March 05, 2018
Few things in the firearms world develop a significant emotional attachment like that found between a rifleman who reloads and his brass. Just like the Sunday school lesson where the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to go in search of the lost one, so will many riflemen search high and low for those last few pieces of fired brass.
The attachment occurs because brass represents an investment of time and money. Cheap brass takes a lot of effort to achieve mediocre results, and then it doesn't last more than a few firings. The best brass I've found across all performance metrics comes from Alpha Munitions.
Alpha Munitions is unique from other brass manufacturers because the company stepped away from traditional manufacturing techniques devoted to turning out large quantities of brass, and turned to developing around the principle that every case needed to be exactly the same. It's a huge difference in mentality that has been with the company right from the start.
Early on, Alpha Munitions recognized that brass performance boils down to three critical factors: consistent internal volume, uniform and clean flash holes and consistent neck tension. Variations in any of those key areas will create erratic muzzle velocities.
No one runs more exhaustive quality control than Alpha Munitions. Every 600 pieces of brass gets measured over 120 times and must pass 30 go/no-go performance checks before it can leave the factory, which doesn't count hardness checks or visual inspections. While other premium brass manufacturers will check weight and external dimensions, Alpha goes further checking thicknesses and internal dimensions, rejecting brass at any point along the manufacturing process.
Alpha Munitions is also willing to spend the time tailoring production around case optimization. A good example of this is with their newest offering in the 6mm Creedmoor.
The easy way to produce 6mm Creedmoor is to make a couple tooling inserts that neck down the in-production 6.5 Creedmoor. Poof, instant 6mm Creedmoor. The problem with doing it that way is the excess brass that ends up in the neck and shoulder.
Alpha solved this problem by selecting a different raw material and using entirely new tooling for their 6mm Creedmoor. This allowed them to put the right amount of brass in the neck while still maintaining good neck tension in the standard factory chamber. Keeping excess brass out of the neck and shoulder allowed them to refine the taper on the case walls, increasing strength and longevity of the case.
That's a lot of work, but the end result is increased case capacity that allows the shooter to use slower burning powders while still achieving velocities that match the faster burning offerings. Since the popular fast powders such as Hodgdon's H4350 are in short supply, slower powders like Alliant Powder Reloders 23 and 26 and Hodgdon H1000 become attractive options. Many precision reloaders also harbor the belief that slower powders yield longer throat and barrel life.
Alpha Munitions brass is priced the same as other premium brass products, but it's my opinion that Alpha is the best stuff available. They've been slowly developing and refining their manufacturing process while simultaneously making incremental improvements to their brass. Every change they make is data-driven and the process will never stop.
Such methodology means brass is available when it's available. They don't run three shifts a day just to kick product out the door. In the words of Bob Danielson, the president of Alpha Munitions, "We're not going to rush to our deaths."
Every decision and every move is made to create the best brass the world has ever seen.
So, all you accuracy junkies out there can join with me in singing a few "hallelujahs" that companies like this still exist. This is the golden age for rifle shooters thanks in large part to companies like Alpha Munitions. For more information, visit www.alphamunitions.com.
Enjoy articles like this?
Subscribe to the magazine.
Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine