Loading 308

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by peterk1234, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. tidebow

    tidebow Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    When I lived in Colorado several years ago, I met an older gentleman at an elk camp that was a well respected gun builder. At the time, I was not very experienced(not that I am now either) and I asked alot of questions. When sizing came up he had his own opinion. Building mostly belted magnums, he stated that bumping the shoulder led to greater work hardening of the brass and higher incidences of split case necks, case wall stress and case head separation. He sized his competition ammo and hunting loads this way with fireformed cases. Screw the die down to the shell holder and back off 1/4 turn or so and size the case. Chamber it in the rifle and begin to close the bolt. Bolt will be tight and considerable cam force would be needed to go into battery. Incrementally adjust the die, size and chamber until the resistance is felt in the last third of the bolt closing. His opinion and experience was that this gave the most concentricity with the least force and would extend case life. He said he would neck size only if it weren't for the lack of dependability in adverse field conditions. If I've been drinking the Kool aid, it must be spiked pretty good because it's worked well for me. It's more time consuming but the benefits have been evident in tighter groups at long range and full freezers
    South Prairie Jim likes this.
  2. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    You’re well on your way. Lots of good advice above! I’m pretty sure Hornady’s LNL measure is also the one they sell as a stand alone powder dispenser. Get in touch with customer service and I’d bet you can get the handle as a separate part if you want to move it off the LNL. Or, just dispense powder on the LNL and see how it goes. One way to check weights is to use a digital scale, tare the primed case before powder dump and then weigh after the powder dump. You’ll get an idea on how good (or bad) it is and whether that’s acceptable for you.


    Regarding the case lube, there are several threads and opinions, but I’ve converted from oooey gooey lubes to Imperial dry lube (it’s a wax) and have been very pleased.

    Good luck!
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Belted magnums are a whole nother ballpark, and sizing to headspace off of the shoulder is a great idea, but he was being excessive about it. Sizing to move the shoulder .002 compared to the actual chamber will not cause case head separations. Of course we have to have this right. Fire a case at max pressure in that chamber two or three, maybe even four, firings to get the fired measurement on the shoulder.

    Size to move the shoulder an actual .002 and you will lose cases from split necks or loose primer pockets long before you ever have a case head separation.

    We don't want the case too loose or too tight in the chamber. The folks winning matches are not sizing brass to make it a squeeze fit.
    Blue68f100, Slamfire and Nature Boy like this.
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Once it became known that I carried a cleaning rod in my scope stand, shooters would call over to me to borrow it, whenever an over pressure or tight round got stuck in the chamber. Having to take time out, change position, to knock a case out will ruin your score. By the time you get back and settled, the wind has changed and where the next record shot is going to land is to up luck.
    dc.fireman and Walkalong like this.
  5. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

    Apr 18, 2019
    South Prairie Wa.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to expand on that technique. I may even try it sometime
    Much Appreciated
  6. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

    Apr 18, 2019
    South Prairie Wa.
    Good stuff Walkalong

    I have zero experience with belted magnum, I didn’t feel tiebow was loading one either, perhaps I missed that in his original post. I personally size the least amount possible and still chamber freely. I had a bad experience using a Die that oversized my 308 brass, the result was they came apart.
    No joy I can tell you that “
    Moving forward I will say IME that the best FL die is the one that sizes YOUR brass closest to YOUR chamber not mine. (Ya gotta measure brass before and after and not just headspace)
    Squeeze fit” would definitely be tough in my competition rifle, I would probably need a rubber mallet to open the bolt especially since I run my load to the ragged edge. Lol
    Walkalong likes this.
  7. dc.fireman

    dc.fireman Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    Woodbridge, Va.
    I'd make a recommendation here, if you're going to load for a bolt gun: Use a Lee Collet Die after you have fired the cases in that rifle one time. Using the Lee Collet die for neck sizing, negates the need for case lube & tumbling the case lube off the 2nd time around. I use them for all of my bolt guns, once I have fire formed the brass. Case prep being what it is, the fewer steps I have to repeat the better off I am.

