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December 30, 2000, 06:39
I am in the need of some questions concerning reloading dies for a .308. Is it better to use small base dies or full lenght dies or neck size only? I have always heard that if you shoot only one gun for that caliber you need only to neck size as the case is "fire formed" to the chamber.
I know it is cheaper to buy surplus ammo and I have done just that. But the only range I can shoot FMJ ammo is at least an hours drive. I can shoot soft points at a reange that is only 20 minutes away.
Comments, suggestions welcome!
December 30, 2000, 09:18
FWIW, I use a small base die for my Mini 14 and AR. I use a standard full length die for my M1 Garand. I really haven't gotten serious about reloading for either one of my FAL's, but anyone that I have talked to about it says to use a small base die for the 308. I have standard dies for my 308 bolt rifle, and have reloaded a little for my l1a1 and have had problems. Whether it was my bad hesse receiver, or the dies, I'm not sure. Since I had the l1a1 rebuilt I haven't messed with reloading for it. The nice thing about living where I do there is an old stip job about 10 minutes from the house and I shoot there.
Hope this helps,
December 30, 2000, 10:22
I reload quite a bit. I have found that the FAL's in my stable prefer full length resizing. It makes for more reliable feeding. All of the mil-spec FAL's will take brass sized with the normal 308 dies.
However, both of my DSA FAL's require the RCBS small base die to feed reliably.
If you are only able to purchase one die set, I'd make it a small base die set.
I hope this helps you.
December 30, 2000, 11:11
Full-length sizing is a must.
Make sure you adjust your sizing die to size the neck only to the bottom of the neck without touching the shoulder. If you shove the shoulder back on your brass, you are asking for case head separation.
Don't depend on the instructions to "install shellholder, raise ram, screw sizing die in until it contacts shellholder, then lower ram and screw die in 1/4 more turn, then lock in place." Tolerances aren't always matching. ONLY SCREW IN THE SIZING DIE UNTIL THE ENTIRE NECK IS SIZED. This will size the case body adequately.
I have the RCBS standard die in .308. It works in my L1A1 with British barrel and chamber and bolt. I am going to replace it with an RCBS "X-Die" to avoid excess case stretching. People tell me this die sizes enough for FAL chambers.
Neck sizing only is for bolt actions or single shots in which the brass is always to be fired in the smae rifle.
December 30, 2000, 21:34
In addition to Buff's post, I'd recommend full length resizing at a minimum for ALL semi-auto rifles. The brass is being yanked out of the chamber after just having expanded to grip and seal off the chamber. Neck sizing only can and probably will result in a stuck case. The tighter the chamber, the harder it will be to extract that case.
Is DSA having their chambers cut on the tighter side of 308 specs? I've only reloaded 308 for an FN 50.64 and an M1A standard. Full length resizing with Lee dies (not small base) has been fine.
The post below mentions manufacturing variations between different die manufacturers. I wonder where my Lee dies fall in that range.
[This message has been edited by Wadman (edited January 02, 2001).]
January 02, 2001, 10:23
Most standard full-length resizing dies do not size fired cases to original, un-fired dimensions. This is because most rifle caliber handloaders use bolt actions, and over-resizing cases shortens their life and probably reduces accuracy.
Pump, lever, and self loading rifles generally need to have the brass sized down to original dimensions, hence the need for "small base" dies. The die should make full contact with the shell holder in order to completely resize the brass to original, un-fired dimensions. Ammo made from this brass should function through any rifle of any action type as long as its chamber and headspace are in spec.
You should not experience case head separations if your chamber and sizing die are within specifications. Case head separations are a prime indicator of excessive headspace, and if you are getting them I would recommend finding out if it is the rifle's chamber or the sizing die that is at fault. I have a good number of semi-auto .308/7.62 NATO caliber rifles (various manufacturers) and I use a small base sizer adjusted to make firm contact with the shell holder. I use the same military cases in all of them and I have never had a case head separation. All of their chambers are in the middle of headspace range; not too tight and not too loose.
Also, accepted manufacturing tolerences and differing engineering philosophies will have dies being sold where some will resize cases to a greater degree than others, even dies from the same manufacturer. One manufacturer's small base dies may very well equal another manufacturer's standard full length dies.
My experience and 2 cents.
January 02, 2001, 10:36
DSA barrels were cut to 308 Match Specs. and are a bit on the tight side.
Mil-Spec FAL's were cut to 7.62 NATO and are "looser".
January 02, 2001, 20:26
My 2 cents,
I've recently gotten a CIA FN and had several hundred rounds
I had reloaded with small base RCBS die. Shoved them in and started
firing. Did fine till I bent the gas rod so another is on the way (enterprise
had a turned one piece rod on sale for 24$).
