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Ammo & Handloading

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

Lapua Brass for 7mm Rem Mag?

I shoot a 7mm Remington Magnum, and when I started handloading for it I began by looking for a high quality brass case.  I started by looking to see if Lapua made cases for a 7mm Rem Mag, and although I didn’t see any for sale through MidwayUSA or Sinclair … I did find some mixed opinions on whether Lapua had ever made cases for belted cartridges, and the 7mm Rem Mag in particular. Then earlier this year while I was at Shot Show, I was at the Lapua booth and noticed in their new VihtaVuori Reloading Guide they actually ...

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Berger Bullets Bearing Surface Variation

One of my friends recently told me they sort bullets by both weight and length of their bearing surface (the part of the bullet that comes in contact with the barrel, illustrated below).  I hadn’t thought of that before, but you could see how variations in the bearing surface length obviously impact the amount of barrel friction on the bullet and therefore cause variations in muzzle velocity. For virtually all of my precision shooting I use Berger bullets, and I wondered if there was even any measurable variation in their bearing surface because their quality control is so much tighter than other ...

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Portable Reloading Press Plans

I wanted to create a portable reloading press stand that I could mount my full-size RCBS Rockchucker Press or smaller RCBS Partner Press to.  The plans I came up with were simple to build, used easy to find materials, and the finished product has worked exactly like I was hoping.  The stand is very strong and stiff, which is critical when designing a reloading press mount.  It is ergonomic and natural to use on either a table top or a work bench surface.  I just use one or two Irwin Quick-Grip Clamps to hold it securely to the surface.  The stand has “window cutouts” ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 4: 5 Shot Groups

I’ve already done quite a bit up to this point in my load development.  At this point I know I want to try to find an accurate load for Berger’s 168gr VLD over Hodgdon’s Retumbo powder and I’m now zeroed in on a very specific range of powder weights that seem to be very tolerant of slight pressure variances.  You can see the previous posts for how I got here. My next step is to test 5 shot groups in very granular powder increments. Jump to another step: Part 1: Bullet Selection & Real-World Velocities Part 2: Audette’s Ladder Test Part 3: Optimal Charge Weight Part ...

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7mm Rem Mag Chamber Print

When the 7mm Remington Magnum was originally released, it was met with overwhelming demand.  Every rifle manufacturer rushed to offer rifles chambered for the new cartridge, and in the rush some of the chamber dimensions varied slightly from different manufacturers.  This variation in the 7mm Rem Mag chamber dimensions has carried on to today, and there is still more differences in the chamber dimensions than for virtually any other rifle cartridge. What’s a chamber print? A “chamber print” is an illustration of the chamber reamer used to cut a rifle’s chamber.  It contains all of the key dimensions related to ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 3: Optimal Charge Weight

After I identified a promising range of powder weights using Audetter’s ladder test, my next step was to use Dan Newberry’s Optimal Charge Weight (OCW) Method to offset the “scatter node” drawback inherently present in the ladder test.  To learn more about that, read this article comparing the OCW method with the ladder test. The OCW method is based on the observation that there are some loads out there (like Federal’s match ammo for the 308) that shoot really well out of just about any rifle.  How can one recipe shoot so well out of so many different rifles?  Dan Newberry believes accuracy of ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 2: Audette’s Ladder Test

The first step in load development for my new custom 7mm Rem Mag started with gathering the real-world velocities I could expect out of three quality long range bullets I was considering. I then used those velocities to compare the ballistic performance between those three bullets, as well felt recoil during the test rounds. I eventually decided to pursure further load development for Berger’s 168gr VLD bullet over Hodgdon Retumbo powder because it struck the right balance for me between the competing characteristics (recoil, barrel wear, flat trajectory, low wind drift, ideal energy for medium sized game, etc). For more ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 1: Bullet Selection & Real-World Velocities

The first step in load development for my new 7mm Remington Magnum (with a 27″ barrel) was to get a basic idea for the real-world muzzle velocities I could expect out of a few different high quality, very low drag bullets, so that I could compare them ballistically and decide which to pursure for further load development. I decided to try out the three bullets listed below after reading a great article on 7mm bullets by Nathan Foster. I actually took all of these readings with a BRAND NEW BARREL (some of the first rounds out of it), so they ...

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Chronograph Accuracy Tips – 15 Practical Tips to Increase Accuracy & Reliability

“No mere gadget, the chronograph is one of the most powerful tools imaginable in load development and problem diagnosis. A bullet’s velocity is one of the major contributors to its behavior, and if you don’t know what its velocity is, you may never understand that behavior. But knowing why the bullet behaves as it does, you can take intelligent corrective action that wasn’t available to you before.” – Dan Hackett, Precision Shooting Magazine A chronograph can be a powerful tool … but if you get more than a few “ERROR” readings in a row, you may be tempted to put ...

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RCBS Rock Chucker Reloading Press Mounting Template & Dimensions

I have needed the exact dimensions of both the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press and RCBS Partner Press a few times, as I was working on custom ways to mount them (like this portable reloading press stand).  Unfortunately, RCBS doesn’t publish anything to help with that … so I made a template and thought I would share it in case it helps anyone else. Download RCBS Press Mounting Template with Dimensions  The mounting template, contains the exact dimensions related to the mounting surface, but here are a few more dimensions for presses that are also helpful (and not published anywhere). RCBS Rock Chucker ...

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