Classic Blue Press – An Armed, And Educated, Society

As gun owners we are all too aware of the constant assault by forces that would reduce, or remove, our right to keep and bear arms.  One of the more frustrating aspects of this is the often willful lack of education regarding firearms usage, ownership, and even functionality.  We are all better off when we are better educated and, as gun owners, we owe it to ourselves to make sure that we are knowledgeable on the topic of firearms.  The April 2011 issue of the Blue Press had an article, written by not one but 3 authors, discussing the value of firearms education.  This article holds up well and the advice of the authors makes it worth the read.

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Cooper’s Rules, You Can’t Break Up The Set

Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, commonly referred to as “The Colonel” or “Colonel Cooper”, was known for an impressive array of achievements. Colonel Cooper’s advocacy of the “Modern Technique” for self defense with hand guns has influenced shooting schools worldwide, even if his penchant for large caliber handguns isn’t always shared by others. Cooper’s own school, Gunsite Academy, remains a respected institution among firearms enthusiasts many of whom travel to Paulden Arizona to seek out the finest training available. Cooper was known for writing about firearms and self defense and is often quoted when the topic of firearms comes up. Perhaps his most quoted words are what, at first, appears to be a simple set of rules.

  1. All guns are always loaded.

  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.

  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it.

As many writers do Colonel Cooper restated those rules several times and there are subtle variations in word choice and even a slightly expanded set of rules that appear on Gunsite’s own “About Us” page. The expanded version reads:

  1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

  3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule.

  4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

I recently read an article in which one rule, the first one, was examined as a stand alone entity to explore it’s meaning. “All guns are always loaded” sounds extreme and the author opined that this rule be expanded to mean that they are always loaded until you personally have checked the chamber. I would state that the first rule does sound extreme and with good reason. We are dealing with deadly force here. No risk is an acceptable one when someones health and well being is concerned. There are no caveats, and there is no “unless” or “but” at the end of the rule. Rule one is extreme, and inconvenient sometimes, because the consequences of disobeying it may very well be extreme and inconvenient.

Another interesting fact to note is that the first rule is different from the others. Rules 2, 3, and 4 all dictate your actions in the physical world. “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy” dictates where you are allowed to point a firearm. “Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target” provides you with guidelines for trigger discipline by telling you when you can and cannot have your finger on the trigger. “Identify your target, and what is behind it” pairs up with the second rule and determines not only what we are shooting at but if it is safe to shoot at all. The first rule is unlike these other rules in that it establishes a mindset. “All guns are always loaded” is why we must be diligent in following the other rules.  Of course we have to watch our muzzle direction, keep our finger off the trigger, and be aware of our target and what is behind it because we are holding a loaded gun.  If we accept the first rule the other three are logical and necessary. 

Cooper’s Rules are a SET of rules. To really gain the benefit of following them we have to take them as a whole. If we follow the whole set of rules we greatly increase our safety and the safety of others.  If we break even one rule we open ourselves up to the potential for disaster.

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Classic Blue Press – Is IDPA Training?

If you follow any competitive shooting forums ( and who doesn’t?) you’ve probably read the arguments, which go on ad nauseam, over whether IDPA is a game, or training, or a training game… well, you get the idea.  Six years ago Col. Mark Lisi, US Army (Ret.) addressed this very issue in the pages of The Blue Press.  The game has changed a bit since this article was published but Col. Lisi’s arguments are just as poignant today as they were in 2012 and we think the article is worth a read.


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SHOT Show 2018 – Shotgun Showdown

Magazine fed shotguns are coming into the mainstream this year with pump action offerings from Mossberg and Remington to go with the somewhat more exotic offerings from companies like Kalashnikov USA.  In the past we’ve seen magazine fed shotguns but they were a niche market with few mainstream offerings and, for most consumers, they were just a bit too gimmicky to be relied upon.  Now major manufacturers are putting their weight behind these guns and we are sure to see more in the years to come.

Mossberg 590M

First up lets talk about the Mossberg 590M.  The 590 has long been a major contender for “Best Pump Shotgun Ever” and the 590M brings a double stack, 20 round, magazine to the already impressive feature list of this model.  Whats better is that the 590 magazine, which itself seems built like a tank, locks into the receiver very solidly with little to no movement.  Some might think this means it is finicky to lock in or difficult to master.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The magazine locks in just like any AK style mag would by hooking the front of the mag into the receiver and then rocking the mag back to lock it in.  Magazines are also available in 5, 10, and 15 shell capacities. 

The Mossberg 590M is definitely on the “want” list.  It is conceivable that a reliable magazine fed pump shotgun could beat quite a few less reliable semi-auto shotguns in competition shooting.  Sure pumping might be a little slower but a 20 round mag is a nice way to start off the stage and the smaller capacity mags might be perfect for reloading to slugs or buckshot on stages that require multiple types of shotgun shells.  Are there any 3-gunners out there considering this? 

The Mossberg 590 has been in use as a combat shotgun since 1960.  With such a long history the 590 will certainly lend itself to the law enforcement and military communities.

You can read more about this impressive shotgun on Mossberg’s site.  This video, also courtesy of Mossberg, provides an excellent overview of the guns function and features.

Remington 870 DM Tactical

Next up we have the Remington 870 DM Tactical.  While the magazine and it’s lockup were the heart of the Mossberg 590M they seem to be the downfall of the Remington 870 DM Tactical.  The magazine has a lower capacity, feels less “substantial”, and locks in a bit looser.  That last bit may not matter as long as the function is there but the lower capacity is going to be a bit of a problem for some people.  Couple that with the fact that the Remington magazine is a single stack, so any really big magazines that someone might make are going to be really long and unwieldy, and you have an even less desirable setup.