But here is my tale;
Had a 760 Rem pump for several years and with factory brass it worked
fine with the old RCBS full length, but when I gathered up some
mil brass It would not chamber with the full length,
bought a set of small base dies and still no go a lot of it.
(I learned to chamber the rounds after resize to check before
reloading, saved a lot of pulling.)
I had to run these cases through the SB die several times before they would chamber
in that 760, but the FN has had no problems.
As to that military brass some have said it might have been fired
through a machine gun and the tolerances are greater there,
down right sloppy if true.
"When a strong man armed, keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace."
--Jesus Christ [Luke 11:21.6]
January 03, 2001, 17:38
May just be the case length. Most Mil-Spec cases I've encountered are waaaay over long and require major trimming. Try a search for "trimming" and you'll likely see all the comments on how and how much.
Best of luck,
They call us the"Right", don't they?
January 03, 2001, 17:46
REFINISH GUY/GUN THINGS.COM:
"within spec" is the weak link. Some manufacturer's "specs" are pretty loose, and they will vary even from operator to operator at the same maker.
If you look a the bottom edge of the inside of anyone's resizing die, you will see a beveled edge there. The bevel will vary from die to die and from mfg. to mfg. as well as caliber to caliber. Just cranking the die down to contact the shellholder doesn't insure the entire case body is reduced to un-fired diameter because some of it is never touched, there whenre the bevel is.
I have seen lots of sizing die/shellholder combos from the same maker that, when adjusted as instructed ("Install shellholder in ram, raise ram, screw sizing die down until it contacts shellholder, lower ram, screw die down 1/4 more turn, lock die in place."), will shove the shoulder of the case back too far when resizing the case, creating an excess headspace situation for that rifle and cartridge combo.
The thing to remember is that each rifle chamber and sizing die dimension is unique, and will differ from other ostensibly identical rifles and dies even when "withing spec."
You need to check it for YOUR rifle and YOUR dies. Mark the fired case shoulder/neck area with a marking pen or by smoking it. Install your shell holder and raise the ram. Screw your sizing die down to where it touches the shellholder. BACK THE DIE BACK OFF ONE FULL TURN. Lube and resize the case. Examine the neck/shoulder area. You should be able to see where on the case the neck is sized to. You want to resize the entire neck but stop before you start to move the shoulder. Then, clean the lube from the case, and try to chamber it in your rifle. If it chambers easily, lube another case, run it into the sizing die and lock the ring on the die with the case in place, the ram still up, which will help center the die in the press, which helps with finished cartridge concentricity.
If the sized cartridge does not chamber freely, check the case length. The necks lengthen as they are fired and resized. Trim if needed, then deburr and chamfer the case mouth and try again. If it still won't chamber easily, then try screwing the die down no more than 1/4 turn at a time.
This assumes you already know your rifle chamber's headspace is okay.
There came a point in my shooting/reloading adventure when the entire "headspace concept" lightbulb came on. A lot of case head separations occur in rifles that have in-spec headspace, because the shoulders of the resized and reloaded cases were moved back by following the die makers' instructions without realizing the die was slightly out of spec, and thus they sized the neck away from the chamber shoulder or the cartridge base away from the bolt face.
I know why some gunsmiths hate reloaders!
January 03, 2001, 19:21
well I have loaded quite a few 308 win. rounds for matches and without getting into all the reloading facts. for the most part I was concerned with a couple of things 1. you never want a jam no matter if it is on the first round or the 20th round. on a 308 win. gas gun I always use a small base die and run it down twice then clean it and check the length with dial calipers.
2. I always drop the case into the chamber and move it around, and then I always know it will feed and chamber. 3.I have always used compressed loads and checked about every five rounds to make sure they fit it the mag and are not too long. 4. I always use cases in groups bye buying 500 or a 1000 at a time and even after the first time fired I check the cases for tell tale rings. l.c. match is famous for case seperation after even the second or third reloading. I use one of those lighted large bench magnifiers and look for a ring that starts to form about a third of the way up the case. if you see a ring that shines toss it out. alot of people use a dental pick to run it up the inside of the case to check for a ridge but found it a little over kill as soon as a small number of cases start to be defective I just tossed the batch out. usually after the third or fourth loading. theres so much you can write about reloading but these are just a few of the things that kept me from never having a problem after I started useing them. thank you jon
January 03, 2001, 23:30
You have a good grasp on things:
1- Size the whole case
2- Check the length
3- Check it fits the chamber of the rifle you are going to shoot it in.
4- Don't be too cheap a bastard, your eyes, face, fingers and gun are worth more than a big pile of brass. When in doubt, throw it out.
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