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Old February 16, 2010, 13:01   #1
FALaholic #: 20092
Join Date: May 2006
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Posts: 3,499
Cartmann's complete .308 Win and .45 ACP Reloading step by step (with pictures)

WARNING!!! Reloading is dangerous! Triple check reference all data points using difference sources and triple check all measurements. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!!

Users assume all risk, responsibility and liability whatsoever for any and all injuries (including death), losses or damages to persons or property (including consequential damages), arising from the use of any data, whether or not occasioned by publisher’s negligence or based on strict liability or principles of indemnity or contribution. EricCartmanR1 neither assumes nor authorizes any person to assume for it any liability in connection with the use of any data.

Cartmann’s complete .308 and .45 ACP Reloading Step by Step (pictures included)

Case Prep is a pain for .308 NATO Brass! However, once you case prepped this stuff once, it will be much easier next time. .308 NATO Brass is bad ass, and the strongest of all .308 brass.

Here we start with some Once-Fired Lake City .308 Military brass cases that Cartmann got from the FALfiles. This brass was dirty but it cleaned up real nice. Prepping this brass was very tough and not as easy as 556 NATO brass. Most .308 Military brass cases were shot from machine guns such as a M60 or M240B, these guns tend to have excessive headspace (sometimes overly excessive), and brass will balloon up bigger than normal making sizing very difficult. Also the primers on these cases are crimped on super tight and difficult to knockout. Sizing and Decapping in one motion is very difficult so it is done in separate steps for the first time when working with this brass.

7 steps in the Cartmann case prep plan when working with Military 762 NATO Brass

Case Prep #1 - Tumble #1
Tumbling - Off she goes into the tumbler. For the first tumble, Cartmann only tumbles for half hour with a cap full of NuFinish Car wax and 2 sheets of used dryer sheets. It does not get super shiny after half hour, but is clean enough to go through the sizer die. [More on Tumbling Later, see below]

Case Prep #2 - Decapping
Decapping – is another name for removing old primer. Reason Cartmann does not decap and size in one motion for this Once-Fired NATO Lake City Brass is because this brass is too tough to size and decap in one motion (as already mentioned). After sizing this once-fired case the first time, there will be no need to decap and re-size in separate steps in the future. The Lee Universal Decapping die is probably one of the best $10 Cartmann ever spent.

Lake City 05 Military Brass with NATO cross.

Decapping tube almost filled with old primers.

Case Prep #3 - Sizing
Sizing – Stuck cases in dies are common with .308 Military Brass if you do not take the time to lube every case. In the pic Cartmann is using a q-tip, but have since replaced that with a large piece Pelican foam that he drench with Mobil-1. Just roll the the bottom portion of the case on the foam, then dip the neck in the foam. RCBS X-die and Hornandy New Dimension dies both dented the brass because of excess lube. The regular RCBS full sizer die claims it does not dent brass, but even it dents brass if you use excessive lube. Only die Cartmann found that did not dent the brass was the $10 Lee Full Sizer Die, it has a very generous hole on top to release the excess lube. With this batch of .308 LC Brass, Cartmann discovered that he needed to lube every case in order to prevent stuck dies. In addition, LC brass shot from Machine Guns seems to have a lot of bounce back after sizing, so it is a good idea to resize each case 2 times to make sure these case are sized properly (2 pulls on the handle of the Press). For 5.56 LC Brass batches Cartmann has encountered, he only has to lube about 1 every 5 cases and die will still go through smoothly.

Before you size every case in the batch, best to check to see if your full sizing die is set up properly and the cases are in spec. Dillon Case gauges are pretty awesome, just drop the case in and the base of the case should fall between the 2 lines.

Case Prep #4 - Swaging
Swaging is another name for Primer Pocket Crimp Removal. Military primers are crimp in, to remove this crimp Cartmann uses the Dillon Super Swager. Cartmann started with RCBS Swaging die, but using this die was very tedious. Do yourself a favor and get the Dillon Swager! Swaging only needs to be once, the first time you work with once-fired Military Brass.

Here is the RCBS swaging die. This die works pretty good but it is much slower than a Dillon Super Swager. Cartmann no longer swages this way, and now he just uses the nipple of this kit to as a "crimp check" to see if an un-crimp is needed. If he finds un-crimp is needed, he will then use the Dillon to swage.

Here is a Dillon Super Swager.
There is nothing Cartmann can say about the Super Swager that has not already been said. Cartmann hate's buying a new tool when the old tool already does the job (RCBS Swager). However, after 5 months staring at 4000 Military Cases, Cartmann figured it is time he gets the Dillon. He had to tell myself since he save countless hours with Dillon over the RCBS, that the money was justified. This thing is easy to use and adjust, best of all it is super fast. Cartmann has his Dillon
Swager on a wood block so he can also swage in huge batches on the couch in front of a TV.

Case Prep #5 - Tumbling #2
Remove lube and make brass more shiny – Cartmann does not like wet SS tumbling or wet sonic cleaning, or at least have not felt the urge to do it yet. Most of the time Cartmann is tumbling, he is doing something else so it's not a big deal. Only thing wrong with traditional tumbling is the primer pocket does not get clean, which for Cartmann is not really a big deal.

