One of the challenges with picking up a “new” cartridge to reload is finding the right dies at the right price. .25-45 Sharps is becoming more popular with AR-15 shooter and reloaders, and the industry is responding with new products that give reloaders more options. One such example is the new .25-45 Sharps dies from LEE. This “Pacesetter” die set includes a full-length sizer/de-primer, a dead-length bullet seater, and a Factory Crimp Die- everything you need to form .25-45 Sharps brass and reload .25-45 Sharps ammunition for your AR-15. These dies are “Very Limited Production” – but I’ll note that Midsouth Shooters Supply has these dies for ~$35. and they are in stock as of today! That’s about 1/2 what other .25-45 Sharps die sets cost!
If you are curious about LEE rifle dies, I posted an in-depth write-up that covers pretty much every detail you can think of. I also posted the following in-depth write-up that covers .25-45 Sharps precision reloading from start to finish, a great resource if you are going to use these LEE dies to load .25-45 Sharps:
Bullet coatings promise better performance, but are they the right choice for you? Find out.
There are a few bullet coatings available, and Moly (MoS2: molybdenum-disulfide) is the best known, and also the most notorious. More in a bit.
First, here’s how and why bullet coating works: Fire a coated bullet and a bare bullet using the same propellant charge. The coated bullet will go slower. However. The pressure will be lower. The reason is easy to figure: the increased lubrication reduces friction, resistance to movement, especially upon entry into the bore. It gets kind of a head start. The deal is that the pressure drops relatively more than the bullet speed, so, the bullet speed can be increased by adding more propellant and still have the same level of pressure. Win. Win. And, since there’s what amounts to a barrier between the bullet jacket and the barrel steel, the promise of more accurate rounds between cleanings is all true too. The bullet jacket isn’t leaving much of itself behind on the bore.
Among competitive shooters there was a huge shift toward coated bullets a few years back, but they’ve since fallen from favor for many. It wasn’t because they don’t perform well, because they do, but there are ancillary, and important, liabilities. Mostly: moly-coated bullets can corrode barrel steel, including stainless. Molybdenum disulfide outgases (outgas is the release of an occluded gas vapor that was part of the compound; a state change, pretty much) at temperatures lower than firing temperatures, and that creates a residue that, when mixed with water (moisture from condensation included, like what happens after firing), is pretty much sulfuric acid. Yikes. Right. If a moly-coated barrel is cleaned (correctly) each use, no problems. But one of the big draws is the potential to get literally hundreds of rounds, on zero, before the barrel needed cleaning. After a conventional cleaning (solvent and brush) it also takes time, which is rounds through the barrel, before zero will return.
I am a fan of coated bullets, and they’ve convincingly demonstrated their superiority to me after many thousands of rounds reaping rewards from the ballistic advantages. The improvement can be significant, and some bullets in particular escalate in performance more than others. Shorter bearing surface designs, by my notes, get that much more additional speed with no pressure trade-offs. Coating seems to have a disproportionately positive effect on thinner-skinned bullets, for reasons that likewise are clear. The effect here is smaller group sizes. Anything with a “J4” jacket responds well to coating (common in custom bullets).
My solution to the worries about moly was, as suggested, simply to clean the barrel each time back from the range and, also, to change my cleaning method to better accommodate the residue composition. More in a bit.
I don’t use moly any more, though. I’ve switched to Boron Nitride (BN) because it has all the advantages with none of the drawbacks, so far. BN is virtually the same in its effects as moly, based on my notes (same level of velocity drop and subsequent future increase). It’s easy to apply using a vibratory-style case cleaner.
I do not recommend any sort of lubrication inside a barrel, not for a promise of increased bullet performance. PFTE, for instance, has been touted as a great “break-in” agent for a barrel. Some use it after each cleaning to prep a barrel. Well. When it outgases, and it does outgas, it releases fluorine, a very powerful eater of all things metal.
Cleaning: Don’t use copper solvent with moly! The ingredients don’t mix well. Use only petroleum-based solvent. I switched to Kroil pentrating oil in conjuction with something like USP Bore Paste, JB Bore Compound, or similar (abrasive paste-type formulations). No room here now to convince anyone that abrasives are a safe and wise choice, but used correctly they are both. “Correctly” means a rod guide, stainless-steel rod, and keeping the rod shaft clean each pass. With that combination the bore is being protected against corrosion and the residues get gone, and, of huge importance, zero returns right away.
Last on this: Just in the same as how I do not recommend “mixing” bullets or propellants through the same barrel, same day, coatings are pretty much the same. Zero will, not can, change for the number of rounds it takes to “re-season” the barrel. If you use it, use it.
