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6ARC Load Development, AmmoSmith - Reloading Tips and Examples, Range Days April 26, 2021

I had planned to go Turkey Hunting in the backwoods of Alabama Saturday morning. That got delayed and I ended up riding around with my old friend in the Miata with the top off. Ripping through the gears on the back country roads with new tires on the rear brings grins ear to ear. As 7 yr old kid packed in the back seat of an old blue Ford Escort with my little sister, I had always dreamed of driving a red sports car to Grandmas house – finally happened.

In addition to breaking the 870 down so it would fit in the trunk of the Miata, I also brought the 6mmARC, the Ruger 10″ 22s, and the CZs (ZomBullShadow, SP-01 Racegun, 97B mostly stock). I had planned to also do some target shooting and test some new loads in addition to turkey hunting. – all the gear packed to the gills in the Nimble Ninja (a common occurrence). I decided to stop in just after lunch at Bob Gibson’s Original BBQ house and with Swann Creek WMA range was only 15mins detour on the way back home made it an easy decision.

It was perfect weather, and I was shocked to see the range not even half as full as last time on a Saturday. Parked at the 100 yd pavilion and signed in. I had been suffering a putrid cough and loss of voice – shouldn’t be COVID as I can still smell and taste plenty, but it wasn’t fun – I braved through it and kept my distance.

First up, was the 6mmARC, confirming my “Jam the Lands” load, which worked very well to fire form about 20 cases of converted 6.5 Grendel Basic Brass. Worked great, I thought the single feeding would be an issue but it wasn’t bad at all. A friend happened to be there with his LabRadar, which brings up a question – aren’t all people with Lab Radars considered friends?

We confirmed the velocity of the of my settled load of Leverloution over 105 Bergers to be ~2550fps. I let him shoot a mag and try the rifle and got video using the ATN. Chased down all brass and it looked good. So next is loading a single case until the neck is split (4-8 times will be my guess). Then try same test using the annealer after each firing.

Next up was the 10″ Rugers. First was the Black Grand-Mamba (scoped). I sighted in at 50 yards and made some adjustments to the scope. It shot very well but then I noticed a bit of slop that I thought was coming from the push button release, but it was actually the scope mount coming loose off the receiver ( I don’t think I locktighted them). Next up was my Bond gun – the Stainless MKII 10″ barrel version with stock trigger and gold Vol Bolt.

The Deuces…. Ohhhhh… Both 10″ 22 pistols with Gold Volquatsen bolt. Black one has Vol Trigger.

It shot good but did have some light strikes which the MK4 finished no problem. I started shooting at small items on the 100yd berm. I was Benched and bagged so it wasn’t very difficult to get the berm targets to dance around a bit. Mostly close/about 2″ off, but also some direct hits.

I was holding the front post about 1/8″ high off the rear sight and using CCI SV factory 2nds. I did notice that hits on self healing plastic targets at this distance did not make the target move very much/at all.

Lastly was the CZ pistols, which the 97 ruled the day. I started with the ZomBullShadow, and the 90gn ammo I had just made. It did not have enough power to cycle the gun.

Switched to new Berrys 115 load and they would BARELY cycle the gun and would ONLY cycle with firm grip (great example of limp wristing).

I DID get one of the bullets to jam the action up tight. looks like the offending round did not get sized or plunked. Bagged the pistol and swiched to SP-01. Quickly realized that my dot battery was out so switched to the 97. 50 roudns of the Standard RN loads and it shot great.

Loads tested:

9mm 90gn Hornady hollow points with nickel cases. They fired fine, shot like a 22, but didn’t have enough oomph to fully work the slide. This resulted in the case being held in by the extractor and not even hitting the Ejectorm just stayed along for the entire ride, keeping perpendicular to the slide, not picking up the next round and jamming the gun with the brass hitting the breechface just a tad off center. But, the highest load that I used I believe DID work the slide, and I remember checking the brass and it seemed OK, cratered, but not pierced – so need to finish making those (~150 bullets) at highest TESTed powder charge and do accuracy/function testing with the Ruger PC9.

The Berrys 115 gn seemed to run GREAT in the ZomBullShadow – at first. Then I got a round that hadn’t been sized at the base and it jammed the gun. I did get to shoot about 3 mags of them and they ran great. The round that locked the gun probably didn’t get sized properly/all the way(short stroking the press when getting case feed adjustements setup maybe) Either way need to plunk all rounds for the gun. The gun was bagged and dis assembled at home, looks GTG now.

Next up was the SP-01 Racegun! – This gun Would have ran great BUT, I left the Dot ON and the battery was dead. DANG!

The 97 came out and reigned supreme on that day. 4 mags shot GREAT with the stock 45 loads I had made (Berrys 230RN over Alliant Power Pistol). Called that a day and packed up to head home.

