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beginning rifle reloading?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by spartacus2002, Jan 7, 2005.

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  1. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    I'm interested in beginning reloading for my M1A, mainly to get the cost per round down below factory ammo.

    Does anyone have any advice for a beginning reloader, particularly good books?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. goon

    goon Member

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    I'd take a look at the Speer reloading manual (whatever the most current edition is). It has some loads in it that are specifically well suited to semi automatic rifles.

    If you have never reloaded for anything before, buy the manual first and read the whole front half of it back until you get to the loading data section. Then start buying the other stuff you need to get you started.
     
  3. oneshooter

    oneshooter Member

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    Don't forget the Hornady and Lyman books. Also the NRA has several books on loading and shooting the M1A.

    Oneshooter
    Livin in Texas




    And never be afraid to ask questions.
     
  4. Bill St. Clair

    Bill St. Clair Member

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    I did a little reloading for my M1A, but it was no fun. Cases needed to be trimmed every time. And Milsurp ammo is cheaper than reloading.
     
  5. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    I'm just making contingency plans for the days when milsurp 7.62 runs out or starts getting expensive.
     
  6. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    Loading for the M1A to squeeze out accuracy can get pretty strenuous. If your goal is to keep the cost per round down, then I suggest you try to go with components from GI Brass (www.gibrass.com). They carry milsurp brass, bullets, and powders which will work great for loading .308 for your M1A. If anything, try to get bulk military brass (with processed primer pockets), and stick with bulk bullets (either military or commercial, such as Winchester).

    If this is your first time reloading, get a couple manuals (I like the Lyman and Speer) and read through them. Search this forum for other threads about getting started reloading. Questions you may have right now have more than likely have already been asked before (and answered) here. This forum is a pretty good archive of information.
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...Cases needed to be trimmed every time. And Milsurp ammo is cheaper than reloading..." Geez, what brand of brass were you using, Bill? Milsurp may be cheaper, but there's no way it's as accurate as ammo tailored for one rifle.
    The only 'must do' for any semi-auto is full length resize every time. Aids in feeding.
    The ABC's of Reloading is a good beginner's book. Should be in your local gun shop.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Member

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    Don't overlook the free load data summaries that the powder makers give out. Many dealers resist stocking them as they think that they impinge on manual sales and take valuable shelf space. Much valuable information is there and you have a chance to cross check loads.
    When you buy a loading manual note the source. Speer, Hornady, Barnes and the bullet makers focus on their own products. Powder makers do the same.
    Lyman and Lee make neither powder nor bullets -well, bullet molds- and are neutral about jacketed bullets and powders.
    Then there are the alliances of the tool makers and the bullet makers that engender biases.
    Just accrue a number of manuals and compare them over time, not all at once. That way you can see the similarities and differences of opinion from several perspectives.
    Cheers from Darkest California,
    Ross
     
  9. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    As an m1a collector and shooter, your big concerns should be accuracy, and avoiding slam fires.

    I won't explain a slam fire, but do a search on m1a or m1 garand and slam fire and you should find a bunch of information. If you cannot find it, email me and I will pull it out of my archives. The key is that the gun fires when the bolt slams home but is not completely locked. "No good can come from this".

    To avoid slam fires, I (meaning me, the reloader with my SuperMatch, National Match, Loaded and Standard M1A's) use only Federal Gold Medal 308 brass. Full length sized using a small base die from RCBS (standard die would not size the case down enough for the Supermatch) and trim after every sizing.

    Next I only prime with cci c-34 hard primers, specifically made for semi-auto rifles. WARNING! the c-34 primer is a MAGNUM primer. You must start your loads very light and work up slowly. I find the MAGNUM primer is good for about 1.5 grains of powder. Thus I am 1.5 to 2 grns below the book maxs to get the same velocities and case head expansion.

    Use a medium rate powder. To fast will not run the action, to slow will bend the op rod. Fortunately I have done neither. I do shoot IMR 4895 and 4064. 95% with 4895. It works, is accurate and so I am happy. I should probably experiment more, but when you consider how many rounds to test out different loads, and the life expentency of a barrel, I will just stay with 4895. I am looking to put another barrel on my Supermatch and it cost around 750$ installed last time. OUCH!

    Next use a good bullet. I use Seirra 168 grn BTHP match or the 150 grn palma's. Seat them carefully and straight in the case please.

    I DO NOT crimp the bullet anymore. I did experiments and found that crimping seemed to hurt my accuracy. Also the lee FCD crimp seemed to cut into the bullet a bit more then I liked. If I were to crimp it would be via an FCD. So far, I have not seen any bullet setback in a 20 rnd mag string. I have seen bullet nose tip deformation. It looks terrible, but does not seem to matter on the short ranges (say less then 200 yrds).

    Finally keep track of your loads. Carefully document everything.

    Here is my load, I make no warantees that it is safe, or that I did not do a typo. Please check it with a reputable book (Like Seirra's).

    Federal Gold medal brass trimmed to 2.005 col
    39.0 grns of IMR 4895
    CCI c-34 primers
    2.800 col with seated bullet
    No crimp

    Good luck and have fun. These rifles are a bit "adictive".
     
  10. ocabj

    ocabj Member

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    The only large rifle primer I know CCI makes is #250 Mag. The only difference between #34 and the regular primers is that it's designed with different sensitivity specs so it's harder than normal primers. Ignition is the same.
     
  11. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    This is very true, BUT, much of the reloading information for the mid speed powders in 308 is based upon NON-MAGNUM or STANDARD primers. Stuff a magnum in there and not adjust the powder charge, you can get a bit of excessive pressure and wear and tear on the operating mechanism. Beating the tar out of my M1A's with overloads is not my favorite activity and it although they are great guns, I really would rather deal with a burst case in a Rem700 action that an M1A (can you say lots of gas and brass in the face?). Just kidding by the way :).

    I was trying to highlight the fact that the C-34 is a MAGNUM primer and you need to make sure you take that into account when you open up your load book for the 308/7.62 Nato.

    Since the original poster seemed to indicate he was a beginning reloader, I thought it was wise to really hammer home the issue of magnum vs. standard primers so he did not accidently get into trouble via mis-understanding. Frankly, I do not think that CCI really accentuates the fact that the C-34 is a magnum primer as much as they "should". Just my opinion though.
     
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