All that being said though the 870 hasn’t been around this long for no reason.  Legendary reliability and durability have kept the 870 going for around 68 years now and it’s fans are many.  The 870 DM Tactical does come with some nice XS Ghost Ring sights, a rail for mounting optics, and a “Tactical REM Choke” that looks a lot like a breaching choke.  So, while this gun may not make it onto a list of potential 3-gun shotguns, it is certainly well suited to law enforcement and military applications.

You can read more about the Remington 870 DM Tactical here.

Kalashnikov USA – Autoloading Tactical Shotgun, KS-12T

The Kalashnikov USA  KS-12T looks like what it is; an over-sized AK47.  That being said it looks like a well made shotgun with a smoothly operating bolt, decent (and also smooth) trigger, and a generally tight build that seemed of higher quality than most AK based shotguns I’ve held in the past.  With the factory 10 round magazines this gun could easily be a contender for 3-Gun competition use but it screams for a drum or other, higher capacity, magazine.  Optics can be mounted via the ubiquitous AK variant scope mount on the side of the receiver.  If this gun runs and is durable it should be a force to be reckoned with.  

You can read more about the KS-12T here.


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Check Engine Light For Your Press?

No we aren’t adding a check engine light to our presses but, just like your car, they do need regular maintenance to keep everything running at peak performance. Some of our users are pretty fastidious about things (you’ve seen them, they post pictures of their spotless reloading benches on the internet to make the rest of us look and feel bad) and they keep the press well lubed and clean. Then there are other users that come to us, or post to online forums, that they are having problems and they need help. Just like when you contact tech support for your computer and they tell you to reboot we are going to ask you some questions and one of those just might be “have you cleaned the press?” Quite frequently the response is “no, not really… when should I do that?” Well that’s where things can get complicated. The answer is “when it needs it” and that is because this can vary.

The environment the machine is in will make a big difference. A machine stored in a garage or shed will very likely need maintenance more often than one stored inside a climate controlled environment. You can tell a lot by look and feel. Dillon Precision reloaders require a certain amount of oil and grease to operate smoothly. If you check the appropriate area and there is no oil or grease, or very little, it is probably a good idea to freshen it up with a bit more lubricant.

The same holds true of debris on the press. If you can see a good amount of spilled powder, or bits of tumbling media that adhered to the lubed cases, then you should consider getting out the canned air, vacuum, or dust rags as appropriate and remove the fouling.

If a part on one of our consumer grade machines breaks we’ll take care of it but it never hurts to have spares on hand. That way you can replace the part immediately, call us for replacement, and then replenish your spare parts kit with the part we send. You can find spare parts and maintenance kits here:…

We also have knowledge base articles covering cleaning and maintenance for each machine. Just follow the links below to find the article for your machine:

Square Deal B:…/square-deal-b-lubrication…

RL 550 Series:…/rl550b-cleaning-and-lubri…

XL 650:…/xl650-lubrication-and-mai…

As always tech support is FREE so give us a call if you need help. Our number is 800-223-4570. If you are outside the US or just prefer to write you can reach us at

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Making the Right Choices

There is nothing worse than ordering a new item only to find out that you didn’t get everything you need when it gets there.  Reloading machines are definitely in the category of products that need supporting products to be useful.  Did you get all the caliber conversions you need?  What about a scale?  Dial calipers?  Even if you already have a lot of the tools you need it’s still a good idea to make sure you didn’t forget that one gadget that you just have to have to make it all work.

If you’re thinking about getting a reloading machine and need a little guidance as to what to get with the machine (it’s all about accessorizing, right?) we have interactive guides to help you make the right choices. Of course you can always call to talk to one of our helpful representatives at 800-223-4570 but if you would rather work through the process online before making your decision we have these interactive guides to help you.


Square Deal B Interactive Guide
RL 550C Interactive Guide
XL 650
XL 650 Interactive Guide
Super 1050
Super 1050 Interactive Guide
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Remembering Mike Dillon – His Lasting Influence

November 7th, 2017 marks one year since Mike Dillon passed.  In that time the company that he built has continued to strive towards the goals and standards that Mike established.  We frequently ask ourselves “What did Mike say about this?” or “How would Mike have handled that?” and those conversations have helped to guide and inform us as we move forward.    We have also heard, and appreciated, the many condolences and tributes that fans of Mike’s work have communicated to us and we are thankful for your continued support.

In the November edition of The Blue Press, on page 5, there is a touching tribute to Mike Dillon written by his family.  It is well worth reading as it reminds us all of Mike’s many achievements in life, his dedication to his family, and his lasting impact on several industries.

It seems trite to say that someone “touched so many lives”, because we’ve all heard it said so many times, but Mike truly did have an influence on the direction of an industry that has helped to make metallic cartridge reloading more accessible and more practical for a multitude of shooters.  Mike liked to shoot and he wanted to find a way to do so without breaking the bank.  I think we can all relate to that and we can all be glad that he had the drive and ingenuity to create something that we, as shooters, can all benefit from.

To find out more about Mike Dillon’s life and his many achievements just browse through the “Remembering Mike Dillon” section of this site.

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Sight Correction Calculator

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Reloading Costs

The calculator is setup to work with the number of components you bought at a given price. We have found that dividing your brass cost by the number of times you plan to reload it helps give a more accurate representation of your reloading costs. Many of our competition shooters use a formula of dividing by 10 but you may feel free to use whatever factor you feel is most appropriate for the type of shooting that you do.  If you get your brass or any other component for “free” just put in .01 for the cost.

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