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.308 cases not fitting chamber

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SamTuckerMTNMAN, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Well-Known Member

    Hello there,

    this is the week of seemingly lame questions from Sam.

    I started loading for the .308 this week moving up from .223 with which I have had great success.

    The problem I am encountering now is that a number of the cases won't fit in the chamber. I have tested the following;

    1.) used micrometer to check inside neck width, outside, overall length, and shoulder, nothing seems different about one that fits and one that doesn't.
    2.) I used dry erase marker to try and find what was rubbing and that didnt work great
    3.) I do not see any visible places where the spent casing is bumping.

    Fact is, some fit, and some won't allow the bolt to close and lock down. It's like hitting a hard wall, no give room at all.

    My only guess at this point, which I will test later, is that I didn't push the brass all the way up into the resizing die. I DID decap these way back when I first started reloading and didn't really know how important this step was. My only question with that is that I've heard some shooters don't resize at all because the brass fits their chamber better, more perfectly, after a firing. If you have any advice, I thank you in advance!

    What a beautiful weekend for shooting its been.
    BTW I am loading Rem r-p brass, 1x fired by me, with 42-45 grains of Win748 behind 168gr Sierra BTHP.

    take care,
  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    Since you have some brass that won't allow the bolt to close fully, this is the perfect opportunity to set up your sizing die for your rifle and headspace. Take one of the cases that won't allow the bolt to close and size it. If the bolt still won't close, turn down the entire sizing die about 1/4 turn and size it again and try it in the chamber. If the bolt still won't close, turn in the die another 1/4 turn and try the case again. Do this until the bolt just closes on the sized case and your die will be set to the headspace of your rifle.

    Hope this helps.

  3. P0832177

    P0832177 member

    First off all what kind of gun?

    Anything but a bolt action will require a Full Length Sizer die set up per the die mfgr directions. If the gun is a Browning BAR, then I would even go so far to suggest that you look at getting a Small Base Sizer Die for this application.

    Till you have a good understanding of setting up a die for a specific chamber's headspace, I would suggest you follow the die mfgr directions when using a Full Length Sizer Die.

    Even neck size brass in a bolt gun should close the bolt with no resistance.

    Did you check the case length? IE the max length is 2.015" and the trim to length is 2.005"

    Get a good reloading manual and follow the directions to the letter!

    If you are looking for accuracy in the 308, you chose a decent bullet, but there are better powders for your bullet.
    IMR 3031, 4064, and 4895, Varget, and RL15

    Did you set up the sizing die as specified by the die vendor?
  4. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Well-Known Member

    thanks a lot...

    the rifle is savage 10, in 308. My die is an unusual competition die, the black one. Bullet seats through side window. Thanks Fred for the info on sizing for particular rifle. I will set up die differently and test. Thanks for powder info, still learning at this stage. Started reloading last fall, seems there is MUCH MUCH more to know. Of course, thats part of the fun.

  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Obviously your seating die is set up incorrectly. Without gages all attempts to adjust will be hit or miss. Purchase yourself a set of Wilson type cartridge headspace gages and size to gage minimum. This will allow interchangeability between any future 308’s you may purchase. The attached URL shows good pictures on how to use these gages. You may find, after using the gages for the first time, that your die is so long that you have to grind material off the bottom or your sizing die to set the shoulder back sufficiently.

  6. sansone

    sansone Well-Known Member

    reloader fred just helped me out with a headspace problem. samtuck described my problem with 243(same case necked down).. I was trying to neck size only so didn't screw the resizer down all the way. fred said to screw down a little at a time which makes perfect sense. thanks
  7. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member


    9 out of 10 times, the shoulder is not pushed back far enough when a case won't chamber. As previously advised, turn you die down further until the case chambers.

