Bullet Pointing & Meplat Trimming
This article is about the equipment I use to trim meplats and point bullets. I do this to achieve consistent performance from the projectiles I use in F-Open competitions. Its about what I have found to work well for me and hope this may be useful to other shooters thinking about doing the same.
The Wilson/Sinclair Ultimate Case Trimmer is exactly what the name suggests and in my opinion one of the best available.
Not only can it trim cases but it can also be used to trim meplats.
I found the Whidden Meplat Trimmer which was designed to be used with the Wilson Case Trimmer to be a bit of a disappointment. The handle and cutter provided in the kit were out of alignment and wobbled when turned.
The bullet holder for the 6.5mm projectiles I was trimming had the clearance hole drilled off centre. Thankfully the tapered hole in the bullet holder held the bullet in correct alignment for trimming.
These two deficiencies in the product didn't stop the function of the trimmer and it still did the job. I found the Sinclair Carbide Cutter for the Wilson Trimmer a far more effective tool for accurately trimming the meplats than the Whidden cutter. The Whidden cutter chewed through the small meplats whereas the Sinclair carbide cutter had a much cleaner cut and has the additional benefit of double duty as a case trimmer.
These pictures show the two cutters side by side with the Whidden cutter being the one on the left hand side. The other picture is displaying the off centre clearance hole in the bullet holder.
Here are the cutters pictured with their business ends facing the camera. As you can clearly see the Sinclair is a purpose built cutter while the Whidden tool appears to be a machined drill bit. The cylindrical shaft of the Sinclair tool rotates smoother as well in the Wilson Trimmer.
Sinclair cutter is the one on the left hand side.
The Sinclair cutter also has its cutting edge extending better into the centre for trimming VLD style projectiles.
Whatever cutter you chose to use, its all about neatly trimming the projectiles to a uniform length for pointing.
Trimming meplats will uniform your projectiles with a slightly diminished ballistic coefficient (BC). You could leave the process there but I choose to slightly raise the BC by completing the process with bullet pointing.
Find the shortest length projectiles in the box and uniform all the projectiles to match by meplat trimming. The aim is to trim all projectiles to a length that allows them to be pointed using a single setting on the pointing tool. In other words you want to achieve consistent pointing on all the bullets.
Whereas I have found some deficiencies with the Whidden Meplat Trimmer I have only praise for the Whidden Pointing Die. It is a top quality product that does what it claims. It uses a Forster Micrometer Bullet Seating die to hold the Whidden pointing die and sleeve in perfect alignment and allows for precise adjustment.
Trim the bullets to the same length using the meplat trimmer taking off as little amount of material as possible.
Set the pointing tool up initially so that it just touches the point of the bullet when the bullet is pushed the full stroke length up into the die.
Gradually increase the point of the bullet by adjusting the seating die until the points are as closed as possible without deforming the projectile. I have halved the diameter of the Berger 6.5mm, 130gr VLD projectile's points using this tool.
There is not much point in me giving any more detail apart from this overview as John Whiddens Website has the detail if you need more.
I have made a number of purchases from John Whidden and can recommend the service.
The Wilson/Sinclair Ultimate Case Trimmer is a great product for case and meplat trimming when used with the accessory carbide cutter. The Whidden Bullet Holders allow this trimmer to accurately trim meplats to a set length. Buy a set of these bullet holders and you have both case and meplat trimming covered.
The Whidden Pointing Tool is brilliant and a must have.
The Whidden Meplat Trimmer has a few quality issues I would like to see resolved before I would recommend it.
The Sinclair Carbide Cutter may have only one draw back and that is if you trim very short projectiles you may need to use a spacer with it.
What measurable difference does meplat trimming and pointing bullets make to accuracy? Thats a good question and I'll answer it in another article when I have gathered results from different ranges. Its covered in some detail on John Whidden's website and worth a read.
If this process achieved nothing else, I know that each projectile is as close to the same as I can make it and far better than the assorted jagged meplats that standard bullets have.
Article by Ian Pavy (13-6-09)