I’ve seen great gaps in the quality of coated bullet finishes. Factory-coated bullets are the way to go. It’s tough to get a good job at home, and the reason is the carnuba wax application is temperature sensitive, and also because commercial coaters use industrial-level tumblers to apply the powder. The wax is necessary to avoid a smudgy mess just from handling the bullets. If you want to do it yourself, make sure the bullets are cleaned before application. Likewise, moly can build up in a bullet seating die so clean it out every now and again.
The preceding was adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available here at Midsouth. For more information on this book, and others, plus articles and information for download, visit ZedikerPublishing.com
Since Nosler’s press release on the new RDF™ bullets was announced, the product has been shipped to Midsouth Shooters! We looked to an independent poster for their review of the new offering, and we were more than impressed with the results.
“We’ve been shooting these for the last month or so and the 70’s have been shooting extremely well and we’ve been running a BC of .211. Basically the same as the 75 Amax but you can run these a lot faster. With our 223AI’s we were running the Amax at about 3100. These are closer to 3200. They like to be run fast. I also measured a bunch and they are beyond consistent.”
He went on to add,
“I have the 6mm’s arriving any day in quantity to shoot and I will tell you they will be giving the Hybrids a run for their money. If they are anything like the 70’s (and they are the same design) the BC will blow the Hybrid away and these will cost less. I’ll keep you all posted but these will be a bullet to watch.”
You can see the difference in meplat from left to right below:
The difference in meplat is definitely noticeable, reducing drag, and flattening trajectory over greater distances for each bullet. For those not in the know, Meplat (from the French word “méplat” meaning “flat”) is the technical term for the flat or open tip on the nose of a bullet. The shape of the meplat is important in determining how the bullet moves through the air.
The original article, as well as Nosler’s official press release, is below:
Nosler Inc. of Bend, OR, announced recently the first of several new innovative products slated to roll out over the coming weeks with the release of their new RDF™ Reduced Drag Factor bullet line. RDF™ features the highest BCs and smallest, most consistent meplats of any hollow point match bullet line on the market.
“Long-range competitive shooting has quickly become one of the fastest growing shooting activities in the world, and quality bullets are the cornerstone of the sport” said John Nosler, Executive Vice President for the company. “Our engineers were challenged with delivering a bullet that would drastically reduce aerodynamic drag and increase ballistic consistency, providing shooters with an indisputable advantage in the field. What we achieved is a leap in match bullet technology that we predict will become the winning differentiator for shooters across the country, and around the globe.”
The RDF™ line was designed from the ground up by Nosler’s world-class team of engineers with the goal of delivering exceptionally high BCs that result in the flattest trajectory and least wind drift possible. Several key design factors contribute to the RDF’s game-changing performance. Nosler’s meticulously optimized compound ogive, which bridges traditional tangent and secant bullet shapes, is insensitive to seating depth, allowing handloaders to seat bullets with ease, an advantage for competitors who often load hundreds of rounds per sitting in preparation for a match. Also lending itself to the bullet’s sleek form factor is a long, drag reducing boattail, making the product optimal for long range efficiency.
When compared side-by-side, shooters will immediately notice a striking visual contrast between Nosler’s RDF™ and today’s leading industry match bullets, with a hollow point so small it’s nearly undetectable to the naked eye. The bullet’s tightly profiled design boasts a 40% average reduction in meplat size, completely eliminating the need to point and trim tips—a laborious step performed by match shooters in order to achieve increased ballistic efficiency and an edge over the competition.
Nosler’s RDF™ bullet line will initially launch with the following offerings in both 100 and 500 count boxes:
· 22cal 70gr.—G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.416 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.211
· 6mm 105gr.—BC field verification in process
· 6.5mm 140gr.—BC field verification in process
· 30cal 175gr.—G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.536| G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.270
So you have a sack full of trimmed cases. Now what? Here’s what! A few tips on final preparation that may even promote better accuracy. Keep reading…
The most basic and necessary tool or tools we’ll need to get the freshly-trimmed case into shape to take on a new bullet is an “outside” and “inside” chamerfing appliance. These are most popularly housed in one hand-held tool: one end does the outside and the other does the inside. Of course (of course) there are options, and some are right dandy.
After trimming the case mouths will be square, flat, and appear wider-walled than before. That’s normal.
There will usually be a little edge-ring of brass on the exterior surface of the case neck, and that’s the reason for the wider appearance. That’s easily remedied. It takes only a light skiff using the “outside” function of the tool.
