Expert Straight Wall Loader Trying .308


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CoronaGold
May 27, 2013, 12:22 AM
I've been loading handgun loads for all of six months and I have more than a thousand rounds to my credit...so, yes, I say "expert" in jest. But I am now loading rifle rounds (.308) for the first time.

I am using Lee dies and I have a couple questions. I have the Deluxe Set which is the same as the Pacesetter Set except for one die, the Deluxe Set has a Neck Sizing die whereas the Pacesetter Set has a Factory Crimp Die. I will be shooting in a single-shot Encore, so the neck sizing die is perfect for me, right?

My buddy, who is also learning, is shooting a Remington 700 bolt action with a box mag. He also has the Deluxe Set with the neck sizing die and I _think_ that is the right set for him also, yes? As I mentioned, I have been reloading for handgun--hand cannons more correctly. I know that if my crimp is not super good on heavy loads, inertia and recoil can increase my OAL very quickly. Is there any concern for that sort of thing in a .308 rifle (specifically the 700) with max published loads?

Also, I've only just begun to play with my .308 loads. (I've loaded and fired five rounds!) I was kinda surprised to see that my neck had opened up to about 0.312 ID and 0.345 OD. I am just curious what SAAMI says my chamber neck should be and what these numbers tell me about the potential of my big hammer to drive tacks.

Thanks in advance to all!

- Tim

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Reefinmike
May 27, 2013, 12:35 AM
First off- welcome to THR.

Your dies should be just fine- no real need for full length sizing unless you are firing in multiple rifles. Ive never crimped rifle loads, its not really necessary and is usually more a pain than its worth. 1k pistol rounds is just getting your toes wet. Ive been loading for a bit over a year, 20k or so loads and Im still learning new things every week.

ArtP
May 27, 2013, 12:39 AM
Of all the different products Lee manufacturers, the item I appreciate the most is the collet neck sizer die. It works different from any other NS die that I know of. They add zero runout, require no lube, work the brass less. I never trim NS'd brass. Trimming is usually necessary from the task of sizing, not firing.

With any neck sizer you're of course only sizing the neck and allowing the rest of the case to be fire-formed to your rifle chamber. Because of this it's recommended to NS for bolt action or single shot only. Different rifles may or may not feed rounds fired and NS'd from another chamber, so the rule is usually to NS for one particular rifle.

I've experienced this myself where I sold and bought a new rifle in the same caliber. The 80 or so rounds I had made up had to be pulled because I could not chamber those rounds in the new rifle.

I'll I don't think a crimp is necessary and the condition of the primer and pocket are better indicators to check for over pressure..

James2
May 27, 2013, 12:39 AM
Neck sizing is generally ok in bolt rifles, however, at some point you may need to put them in a full length sizer and bump the shoulder. After neck sizing it is good to test the fit in the rifle before loading them. If the bolt shuts ok, you are good to go.

I don't usually crimp rifle loads. It for sure won't be necessary in the single shot rifle. About all you can do on the rifle with a magazine is load the mag then shoot all but one and measure it to see if the recoil is pulling the bullet.

rcmodel
May 27, 2013, 12:46 AM
Wrong.

But it's good to have another expert like yourself here at our disposal to answer questions like this though.

You and your friend should both buy a FL sizing die set and adjust it accordingly for each of your guns headspace.

The neck sizing die only does that, sizes the neck, nothing more.

After your cases are fired a very few times, they will have to be FL sized to get your single-shot Encore or your friends bolt-action to close up and lock shut.

Later, you might want to play with neck sizing only.
But, your cases will always have to be FL sized occasionally to put the shoulder back where it came from eventually.

Sooner, if not later.

rc

thump_rrr
May 27, 2013, 04:02 AM
Wrong.

But it's good to have another expert like yourself here at our disposal to answer questions like this though.

You and your friend should both buy a FL sizing die set and adjust it accordingly for each of your guns headspace.

The neck sizing die only does that, sizes the neck, nothing more.

After your cases are fired a very few times, they will have to be FL sized to get your single-shot Encore or your friends bolt-action to close up and lock shut.

Later, you might want to play with neck sizing only.
But, your cases will always have to be FL sized occasionally to put the shoulder back where it came from eventually.

Sooner, if not later.

rc
I respectfully disagree on starting out by full length sizing.
If he has once fired brass from his rifle he should neck size his brass and fire it in his rifle a couple of times.
This will form the cartridge to the maximum headspace of his rifle.
He can then use a Hornady Headspace Gauge along with a vernier caliper to measure the headspace.
He can then setup the full length sizing die to bump the shoulder back 0.001" from maximum.
This will prolong the life of his brass and provide better accuracy.
I also like purchasing a case gauge for each caliber I reload for.
It allows for a quick headspace and trim length check.

