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.
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.
This article comes from author Robert F. Kay, editor at On Target Hawaii, and author of the book, “How to Buy an AK-47.” Robert recently had the opportunity to have a Q&A session with Rob Behr of Western Powders. Please enjoy Part 1 below. You can also purchase Robert F. Kay’s book HERE.
Editor’s Note: I had the opportunity to meet Rob Behr of Western Powders recently at the SHOT Show—a mammoth firearms industry trade confab held annually in Las Vegas. Western was there promoting its lines of handgun, shotgun and rifle powders. Western is not a big company compared to its competitors but think of them as the little engine that could. They have excellent products and a truly informative website with an online loading guide, a great blog and information on loads for popular firearms as well as some of the more esoteric ones.
I don’t have a lot of personal experience with their rifle powders but their products come highly recommended by some very knowledgeable folks here in Hawaii. However I have used at least one of their handgun powders, Accurate #5, in my S&W model 27 (.357 magnum) and loved it. (So let me brag a little bit. By using #5 I was able to work up a load accurate enough to knock down 12” plates at distances of over 100 yards).
Rob, who handles marketing (among other duties) for Western, is a very knowledgeable hand loader. In addition to managing the website, he writes the “Dear Labby” advice column for the company’s online magazine. Despite Rob’s self-deprecating manner, you’d be hard pressed to find a better authority on hand loading. I had a chance to interview him recently about the company and got some valuable tips on reloading to boot. This is the first of a two-part series.
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.
Welcome to the new era of exclusive projectiles at Midsouth Shooters! Introducing the Match Monster™ Bullets, made by Nosler.
Experience world class accuracy with Midsouth’s Match Monster™ Lineup!
Midsouth Shooters and Nosler have unleashed a new MONSTER! Introducing the new – MATCH MONSTER! This new offering gives shooters the superior performance they demand, at a bulk savings they deserve. We put this selection together with Match shooters in mind. These, like our Varmint Nightmare and Varmint Nightmare Xtreme Bullets, are purchased in huge bulk quantities and then broken down into smaller amounts – so that you get to take advantage of bulk savings. These bullets use extremely precise lead-alloy cores that create an impressive standard for Match Monster™ bullets. The hollow point bullet provides a small meplat to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency. A pronounced boat tail design provides efficient flight characteristics over a wide range of velocities.
Midsouth Shooters Supply customers buy a lot of Hodgdon powders because the company makes great products and because Hodgdon’s staffers support the efforts of reloaders in a number of ways.
We previously noted here that some of the company’s available materials appear in the Hodgdon Reloading Education section. Click here to see the landing page on which Hodgdon begins the education process. Click here to see Safety precautions. Then click the Reloading for Beginners tab to get an overview of the basics of handloading. Click here to prob
e more deeply into the data available for reloading rifle cartridges.
This time we’re going to explore the Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Data page. Like the Rifle page, the Pistol page gets you started by asking you to select a cartridge from a pulldown menu. The lineup of available cartridges begins at the 17 Bumble Bee and continues through the 500 S&W Magnum. There are dozens choices of currently available commercial favorites, such as the 380 Auto, 9mm Luger, and 45 ACP, plus a bunch of popular high-performance loads that can be chambered in handguns as well as rifles.
Once you’ve selected a cartridge, which for our purposes here is the 45 ACP, you’re then able to select a range of bullet weights. In the case of the 45 ACP, that ranges from weights from 155 to 230 grains and a variety of bullet profiles.
When the user selects a bullet weight (or weights), the site returns a range of data for that load. We’ve been looking at building a lower-recoil training load with a 155-grain bullet, so we clicked “155” from the bullet-weight menu, and then perused the two load-data selections the site presented: a 155-grain cast bullet and an SFire projectile. The cast load was what we’re looking for, so we then expanded that window and saw additional information about that choice, including Case: Winchester, barrel twist (1:16 inches), primer (Federal 150 Large Pistol), barrel length (5 inches), and trim length for the case (0.893 inches).
Then, in more detail, the window for the 155-grain cast LSWC (lead semi-wadcutter) load lists the recommended powders, starting loads, and maximum loads, along with estimated pressures. For our training load, a promising starting load for the 45 ACP 155-grain round is 4.9 grains of Winchester WST, which will produce a velocity of 919 fps and develop 13,100 copper units of pressure (CUP).
If we wanted to work up hotter and hotter loads, there are plenty of powder choices — 15 others, to be exact. Just among the starting loads we could run up to 1,019 fps with 7.8 grains of IMR 800-X, which is estimated to produce 13,600 CUP. Then, if we wanted to really push that 155-grain round, we could work up to maximum loads producing as much as 1,132 fps and 17,000 CUP with 6.2 grains of Hodgdon’s Titegroup.
Also, you can narrow your selections by manufacturer or specific powder if you have already have pet loads you like to work with.
The Hodgdon pistol-cartridge reloading table lets you select proven, safe, and varied mixtures of bullet weights and powder choices to build nearly any recipe of handgun performance you need.
The Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Data page displays a pulldown menu with a lineup of available cartridges from 17 Bumble Bee through 500 S&W Magnum. See the image above for a detailed look at the 155-grain lead semi-wadcutter bullet.