Don’t cut into the outside, just remove the ring. No bevel is necessary; that only thins the case mouth. If the ring is left standing, the case might not want to feed, and then there will be little shards of brass here and there.
Next, the inside. The inside edge of the case mouth needs to be broken and also beveled to more easily accept a bullet. Now we’ve got options in depth of the bevel and angle of the bevel.
The long-time “standard” is a 45-degree chamfer. That functions okay to allow most bullets to sit unsupported in the case neck prior to seating. I believe, and I’m not nearly alone, that a steeper angle is better. For anyone loading bullets that are of a longer, “spikier” form, I strongly recommend something closer to 30 degrees, or less. These are often called “VLD” cutters or chamfer tools, and that is because these tools followed the “low-drag” style bullets that, among other attributes, featured relatively longer, more steeply angled boat-tails. They also have relatively thinner jackets (“J4”). Essentially, a 45-degree pathway and the geometry on the bullet didn’t mate up.
The result of a greater angle mismatch is that the bullet gets a pretty hard start into the case neck, and it can also get a crooked start, and that’s because it’s not sitting “into” the neck very far. It’s in a precarious position and easily tilted. These long bullets create what amounts to more leverage in less-than-perfect case necks, which is going to be the most of our case necks unless we’re neck turning. (It’s also why I’m a big believer in a bullet-seating stem that engages farther down the bullet nosecone; this also helps reduce the angular deflection in seating.) I’ve seated and then pulled bullets from cases with 45- and 20-degree chamfers, for instance, and those from the shallower angle show noticeably less scuffing. (Plus, many of the custom-made low-drags feature a “pressure ring,” which is a tiny elevated ring right at the boat-tail/shank junction, usually about 0.0005 diameter, which helps obturation. That ring can get deformed by a 45-degree chamfer.)
It’s not the depth into the case neck cylinder that improves the transition into the case neck, so a “bigger” cut with a 45 won’t do a thing. A steeper cutter is going to make a deeper extension into the case neck simply because the angle is steeper.
Cutting the inside, do not go for a knife edge! For a yardstick, I suggest going about halfway on a 45-degree cut and 2/3 on a VLD-style chamfer tool. By that I mean that the appearance of the wall thickness at the case mouth is roughly half after chamfering that it was before.
It is important, at least in logical thought, to have the same chamfer depth on each case to ensure perfectly consistent engagement with the bullet shank. Honestly, I don’t know if that shows up on a target, but it’s easily attained using either an LE Wilson or Forster case trimming base, as well as some others, with the addition of a chamfering tool in the apparatus to replace the length trim cutter. It’s an extra step in retooling and adjustment, but then if the cases are all the same length and the stops are set, each case mouth will have an identical chamfer.
The preceding is a specially-adapted excerpt from Glen Zediker’s newest book Top-Grade Ammo. Available right’chere at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, as well as others.
I’m going to load a bunch of 9mm today! That was my plan, and I couldn’t wait to go shoot a bunch of the ammo with my Glock 17. Everything was going “great” until I noticed the powder level seemed to be getting higher as I was loading. “That just doesn’t look right” I thought. I took a charged case off the press, and soon determined I was 2.2 grains over my 9mm load- way too far over to risk shooting. I won’t repeat what I said right then: something like @$#&. In disgust, I put the ammo aside in a tub with a sheet of paper laid inside with a Sharpie scrawl that read “Over, not safe”. I didn’t even want to think about breaking down 500 rounds of ammunition with my impact puller. That would probably take (:30 per cartridge X 500 cartridges = 250 minutes = ~4 hours and 15 minutes!). Later I decided it would be a good time to get a press-mounted collet puller. Hopefully that would save some time! Fast-forward a year later and I’m finally getting around to fixing this 9mm ammo. Feels good to take care of this pile of unsafe ammo.
As you saw in the video, this tool is pretty simple, but it’s magic when you need to pull a large quantity of bullets. I wouldn’t attempt this kind of job without such a tool! Here’s a look inside the die opening where the collet sits:
Also pictured above: a “bad” cartridge before the bullet was pulled, the case, powder, and bullet after pulling (note the slightest ring from the taper crimp previously applied). I feel great about reusing these bullets for anything but a bullseye match- I don’t think the crimp groove or any of the “scratches” will affect the re-reloaded ammunition’s performance for most types of pistol shooting.
This puller worked great for me for the ~500 9mm cartridges that I had to tear-down and re-reload. I’m going to order more collets as the need arises, because I really like the way this tool works. Almost makes the process fun! If you’re looking to pull bulk bullets, check out this tool!
