AusKur’s Chambered Reference:

Being Cheap’s Too Expensive

The Chambered Reference from AusKur, a handy all-in-one tool giving you everything you need to ensure a cartridge has the proper dimensions, impressed John so much he
added it to his personal handloading gear.

When I first started handloading more than 60 years ago I was not far removed from the buffalo hunters of the 1870’s. I started with a single cavity Lyman Mold, melted my lead in a cast-iron pot on my mother’s kitchen stove, and then loaded cartridges with a #310 Lyman Tong Tool using a powder scoop for the proper amount of powder. I’ve been adding reloading tools and gadgets ever since. The single-cavity molds were long ago replaced with double-cavity molds as well as those with three, four and six cavities. While I still have an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press, about 90 percent of my reloading is accomplished with the RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive Press. It’s been a long, long path from that original equipment, which was good but, oh so slow.

About 40 years ago Diamond Dot started me on the road to really fine tools by presenting me with a Starrett micro-meter for Christmas. I’ve since added both Lyman calipers and Frankford Arsenal digital calipers to my loading bench. For what I don’t have, I can count on my friend Denis to have. Between us we can pretty much handle any situation. The bed of my locked covered pick-up is stocked with just about everything we need to do repairs and alterations in the field, and about anything else can be accomplished in Denis’ mill- and lathe-equipped personal machine shop.

Why You Need This

I’ve seen posters on the net talking about ordering a new handgun and planning to load a bunch of ammo while waiting. I always caution them not to load anything until they actually have the firearm in hand, then load up some dummy rounds and make sure they fit. I also keep chamber gauges beside my loading press to make sure cartridges are within spec. Thanks to AusKur, we now have some high-quality Chambered References to ensure cartridges are of the proper dimensions.

AusKur Firearms & Munitions is a family business getting its name from the fact it’s run by two brothers, Austin and Kurtis, and the tools they make are virtual works of art. Each one of the Chambered Reference systems — available for handguns and long guns — consists of a bullet pusher, case pusher, a Chambered Reference and a Groove Smooth. AusKur’s Chambered Reference and the Groove Smooth are designed to ensure the proper dimensions of re-sized brass and fully assembled rounds. If there’s a problem, the Chambered Reference is not to be used to re-shape or alter the dimensions of any brass case or round that doesn’t fit properly. Easy-does-it is the watchword.

To use the Chambered Reference, the re-sized brass or loaded round is dropped into the back of the Chambered Reference and allowed to enter by gravity. If they don’t drop in easily they’re out of spec. It’s as simple as that. The back end of the Chambered Reference also has minimum and maximum head space/case length indicators to allow this spec to be checked. When checking loaded rounds, there’s also a maximum cartridge overall length indicator on the front end of the chambered reference. If the bullet protrudes beyond this point the cartridge is over length.

The Groove Smooth is located on the outside of the Chambered Reference and is used to identify the cylindrical runout of the re-sized brass and the trueness of the extractor groove, and also to ensure the groove is free of any defects or obstructions. To use the Groove Smooth, the cartridge is simply placed in the channel and then turned by hand both clockwise and counterclockwise. It should move smoothly by finger pressure without any resistance. If any resistance is felt, there’s either a defect in the extractor groove and/or the cylindrical runout of the round.

Nothing’s Perfect

The Chambered Reference is a device not just for reloaders but also for checking factory rounds. Factory ammunition today can approach perfection, but nothing touched by the hand of man’s perfect. This clever and well thought out little tool device could prevent a disaster. An out-of-spec round could result in a situation I don’t want to contemplate. This device makes it very easy to check cartridges, whether they be handloads or factory loads. These very simple operations can help you make sure ammunition to be used is as perfectly assembled as possible. Currently, the Chambered Reference is offered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .380 ACP, .223 Rem., 5.56, 30-06 and .308 Win. More options are planned to follow. It’s a welcome addition to my loading bench. I learned a long time ago cheap is way too expensive.

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