Skip to main content


This section allows you to view all Topics made by this member. Note that you can only see Topics made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - bikemutt

Angie's List / Brownells deserves a shout out
I decided I'd try returning a couple items to Brownells, figured I might meet with some resistance, or at least have to spend time on the phone begging.

Not so; all I had to do is login to their website, click on my order, return. I was emailed a packing slip and a label. Boxed up the parts, enclosed the packing slip, stuck the label on the box and handed it to the letter carrier. A week later the items were credited to my card. No charge for return shipping.

Brownells will continue to enjoy my business!
General Discussion / The H4350 mule
I came across a .500 Jeffery handload that calls for 119.0 grains of H4350, pushing a 535 grain bullet along at 2250 fps  :o

Now, I've met a few pack mules in my life, never been kicked by one but, I have been kicked by a Quarter horse or two, it's a real eye-opening experience when they land it just right  >:(

I cannot image shooting that beast of a load, it had to be invented by someone with the shoulder orthopedic replacement team, lol.
General Discussion / Yet another bad idea
Why on earth would someone even think of creating an AR15-style forend for a classic Marlin lever-action rifle?

Well, for $130 you can buy this abomination, lol.

Here's a picture of the Franken-Marlin 1895 45/70.

Reloading / Seating depth target question
I decided to poke around the 0.018" OTL seating depth I've been using for a while.

Started at 0.018 and worked back to 0.030 in 0.003 increments, then I worked forward to 0.009 in 0.003 increments.

If we overlook my mediocre shooting on this 200 yard target, just about all the targets are high and centerish-to-right of the bullseye aim points. I marked target 12 with an arrow because is seems to want to pull left, especially considering only targets 18 through 9.

I don't feel as if I jerked that particular group but anything is possible when I'm the operator :(. Wind was slight today, 75F.

Anyway, figured I'd post a target picture to see what you guys think.

Reloading / Brass thoughts
I checked out some Lapua LRP 6.5 Creedmoor brass under magnification that I'd just finished neck lubing (Neolube inside the necks), just to see if they all look the same.

I noticed a standout; the one marked with the blue arrow in the picture. There's a bluish colored ring just below the neck-shoulder junction. Then I noticed it on a few other pieces, some of which I marked with red curly-cues. The degree of the skirt mark varies but, for the brass as a group, members either have the ring, or they don't.

This cohort is 4x fired and is not cleaned other than wiping off OneShot with an alcohol rag after body sizing and bump.

Anyway, figured I'd post up a picture and see what you guys think.

General Discussion / Mini mill thoughts
I'd like to up my game a bit when it comes to making things for my gun hobby. Whether it's jigs, templates, parts or fixtures, I'm always making things out of wood, plastic, aluminum and occasionally steel.

Even though I've tuned my Home Depot Ryobi drill press, and added a cross-slide vice, it leaves a lot to be desired with respect to accuracy, repeatability and capabilities.

Since nothing I make are large parts, I've been thinking about one of the mini milling machines that can sit on a benchtop. At a minimum I think I'd like to have digital read out (DRO) of all axes. Maybe the ability to add CNC would be nice in the future.

Figured I ask here if anyone has already gone down this road and has some advice to offer?

General Discussion / Handloads for a rifle, safe to use in another rifle?
I owned a Howa mini-action bolt rifle chambered for 6.5 Grendel years ago which I developed a load for. The only thing I'd wished for with that rifle is for the muzzle to be threaded, but that was not an offering at the time. I sent the barreled action off and had the muzzle threaded; the rifle never shot accurately for me after that. Rather than wasting time and resources trying to figure it out, I replaced it with an identical, new Howa barreled action that was factory threaded for a muzzle device, I am just now getting around to pulling it out of the safe and shooting the darn thing.

I have a couple hundred handloaded rounds from the first rifle made before I sent it off for threading, these are loaded 0.2 grains higher than the maximum shown in the Hornady reloading manual for a 120gr class bullet and Varget powder. This load shot real good in the first rifle.