UPDATE: New Info added about the self-centering shell holder, and new pictures added, as well! Read more below:
For decades, MEC Reloading has been THE go-to reloading press for shotshell reloaders around the world. Recently, we heard tale of MEC building their first offerings in a series of metallic reloading tools. Enter the MEC Marksman, a heavy duty, single stage press attempts to set itself apart from the heard with their sights set on quality, and precision.
Check out the press (pun) release below!
Official Press Release: 11/1/2016
MEC Shooting Sports is pleased to introduce its latest new product offering, the all new MEC Marksman™ to the metallic reloading enthusiast. As an industry-leading manufacturer of shotshell reloading equipment and clay target machines, MEC brings its knowledge and expertise to the metallic reloading marketplace. The MEC Marksman™ single stage metallic reloader and accessory products are made in the USA in Mayville, WI.
The MEC Marksman™ is made from ductile cast iron for superior quality and durability. Our patent-pending self-centering shell holder provides metallic reloading users greater accuracy and consistency to every load compared to competing models. The MEC Marksman™ is compatible with all 7/8-14 thread dies to change calibers quickly. Reload .22 Hornet to .416 Rigby all with one convenient machine.
In addition to the MEC Marksman™, the Metallic line will include reloading accessories and essentials. Powder measure, powder trickler, scale and calipers are available to complete the MEC Marksman™ reloading experience. An additional base is available for easy installation and is compatible with the MEC Jig Fixture mounting system. Case prep tools and components are also available.
With over 60 years of shooting sports experience, the addition of the MEC Marksman™ continues the reloading heritage from the brand you trust.
So, what does this mean to us here at Midsouth Shooters? Quite a bit, actually. We’re excited to welcome another offering to our customers, who will undoubtedly put this press to the test. There are truly no better product testers in the world, than our reloading community. We look forward to hearing from you, but for now, we have to settle for the early reports from bloggers, as well as a few early adopters, who’re giving the Marksman rave reviews.
The MEC Marksman, as well as other essential reloading accessories from MEC are available Here, and Here! If you’re looking to get into shotshell reloading, we know MEC presses are some of the best on the market, and we gladly offer them Here.
Fun Fact: MEC stands for Mayville Engineering Company
When we looked a little further into the self-centering shell holder, for which MEC has sought out a patent, we find we’ve covered such an idea from our own Glen Zediker. You can find the article on “Float” by clicking here. Ultimately, what they’re trying to accomplish, and reduce is bullet run-out, as well as maintaining the best concentricity possible during the ammo creation process.
How many of you have tried MEC reloading presses before? What’s your take on the new metallic reloading offerings from MEC? Will you be pulling the handle of the Marksman?
IMR Legendary Powders recently released their new family of smokeless reloading powders! To the well trained eye of a seasoned reloader, or one who reloads with a lot of Alliant Powders, one could ascertain the namesakes of these IMR powders. Having another source for some of the best powders on the market is factor every reloader can get behind!
Press Release Date 11-12-16
IMR® Legendary Powders Releases New IMR Family of Powders
IMR Legendary Powders is excited to announce a new family of shotshell and pistol propellants.
We believe it takes a Legendary Powder brand like IMR to improve this series of legendary powders. This series of five popular burn-rate powders covers an extremely wide range of shotshell and pistol cartridges, utilizing new, green technology. Each powder was designed to match current shotshell bushing charts, so the handloader will already have the appropriate bushings available for each load. This new technology burns clean, providing accurate metering and top performance characteristics. All of these powders are REACH compliant, meaning these propellants are not harmful to the environment.
IMR Target™ The first powder in this new family is a fast-burning pistol powder. This fine-grained, small-flake pistol powder meters superbly, providing very precise loads in even the smallest pistol cartridges like the .25 ACP!
IMR Red™ The second powder in this new family was designed to be an efficient, clean-burning, 12-gauge target powder. IMR Red also performs nicely in various lead pistol target loads, such as match competition loads and Cowboy reduced loads.
IMR Green™ The third in this new family is slightly slower-burning than IMR Red, making it an ideal Trap Handicap powder and soon a favorite with Sporting Clays enthusiasts.
IMR Unequal™ IMR Unequal combines small-sized flakes for uniform metering in all pistol applications and its burn speed accommodates a wide range of shotshell and pistol cartridges.
IMR Blue™ The slowest burn speed of the five new propellants, IMR BLUE, has excellent application for heavy 12-gauge 2-¾-inch, 3-inch and 3-1/2-inch field loads.
