A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear
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Ammo & Handloading

These are all the posts related to ammo, handloading, and reloading components like bullets, powders, brass, and primers.

Practical Tips to Extend Barrel Life

With the number of “overbore” rifle cartridges popular today, barrel erosion is becoming a hot topic.  For example, competitive shooters using a 6 PPC typically replace a barrel after 700-800 rounds, and a 6.5-284 might also need to be replaced before the 1,000 shot mark.  That means the cost to keep a good barrel on the gun could be 60-70¢ per shot before we even consider the cost of components like match-grade bullets, brass, primers and powder.  In reality, short barrel life could easily double your cost per shot.  So what can we do to prolong the accurate life of ...

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Lapua 223 Rem Brass Weight Variation

I recently weighed 100 pieces of brand new Lapua 223 Remington “Match” brass, and honestly I’m disappointed.  A few people have been telling me how good Lapua brass was, so I was simply expecting more consistency than what I found.  It didn’t stack up well compared to some Norma brass I weighed recently … although the overall quality appears to be good.  In fact, it wasn’t much different than weight distribution of some super-cheap, once-fired Remington 223 brass I bought for 1/5 of the price (the average deviation of the Lapua brass was actually higher).  Here is the resulting data for the Lapua brass, so you can compare for yourself: Average ...

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Most Accurate Rifle Primers for Precision Reloading

What is the best primer?  This is a perennial question for handloaders pursuing optimal accuracy, whether that is for a benchrest rifle, F-Class, or long-range tactical setup.  The primer is likely the reloading component most shooters know least about, and when that is the case it is sometimes a good idea to just start by looking at what the experts are using. I decided to aggregate the load data listed on 6mmBR.com for various cartridges, to see how many times each type of primer was referenced.  I chose 6mmBR.com, for a few reasons: 6mmBR.com is respected in the shooting community and peer-reviewed The majority ...

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Berger 7mm 180gr VLD Bullets Weight Variance

Like most things in handloading … the more uniform one round is to the next, the more uniform ballistics you can expect.  That is why I weight sort my bullets, and for my match grade ammo I only load bullets that have exactly the same weight (+/- 1/10 grain). I recently weight sorted a box of Berger 7mm (.284) 180 grain Match Grade VLD Hunting bullets, and here are the results: Average = 179.89 grains Standard Deviation = 0.085 grains Extreme Spread = 0.4 grains Extreme Spread as % of total weight = 0.2% (this is amazing) Bullet: Berger Bullets 180 ...

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Norma 7mm Rem Mag Brass Review

I’ve been using Norma’s brass for the 7mm Remington Magnum lately, and thought I’d write a review over what I’ve found so far. Norma is a high-end, European brass manufacturer similar to Lapua.  They use the highest quality raw materials, and have very narrow tolerances and tight quality control.  Like Lapua, they drill the flashholes on their brass instead of punching them.  Almost all other brass manufacturers punch their flashholes, which can cause inconsistency and require that you debur the flash hole. Also like Lapua, Norma anneals the neck on all of their brass.  However, that isn’t as apparent as it is ...

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Best Reloading Brass: Comparison of Manufacturer Uniformity

Many handloaders believe an accurate load starts with quailty brass.  The more uniform the brass, the better accuracy you can expect.  So there are a lot of questions that commonly arise: What is the best brass? Should I use “once fired” or “military surplus” brass? Is quality of Lapua brass really worth the added cost? I stumbled upon some info on 6mmBR.com about a year ago containing some data that can be used to compare of brass uniformity between manufacturers.  I’ve tried to refer back to article several times … but I always have a hard time finding it again, because it is buried in ...

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Remington 223 Brass Weight Variation

I recently weighed 153 pieces of once-fired Remington 223 brass that had all been full-length resized, trimmed to length, deburred, primer pockets uniformed, and neck turned.  Here is the resulting data: Average = 90.8 grains Standard Deviation = 0.71 grains Average Deviation = 0.53 grains (average of the absolute deviations of the data points from the mean … 0.53gr actually isn’t that bad) Variance = 0.51 Extreme Spread = 4.0 grains Extreme Spread as % of total weight = 4% (this is significant) All data was gathered using a RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Powder Scale, which is accurate to +- 1/10 grain and was calibrated ...

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Hornady .224 Caliber 55gr V-MAX Bullets Weight Variance

Although some people claim the bearing surface of a bullet (the sides of the bullet that touch the rifling as it travels down the barrel) has more impact on a bullets flight, variations in weight also have an impact although the degree of impact is up for debate.  We can all agree that a 35gr bullet would fly much differently than a 80gr bullet shot out of the same rifle.  But is does a 54.8gr bullet fly noticeably different than a 55.3gr bullet? Regardless of whether there is a measureable difference based strictly on bullet weight, I believe the weight of the bullet is strongly correlated to the bearing surface.  To ...

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