Always lubricate the body of bottleneck cases when full length sizing.
Make sure no lube makes it to the neck of the cartridge or you will get dents.
Once your cases are sized then check for maximum case length before trimming.
This step is critical to prevent an over pressure from a cae that is too long and cannot expand to release the bullet.

Rule3
May 27, 2013, 10:13 AM
The Lee Deluxe rifle dies also comes with a FL sizing die. So you are covered either way.

http://leeprecision.com/reloading-dies/rifle-dies/lee-deluxe-rifle-3-die-set/

I neck size for bolt action, but eventually you will need to full size also. A Wilson case gauge is a good tool to have.

When you full size be sure to lube the brass properly or you will be having problems.:eek:

stubbicatt
May 27, 2013, 10:26 AM
To OP. There are many ways to skin a cat, and many pitfalls no matter what path you take to reloading nirvana. The goal is to create cartridges which chamber easily and present the bullet to the rifling in a way that leads safely to accuracy.

Neck sizing for bolt and single shots is one way to get there. I think that if you neck size only, you *may* find that closing your action becomes increasingly difficult. Same for your friend with his bolt rifle. At that point, if not sooner, you will need to FL resize. Here is where challenges present themselves.

Typically when one sets up the FL die per factory instructions, one tends to push the shoulder back further than is necessary, because the FL die is designed to return the cartridge overall dimensions to as close to "unfired new" dimensions so that the cartridges may fit any standard chamber. This will lead to premature failure of the brass. --It isn't going to give up the ghost on the first FL sizing, but be aware that you are stressing it and relocating brass, which, upon firing, will be removed from the "fire ring" area at the bottom of the powder chamber of the cartridge.

Always, always, before putting a primer in a case you are loading, measure the overall length, and trim as necessary. The reloading manuals will present the max length and "trim to" lengths for your edification. Too, always examine for incipient case head separation by examining the "fire ring" at the bottom of the powder chamber of your cartridge, near to the case head. Case separation is not a pleasant experience.

There are countless posts on how to properly set up a FL die to *just* size the case enough to not set the shoulder back too much, and these techniques require additional gages to arrive at the proper settings.

Again... always check cartridge length and be prepared to trim as necessary. Personally, trimming is a part of my routine. Case necks of non uniform dimension will adversely affect accuracy, and if they are too long, this will cause pressure issues which can lead to serious injury or death, not to mention destruction of your rifle.

Reloadron
May 27, 2013, 10:36 AM
I've been loading handgun loads for all of six months and I have more than a thousand rounds to my credit...so, yes, I say "expert" in jest. But I am now loading rifle rounds (.308) for the first time.

I am using Lee dies and I have a couple questions. I have the Deluxe Set which is the same as the Pacesetter Set except for one die, the Deluxe Set has a Neck Sizing die whereas the Pacesetter Set has a Factory Crimp Die. I will be shooting in a single-shot Encore, so the neck sizing die is perfect for me, right?

My buddy, who is also learning, is shooting a Remington 700 bolt action with a box mag. He also has the Deluxe Set with the neck sizing die and I _think_ that is the right set for him also, yes? As I mentioned, I have been reloading for handgun--hand cannons more correctly. I know that if my crimp is not super good on heavy loads, inertia and recoil can increase my OAL very quickly. Is there any concern for that sort of thing in a .308 rifle (specifically the 700) with max published loads?

Also, I've only just begun to play with my .308 loads. (I've loaded and fired five rounds!) I was kinda surprised to see that my neck had opened up to about 0.312 ID and 0.345 OD. I am just curious what SAAMI says my chamber neck should be and what these numbers tell me about the potential of my big hammer to drive tacks.

Thanks in advance to all!

- Tim

First, regarding the specifications for the 308 Winchester cartridge, the below image shows both cartridge and chamber specifications:

http://bearblain.com/images/308%20Win%20Case%20Chamber%20Dimensions.png

Next, starting with new quality factory loaded ammunition both you and your friend will do just fine with Neck Sizing as was mentioned. However, there is a caveat to that. RC and other members covered that. New factory ammunition is manufactured to fit and fire in a chamber made to the specifications shown above. A newly fired cartridge will expand and conform to your chamber it will them contract slightly allowing extraction. You now have a brass case that conforms to the chamber of the rifle it was fired in. The case can now be neck sized and loaded to be fired again. The caveat being this only works a few times as eventually after a number of loadings the case will no longer chamber with neck sizing only. How many times? That depends on a few variables. Your rifle chamber and the quality of the brass to name a few. You will no longer be able to close your break action and your friend will not be able to close his bolt. Not easily anyway. :(

When this point is reached you will need to full length re-size your brass setting the case shoulder back and getting the case to meet design specifications. Sooner or later you will need a full length re-sizing die. That is just the nature of the beast.

