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.308 Small Base Die and M1A??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by codefour, Sep 30, 2011.

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  1. codefour

    codefour Member

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    I currently load for an M1A Super Match rifle which is my favorite target gun. I was thinking of gettinga set of .308 small base dies for it. I currently use standard RCBS .308 dies and have not had too many feeding problems but a friend told me the small base would eliminate my feeding issues. I do use small base dies for my .223/AR-15 reloads.

    Do you guys think the small base dies is necessary for military style auto loaders chambered in .308/7.62..? I was also planning on buying an AR-10 in the near future as well so AR-10 users input would be helpful as well.

    What are your experiences with .308 small base and M1A's and AR-10's..?"
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I don't think small base dies are necessary in any caliber, unless you are shooting mil-sup machinegun brass with excessively bulged bases.
    Or you shoot certain brands of semi-auto & lever-action sporting rifles with known very tight chambers and very little locking cam ability.

    I have loaded .223 GI brass for autos since 1970, plus many lever-action calibers, and I don't even own any small base dies.

    Most feed or fail to chamber problems can be traced to insufficient sizing to set the shoulder back where it came from.

    That can better be addressed using a L. E. Wilson case guage when adjusting the sizing die properly for correct headspace then by changing to a small base die that can still not be adjusted properly to set the shoulder back where it came from.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  3. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I own two M1A's, a Match Rifle and a Standard Rifle. I don't use small base dies for either of them and have never had a feeding issue with either one.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  4. USSR

    USSR Member

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    +1. Many times, 7.62x51 machine gun fired brass resized in anything other than a small base die will not chamber in a commercial .308 chamber. However, once they are then fired in a normal chamber, a regular FL die for sizing is fine.

    Don
     
  5. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    I bought an RCBS small base die (308 Win) when I bought my NM M1A. The die is still unused in it's original box. Any offers?
     
  6. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "Do you guys think the small base dies is necessary for military style auto loaders chambered in .308/7.62..? "

    No. At least not often. Military chambers are rarely cut to what anyone would call 'tight'.

    Have your checked to confirm it's the base of your cartridges that's causeing your chambering difficulties? If that's not the problem a SB die won't help you.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Agreed but the operative word is "often".

    I have two full length dies for 223 Remington. With one of them, cases fired in a AR with 5.56 Nato chamber and resized in this die, the cases will not chamber in my Service Rifle Match AR. But, with the other full length die, they will. Probably a sum of tolerances cause the problem. I generally keep brass segregated for my match AR.

    I have several M1 Garands, and I can swap ammunition between them without issue. Some of my cases originally were once fired when I got them. But I know they were fired in other Garands.

    If I don't know where the cases came from, I small base resize them the first time for my "military" semi-autos, even in my M1A. Then, I just use the standard full length die.
     
  8. Innovative

    Innovative Member

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    Improved Reloading Technique ...

    Small base dies are "almost" never needed. Tight fitting handloads on non-belted cases are usually caused by setting the FL die height incorrectly.

    It's best to "measure" the clearance (at the shoulder) that YOUR handloads have in YOUR particular chamber. Then you'll know how to set the die hieght perfectly.
     
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Lee does not make small base dies, so depends on what die brand you like. DPMS 308- seen 2 threads on this board that needed small base dies. But range brass is most likly the problem.
     
  10. codefour

    codefour Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks to all the members that posted answers to my questions.. THR members are always helpful and spot on. I ordered a .308 case gage from Dillon. I have been reloading for about 18 months now and I am still learning. I got the handgun reloading down but I am still learning rifle. THANKS again.
     
  11. popper

    popper Member

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    The small base die is a taper crimp. The standard is a roll crimp. I use Hornady for sizing and the RCBS for crimp in my LR-308. No problem so far. There is ONLY .001 diff in case dia between the two.
     
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Say what?
    The small base die is the sizing die.

    The seating die determines what kind of crimp it will make.

    rc
     
  13. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I always find the hostility towards small base dies most amazing.

    So what is the problem with having ammunition that is close to factory dimensions?

    Lets see, end of September, at least two alibi’s on the line with AR’s in the rapids.

    Yesterday, I think it was a Garand shooter who had an alibi sitting rapid fire.

    You shoot enough you will see lots of ammunition related malfunctions. If you drive 2 hours and spend $60.00 in gas to get to a match, having an ammunition related issue screw up your score just seems to be, well, stupid. :neener:

    I got my Distinguished when M1a’s were still popular, and with an M1a, however you hardly ever see them any more. They are not as ammunition sensitive as AR’s, but good ammunition makes them run better.

    Again, so what is the problem with having ammunition close to factory dimensions?

    When you have to kick on the operating rod/charging handle to eject some sausage sized round, because the shooter does not use a case gage to measure shoulder set back and is using ammunition fired in another chamber, and sized them with a standard die, a little light bulb goes off. “Jeez, should I not be using ammunition that will chamber in my rifle? “

    My RCBS small base die reduces the case head by .002” more than the standard die. That’s it. It does take more sizing effort. You cannot use spray lubes as you will stick the case in the die. I use Imperial or RCBS water soluble. Have to use a good press with leverage. I bent the handle on my Spar T trying to small base a 30-06 case.

    So, what does small base sizing get you?: it gets you a slightly smaller case. Does that make a difference? Might. Many people have burnt out barrels using cases sized with standard dies. Some of those people have alibi’s because they used brass fired in another rifle and their standard sizing die would not reduce the case enough. Some of these people have malfunctions with ammunition fired last in their own chamber.

    I want ammunition that is 100% reliable. I want ammunition that is close to factory dimensions because I know it will feed, chamber, extract better. Factory dimensions are the best, factory ammunition will feed and function in everything. You will see all sorts of posts, “my gun shoots Federal Match but won’t chamber my reloads…..” Would a small base fix it, maybe. Maybe those reloaders are so kluged that nothing they do will feed, hard to know.

    Bolt gunners are poor sources of advice. These guys shoot ammunition and have reloading practices that are best describes as sloppy. They cannot feel anything but the most out of tolerance cases because of firing spring tension and the massive cocking cams of their rifles. When things get real bad, they beat the bolt down with wooden blocks. These are all things that will gum up a semi automatic mechanism.

    So, what do you want? Is function critical to you? Busting tin cans, function is not so critical. You do anything where function is very critical?
     
  15. highbrow

    highbrow Member

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    I use small base dies (RCBS) all the time in my Supermatch, even tho standard dies seem to work ok. Had one guy at a match blow up his NM Garand with oversized reloads. I figure that if it needs to work every time, I am willing to sacrifice some case life. I have never had an alibi in High Power matches. Some milsurp cases need the extra compression to resize reliably.
    Having said that, I have a small base die in .223 that I have never used. The standard die is sufficient in all my ARs.
     
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