30 December 2009

RightTool(tm) for the job

A revelation struck me while putting together a Midway order. I started to order 200 rounds of .30-06 brass when I remembered there are several coffee cans full of MilSurp brass in the garage that I can't use because of the primer pocket. These 200 pieces of brass represented about 70% of the cost of the RightTool(tm) to solve that problem! I canceled the order.

A friend and I made the trek to North Scottsdale today.. I asked for demo of the tool and asked a couple questions. I even brought a couple rounds of the offending brass. Unfortunately the demo was set up for small rifle primers rather than the .30-06 and really didn't teach me anything, nor did most of the questions. However the final question was good enough to seal the sale "If it doesn't work for me, can I bring it back?" She said "yes" and the RightTool followed me home

Back at the SandCastle, I read the manual which is only two 4x6" pages. It didn't take long. A couple measurements, $3 at Ace hardware, a couple minutes with the drill and the unit was mounted to the loading bench.

The first six pieces of brass were swaged and mounted in the press. The primers seated easily! WOO HOO!!! The RightTool works!

The picture here shows the RightTool mounted on the reloading bench. The empty brass immediate left of the blue unit is my carefully hoarded 50 pieces of usable .30-06 brass. It is commercial stuff scrounged from the range. The surrounding three coffee cans of brass and white bin show the quantity of MilSurp brass that was previously unusable. (The white plastic container contains 100 pieces of processed brass, swaged, sized and ready to reload. Bottom left is the 11 test rounds loaded and ready to try. These have the same loads as previously loaded (47.1 gr IMR4895/150 gr Hornady RN/BT). These will be tested before loading more.

Prepping the MilSurp brass adds a lot of time to the reloading process but this is a one time investment. Those crimped primers take a lot of effort to punch out. I ran the depriming pin well down into the die so it would punch out the primer without resizing the brass thus reducing the arm effort. Then a trip through the swager and then back through the resizing die to actually resize the brass. This is a one-by-one process, not part of the progressive reloading process.


ExurbanKevin said...

Oh, cool. I have a sporterized M1903 that I haven't shot as much as I want to mainly 'cause...

A. Sights. It's got buckhorn sights on it, great for short range, lousy for distance.

B. Ammo cost. Every time I squeeze the trigger, it's 50 cents going downrange.

C. The durn thing kicks like a mule (lightened stock + full power rounds = not fun) and I'm still not used to it yet.

That handy little gadget looks like just the thing to help reduce the cost of ammo for my Springfield, removing one of the reasons why I don't shoot it.

Follow-up question: I've got the itchin' to make that Springfield into a 500 yard+ gun. Is .30-06 a viable caliber for shooting out to, say, 1000 yards, and if not, why?

danno said...

Back of the envelope shows a reloaded round in .30-06 runs about $.35:
Brass $0.00 (I think I'm set for life.)
Primer $.03
Powder $.14
Bullet $.18

I would expect 600 yards would be no problem for the round, in fact that seemed to be the standard long range distance for competition which the .30-06 was the standard for most of the last century. Seems I read Z(as in a vague recollection) the real limitation is when does the bullet drop subsonic and I thought that typically in the 850 yd range.

But we have others considerably more studied in the subject. Lets see if we can get Kevin, Chris, or Joe to chime in.

Joe Huffman said...

The 30.06 will remain supersonic with the right load and as long as the conditions aren't too bad (low altitude and cold make things worse).

30.06 Federal match ammo (168 grain Sierra Match Kings) won't work unless your barrel is a little longer than what the factory expects. At 1000 yards you should get about 1088 fps. That is well into the transonic region and touching the subsonic.

With handloads of the same bullet I was able to get velocity that should be about 1160 at 1000 yards under standard conditions. Still in the transonic region.

For long range shooting the the 30.06 I tried both the Berger 210 grain VLD which should give about 1270 at 1000 yards and the Sierra 220 grain Mactch King (1206 fps). This should be acceptable but not great. I would prefer to be over 1400 fps at any range I was shooting for high accuracy.

I never really tested those loads at anything past a couple hundred yards and decided the hunting barrel I had on the 30.06 was never going to give me the accuracy I wanted anyway.

I talked to a couple gunsmiths and they both told me for what I wanted (pop cans at 500 yards, dinner plates at 1000) I should get a custom built .300 Win Mag. This is what I did and I have not been disappointed. With the 210 grain Berger VLD the estimated velocity under standard conditions is 1575. Accuracy is great and the windage is a lot less than if I had pushed the 30.06 out to these ranges.