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Issue loading .308

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bottlerocket, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket Well-Known Member

    So I have been having issues with loading .308 for my Savage 111 (long action) for a while and cant figure it out.

    I'm using Hornady New Dimension carbide dies on a Lyman Spar-T press. All of my .308 brass is once or twice fired by me in this rifle only (its my only .308).

    The issue is when I put a round in the chamber, the bolt has a VERY tough time locking and unlocking, so much so that I have to use the scope for leverage to open the bolt or close it. It does not do this with factory loads. I also tried putting a sized but not seated case in and it has the same issue. My resize die is all the way flush against the shell holder when the handle is cammed over so there is no room for me to move the shoulder down. The brass is in spec for length too. I'm at a loss here. Obviously its something with the sizer die since it has the issue even without a bullet in the brass, but I cant figure it out. I tried using a sharpie to color the brass and there really is nowhere that is apparent it is rubbing.
  2. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    What kind of press? Did you try turning the die down another 1/4 turn just for giggles? It is possible your die is out of spec but I would try harder to shove the shoulder back first.

    I assume you actually know what cam over means.
  3. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket Well-Known Member

    Its a Lyman Spar-T. Dies are brand new. I'll go over-tighten the die to see if it fixes it
  4. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket Well-Known Member

    I'm at a loss, that did it I think. I'll put some complete rounds together tomorrow to be sure but it looks like its better...
  5. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Great. I bet if you shine a light behind the die you would have seen light come through. There is some flex in the press that you don't see until you start sizing the case.
  6. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket Well-Known Member

    Great, now time to tear apart 40 rounds I put together today...
  7. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    Have you checked your case length after resizing and before loading. It's very possible your cases may need trimming. This alone could cause hard chambeing in your rifle.
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Always check sized brass for length and also to see if it chambers freely before loading. It can save a lot of headaches.

    Size to fit a case gauge, use a gauge of some sort to check the shoulder location, or size to fit your chamber by slowly screwing the die down farther until it fits your chamber, which of course requires checking sized cases in your chamber until it chambers freely.

  9. PreMod70

    PreMod70 Well-Known Member

    Try a different shellholder, some are too thick.
  10. Dave P

    Dave P Well-Known Member

    A case gauge is your friend. Lyman, Wilson; about $20
  11. DANNY-L

    DANNY-L Well-Known Member

    My bet is die adjustment,turn down 1/8-1/4
  12. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    First, Hornady does not make carbide dies. There's only one place to get carbide in a rifle die, that's Dillon and only in .223 and .308.

    Second problem is that Lyman spar "T". It's a wimpy press best used for straight walled pistol rounds. By wimpy, I mean lack of leverage and the open "C" configuration is springy and the turret will move unless the center nut is cranked down hard.

    Get a good single stage "O" type/configuration press. The best buy right now is the Lee classic cast. It's a tank made of cast iron and has the same compound leverage system as the RCBS rockchucker. It's on sale right now for 90 bucks I have one, it's one tough press.


    IF you wanted a quick change die system, lee has the "breech lock" system that allows you to one turn twist a die in and out of the top, no more screwing in and out of dies.


    Or go with the first classic cast, remove the 7/8 bushing and go with the Hornady lock & load bushings. ( The female Hornady adapter screws in place of the 7/8 bushing.)
  13. scythefwd

    scythefwd Well-Known Member

    While I'll disagree with snuffy on the c type not being enough for a .308 (springy... only on a poorly designed press, my ch is definately up to the task, but it's huge) I'll agree to the part about the turret or an inexpensive lee cast O-press, can't beat em for price on that
  14. bottlerocket

    bottlerocket Well-Known Member

    So in response to a few questions or suggestions:

    I checked the brass length after sizing. I have a turret press so I batch reload. I'll size a bunch, and then I'll prime them all, and then powder and bullet at the last step. So there is usually time between those steps (a few days) where I can measure all of the cases.

    I'll check out getting one of those case gauges, thanks!

    I was actually thinking it might have been an issue with the shellholder being too tall and not letting the die go down far enough on the brass. I'll look for a new one, any brand suggestions? I think this one is a Lee if I'm not mistaken.

    @snuffy: Whoops, my mistake. I have a mix of Dillon and Hornady dies and a couple RCBS for good measure. Got them mixed up. I haven't had any trouble with the Spar T loading anything from 30-30 to .223, just the .308 and it looks to be a shellholder problem. I'm just using this press (belongs to my father-in-law) until I can get the funds together for a 550 or 650.
  15. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    If you adjusted the die down & it fixed the problem then it can't be a shell holder problem. It was a adjustment problem. You can spend your money how you see fit but when I have a chamber to test fit I can't see spending money on a gauge to see if they might fit my chamber.

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