Once the new rifle is broken in with some factory fodder, do I shoot these handloads, or pull them apart and reclaim the components? My instinct tells me to recycle the ammo, especially since the charge is slightly above the reloading manual maximum.

General Discussion / Chamber reamers, how do these work?
I'm just curious and figured I'd ask about how chamber reamers work.

I stumbled onto the website that show reamers and hand tools for their use; are these gunsmith tools or can anyone use one? What sort of barrel would be ready for a chamber reamer?
Reloading / Static
I was loading some rounds earlier today when something odd happened: a thrown charge was 0.02 over so I used a small scoop to pull a kernel, usually works. I re-weighed the charge; it was almost a grain short  :o.

My eyesight certainly isn't what it used to be, but I know a kernel when I see one. I went back to the scoop and discovered it had grown a beard, of kernels, on it's underside >:(

Anyway, a dryer sheet later I got the scoop in charge-neutral territory and started over. Never expected to see static electricity show up this time of year, but. stranger things have happened.
Reloading / Holland Gold Standard cartridge comparator share
I'm a big fan of the Holland Gold Standard bullet comparator and figured it'd be great to measure cartridges with the tool.

Using a caliper with a comparator insert is the conventional way to confirm seating depth, it's just not my favorite tool in the box.

I made the simple fixture shown below which allows the Holland comparator to measure cartridges and, wait for it; it doesn't involve a computer, lol.

Starting from the indicator gauge, the tip is changed to a 1/2" flat style. I think it will work for bullet comps as well, but it takes seconds to swap tips.

The 6.5mm comparator is reversed compared to how it's used for bullet comps. It won't work oriented conventionally, it will hang on the neck. Reversing it touches the same point on the ogive so, no harm done.

The OEM gauge stop block must be removed for this to work, it's replaced by the fixture.

The fixture is a piece of 1" square hardwood dowel with a semi-circular channel to support the cartridge case. The stop block is a 1-1/4" tall piece of  1" X 1/8" aluminum with a hole drilled to prevent any contact with a primer. The fixture base is a 5" long piece of 1" X 1/8" aluminum with a through hole for the OEM bolt.

It takes just a minute to convert the Holland tool from bullet comparator to cartridge comparator. No permanent modifications to the Holland tool required.

I'll play with the prototype and work out any rough spots. Using a chop saw and drill press it's a 2-hour project with maybe $15 in parts. Here's hoping it proves more convenient to use than a caliper :)

Here are a couple pictures of the fixture:

I pulled 3 factory cartridges from a box and zeroed the first one:

The second cartridge ended up long by 0.001:

The third cartridge ended up short by 0.001:

Reloading / Bullet seating thought
Now that I've been fiddling with bullet seating for the force gage covered in another thread, a thought came to mind I figured I'd throw out for consideration.

Let me preface with what triggered my curiosity. I'm pretty convinced a fired, prepped and seated cartridge is not the same as a fired, prepped, seated, pulled, sized and re-seated cartridge, we covered this in the force gage thread. Somehow, removing the bullet from the brass, resizing the neck and re-seating the bullet results in a noticeably different seating force profile.

So, time to burn my monthly silly question allotment :).

Let's say I seat a bullet, measure CBTO and I'm 0.002 off from target. Back into the press, adjust the die 0.002, seat again, now I'm spot on. Is that finished cartridge the same as if I'd hit target CBTO on the first press?

I just wonder if starting, stopping and starting again, and maybe again, affects neck tension, and possibly the interference fit of the finished cartridge? If it does, it's probably below the noise floor.
Reloading / Instrumentation possibilities beyond the arbor press
I've come across some new (to me) sensor form factors that should simplify adaptation to an arbor press, and are good prospects for adding the same functionality to other presses, like a Forster CoAx for example. Point being, existing dies could be used instead of inline dies. I don't know about turret presses, haven't used one in years.

I'm just wondering if that has any appeal here?

Just thinking about my reloading protocol, it would allow force analysis behind sizing operations like shoulder bump, neck sizing, FL sizing, and bullet seating.