These new powders will be available in January 2017 at quality reloading powder dealers everywhere. IMR Target and IMR Blue will be available in one-pound (1lb), four-pound (4lb) and eight-pound (8lb) containers and IMR Red, IMR Green and IMR Unequal in 14-ounce (14 oz), four-pound (4lb) and eight-pound (8lb) containers.
Complete load data for these versatile and useful propellants is accessible on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.
Also from Hodgdon, comes the CFEBLK powder, optimized for use in reloading 300 Blackout Sub-Sonic Loads
Press Release Date 11-3-16
Hodgdon® releases CFE BLK
Hodgdon, The Brand That’s True®, is excited to announce the release of CFE BLK™, a new Spherical powder specifically formulated for the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge. CFE BLK joins the Hodgdon CFE™ family of CFE 223™ and CFE Pistol™.
This new powder provides full function of AR-type rifles throughout the range of bullet weights, and is perfect for those subsonic
reduced loads. In addition to being the perfect solution for the .300 Blackout, it performs beautifully in many smaller capacity cartridges, in particular, varmint cartridges such as the .17 Hornet, .17 Ackley Hornet, .218 Bee, .221 Fireball and many more. It also yields top performance in the 6.8 Remington SPC and the 7.62X39 MM Russian cartridge. This fine powder meters like a dream and leaves no copper residue, extending accuracy for longer shooting periods, and making clean-up quick and easy. It is truly a remarkable new propellant!
This new powder will be available in January 2017 in one-pound (1lb) and eight-pound (8lb) containers at quality reloading powder dealers.
Complete load data for this versatile and useful propellant will be accessible December 2016 on the Hodgdon Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.
It’s time for a shameless plug! Our friend, Gavin Gear over at Ultimate Reloader, got a hold of some of our bulk bullets in .223 and .308, and since the release of this article, we’ve introduced our sample packs of the .308 Match Monsters. You can find those here.
Now, these bullets are NOT blems. None of them. These bullets are sent to us in bulk from major bullet manufactures. Nosler actually teamed up with us to bring the bulk savings, with match performance in the Match Monster. You can read Gavin’s entire article here.
What caliber of bullets would you like to see in the Shot Group Sample Packs?
Gavin, much like the rest of us, doesn’t like to spend a lot on brass, especially if we’re not looking for dime-sized five shot groups at 300 yards, so the Ultimate Reloaders takes us through a step-by-step guide on how to form .25-45 Sharps cases from .223/5.56 Brass.
Click Here to visit Ultimate Reloader to follow along each of the steps in the process!
Christmas came early for those of us who follow Hornady, with their announcement of new products to expect in 2017. Let’s kick things off with the product launch video. Just a head’s up, it’s a beefy video, with tons of products listed, so if you want to break it down into multiple parts, then Click Here.
WOW! Here’s a few of the big takeaways we’re excited about…
Case Prep Duo:
Let’s start with the Case Prep Duo. Chamfering and deburring will be afar easier process with this handy little tool, with handy being the operative word. The swivel handle allows what is essentially a powered hand drill, to turn into a table top case prep station, stabilized by two rubber feet.
Lock-N-Load® AP Tool Caddy:
Keep your commonly used reloading hand tools in easy reach with the L-N-L Tool Caddy. Swivel the arm to accommodate a righty or a lefty, then fill the arm with whatever tools you need to keep you focused on the task at hand.
Best said by Neil Davies, Hornady Marketing Director, “Without a doubt, black guns are the most popular firearms in America right now…” Hornady took this fact to heart, and began to make ammunition which would optimize the performance of America’s favorite guns. “Loaded with legendary Hornady® bullets, Hornady BLACK™ ammunition is designed to fit, feed and function in a variety of platforms. Direct impingement, gas piston, suppressed, unsuppressed, inertia, bolt, pump, supersonic, subsonic, rifle, mid-length, carbine or pistol – Hornady BLACK™ ammunition delivers superior performance for a variety of applications. Made in the USA.”
One of the most valuable tools to any reloader, is knowledge, and what better way than with over 1,000 pages of well over 1,300 loads, including some new ones, like the 280 Ackley Improved, 7×64 Brenneke and the 338 Federal.
We’ll be reporting, in-depth, on the multitude of new Hornady products hitting the shelves soon, as well as a timeline as to when you can expect them to appear for purchase at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Stay Tuned!
Did you watch the whole video? Was there a product mentioned you’d like more info about? Let us know in the comments!