Monthly Archives: December 2017

6.5 PRC from Hornady

6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) Hornady® introduced this new Short Magnum cartridge in the fall of 2017.  Gone are the days when such announcements were limited to the SHOT Show.

Factory ammo offerings in both a “Match” version (with 147gr ELD) and a “Precision Hunter” version (with 143gr ELD-X bullet). You can bet that in the future, Hornady will offer 6.5 PRC brass separately for hand-loaders, but it takes time to fill the pipe line with ammo and meet the initial demand.  6.5 PRC brass  is available right now from GA Precision at $86.00 per 100 cases. GA Precision’s George Gardner, who helped develop this cartridge, has posted: “It’s a non-rebated short mag based on a short RCM [Ruger Compact Magnum] case.”  It has 3-4 grains less capacity than the 6.5 RSAUM, so, the difference in ballistics will likely be 30-50 fps deficit as compared with the RSAUM.

The 6.5 PRC Match is aimed at the PRS (Precision Rifle Series) crowd and long-range tactical shooters. Hornady says the 6.5 PRC is, “designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory, and extended range performance in a sensibly-designed compact package. Utilizing moderate powder charges that result in repeatable accuracy, low recoil, and reasonable barrel life, the 6.5 PRC produces high velocities for target shooting with performance well beyond 1000 yards.”

https://player.vimeo.com/video/238317492

New 6.5 PRC is a short magnum that requires a magnum bolt face.  It’s dubbed the “big brother” to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.5 PRC fits in short or medium actions with a standard magnum bolt face (.532”).  Much of the Creedmoor appeal is it’s ability to function in the AR-10 platform.  The PRC will have non of that.

Ballistics charts from Hornady’s 6.5 PRC page shows a muzzle velocity of 2910 FPS. That’s not much better than a 6.5 Creedmoor (which can push 140s over 2800 fps), and the venerable 6.5-284 pushes similar bullets at about the same velocity as the new PRC.  The 6.5-284 utilizes a standard bolt face and you can get Norma and Lapua brass for it.  The PRC will work better than a 6.5-284 in a short-action magazine.  An awful lot of 6.5-284 fans put them on 30-06 length actions so they can seat the bullets out — that may be what Hornady is thinking with the new cartridge…

It looks like this is an attempt to attract some of the PRS crowd and help Hornady visibility in that highly popular arena.  Unfortunately for Hornady there is a trend among top PRS competitors toward smaller cartridge with less recoil. The benefits of less recoil are probably more important to those shooters than a flatter trajectory, which has a cost in both noise and recoil.

Reality is there is a market for everything, there will be some shooters who are very excited about this new offering.  GA Precision, Gunwerks, PROOF Research, Stuteville Precision and Seekins Precision are among those already chambering for this cartridge.  Truth be told, everything in the ballistic equation is a trade off.  A flatter trajectory and shorter time of flight have value too.

6.5 PRC Ammunition for Hunters — Also New for 2018
Hornady will also sell a version of 6.5 PRC ammo design for hunters, naturally that is about the bullet selection being appropriate for the application.  After looking this cartridge over and where it fits in the market place, it might have been better for Hornady to partner with Ruger and call it the 6.5 RCM, since that’s really what it is. This cartridge seems a little like the reason that Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors… try to please everyone and by so doing sell more product.

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224 Valkyrie introduced by Federal Premium

Federal Premium® has announced introduction in time for the 2018 SHOT Show, a new cartridge designed to capture market in the popular MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle; Don’t you hate all these acronyms…) AR-15 platform.    The cartridge is design to capture the hearts of long-range precision shooters. The 224 Valkyrie produces flat trajectories, and  claims match-grade accuracy and supersonic velocities beyond 1,300 yards downrange.

“It beats the ballistics of all other MSR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, it offers comparable performance to larger rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with roughly half the felt recoil—and at a more economical price,” explains Mike Holm, Federal Premium Centerfire Ammunition Global Product Lane.  “The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber,”

Shooters can review the technical specifications for the new round once it is approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) which is expected in January at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. At that time, information such as chamber specifications and cartridge pressure standards, proof pressure range and barrel length/twist recommendations will be communicated. Cartridge and chamber drawings will also be available soon after SAAMI approves the cartridge for standardization.

Testing conducted by Federal Premium engineers using 24-inch test barrels with a 1:7 twist revealed the 224 Valkyrie offers up to 128 inches less drop and 69 inches less wind drift (with a 10 mph crosswind) at 1,000 yards than other MSR 15 rounds. The new cartridge also offers significant advantages in velocity and energy.

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Courtesy of Federal Premium®

The 224 Valkyrie will initially be available in four loads: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ. These proven Federal Premium bullet offerings provide options for long-range competitors, target shooters and hunters pursuing game from varmints up to deer-sized animals.

Federal created a new 90-grain .224-caliber Fusion bullet specifically designed for hunting deer sized game. In a test barrel the 90-grain Fusion exits the muzzle at 2,570 fps. This is going to be the thumper that P.O. Ackley pushed for 50 years ago. He stated back then that a “bullet of the CORRECT DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION” was necessary for such cartridges.  Such bullets have not really been available until recent years.

