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Metallic rifle reloading... What all do I need?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Zeede, Feb 18, 2008.

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  1. Zeede

    Zeede Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have lusted after a M1 Garand for awhile now, and I may be able to get one in the next few months. That said, I will want to get into reloading, as centerfire rifle prices are scary.

    I'm no stranger to shotshell reloading, but I wanted to ask the experts here what exactly I will need to reload 30-06, and what the approximate cost of the equipment will be.

    I will not be shooting any sort of benchrest stuff, and no trips to Camp Perry for me either. I'll just be shooting at man-sized targets at 100 yards or less, for fun (BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG - PING!). Therefore, all the stuff I've read so far about weighing cases, measuring internal volume, is all stuff I hope I can do without.

    Obviously I have a scale already, but I'm not sure what kind of reloader I'll need. I would also love some recipe recommendations, as I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages of all the different bullet weights are. I will be, after all, just shooting at paper.

    Secondly, I'll plan on buying some military surplus ammo, if only to get the 8-round clips. Is it safe to reload surplus brass?

    Since the brass will only be shot in my Garand, can I get away with just neck-resizing? With brand new factory ammo, how many reloads should I expect? Any particular brand of factory ammo brass that reloads better than others?

  2. NuJudge

    NuJudge Member

    May 20, 2006
    SE Michigan
    Answering in inverse order

    Neck sizing is not sufficient with a Garand. You will risk out-of-battery or slam-firing. Ordinary full-length sizing is sufficient on all the .30-'06 Garands I have used, but I have two .308 match prep'ed Garands that require Small Base dies.

    Virtually all surplus will be fine in a Garand. Beware of Corrosive ammo, because detail stripping and water-based solvent cleaning would be required after shooting it. The Greek ammo available from CMP and some other vendors is fine in a Garand, but some of the clips don't work that well. Throw away those Greek clips that do not work well. US GI clips always work, and they last forever. The Greek brass gives sticky extraction out of Springfields, in my experience, but no problem in Garands.

    For reloading equipment, try and figure out the volume you intend to shoot. If your quantities are going to be high enough, go progressive. I load pistol ammo on progressives because of quantity issues. I load rifle on single stage because the quantities are not as large.

    For single stage (or turret) press loading, you would need the press, shell holders, loading block(s), trimmer with appropriate collet and pilot, case lube and lube pad, powder measure and funnel, A LOADING MANUAL and (if the press did not have one) a priming tool. A case gauge would be a really good thing to have.

    The various manufacturers make up package deals. Midway has treated me really well and has the broadest offerings, but their prices are usually a bit higher. When I was younger I went strictly with RCBS, which in 40 years has only sold me one piece of junk (an early Piggyback progressive). Of late, I have been very impressed with Lee equipment.

    The right powder burning speed is in the 3031-4895-4064 speed range, which will not give you as high a velocity as slower powders, but the gas system on a Garand is set up for them. Slower powders will damage your op rod, which is about 1/4 the value of your rifle.

    I've shot lots of different bullet weights, but never gotten anything heavier than 175 grains to shoot well. Virtually everything I shoot now is 150, 165 or 168 grains.

    There's a lot of talk about using less-sensitive primers to prevent slam firing. For many years I used Federals, which are amongst the most sensitive, with no problems. About 10 years ago I switched to Winchester, because of availablity issues, again with no problems. Lately I bought a lot of the CCI less-sensitive primers. Just make sure the primers are a little bit deeper than flush: a protruding primer will give you a slam fire.

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