Datum Measurement

Become the one reloaders count on for more than words of wisdom.

by Chick Blood

The eloquent explanation regarding gun and ammunition shortages provided by our editor in the September issue omitted a major factor. Before he descends upon me in a dark fury, I’ll explain further.

Every time Senators Feinstein, Shumer or The Golfer-in-Chief mention more “gun control” in seeking a cure for nutcase-inflicted mayhem, firearm production can’t keep up with the subsequent public demand, the sale of reloading equipment soars and the hoarding of related components begins. If the Senators, et al., were wise enough they might realize they are all candidates for being handed Salesperson of the Year awards by every member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. How embarrassing! But then, any desire for wisdom to suddenly emerge in Washington, DC is an exercise in futility.

As this is written, new guns of all description, ammo, powder, bullets, primers and brass have all but disappeared from local retail inventories. However, my sources tell me the industry is rapidly catching up with the surge in sales and the shortages are being overcome. I trust they will soon pass but I am certain they will return immediately after the next outburst from the ill-informed “auntie gunners.” So will the hoarding.

Of course, I loaded my own .38 Special, .45 ACP, shotgun and various rifle caliber ammunition after many sessions of load testing at the club I’ve belong to since 1977. As with the .22LR rounds, I altered my purchasing habits to larger quantities of bullets, primers and brass.

Recently, I made another investment. It’s a new tool from Forster Products, a familiar name to reloaders for their case conditioning system, case trimmers, Co-Ax presses, Bench Rest rifle dies, and among gunsmiths for tooling for over 60 years. Adding this tool to the Forster Universal Sight Mounting Fixture, screw assortment, and headspace gauges I already inventoried ought to make my Datum Dial Ammunition Measurement System feel right at home.

Datum what? The tool is versatile, easy to use and provides data to refine case sizing and bullet seating operations. I hear some of you asking, “That’s all very nice, Chick, but what ‘n where’s a ‘datum’?” A datum is a reference plane, point or diameter providing a base for other measurements and calculations. In terms of cartridges, this indicates a relative measurement between the base of a fired case to a datum point established by SAAMI on its shoulder angle. This measurement must be taken from several cases fire formed in the same rifle firing identical loads and then averaged to establish the optimal headspace for that rifle’s chamber.

Read more in our February 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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