The reloading equipment companies have a lot of new items for 2017, everything from new load data manuals to component bullets, powders and brass to powder dispenser systems and more. Here’s my Top 10 list of the most interesting products to help you “roll your own” cartridges.
RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Powder Dispenser The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite powder dispenser meters propellant in quantities ranging from 2 grains to 300 grains with +/- .1-grain accuracy. It features an ambidextrous scale pan, an LCD touchscreen display, a built-in bubble level and a wind cover. It also includes a cleaning brush, two calibration check weights and a powder hopper that holds nearly 1 pound of propellant. It’s effective and accurate — and best of all, it’s compact, $300.
Starline Rifle Brass Starline Brass has a sterling reputation for producing top-quality handgun and straight-walled rifle cartridge cases, and now the company has added bottleneck rifle cartridge brass to its product offerings. First to be offered are .308 Winchester, .358 Winchester and .444 Marlin. Company sources say that .338 Federal and .243 Winchester will be next. The new rifle brass is sold in quantities of 250 pieces, 500 pieces and 1,000 pieces,
$120 to $150 (250 ct.), $200 to $285 (500 ct.), $380 to $540 (1,000 ct.) depending on caliber.
6.5mm Bullets The various 6.5mm rifle cartridges have surely been hot, with the 6.5 Creedmoor leading the pack, and the trend looks to continue in a big way in 2017. Accordingly, a lot of new 6.5mm component bullets are being offered for reloaders. I’ve lumped a couple of them together into one entry here.
Two of my favorite new 6.5mm bullets are Hornady’s 147-grain ELD Match and Nosler’s 140-grain RDF (Reduced Drag Factor). Both bullets have very high G1 ballistic coefficients. The ELD Match is rated at .697, and the RDF is rated at .658. Both have specialized meplats, streamlined ogives and perfected boattails that combine to provide optimal aerodynamic performance. Both new bullets come packed 100 per box, $45 (Hornady ELD Match), $33 (Nosler RDF).
IMR Powders IMR has a new family of shotshell and pistol-cartridge powders for handloaders. The five new powders are REACH compliant, meaning they are not harmful to the environment. They burn cleanly and provide accurate metering. Each powder was designed to match current shotshell bushing charts, so the handloader will already have the appropriate bushings for each load.
The new powders are IMR Target, which is a fast-burning pistol powder for even the smallest pistol cartridges like the .25 ACP; IMR Red, which is designed for 12-gauge target loads and various lead pistol target loads; IMR Green, which is ideal for Trap Handicap and sporting clays shotshells; IMR Unequal, which is good for all pistol applications and a wide range of shotshells; and IMR Blue, which has the slowest burn speed of the new propellants and is excellent for heavy 12-gauge 2¾-, 3- and 3½-inch field loads, $20 to $22.
Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Handbook One of my all-time favorite reloading manuals was the 46th edition of the Lyman Reloading Handbook (published in 1982) probably because I started using it when I got serious about handloading, and I got used to its format. Now, Lyman’s manual is in its 50th edition! The new full-color manual continues to offer an incredibly wide selection of cartridges, bullets (including Barnes, Hornady, Remington, Sierra, Speer, Swift and Winchester, plus a full selection of cast bullets) and powder from all the major manufacturers. New cartridges to the manual include .17 Hornet, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, .28 Nosler, .300 Blackout and others. The manual contains interesting feature articles by top gun writers, and Lyman will donate $1 to the National Rifle Association for every manual sold during the first year of its publication, $40 (hardcover), $30 (softcover).
Winchester 572 Powder Hodgdon Powder Co. has announced the release of Winchester 572 powder. W572 can be used for handloading 12-gauge to 28-gauge shotshells and for .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, .38 Special and .45 ACP handgun cartridges. It’s specifically designed for duplicating the Winchester 28-gauge AA target load; it also is ideal for the original Winchester 3¼-dram-equivalent, 1,330-fps, 1¼-ounce 12-gauge upland game load. W572 is offered in 1-, 4- and 8-pound containers, $23 (1 pound), $87 (4 pounds), $168 (8 pounds).
Hodgdon Annual Manual Hodgdon’s 2017 Annual Manual, now in its 14th consecutive year, is packed with Hodgdon, IMR and Winchester powder brands and reloading information. This manual has well over 5,000 loads, and it features data for Hodgdon’s new CFE BLK powder that was developed specifically for the .300 Blackout cartridge, updated data for 32 rifle and pistol cartridges, and in-depth articles written by top industry writers. The 2017 Annual Manual is available at newsstands and Hodgdon dealers everywhere, $9.
Alliant Sport Pistol Powder The new Sport Pistol powder from Alliant was developed specifically for precision and action pistol shooters. Sport Pistol falls into the medium-fast burn rate, is very temperature stable, delivers top performance with all bullet types, is suitable for a host of cartridges, produces low muzzle flash, burns cleanly and provides the consistent ballistics that competition shooters demand. It’s offered in 1-, 4- and 8-pound bottles, $28 (1 pound), $100 (4 pounds), $185 (8 pounds).
Hornady 10th Edition Handbook of Cartridge Reloading The 10th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is now available. Featuring over 1,000 pages of reloading data, techniques and bullet information, the new manual contains load data for over 200 different calibers, ranging from .17-caliber varmint cartridges to large dangerous-game rounds. The newest Hornady bullets have been added, including the ELD-X and ELD Match bullet lines. In addition, there have been extensions to the GMX, SST and FTX lines. New cartridges include the .280 Ackley Improved, the 7×64 Brenneke and the .338 Federal. New powders include Power Pro 2000 MR; IMR 4451 and 7977; CFE Pistol; BE-86; Reloder 23, 26, 33 and 50; and Accurate LT-30 and 32, $42.
Shooter’s Edition Hawkeye Borescope While the Hawkeye Borescope isn’t strictly a reloading tool, handloaders can put it to very good use viewing the inner surfaces of handloading dies and inspecting the dimensional consistency of flash holes in fired cartridge cases before handloading them, so I’ve included it here. Plus, there’s a new version of it that costs $150 less than before. The new Shooter’s Edition Hawkeye Borescope costs less because instead of coming in a locakable metal case, it’s now offered in a laminated box that’s lined with die-cut foam. Using the supplied light source, the Hawkeye Borescope provides a lighted and highly magnified image that you view through the 17-inch-long tube. Focus is from 1mm to infinity and is adjusted with the eyepiece. The lens tube casts a 42-degree illuminated field of view, and a separate mirror tube that slides over the inner lens tube can be used to cast that field 90 degrees sideways, $745.