New to reloading - 308 WIN


March 24, 2013, 12:34 AM
New guy here. I've searched but can't seem to find a thread for my question. I have a new Lee FL die. I lubed my case (sparingly)(imperial sizing die wax). I checked all measurements against the available spec drawings (case length, etc..) So, I made my first bullet, being very careful to follow all directions. This case is a once fired SBS NATO round from my SA M1A. It will not fully chamber in my brand new Fulton Armory barreled LR -308 rifle. (OAL is within specs, < 2.81) I measured it and is seems to be .0025 larger at the base than brand new NATO bullets that I have on hand (mine=.4695, new NATO=.4665). Is it practical to think that since it was first fired in my M1A, that the case has been "Fired Formed" to the chamber of that rifle? I have read that a Military style rifle such as Springfield Armory M1A has a more "generous" chamber. Why will it not reduce to the standard size within the new Lee die for .308 WIN? I have read that perhaps I should use a "Small Base" die (RCBS or Dillion). Could this be the problem? New NATO or commercial 308 chambers nicely, but my first reload seems over sized. Any inputs are welcome. I have stopped any further reloading activity until I know what is going on. :banghead:

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Mike 27
March 24, 2013, 01:14 AM
Re-size it again. Disassemble it first. You did not size it down enough to push the shoulder back. If you are using a Lee press I believe it states apply about 20 lbs of pressure. If you are using a cam over style press make sure the die bottoms out on the shell holder. If that doesn't work use a marker and color the case and try to chamber it and see where it is hitting/binding. If the case has been fired from that rifle then all you would have to do is neck size with a neck die. I think that is what you are looking at. If you have the 4 die set you should have a FL die and a neck sizer die. Make sure you are in fact using a Full Length die if the case was from another rifle. Hope this helps.


March 24, 2013, 01:28 AM
Thanks Mike. I'll take it apart and resize it. I sized two other cases and they chambered OK (without bullets seated). I'm sure I'm using the Full Length Die. The one that would not chamber was first fired in another rifle (M1A). You might be right about this, perhaps I didn't correctly size the first one. I'll keep working.

March 24, 2013, 10:27 AM
i found out the hard way with a case head separation when using lee dies so you should use a head space gauge to set those dies. i got the hornady to set my dies up. measure factory rounds and fired rounds from that chamber to see the difference. then set the die to 3 or 4 thousands under chamber measurement that should be just above factory sized cases. be the same every time when you lube the cases too much or too little can make a difference in sizing.

March 24, 2013, 11:14 AM
Do yourself a favor and buy a small base die,especially if your loading for an M1A

March 24, 2013, 12:49 PM
Thanks guys, I'm taking all this in and learning. I have ordered 2 sets of small based dies (RCBS and Dillon Carbide)(this may seem excessive, but I don't mind having the right gear). I see an L.E. Wilson case gauge, I'll send for that. So, I'll measure new, and fired cases to compare, and adjust my dies to 3 - 4 thousandths above the factory round. The measurement in question is the length of the case neck in relation to the shoulder, correct? As in, I probably didn't set the shoulder back far enough with my first bullet, and it was binding when I tried to chamber it. Am I seeing this correctly? I followed Mike 27's advise, and took apart my first bullet. I adjusted the die another 1/4 turn lower, and resized it. Now it will chamber and eject. So I think I'm starting to get the picture as far as shoulder geometry. :scrutiny:

March 24, 2013, 01:03 PM
I'm using L.E. Wilson gages to setup resized case headspace. I like the Redding FL dies with the carbide expander button upgrade. That avoids stretching the resized case when you drag the expander back thru the neck. It also avoids needing to lube inside the case necks.

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