Sheridan Engineering case gauges

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nettlle

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Having chambering issues with my new 308 M1A and my first try at reloads for it. Loaded 20 and none would chamber. So I am going the case gauge and small base die route. I ordered a Sheridan Engineering Slotted case gauge and it came yesterday. Understandably none of the 20 rounds passed the case gauge. Really impressed with this case gauge. On bottle necked cartridges it shows everything in detail. SB die hasn't come yet.

https://sheridanengineering.com/product/308-win-ammunition-gauge/
 
I use small base dies whenever I can, because I want my brass to be as close as possible to factory dimensions. This is something I learned earning my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with the M1a. Learned from those who had problems, and learned from my problems. I have the Sheridan gauge in 308 Win and 30-06.

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at some level of brass expansion, a small base die does not have the reduction force to resize a case enough to fit in a minimum chamber. Then a roll sizer is needed. And they ain't cheap!

http://www.casepro100.com/




 
Is there some sort of advantage to roll sizing vs running a piece of brass through a bulge buster die? Other than speed I don’t see one.
 
Is there some sort of advantage to roll sizing vs running a piece of brass through a bulge buster die? Other than speed I don’t see one.

Bulge Busters can only handle short cases with minimal taper.

Don't think that's the case with rifle cartridges.
 
I am of the opinion the roll sizer can actually reduce the case head. If you look at the videos, cases are being rolled all the way down to the rim. A sizing die on the standard reloading press, does not size the case that far down.
 
Before you get all crazy with a small base die, I would color 4-5 of the reloads in with a marker, and run them into a clean chamber and into the case gauge. If you see marks on the shoulder, you need to bump the shoulders more. If you see marks on the bottom 1/3 of the case, then you need a small base die.
Im not a fan of small base dies, they over work bases and fatigue your brass. Im assuming factory ammo feeds and shoots fine, so I would be looking at the differences in the factory ammo vs your reloads.
 
+1 Kaldor's recommendation.

When I started reloading for the M1A, I encountered chambering issues also (using purchased MG fired brass). I purchased a small base die (RCBS, I believe), but it did not resolve the issue. Come to find out that I was not bumping the shoulder back enough. Ended up having to use a bit more lube (lanolin/alcohol mix) and sized the brass twice at considerable effort in order to get the MG fired brass back into spec.

A little background on the MG fired brass also...the chamber of the MG that the brass was from was apparently really loose. Close to 50% of the brass as received had signs of incipient case head separation. Scraped the ones with signs of case head separation and ended up scraping the rest after 1 reload.
 
+1 Kaldor's recommendation.

When I started reloading for the M1A, I encountered chambering issues also (using purchased MG fired brass). I purchased a small base die (RCBS, I believe), but it did not resolve the issue. Come to find out that I was not bumping the shoulder back enough. Ended up having to use a bit more lube (lanolin/alcohol mix) and sized the brass twice at considerable effort in order to get the MG fired brass back into spec.

A little background on the MG fired brass also...the chamber of the MG that the brass was from was apparently really loose. Close to 50% of the brass as received had signs of incipient case head separation. Scraped the ones with signs of case head separation and ended up scraping the rest after 1 reload.

Ive had better luck with MG brass than you, but it can be a PITA to prep. Whether its worth it is up to the individual but it is good brass.
I have an entire process it goes thru to get it ready
Step 1: Inspect - screen it to get dirt out, throw out obvious junk
Step 2: Decap it all. I do this my Lee APP
Step 3: Cut crimps. Another inspect stage as well
Step 4: Tumble for an hour in SSTL media. I think this really helps make sizing easier, it deburrs it, and it will save your sizing dies from getting scratched
Step 6: Anneal it. Makes for easier sizing
Step 5: Size it on a strong single stage using lanolin lube. I use my old Hornady single just for this reason. I use a standard Hornady sizing die without the ball. If its blown out really bad, then I will turn the sizing die up a turn and double pass it with the second pass fully bottomed out on the shell holder.
Step 6: SSTL tumble to do final cleaning. I will run it 4 hours at this point so it is factory new clean.

From here I just leave it set until I need it. Then its a quick pass with a mandrel to set neck tension, a trim on the Giraud, and then load it up. Its alot of work, so it isnt for everyone. But over time I think its a great investment especially if you shoot an autoloading 308 which really tend to beat brass up as the LC brass seems to hold up really well. I dont doubt there are other brands of brass that will be just fine over the long haul, its just that I was able to buy large quantities of LC a few years back for a good price, so I just use that. I think at some point I will buy a Dillon trimmer and automate some of the work, probably taking a first pass on the single with the die turned up, then a final pass on the progressive to do the final sizing and trimming. However once its been processed the first time, Ive never had a need to size it twice, so I would go full progressive at that point and really burn thru it.
 
Those are great gauges. I have a JP enterprises gauge for my .308 and 5.56 and the Sheridan gauge for 300 BO and if I ever had to buy new gauges for 5.56 and 7.62, I'd go with the Sheridan. For your chambering issues, I have to suggest the Redding SB body die. It's pretty cheap and it really works wonders on crappy blown out LC brass. Run the cases through the body die first and then use your regular FL resizing die to finish off the necks and shoulders. Sometimes you have to run these cases through the resizing die twice to get them sized down to where they need to be and so, IMO, it's better to do that with a body die than a standard FL resizing die. ETA: I knock the primers out first with a Lee universal decapping die too.
 
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