Other notes and observances: There was one 9mm round that was right on the edge of performing/running the slide. I remember limp writing one of the dev loads and the gun would jam – firm grip it would run. I went back and forth a few times to confirm. I have had a couple of light development loads exhibit this issue before, but not quite this evident. It was actually kind of cool, to be able to make the gun jam jut by having a slightly softer grip, but I don’t ever want to load action match rounds on that hair line verge of not working, better to powder up!

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6mmARC Brass Forming From Straightwall Blanks

6ARC Load Development, Processing Tips April 13, 2021

Disclaimer: do your own research and use common sense when reloading. I am not responsible for your results. Don’t try this at home or at home office either…

Here are the steps that worked for me. I wouldn’t even attempt this without a great annealer. That thing is worth its weight in brass.

Scope footage: 1/2/3/500 yds – watch the scope tap dance like Danny K…

  1. Use Pilot 01 for all annealing and RCBS #3 shell holder – the H45 was too tight and the other RCBS was too loose letting cases slip and fall in the annealer to be turned upside down and picked out. RCBS#3 just right.
  2. Analyze to find Annealing Code A:
    • Took me a sec to get the hang of the Annealer again which menu to get to in order to do the analyze.
    • Annealing Code A LOGGED: 0116
  3. Anneal all brass using Annealing Code #A – this was very quick ~1 sec each.
  4. Lube – lanolin mix in bag and did find that swabbing the interior casemouth helped quite a bit when the expander ball is coming back through.
  5. Size (single pass) – Shoulder Bump noted – 3.152″ (taken/matched from another previously fired case) with H comparator on shoulder and calipers. BUT keep in mind shoulder is not fully formed yet so that reading is close but not exact. THE heavy duty RCBS press at the range was defiantly a help and it did size smoothly but did take some effort.
  6. Anneal to relive stress after sizing. Discussed with local wildcatter and and decided to do another round of annealing. Analyzed to find Annealing Code B LOGGED: 0149
  7. Anneal all brass using Annealing Code #B
  8. Trim – With normal brass, the trimmer trims down to 1.485” but it was leaving the new brass at 1.495” with is /5 thou too long. So I had to adjust and then thinking about it – most likely due to shoulder variation.
  9. Champher/deburr – used the hand tool
  10. Clean (if needed – blow dry chips away)
  11. Prime – RCBS hand primer
  12. Drop powder – 25.0 Gns of W748 – 6 test rounds
  13. Shot bullets – Failure to Fire – no primer indentations at all.
  14. Local wildcatter advised on seating the bullets long to make sure the casehead was up against the breech so that the firing pin would activate. Seat bullets (jammed) too long to load in mag, need a sled mag. Single Feeding jammed lands worked and rang plate ~ 6″ low @100yds (I didn’t care about accuracy just that it fire formed)
  15. Fire Form Results – WORKED for 6 cases will test more – looks good. Can still see some faint stretch marks on the brass in the shoulder/neck area but seems GTG.
  16. Dissection Results
  17. Load repeatedly to see how many firings it will take (> 4 = grins).
  18. After Fire Forming, Analyze to find final Annealing Code C. This code will be used after every firing until brass is toasted.
  19. Next Batch of processed brass will be using a slightly different die setup.
    1. Remove the decapping pin from RCBS SB 6ARC die
    2. size lubed case in single pass
    3. then use Sinclair mandrel 6mm dies to form necks – less stress on the necks
Headstamp ideas welcomed!

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Queen of Hearts – 6mmARC load Dev with W748

6ARC Load Development, AmmoSmith - Reloading Tips and Examples, Range Days March 22, 2021

I was 4 or 5. Hauling down the old country roads with mom and dad in back in ’80 in old Val (the white station wagon my mom traded her green 68 firebird on). The radio starts playing my favorite song (basically the only one I know) – Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton. “Playing with the queen of hearts, knowing it ain’t really smart, the Joker is the only Fooo-oohh-ooolll that will do anything with you!” then I’d start making the guitar sounds.

Well today, I went to the local range with a small pile of Berger 105 BTTs over W748 (I had already done a ladder load to determine/confirm pressures/velocities) using the 103 grain data (Hodgon has recently added W748 to their 6mmARC online recopies). I had a feeling this would be a decent powder for the ARC(based on the burn rate chart) and landed a couple bottles a few weeks ago.

I have decided to settle, that is for an easy/cheap round that I can pump out on the 650 for short range targets (< 500yds). I created a new profile in the ATN Scope for this ammo at 2500fps. I used to bring 2 sticks to the range and staple pizza boxes between them, but alas I have shot up all my sticks, and only had this “good half” to go in my target stand at 200 yds. So I did this. I stapled the plate to the stand along the left edge, then stapled the playing cards to the right side of the plate. Theory being that if you are good (enough) you won’t shoot the stick.