  8. Dave R

    Dave R Well-Known Member

    Only other thing I can think of that may cause that, is if some cases are too long. Have you checked case length?
  9. Idano

    Idano Well-Known Member


    If these were originally shot in your gun and it is a bolt action then I don't think the resizing is the problem. You stated you checked the following:
    When you say overall length is that case length or cartridge length including the bullet? If you are referring to the cartridge length including the the bullet then I am more inclined to agree with P0832177 that the most likely the problem is with overall case length, but if you mean overall case length then your bullet may not be seated deep enough. However, I know of one other possibility, which I have seen and also done myself, if your are crimping your bullets have you setup your crimp improperly and it is pushing the neck down and creating a ring at the start of the shoulder? I personally wouldn't crimp a ,308 round since neither recoil nor the bullet weight is significant enough to change the OAL length cartridges in the magazine the only exception would be if your gun had a tubular magazine.
  10. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Well-Known Member

    I do believe the problem has been isolated. I did as fred said and adjusted the resizer in 1/2 turn increments. Last night I had a 100% success rate in chambering test resized cases. Now to reload all of those misfits I pulled yesterday. . . . . . . :banghead:

    actually, I consider reloading to be like foreplay. The actual shooting of the load is far too quick no matter how much fun it is, the process of preparation and reflection, adjustment and fine tuning makes the whole ordeal last a lot longer! :D
  11. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member


    I'm glad you were able to work out the problem. Feel free to contact me anytime you have a question like this. If I don't know the answer, I know where I can find it.

    Glad to be of help.

  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep. It's a process. Those who buy ammo and shoot just don't know what they are missing. It's a whole lot sweeter after you've played with em a little. :)
  13. Shoney

    Shoney Well-Known Member

    Interesting allegory on rloading as foreplay. Are your other types of foreplay solitary affairs as well?????????:neener:
  14. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Well-Known Member


    there's always a target.


    actually I am happily married....only one target here


  15. Copasetic

    Copasetic New Member

    You have to set the die to cam over. Meaning, bring your shell holder to the top of it's stroke, screw the die in until it touches the shell holder, now back the shell holder down, screw the die an 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch more (basically- just a little bit further) and lock it.

    I did the same thing last summer... couldn't figure it out until a fellow shooter suggested the above.... everything went good after that.
  16. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Copasetic, in your case you have a real tight headspace in your rifle. Also/or you have a die that is a little long OR a shell holder that is a little thick.

    I just went through finding that when I did as you say, tightened the die down to the shell holder with a little cam-over, that I was getting 10-15 thousanths growth in case length and a bright ring around the MIDDLE of the case. And a grove/ring on the inside, insipient case head separation!

    I got a wilson case guage from midway yesterday, I was over sizing by .010 to the low datum limit. I also suspect that the savage .308 I have is a bit long in headspace.

    So your advice is good in some set ups, but not in my case.
  17. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    I am constantly amazed at the number of reloaders who have absolutely NO way to measure the cartridge headspace they are creating with their sizing dies. Everyone should have a RCBS Precision Mic or similar tool to enable them to properly set up their dies.

  18. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    I agree wholeheartedly with USSR. More rifle brass is ruined by improperly sizing than probably any other activity. For one thing, all shellholders aren't the same. They are made to certain parameters, but can be at either end of the specifications. Dies are the same way. They are made within parameters. There is no physical way to make dies and shellholders in the volume they are produced, and have them all exactly the same, especially from so many different manufacturers.

    You have to set up your sizing dies for the rifle chamber the ammunition is to be fired in. I've got about a dozen 30-06 rifles, and the I've got three different sizing dies set up for them, as they generally fall into three groups when it comes to headspace. If the ammunition for the short headspace rifles is fired in the rifles with long headspace, the case heads will separate almost every time. Conversely, if I try to chamber the ammunition for the long headspace rifles in the short headspace rifles, the bolts won't close. All are within SAAMI specifications for that caliber, but at opposite ends of the parameters.

    The bottom line is that you should set up your dies for your rifle chamber, and not use some generic instruction, as one size does not fit all in this case.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator


    Welcome to THR. Great name. Most folks have no clue when I ask them if everything is copasetic. :)
  20. SamTuckerMTNMAN

    SamTuckerMTNMAN Well-Known Member

    great shooting this weekend. I simply moved in small increments until it fit, maxed out overall length just short of hitting lands. And, I hate to sound like a THR braggard (keep in mind I've been shooting in many environments since I was about 4, a while ago) but this weekend I put the 5 best I made into a 1" diameter circle at 150 yards. I about crapped. That's the best I've ever shot in my life. I do dry fire, have for years, and have studied fundamentals for along time, but I've never seen what the Savage can do, not like that. Someone said 748 wasn't great, but that was sure great. A 1/2" group at 150 yds, holy cow. Pictures later if I can. Thanks u guys


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