The only way you will know exactly what your chamber dimensions actually are is to do a chamber casting which isn't really necessary. There are also no shortage of tools to give you an idea of what your chamber headspace actually is with several mentioned already.

Slice it and dice it but sooner or later you will need a full length re-sizing die. :)

Ron

flipajig
May 27, 2013, 10:41 AM
I've been loading for 6 years with several thousands to my credit both pistol and rifle and I'm still learning. So to call myself a expert not yet if ever.
Flip

Walkalong
May 27, 2013, 01:07 PM
I always suggest folks start with FL sizing if they are new to reloading. There are so many things that affect accuracy so much more than FL vs NS it is a non issue until you hone your skills with a capable rifle.

FL sized ammo can shoot extremely well. Can, no guarantee, but the same goes for neck sizing.

Lots more to it than NS vs FL sizing.

gamestalker
May 27, 2013, 03:42 PM
RC nailed it! You will definitely have to FL size sooner or later, it's simple physics.

GS

thump_rrr
May 27, 2013, 05:16 PM
RC nailed it! You will definitely have to FL size sooner or later, it's simple physics.

GS
The problem is not wether you will need to full length size.
The problem is that most beginners will push the shoulder back too far which in turn stretches the cases reducing their life and possibly introducing case head separation into the equation.
This is why I believe that someone new to reloading for a bolt action rifle should neck size the first couple of times so that they can measure the dimensions of THEIR chamber.
This will enable them to set up their full length sizing die for their rifle.

Excessive shoulder setback may cause erratic ignition due to lite firing pin strikes.
This is because the case gets pushed forward till the shoulder meets the front of the chamber.

CoronaGold
May 27, 2013, 10:02 PM
Well you guys have given me a lot of good information. That's going to ease my learning curve. As a couple of you pointed out, I do have a FL die in my set. The brass I'm using is LC pulldown, I ran them through the FL die first thing. I didn't realize I would have to FL size them ever again, unless I loaded them in a different chamber, so thanks for pointing that out.

To read Lee advertising, nothing beats a Lee factory crimp die. I like it for handgun loads with no cannelure especially. But I (like most of you, I think) have trouble believing that crimping is advantageous for rifle loads. Does crimping rifle cartridges significantly impact accuracy?

I guess ultimately the thing to do is just try some neck-sized-only and try some crimped and see which is more accurate for me. If I do eventually try crimping, do I need to size the neck first or just go directly to the crimp die? And, I guess I can answer that myself, because the .308 bullets just fall on through the .312 neck without resizing, so I do have to size the neck before crimping.

Again, all comments welcome and thanks in advance.

- Tim

gamestalker
May 28, 2013, 09:03 AM
I forgot to address your question about SAAMI spec for your case / firearm dimensions. This information can be found in your reloading books, which I would assume you have at least one or more?

GS

USSR
May 28, 2013, 09:46 AM
To read Lee advertising, nothing beats a Lee factory crimp die. I like it for handgun loads with no cannelure especially. But I (like most of you, I think) have trouble believing that crimping is advantageous for rifle loads. Does crimping rifle cartridges significantly impact accuracy?

First, quit reading Lee advertising. Second, unless you are loading for a rifle with an under the barrel tube magazine or a large bore African game rifle, forget about crimping; count on proper neck tension to hold your bullets. Despite what Lee advertising says, crimping bottleneck rifle cartridges may or may not result in decreased accuracy, but it sure isn't going to improve accuracy.

Don

Reloadron
May 28, 2013, 10:53 AM
To read Lee advertising, nothing beats a Lee factory crimp die. I like it for handgun loads with no cannelure especially. But I (like most of you, I think) have trouble believing that crimping is advantageous for rifle loads. Does crimping rifle cartridges significantly impact accuracy?

I am in the same corner as USSR on this. Been there and tried that. I loaded as consistent as possible some 308 and 30-06. Some with the crimp and some not. Over the chronograph they went. Despite very uniform looking crimps the crimped rounds performed worse as to maintaining constant velocity. This was true in both bolt action and semi-auto rifles. This really came as no surprise and merely reaffirmed what was expected. Take it for what it may or may not be worth. Good neck tension and uniform seating is all you need.

Ron

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