I had to boresight and re-zero a couple times, but got on at 200. Benched and bagged, I started letting them fly. about every second. with a bag on the fore-end and a bag on the buttstock toe, it was very stable and easy to hold position and pump them in one after another. I tried to take a video, but mashed the button to take picture instead, so all my humorous narration was a waste.

But all is not lost. I got some meh groups on the fast fire, then moved to more slowly timed focused shots on the playing cards. I was zoomed to 20x for these shots, there are a couple that are pairs. I moved to the lower target, “The Queen of Hearts”. After only a few shots it was cold range and shadows growing so I retrieved target and laughed immediately and started singing the song once again…

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6mmARC Chrono Results Berger 105 VLDT/BTTT /LeverLoution

6ARC Load Development, AmmoSmith - Reloading Tips and Examples March 10, 2021

Chrono Results from the Strategic Edge Range 3/7/2021

These bullets are very similar, the VLDT is more pointy(spensive) and the BTT is more traditional(cheaper). The original load with Hybrid Target have been hard to find, hence using these bullets.

Chrono results are below. It looks like the lower charge weights are the most accurate, so its a toss up. I guess close range use the lower velocity with smaller groups, but on the longer range, may be better off with the higher charge weights that give less drop/drift but also smaller groups at range due to vertical stringing that comes from ES and SD.

Berger 105 VLD Target – 3 round groups to conserver components

Second Grouping…

Berger 105 BT Target

105 BTT and W748 coming up next! Maybe throw in some CFE 223 as well.

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6ARC, ATN scope, CZ racegun testing

6ARC Load Development, Range Days March 8, 2021

Chrono Results are listed HERE!

Where the radio runs out, in the hills of TN, there is a cove tucked in the woods that lets you shoot up to 1250 with live large Screen Impact monitors. It’s the safest rage I’ve been to, and its worth packing all the guns I can into my tiny red convertible and working the gearbox just one more time.

A surprise to me! A fellow shooter wit a new 6mmARC in the wild! He was shooting the first shots down the bore cool build!

First up the 6mmARC Load Dev and ATN4k 5-20 NightVision Scope. This gun shot small silhouette groups at 750 last visit to this range (with the Nikon Buckmaster2) so the bar was set. I started at the short range with a confirmation zero at 100/ then quickly went to 2/300 with little issues. Shooting my Cultured round of LeverLoution and Berger 105 HTs. Then the cold Range Buzzer goes off. I setup the chrono using the BOG and a wood attachment and then run the dev batches to get velocities. In interest of saving components, I loaded 3 round groups at paper(groups A&B), mainly checking for velocity with these new profile bullets (comparing to the previous 105HT that shot great). I used the aluminum angle and carbon arrow (pointy stick) to change strings and it worked great.

The Pirate’s Booty Chest is FULL of rare 6mmARC rounds!! AYE! Mate!

With those chrono results done I moved over to the long range and back to the Berger HT load. With the rifle zeroed at 100 and target yardage set to 100 yds in the ammos BCsetup (for previous chrono testing/groups). I then changed the zero to 300 and then took a shot at the 300 yd target. I was way low – thought that’s weird, went back to 100, boresighted it again, confirmed zero at 100 again, then back to 300 and same thing. This time I realized what was happening (I think). So Here is the deal, I was thinking that the changing your target yardage setting in the ammo BC setup would automatically adjust your zero, but it doesn’t. BUT If you use the Ballistic Calculator option in the scope, you Can have it ZEROed at 100 yds and show the POA for 600yds (for example). Basically I thought this calculation (elevation at least) carried over when you adjust your zero from 100 to 300, but it doesn’t.

Alum Angle iron and carbon arrow shaft makes a great mode selector during hot range. Big fan of the BOG/ bought itself again today.

Not a huge deal, but you need to be expecting it and here is why. I was planning on just getting it zeroed on the 100yd sighting plate, then moving straight to 600/650/1k. I think the proper way to do this would be to have it zeroed at 100, find/estimate your drop for 600, rezero the rifle with that hold over, then set the target distance to 600 and take a shot to rezero rifle. IF you do not make those adjustments and try going straight from 100 to 600 changing ONLY the target distance, you would be seeing 600 in the scope display (zoomed in most likely around 12x) and your bullet’s elevation would be stuck at 100 yds. Once I figured out what was going on with that I figured OK, trying to spot little holes at 600 yds, by myself with a 5x scope – ehhhh….Not a great plan for conserving ammo. So I decided to play with/use the onboard Ballistic Calculator to show where to aim for 600 yd hits.

