January 04, 2011
By Layne Simpson
Lane details exciting new reloading products that are hitting the market this year.
By Layne Simpson
The new Powder Trickler from RCBS attaches to Uniflow and Little Dandy powder measures and dispenses a precise propellant charge into an electronic scale pan.
Reloading component and equipment suppliers have a lot of new products this year. Here are several items that caught my attention while perusing all the new shooting-related gear.
One prominent company in this business is Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and its Civil Ammunition group. The ATK family includes Federal Cartridge, RCBS, Alliant Powder, CCI, Speer, and other shooting-related product companies. RCBS displayed several items that offer handloaders an opportunity to achieve better results when reloading and shooting. Alan Schufeldt, operations manager, demonstrated a simple-to-use powder-dispensing accessory that attaches to the RCBS Uniflow and Little Dandy powder measures. Mounted in a special
Advanced Powder Measure Stand, the new Powder Trickler System is compatible with most mechanical or electronic scales. You first set the measure to throw a powder charge that's just a bit less than the desired weight. Then, using the integral powder trickler, you dribble more propellant into the pan until your scale indicates the exact charge weight is reached. After a little practice, it took less than 10 seconds to dispense a precise quantity of powder.
It is such a simple idea!
Sierra 6.5 123-Gr. HPBT
I asked Schufeldt why someone hadn't already done it. He chuckled and replied, "Someone did. I happened to be rereading an old 1952 issue of American Rifleman, and a small ad caught my attention. A private individual offered a similar design that we thought was worth trying. As you see, it works great and really speeds up the powder weighing process." Coupled with a conventional powder measure, it offers a low-cost alternative to buying a fully electronic powder dispensing system.
Also new from RCBS is the Quick Change Powder Funnel that includes a 4-inch drop tube and five interchangeable adapters to accommodate loading cartridges ranging from .17 to .50 calibers.
Another item from RCBS that caught my eye is the R.A.S.S.--that's an acronym for Rapid Acquisition Shooting System. And what, you ask, does that have to do with reloading? Schufeldt acknowledged that a portable shooting bench was a stretch from the company's usual product line, but he reminded me that reloaders had to shoot what they loaded and the R.A.S.S. is intended to help them maximize performance.
New for 2007 Hornady
has announced loadings for six new rounds.
I had tested the new R.A.S.S. shooting stand the day before at the National 4-H writers' seminar where Kent Sakamoto, RCBS product line manager, demonstrated how it worked. I fired .338 Federal ammo loaded with a new 200-grain Fusion bullet in a Sako Model 85 rifle. After adjusting the rest so that I was comfortable, I could barely feel the recoil from the stiff .338 Federal rounds. I pointed out that the bench needed a place to put ammo. Sakamoto responded that when production units are ready, an accessory tray would be available.
The R.A.S.S. quickly adjusts to almost any lateral and vertical position. You push with your feet to rotate the seat and rest about a central post. The rifle can also be pointed up or down 20 degrees by pushing a release lever and lifting or lowering the mounting beam. Vertical position can be fine tuned for precise alignment on a stationary target using the wheel on the end of the adjustment cylinder. Each of the four support legs has fully adjustable feet to accommodate safely setting the rest up on rough terrain. It will surely be part of the gear I take on my next prairie dog shoot.
Nosler is publishing the 6th edition of the Nosler Reloading Guide. It will become available this summer.
Getting back to more conventional handloading products, Redding has developed a new device to precisely measure case neck wall thickness.
Sierra Bullets has a new 6.5mm 123-grain HPBT. I'd received some preproduction samples a few weeks earlier, and they performed admirably in my .260 Remington test loads. They should also deliver top performance in my 6.5 Grendel rifles
Hornady has really been busy. It plans to introduce six new loads this year. Ruger partnered with Hornady to introduce the .375 Ruger chambered in the new Alaskan and African Hawkeye rifles. Ruger will also add the .450/400 Nitro Express as a new chambering in the Ruger No. 1 single-shot rifle. Marlin partnered on the .308 Marlin Express, which I recently reported on in the January issue. Thompson/Center asked Hornady to design a cartridge befitting the announcement of the company's first bolt-action rifle, and the new .30 T/C round is a shortened version of the .308 Winchester and features a 150-grain bullet propelled to the 3000 fps performance level.
Hornady is also introducing 9.3x74R and .450 Bushmaster factory loadings. The latter round features a 250-grain flextip bullet. Hornady offers an extensive product line of reloading equipment and bullet choices. And during 2007, Hornady will be giving away up to 1000 bullets with the purchase of a set of its New Dimension reloading dies, the Lock-N-Load Classic single-stage press or kit, or a Lock-N-Load AP progressive press. Check with your local dealer or visit www.hornady.com for full details.
In addition to the new 2007 edition of Hodgdon's Annual Manual, Hodgdon is also publishing a new IMR reloading data booklet.
As you may know,
Hodgdon Powder Co. purchased the IMR Powder Co. two years ago. Last year, the company struck an agreement with Olin to test, package, and distribute Winchester-brand canister propellants. Just recently, Hodgdon contracted with NAMMO to distribute the VihtaVuori product line. VihtaVuori propellants have gained an excellent reputation and loyal consumer base since they were introduced to U.S. shooters just a few years back.
The popular VihtaVuori propellants will now be packaged in 1-pound containers. Hodgdon is not providing any ballistic testing services. It is simply adding another product option so stocking dealers can buy mixed brands and types of powder from one source.
When Hodgdon acquired IMR, it soon offered an IMR loading data booklet similar in size and format to the one Hodgdon has provided as a complimentary handout. There's now also a Winchester version of these booklets.
Also new from Hodgdon is the 2007 Hodgdon Powder Annual Manual. This edition is similar in format to the previous Annual Manuals, but instead of listing loading data for only Hodgdon powder, it now includes data for both IMR and Winchester brand propellants. And instead of including almost every popular factory and wildcat cartridge, this year's edition has data for the 50 most popular factory loads. Of course, the editorial content is completely fresh, starting with an enlightening report (by me) detailing the stellar performance characteristics of the .204 Ruger cartridge.
New from MTM Case-Gard are 50-round ammo boxes for large-diameter cartridges, including the .460 and .500 S&W Magnums, the WSSM cartridges, and bigger rifle cartridges such as .416 Rigby and .45-70.
This year Hodgdon is launching the new online Reloading Data Center. Soon, handloaders should have no trouble accessing this voluminous database online at www.hodgdonpowder.com. Now you can go online, select a cartridge, and review tested load recipes for various propellants and bullets at any time.
Speaking of new handloading manuals, Nosler has announced the release of the Nosler Reloading Guide 6. The new guide is slated to be available this summer.
One last handloading accessory that caught my attention is the new 50-round ammo box for large-diameter cartridges from MTM. Actually, there are two models, and they feature MTM's Snap-Lock latching system and come in green or clear-blue colors. One model holds .223/.243/.25/.270 WSSM, .460/.500 S&W Magnum, and .475 Linebaugh cartridges; the other model holds .25/.270/.300/.325 WSM, .348/.38-55 Winchester, .40-65, .416 Rigby, .45-70, .45-75 WCF, .45-90, .450 Marlin, and 6.5 Remington Magnum cartridges.