224ValkyrieVs22_250

224 Valkyrie ammo dimensions estimated from reamer print.

Federal Premium engineers designed the 224 Valkyrie for gas-driven MSR 15 actions, bu it’s also extremely effective from bolt guns. “You can also buy a new upper and use it with your existing lower. A gunsmith or other person trained in building MSRs can also make the necessary modifications. The easiest way for shooters to capitalize on the new cartridge is purchase a firearm from one of the many gun makers jumping on the 224 Valkyrie bandwagon,” says Holm.

Reloading data will be available in spring of 2018, when SAAMI releases it’s specifications.  Reloading die sets will be available from RCBS, and other ammo-building components will also be offered by several popular brands.

There are nearly 20 gun makers who have already started producing guns for the 224 Valkrie.  So if your hoping to try one out, it should not be hard to locate a gun in your local store before long.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD has already bought reamers and gauges for this new cartridge, in stock even before SHOT Show.

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Engraving Class for Beginners is part of the FVCC Short Term Gunsmithing Program for 2018

So you like guns and you have always wanted to try engraving.  Here is a chance to learn from one of the best.DianeScalese100

Basic hand Engraving,  Instructed by:  Diane Scalese

One week long non-credit class  Monday-Friday, June 18-22, 2018

 This course is designed for the beginner engraver or for anyone who would like to review the basics of engraving in steel.  Starting with proper tool preparation, learn the basic steps to single point engraving.  Topics include:

*Proper tool preparation                  *Graver shaping and sharpening

*Shading                                                    *Background treatments

*Metal inlays                                            *Business practices

*Transferring patterns                         *Basic lettering

*Basic scroll design and discussion of the most popular styles

Engrave on steel practice plates.  You will need to supply your own equipment.  The course is designed for using air-assisted equipment and power hones.

Instructor, Diane Scalese is a full-time engraver and has been engraving trophy belt buckles, saddle silver, bits, spurs, jewelry and firearms for nearly 30 years.  She was named Engraver of the Year in 2003 by the Academy of Western Artists.  She resides in Big Sandy, Montana.

sweetw_frgr_spur     

This class will be available for online registration in January, 2018

For more information or to register,

call the Continuing Education Center @ FVCC (406) 756-3832

This class is part of the Short Term Gunsmithing Program @FVCC, for a full listing of classes for 2018 click here.

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Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series; Comes to the Market in Time for SHOT Show 2018

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The first book in the new series of Gunsmithing Student manuals is Chambering for Ackley Cartridges.  Fred Zeglin the author says, “I have been teaching gunsmithing for some time and with my experience in wildcat cartridges and dealing with clients it became painfully obvious to me that that material available to reloader, gunsmiths and the like are spread far and wide and do not tell the complete story of the mechanics of headspace in firearms.”

Zeglin went on the talk about the fact that Ackley Improved cartidges seem to receive the most mishandling both in the gunsmith trade and by reloaders who do not understand the simple headpsace method that P.O. Ackley set up very early in his career.

Ackley was no fool, he set up a method that is easy to use and will produce both safe and accurate fire-forming of ammunition.  There have probably been hundreds of articles written that tout the value of the Ackley Improved principle that allows the firing of factory ammunition for the parent case in the chamber of an Ackley Improved rifle.  Unfortunately, many folks refuse to read Ackley’s simple instructions so they end up trying to set headspace without proper understanding of the process.  Both professional and hobby gunsmiths are guilty of this.

Prove it you say…  OK, call any die maker and ask them for dies for an Ackley Improved cartridge.  They will ask you for a chamber or reamer print before they ship the dies.  Quality Cartridge is a maker of custom head stamped brass.  The owner Pete tells me he will not ship brass for Ackley designs unless he has fired cases from the clients gun, this is simply because of poor headspacing by gunsmiths, or the reloader who does not understand how his dies are adjustable.

In this booklet that kicks off the new series of gunsmithing instruction books, Zeglin clearly and without mincing words tells the reader how to correctly headspace any Ackley Cartridge.  It’s not a book about how to ream a chamber but rather about the finesse that should be applied during the process to insure accuracy and longevity of the firearm.

There is a book on how to ream a chamber that will be out in 2018.  That title is the third book in this series and Zeglin invited well known Bench Rest Gunsmith Gordy Gritters to co-author that book with him.    That will be the book you need you want to understand what it takes to make a rifle shoot, you know we all want those tiny little groups!  Watch for a follow up about that book here in the future.

coverThe second title in the series is coming out now as well, it is called, “Understanding Headspace for Firearms”  Where the first title is narrowly focused on Ackley designs this title will help the reloader and/or gunsmithing student to understand headspace no matter what firearm you are looking at.

Zeglin is pretty easy going about his work and tells us he fully expects to hear criticism over anything that was not covered thoroughly enough or heaven forbid, missed all together.  He says he expects to start the second edition for these manuals as questions start to roll in.

These titles are available from www.4drentals.com

There is a review of the first two books on GunsAndGunsmiths.com

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Filed under accuracy, Books, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, tools, wildcat