A fellow Long Range shooter put this device out at the 1k target area. They put up a 52″ target as well and said that it worked out to 1700yds, worked great, and calculated group size and all. They also have a cheaper 300yd version. The versions are not upgradeable. Looked DAF, Stuff you just don’t see at the local public range…I would NEVAR set that up at the other Redneck range I shoot at for obvious reasons.

The Ballistic Calculator icon/dot – Here is my opinion so far and what to look for an how to use it. Things that I noticed that can be confusing, but aren’t mentioned in the manual. You just have to play around with it to “discover the hardships”.

  • Dot doesn’t show up unless you are in the specific reticle type
  • Dot is hard to see in full sun on display (not using eyecup)
  • Dot is hard to see/hidden by the vertical bottom reticle – If you are only dropping a couple inches and no wind left/right, the dot can be hidden by the lower reticle

Using the BC I took a shot at the 600 yd plate, but I couldn’t confirm a hit so the 600-1k ARC dream will have to sail another day. I think my plan for next time is walk it up from 1/2/3/500 using that sighting/zero method. Another plan of attack is to have 2 separate profiles for each ammo type. I need to try exporting what is in the BC to computer, then duplicate it and rename for LR (long range). Then I can have a 200 yd zero for short range, use the different reticles for holdovers or whatever out to 500. Then when shooting 600+ switch to the LR profile and have it zeroed @ 600 but use the BC for out to 1k maybe.

With some good and bad resutlsin on the new scope setup, I decided to break out the old 6.5 and make sure it is back on target and sighted in.

This rifle was my “pinky toe in the water” of LR. About as cheap as they get really, RAP, 20MOA base, Nikon Buckmaster II (4-12) BDC. It has shot 1k before but it has been years. Having recently remounted the scope to the rifle, shooting 1k was the defining goal of the day. Shooting 143ELDX plinkers at 12x zoom, I boresighted it at 100, then confirmed yardage. the VERY first thing I noticed about this scope after shooting the ATN is the clarity of glass v.s video screen[Edit:after thinking about it more I never adjusted the parallax bell on the ATN and left it tat 200yds from last range visit so clatity comparison will be done another sunny day]. The first thought that popped in my head was “ohh this is going to be cackewalk, OK..” and this is for a $150 scope range. I made a couple dialing errors in elevation getting to 600, but once I was dialed for wind/elevation the hits were dropping in. I held third circle for 750yd and hit/hit/hit/miss/hit. I could see the hits on the impact monitors. The ones for 600 were not up that day.

Time to try for 1k. Now in order to do this but keep the 600 yd zero, I just zoom out to 8x and hold post. First shot was 1’oclock hit on the big plate about 24″ high. Adjusted 6 clicks down and ended up with about 10″ group al around the center plate. Move to some of the smaller swingers with my last 3 shots and missed. The old bearded dude next to me and helping spot me a bit reminded me of Jesse Duke. He then shot his PRC at the center plate and kept a .3moa – amazing.. yep, that target is still in calibration!

pretty smooth setup – LOVE the trashy holster!

On to the CZs – With the rifles done for I decided to pack them up and work on pistols now. I unpacked the SP-01 open racegun and the old ZombieB build for testing. Started off with some 9mm pulls for practice. These are pulled bullets that have been repurposed due to, well duh, the ammopocalypse. I had a jam with a couple, but was to be expected. Both guns ran fine generally but seemed to shoot low. I noticed I had to hold to the top of the plates to hit. I thought about adjusting sights, but this visit was mostly for functionality, so in the interest of growing shadows, I skipped it and just held high. I did notice that on the 75B that resting the dot on top fo the back blade (as opposed to IN it) got great results. Getting the plop plop of the plate rack was fun again. The racegun still needs grip attention as the mags were having issues dropping and I’m sure it is due to my custom grips/long screws. I took the Cajun spring pack to potentially adjust the rate, but skipped that too in the interest of fun. The $60 Ace/Race holster did work great! I’m sure once my grips and draw are down it will be a cheapo smoothie.

This gun shot great today. Except the Front site rod fell out. It’s my fault/design so I LOLed. I could actually get a ghost sight picture with the rod gone. No biggie, this gun will soon be dramatically *enhanced.

Lastly, I went back to pick up brass. I might not be doing that much more for the raceguns. More on that later. But for now, as for today, it was wrapped up with a cool drive down the country backroads weighted down ~20,000 grains less, smiles all around.

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  • 300PRC Ladder-loads and Initial Groups

    by on October 13, 2021 - 0 Comments

    Took the new Mile Rifle to Skyline to group in @ 200yds and run the 2n’d round of ladder loads. All rounds with H225 ELDM over 7828SSC or N565. I shot all but the hottest rounds for each powder, making a specific point to leave the hot rounds for next time – enforce the It’s […]