type of reactive materials to use and how to test it was Steve’s idea.
“Brian was instrumental with executing the effort, particularly the modeling and simulation to confirm the concept,” he said.
Currently, funding for the project has ceased. However, engineers hope that their concept will resurface as the constant need to provide greater technology for the warfighter increases.
Kim, Minisi, and McFarlane are employees of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) based at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
Federal Premium Ammunition is expanding the popular Fusion MSR line with a 90-grain option in 6.8 SPC. The load joins the existing Fusion MSR lineup, which includes 223 Rem. 62-grain, 6.8 SPC 115-grain, 308 Win. 150-grain and 338 Federal 185-grain options. Shipments of this new product are now being delivered to dealers.
Modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are the most adaptable class of firearms in history, handling everything from tactical applications to elk hunting. Fusion MSR loads are specifically designed for hunting with these rifles, performing to their ballistic peak through 16-inch barrels for AR15 platforms and 20-inch barrels for AR10 platforms.
The skived bullet tip ensures expansion at long ranges, and a fused jacket around a pressure-formed core produces excellent accuracy. Federal’s part number for the new 6.8 SPC 90-grain Fusion round is F68MSR2 and it lists for $29.95 per box of 20 rounds.
Midsouth Shooters Supply currently offers 112 Federal Ammunition loads. Click here to see when the new 90-grain round is in stock.