Here you will tumble for another 1-2 hours, the longer you tumble the shinier the brass will get. Cartmann’s preferred Media is 24 grit walnut shells, it does a good job in cleaning and smoothing. It also lasts a very long time. 25 pounds of this stuff goes for about $25 at a hobby store and should last about about 80,000 cases (or more).

The Tumbler should be about 75% full with Media (walnut). Now put in about 2-3 cap full of NuFinish (or more) in media and tumble for about a minute to work the NuFinish in the Media. You do not want the Media too wet with Nufinish, because it will fail to clean if Media has too much NuFinish in it. Not enough NuFinish and cases will take longer to get shiny.

Now put in the brass till the Tumbler till it is almost full with brass along with 2-6 sheets of used Bounce Dryer sheets just like in the pic below. The more Bounce Dryer sheets you use, the cleaner your Media will stay. The Bounce Dryer sheets will also clean the oily brass, you will notice this when you are finished tumbling and observe how grimey the Bounce dryer sheets are when you finish tumbling but yet the brass and the media is pretty much grease free.

1.5 hours later in the tumbler brass comes out looking pretty good. If left for another hour they will look even better.

Into the RCBS media separator

The RCBS media separator does a good job of separating the media from the brass, takes about about 25 rotation to knock out close to 100% of the Media from inside the cases. Here is the brass after those 25 rotations:

Case Prep #6 - Trimming
Trimming and deburring – After sizing, case will grow and you have to bring it back down to spec. Max length for .308 case is 2.015", but trim length should be around 2.005 (no lower than this). The Giraud trims, deburs, and chamfers both inside and outside in one motion. Case trimming is the absolute worse thing about reloading but Giraud makes it easy and kinda fun, it's almost as good as sex. The Giraud is one bad ass tool. It not only trims, but also chamfers. You can easily do 500 cases per hour going at an easy pace.

Before Cartmann bought the Giraud, This is how trimmed his brass:
These mostly-Lee Tools only cost about $25 total. It works, but man, don't want to do this if you have to do huge batches as it's very painful and slow. But if you are only doing 100 or so cases, then this is not a bad route to go.
- Lee Ball Cutter $6
- RCBS inside and outside the case chamfer tool ($12)
- Lee lockstud for drill or electric screwdriver ($5)
- Lee .308 shell holder for lockstud ($3)
- Drill or electric screwdriver that can turn slowly (Free - you should have one already, if you don't then check in your man card and apply to be a female at the nearest FEMA office)

The Ball cutter is easy to use, it has a case length gauge and you cut until it does not cut anymore more. The gauge hits the bottom of the base thereby ceasing to cut, no thinking involved. For the chamfer tool, just half a second for each the inside and outside of the case is all you need for nice chamfer. These Lee trimmer tools are easy to use, and they work. However, they are about 10 times slower than a Giraud. Also you get the pleasure of cramped fingers with these tools if you are doing 100 or more in one sitting.

Notice the nice Chamfer the Giraud puts on the cases.

Brand New Virgin Lapua Brass. You would think these cases are full sized and ready to go, they are not. Cartmann found about 20% of these cases still need full sizing. Lapua Brass is awesome, but Cartmann prefers LC. Lapua does seem to be more consistent though when it comes to weight and volume.

Case Prep #7 - Final Inspection
Final inspection – Step 7 is important because you don’t know where your once-fired brass came from or how it was shot. Here you are looking for visible signs of brass weakness such as cracks on the walls or at the mouth. Also you want to check the flash hole to see if it is obstructed. If 762 NATO brass was fired from a Machine Gun with really excessive headspace, you will see a ring outside or inside the case. This ring is a good indication case separation will occur. Cartmann inspects about 1 out of every 10 for this sign of case separation by using a flashlight to peek inside the case for this ring.

CASE PREP COMPLETE and now we are ready to Reload!

Here are some options for Components we use for reloading.

Bullets - 4000 FMJ-BT bullets. Winchester 147gr FMJ in the white boxes, Hornandy 150gr FMJ in the big brown box

Bullets Part 2 – 1200 Hornandy 150gr Softpoint bullets received as a bonus with the purchase of Hornandy’s LNL Progressive Press. These make great hunting rounds.

Bullets Part 3 – Precision Bullets - Sierra Match Kings 168gr HPBT and 175gr HPBT bullets with fully loaded rounds (in blue boxes) using SMK bullets.

Primers – Cartmann's favorite Primer is the Federal Gold Medal Match 210M (not shown), he finds these to be the most consistent so he uses these primers with all his precision .308 Loads. Cartmann also has used CCI, Wolf, and Magtech with good results. Primers (as well as powder) is something that is good to stock up on, because you will find that there will be periods of up to a year where you will not be able to get Primers or powders. Also both Primer or powder require a Hazmat fee if you get it shipped, so it's a good idea to buy these in bulk.

Powders – For Precision .308, Cartmann prefers Varget over all others because it is insensitive to temperature and very consistent. .308 and Varget is a match made in heaven. Cartmann can also recommend H4895 for .308 and it too is a nice choice and it seems to be just as consistent as Varget. The best all around powder Cartmann has found for both 223 and 308 is Ramshot TAC. Both Ramshot TAC and H335 is what Cartmann uses on the progressive press because both are ball powders that meters nicely. H335 is Cartmann's preferred load for 223 55gr FMJ, but it also works great for .308 147 gr FMJ. Cycles great and very reliable.

Last edited by EricCartmanR1; June 09, 2014 at 13:44.
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