Spent primer collection and decapping mandrels are an obstacle but hey, life is full of obstacles :) 
Reloading / Exploring seating force with instrumentation
Now that I'm retired, I have more time to look for golf balls in the weeds  ;D

I've been working on cost-effective ways to add instrumentation to a basic arbor press, like the K&M Precision, in order to learn more about what goes on when I seat bullets. My objective is to be able to see in near real-time what the force curve looks like when a bullet is seated. The information could be used to gain insight into the effects of annealing, cleaning necks by pin tumbling, not cleaning necks, using neck lube, etc. Perhaps it could be used in a production environment to sort finished cartridges for a match. It may very well have no intrinsic value, hence my cost-effective qualification.

There's at least one thing anyone hoping to instrument force needs; a way to measure it. What I found is a button-style load cell is the way to go; remarkable linearity, excellent repeatability and modest thermal drift. It's not my favored implementation form factor but, form has to follow function in this case.

I struggled with this next decision because, in order to compare the result of seating one bullet with another, I need to know something else that's exactly the same for both operations. The most obvious thing is to precisely control the seating time using a motorized press controller.  This is not easy, nor is it cheap. Servo and stepper motors are inexpensive but a system of pulleys or gears, or a very expensive high torque motor is needed. Besides, having a motor do the work of an arbor press removes the one thing they are known for; the "feel" of the seating operation.

I took a different approach which, rather than controlling time with a motor, I measure the distance the ram travels. I did this by attaching an optical rotary encoder to the end of the ram shaft. These devices are used to precisely report the position of a rotating shaft, they're cost-effective, remarkably accurate and fairly easy to retrofit into existing equipment.  My leap of faith at this point is I'm comparing two seating operations where the one thing I know they have in common is precisely where each bullet is in the neck, and, at that point, I know precisely what the ram force is. And, as an added bonus, I still get the "feel".

The particular sensors I'm working with have a practical analog to digital conversion limit of 20 milliseconds, so 50 samples per second. Considering a 6.5 Creedmoor bullet will travel about 1/4" or so when it's seated, keeping total pull time on the lever to 3/4 to 1 second will provide sufficient resolution to yield smooth curves and expose differences. I'd like to have faster sampling but, there goes cost-effective.

Adding these two sensors to my press required no permanent modifications; strictly bolt-on. I'll say the rotary encoder would take a couple minutes to remove if the press was needed for range seating, or just zip tie the wire and take it along. I've got about $200 into parts so it's not been bank account buster.

This is still very much a work in progress. I'm using anything but bullets and brass to develop and refine software right now. Today, I stole my dog's play ball to exercise the Rube Goldberg machine, lol. The first curve in the picture is the ball itself, the second one I squeezed the ball to make the pressure higher.

This is a wild one but, the area under the curve represents the Work required to seat the bullet. A bit of calculus is needed but, we know how much Work each seating operation consumed. Is it possible that, if one bullet required more Work to seat, everything else being equal, it will require more Work to unseat? Who knows, always looking for the magic bullet  :D

Below are a couple pictures, the software is a programmer's disaster at this stage, it's full of "stuff" I need for development  :-[

General Discussion / What's your go-to, old faithful rifle?
I had great plans all week to handload and go shoot my 6.5 Creedmoor today. Time got a way from me until it was too late to get to the bench and hurry up what's supposed to be a fun, relaxing reloading session. So, what to do?

I pulled out 'ole faithful. A nothing special Savage model 10 in .223 Rem which sits in a beat up McRees chassis. I bid on this poor specimen years ago on gunbroker, had a starting bid of $350 if I recall right, figured I'd never win the auction, put in my $350 wager. Damn if I didn't win the auction! For a new-in-box rifle!

Right from the get-go this one refused to shoot above MOA with any factory ammo. Even gun show bulk shoots good though this one, Heck the Sightron scope on it cost more than twice the rifle, lol.

Today's range time left a big grin on my face, old faithful lived up to it's pledge to do right by me with some Blackhills remanufactured 69 grain, and some 77 grain Federal fodder.

Anyway, figured I talk about something other than the depressing crap all around us.

So, what's your go-to old faithful rifle?