I'm having trouble reloading for multiple 30-06's


October 10, 2009, 04:38 PM
I reload 30-06 for a Rem 742, Springfield 03A3 and a Stevens 110 all in 30-06, I'm using Lee full length resizing die in a turret 3hole press. When I use the brass from the 742 and 03 everything works okay but once I shoot it in the stevens I can't get it to resize small enough to fit back in either of the other two rifles. Am I doing something wrong or is the Lee die not small enough base to handle all of the different chamber sizes? I hate to have to section off my brass and only use certain brass in certain rifles.
Thanks for all help and this is a great forum.

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October 10, 2009, 05:28 PM
What you're running into is pretty common with multiple rifles. The problem isn't with your technique, per se, or even with your dies. It's just that you have rifle chambers with differing headspace.

In my experience, the 1903 Springfields I have owned have all had headspace near SAAMI minimum. Those military rifles were basically target rifles, put into military stocks. I currently own three '03's, and they all have very tight chambers, even the one built in 1919. Evidently, your Remington Model 742 also has a tight chamber, or really not tight, but headspace near SAAMI minimum.

The Stevens on the other hand, has a headspace that is several thousandths over the SAAMI minimum, but probably still within specifications for the caliber. When the ammunition is fired in the Stevens, it allows the shoulder of the case to expand enough to fill the chamber, and that measurement is longer than both of your other rifles. Your sizing die isn't set up to size the shoulder back far enough to fit in the other two rifles.

There are two solutions to this situation. The first is to set your sizing die so it will set the shoulder back far enough that the brass will fit your other two rifles. This will result in shortened case life when this same ammunition is once again fired in your Stevens rifle.

The second solution is to separate your brass, and keep the brass for the Stevens separate from the brass for the other two rifles. You will then probably need a second sizing die that is set up for sizing just the Stevens fired brass. This will result in longer case life.

I have numerous .30-06 rifles, which range in headspace from SAAMI minimum to +.008" over minimum. My solution has been to segregate my brass into three groups, since my rifles fall into three groups when it comes to headspace. I also have three different sizing dies, one set up for each headspace size. This process means a little more work and attention, but it also stopped case head separation on the second firing of brass in my rifles with long headspace, which happen to be my M1 Garands.

This probably wasn't the quick and simple answer you were looking for, but it's what I did to solve the problem.

Hope this helps.


October 10, 2009, 06:40 PM
Welcome to THR, Offspring.

ReloaderFred always has good advice to offer.
The only advice that I can offer is to adjust the headspace on the Stevens because that rifle is adjustable with the barrel nut. Tighten the clearances on the Steven's headspace to better match your other two rifle's chambers.


October 10, 2009, 07:42 PM
I size my ammo so it fits in all my rifles. Some have tighter chambers than others.

Without measuring equipment, you really don’t know what is going on, and suggestions that one rifle has a longer chamber, or a shorter chamber, could be right, or could be wrong. You need to measure these things.

I recommend purchasing a cartridge headspace gage. You can drop a fired case into a gage and see/measure the differences between cases fired in different chambers. If you see that cases that come out of the Savage are too long, than you know what the problem is.


It is also possible that your Lee full length sizing die is not sizing the cases down sufficient to enter the chamber of your other rifle.

The instructions that come with sizing dies generally say something like “turn the die until it hits the shell holder and add a quarter turn”. This is hit and miss, and once you have gages to measure what is going on, you will realize that this poor advice.

I full length size my cases to gage minimum. That works for all correctly headspaced rifles.

There is one other possibility, something that cartridge headspace gages don’t measure, and that is case “fatness”. Cartridge headspace gages are cut large between the base and the shoulder so you can drop fired cases in the gage. I have reamer cut gages, gages that were barrel stubs, and the gunsmith reamed them to depth with the same reamer he used to cut the chamber in the barrel he installed. This gage is therefore dimensionally correct length and width.

In this photo, I had sized this case with this Lee full length sizing die. The sized case will not drop in the reamer cut gage. And that is because this case, even after being sized, is still too fat.


I use small base dies for every caliber I can get them in. Small base dies are more likely to reduce cases to below chamber dimensions than standard full length sizing dies. However, you must set up the die with a cartridge headspace gage or you will oversize the case.

October 10, 2009, 11:17 PM
Screw the sizing die 1/8 to 1/4 turn deeper than you have it. Set your shoulders back.
If it still doesn't quite fit, turn another 1/8 to 1/4 turn until it does.

I would be surprised to find that you need small base dies, which are generally made for autoloaders and lever action. Go to the RCBS web site for a discussion of small base dies.

October 13, 2009, 01:26 PM
Thanks guys for all the good information. I will look to resetting my sizing die and after checking that then consider separating the rest of my brass. My finances won't allow much in the way of new dies or other equipment. I am awed by the desire of firearms people to assist a newbie or the older shooter that may not have encountered a new problem and how anxious they are to help. Thanks again.

October 13, 2009, 02:10 PM
Do what I do

1.Buy yourself a supply of 30-06 cases and 20rd cartridge boxes

2.Then segregate cases by rifle, In my case 2 20rd boxes for each 30-06

3.and keep them separate till the brass wears out

This is also a great way to keep track of the number of loadings on each batch + you can now get yourself an inexpensive Lee collet die for the two bolt actions virtually eliminate the need to trim, lube and GREATLY extend brass life

October 14, 2009, 04:55 AM
I had that problem between Savage and Remington rifles. My Savage has a tighter chamber than dad's Remington. So we split up our brass, he loaded with Federal brass, I loaded with Remington. Problem solved.

October 14, 2009, 12:35 PM
for the Rem 742 or 760 and BAR I suggest the RCBS Small base Sizer Die...........that is what I use. As for load IMR 4350 @ 57.0 with 180gr Nosler Part works great in all my 06.

October 14, 2009, 04:27 PM


October 16, 2009, 03:38 AM
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October 16, 2009, 07:01 PM
You might also pick up a Lyman FL sizing die. They seem to do what "small base" resizing dies do.

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