    Using the Bonanza Co-Ax press, I can resize, re-prime, trim on the Giraud trimmer, and 'done'.
  8. rsnell

    rsnell Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    I use a single stage press and hand priming tool for all my rifle reloading. Powder charges are thrown with a Hornady powder
    measure just below the targeted load and trickled up to the desired amount of powder. All weighing is done on a beam scale. This works for me since I usually do not load more than 30 rounds at a time.
  9. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    NM, Eagle and I watching our backs for liberals
    I sized and deprimed a 1000 rounds of LC mg 7.62 last winter......I didn't stick a case, but had I not backed off before the point of no return I would have. I took action to rectify that. "Action" meant looking for the best lubricity possible....better than the Imperial wax I was used to using. Turned out the old RCBS messy lube on a pad made sizing much easier.....and blinging the brass with wet pins helped make the problem in the first place...go figure.

    Now I have a question.

    I've been loading my sized (on a rockchucker) LC brass on my Pro Chucker 7, and having a lot of fun. My PC7 project has been going on while a lot of brave souls have been pioneering on the new little guy on the block, the new Lee Auto Breech Lock Pro......which, while not really suggested for rifle bigger than .223, it still intrigues me on the possibilities of loading .308 on that machine. The question: Anyone on THR tried loading .308 on that machine yet?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  10. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    East Texas
    like most everybody else, I resize and deprime, trim, then tumble and reload from there. I'm a huge fan of ramshot powders these days because the ball powders meter very well through my measures, and I don't have to trickle. A half grain +/- doesn't seem to change my groupings at 100-200 yds.
    I mostly load rifle on a single stage, but there is no reason you couldn't do it on the turret. Priming on the lee turret is easy and reliable. I bailed on hand priming long ago when I was dealing with 223 cases. Some of those primer pockets are TIGHT (even after the crimp is removed)

    use a good case lube and you don't need a massive press.

    also, for me, compared to reloading handgun, reloading rifle kind of sucks. the whole sizing lube, trimming cases thing makes the process about 10x longer and more tedious.
  11. AshMan40

    AshMan40 Member

    Dec 4, 2017
    For the OP, your background is with straight walled pistol cases. As you have realized there are a few extra steps related to necked rifle cases you need to consider. Some are optional but many are needed or at least highly suggested. Most deal with case prep. Here are my steps when reloading rifle bottleneck cases for maximum consistency. Steps with * are the same steps used in straight-wall pistol cases.
    1. Remove old primer. Decap using a decapping die (This is so the cleaning step will partially clean primer pockets.)
    2. Clean the cases using a wet tumbler + stainless pins
    3. Dry cases + inspect + sort by headstamp
    4. Remove primer crimp (where needed)
    5. Clean primer pocket
    6. Debur inner primer hole (one time only)
    7. Lube case (if full-length resizing)
    8. *Reszie using full-length (or neck sizing) die
    9. Measure case length
    10. Trim case length + deburr edge of case mouth (inner & outer)
    11. *Prime case
    12. *Powder charge
    13. Inspect powder level
    14. *Seat bullet to OAL
    15. Crimp case mouth
    Some of these steps can be done in bulk (eg. priming all cases). Other steps feed into the next step and should be done one case at a time (eg. seat bullet + crimp case)

    Do you need all of the above steps? No. If you are bulk loading plinking ammo and are not concerned with precision, you can skip many of the steps.
    Lubing the case is probably not something you are familiar with if your pistol resizing dies were carbide as they would not have required case lube. But this step should not be skipped when full-length resizing bottle necked cases.
    Steps 1-5 are for prepping previously fired cases before resizing. If you are reloading new cases you can skip all.
    You may also be able to skip steps 7-10 with new cases. But if using previously fired case you really must check the case length AFTER resizing. Bottle necked cases often stretch when coming OUT of the full-length resizing die.
    Finally, step 15 is optional and sometimes even NOT advised for many situations.
    peterk1234 likes this.
  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    Looks like a good plan. I would call Hornady and see how much the parts would be to convert your LNL powder measure... all you need is the 2 screws and the handle, that's how I use mine on my ProJector. You can just buy a set of Lee dippers, they are something like $10... dumb story, I waited something like 20 years, frustrating myself by dumping powder with a measuring spoon for years, before dropping the cash for the Lee dippers. Save yourself the frustration... If you don't have a powder trickle, get one, and add those Lee dippers, too.

    Not a big fan of Lee dies, but if they work for you, then that sounds like a good plan. I'm an RCBS or Hornady die guy, but they all do the same thing.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice