Technical Newsletter From Your Ballistic TechniciansVolume 13, Issue 1
Is It Worth It?
Sticker Shock! Man, bullets are high! With all of the "Premium" factory loads available, can we really afford to reload? Let's crunch some numbers and see what the bottom line looks like.
The brass cases are the largest expense involved in the reloading components. Depending on cartridge and manufacturer of the case, these can be quite expensive to say the least. One thing to keep in mind though, cases are what we recycle and therefore we can spread the cost of the case over several loadings and save even more. This alone is one reason why reloading may be a significant savings.
The two cartridges that I will use as comparisons are quite popular, but also quite different. The 300 Remington Ultra Mag and the 270 Winchester. I have taken the prices for components and also the factory loads from a very popular reloading catalog, hoping to establish a true comparison.
300 Ultra Mag cases ranged in price from $62.00 per 100 to a bit over $1.00 a piece. The average was right at $0.85 cents. I also used an across the board price of $23.00 per pound on powder.
Cases = $0.85
Bullet = $0.23
Total = $1.43 ea. or $28.60 per box of 20
Factory loads ran from:
$2.38 ea. or $47.60 per box of 20 to $2.85 ea. or $57.00 per box of 20
Just remember that every time you reload that piece of brass you are greatly reducing the cost of loading your own. If you were to get 5 loadings from a piece of brass, the cost has gone from $0.85 cents to $0.17 cents per round. That is $0.68 cents less per round, which reduces the box of 20 price an additional $13.60 per box. That leaves you a total of $15.00. Is it worth it?
With many different brands of cases, the cost range can vary considerably. I found prices ranging from $0.44 cents each to as much as $0.91 cents each. I will use $0.55 cents as an average for this comparison and again $23.00 per pound on powder costs.
Cases = $0.55
Bullet = $0.21
Primer = $0.03
Powder = $0.20
Total = $.99 ea. or $19.80 per box of 20
Factory loads ran from:
$1.05 ea. or $21.00 per box of 20 to $1.65 ea. or $33.00 per box of 20
Again, remember that if we are re-using the cases for 5 loadings that we can subtract $0.44 cents from this cost for a total of $0.55 cents each. This changes the 20 per box price to $11.00. The savings can be substantial. The costs of materials continue to climb. This cost has to be passed on by the manufacturers.
There has always been a monetary reason to reload. This is certainly becoming more evident as metal prices escalate. Then there are also the accuracy issues and being able to optimize accuracy and performance for your firearm. This is also a strong method of getting young people interested in the shooting sports.
If the Sierra Technicians can be of help, give us a call at 1-800-223-8799. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
1000 Yard Scope Mounting Made Easy
When I am discussing the 1000 yard Benchrest game with new shooters I point out the easiest way to get started is the optional stock class. The rifle and cartridge choices for this class are really pretty simple; pick your favorite brand of rifle in 308 Winchester. Of course any 30 caliber will work and the 300 Win Mag is a very good choice as well. Bullets are also an easy choice, use the Sierra 175 grain MatchKing in the 308 or the 190, 200 or the new 210 grain MatchKings in the bigger 300 Magnums. Although the scope choices are a little more complicated mounting them is the key to success.
Most one inch diameter scopes will not have enough internal adjustments to allow the shooter to get on target at 1000 yards. In order to center or at least nearly center the reticle on a 308 rifle, some shimming is in order. Since the scope lacks the necessary internal adjustment travel for optimal optical performance it must be provided externally. Elevating the rear of the scope by raising the rear mount or ring .040" higher than the front does the trick. This can be a daunting task or very easy and uncomplicated depending upon how you approach it.
My solution is based upon the K.I.S.S. principal. I use the Burris Pos-Align rings and offset inserts. By using a -.020" insert in the front and a +.020 insert in the rear I get a total of .040" "tilt" which will give plenty of reticle adjustment thus allowing me to keep the dot in the middle of the scope tube for distortion free zeroing. This also means that I have no ring honing to do and I don't have to worry about creasing my scope with rings that haven't been honed. It is a win -win situation. The cost doesn't move me into next seasons budget and I don't have to worry about adding a few ounces to the overall weight of the rifle.
Lightly lubing the inside of case necks before sizing will allow the expander / de-capping rod to pass thru smoother and create less chance to "pull" the case neck and shoulder up. Be sure to clean any lube and oil from inside the die or you will have case lube dents in the case shoulder.
Clean sizing and seating dies, then wipe down lightly with oil after use. Before use, clean the oil off and run a clean patch in them to clean out dust and grime that accumulates from particles in the air.
In revolver cases, rather than try to seat and crimp in one stage, seat in one stage and crimp separately. You won't have the bulge at the base of the crimp you often get when trying to do it in one stage.
When roll crimping, if your cases are erratic lengths, your crimps will be erratic also. Cases should be trimmed to the same length.
When using a collet style case trimmer, try to tighten the collet down equally each time to keep lengths uniform. If you tighten it down hard, the case will be longer than one you tighten down lightly.
A little lube on the pilot and cutter on a case trimmer every few cases will help keep it from trying to gall in the case mouth and helps keep the blades sharp and cutting smoothly. It makes trimming an easier task.
When charging cases from a powder measure, use smooth uniform movement being sure to give powder time to fall into the powder drum chamber. Also be sure to give it time to fall into the case.
When using mixed cases or cases that have been fired a different number of times, don't be surprised to get erratic velocities and performance.
Just because two bullets weigh the same doesn't mean they can be loaded the same. The amount of bearing surface can vary drastically.
New Products - 2007
20 Caliber (.204" diameter) Bulk (500) pack
The .20 caliber 32 grain bullets (#1032) and the .20 caliber 39 grain bullets (#1039) in the 100 count boxes have a suggest retail price of $20.36 while the 500 count boxes (#1032C and #1039C respectively) have a suggest retail price of $99.77.
For more information, please contact us at 800-223-8799 or email@example.com
6.5mm (.264" diameter) 123 gr. HPBT MatchKing
Sierra is pleased to introduce the newest member of our MatchKing line; the 6.5mm 123 grain HPBT. This bullet was designed to fill the gap for a mid-weight, high B.C. bullet for the ever increasing 6.5mm long range crowd. Sierra expects this bullet to be a popular choice for our long range target and Silhouette customers. Keeping the long range design in mind, we built this bullet with a longer ogive, smaller meplat and improved boat tail to preserve downrange efficiency, enhance accuracy, and reduce wind-drift.
These bullets will be available in boxes of 100 bullets (stock #1727) with a suggested retail of $33.61 per box or in boxes of 500 bullets (stock #1727C) with a suggested retail of $150.81 per box.
Will my Infinity run on the new Windows Vista?
We have been hearing this question asked more and more as customers are changing over to the new Windows Vista operating system.
Sierra Bullets officially response is that our Infinity 5.1 program is not designed to be compatible with the Window Vista OS.
We have however been hearing back from some customers who have gotten it to work for them on the Vista OS, but the same things do not seem to work for all customers.
Please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email and we will be glad to give you our newest learned tips and tricks to try, but we can not guarantee it will work on your system.