308 Reloading Advice and Help

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Mirage33, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Mirage33

    Mirage33 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Hi Guys,

    I am about to start reloading .308 cal. As a beginner in that caliber (only reloaded revolver and auto pistol in the past), I am open to any help and advice. My main need for help is about gages for col/case length. I have been looking at Lyman cartridge gages as I was using them for my handgun needs but saw that many people were using gages like Hornady's fitted with a "modified case". Also, I understand the need for a case trimmer but what about a neck turner?
    I am using a bolt action so I guess I only need to neck-size, not full length (please confirm this).
    By the way, I forgot to mention: my press is an Hornady LNL-AP and rifle Howa Talon Thumbhole Varminter which mainly be used to "hunt" paper targets.
    I know that many will surely yell at me for using a progressive press with a rifle round but I want to use my existing equipment before investing more.
    Ok, it's open season, shoot out!gun)
     
  2. jlamb

    jlamb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    245
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Mirage,

    I use the Hornady guage and love it. I really allows you to find and control the Case Over All Length (COAL) at the ogive of the bullet. This way ogive to tip variance doesn't torment you when loading bullets because the ogive is more consistant.

    For starting loads I'd use Varget and 175grain Sierra Match Kings (SMKs) and Federal Match or CCI BR-2 primers. Your accuracy load will be around 43.0 grains. This load has worked well in two .308's that I've owned.
     

  3. 436

    436 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    648
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Imperial wax for case lube. {Or buy a stuck case remover}
    Lee factory crimp die {optional}
    Any good factory full length die set. {I like a long elliptical expander ball}
    Neck turning is not going to be a “have to” at this stage.
    Case trim... Just mic and trim case to spec’s in your reloading manual. Be sure to chamfer and deburr the case mouth
    After you get comfortable then you can move up into a little more high speed low drag reloading of the .308 Win.
    Good luck
    436
     
  4. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    My advice is to get started with what you have and work up.

    Many of us (I for one) spend excessive time and effort with our gadgets for loading while some just load and spend lots of time practicing with the same or better results.

    Let the rifle tell you what it needs. You may be surprised at how well it shoots just following basic/safe handloading practices.

    As stated above, start with good components that have been successful for others.
    ... lapua brass, fed 210m or cci br2 primers, varget

    Your best LRH bullet may be limited by your twist. So, check that first.

    Here's one of MANY related threads...
    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/advice-needed-73004/

    There are many more specific threads here about specific tools and methods.

    The HNL COAL and headspace gauges are great. But if not used correctly, they can be counter-productive. e.g. The modified case may have excessive headspace. So, you need to account for that or you won't be as close to the lands as you think because you're checking the distance from the shoulder to the lands rather than from the bolt face to the lands. Loading a dumby round to check COAL may be as good or better. But as with any tool/method, it all depends on attention to detail.

    A methodical procedure for load development will be more rewarding than trying too many varied components.

    Once you get started and have more specific questions, the quality of the responses will continue to improve.

    Have fun and be safe.
    Richard
     
  5. Mirage33

    Mirage33 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    ok, second try with this answer. Managed to delete all my typing. Bummer!

    First of all, thanks guys for your answers. They confirm much of what I had been researching with the hardware/components and it's always nice to have people in the knowledge sharing some of their mind.
    Just to make sure: could you confirm that, for a specific bolt action rifle, I will only have to neck-resize and not full-length? Regarding lubrication, I have noticed that all manufacturers were offering "mica" lubrication for case necks. Is that needed or just a "plus"?
    Sorry with the barrage of questions but, like rscott528 mentionned, I am trying to start with rifle rounds reloading with the minimum of equipment that will provide safe and reasonable accuracy and avoid noticing when getting ready to work with them that I am missing one and have to order it. Improvement in "gadgets" will surely come later. I have experienced that with handgun loads in the past!
     
  6. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Imperial sizing wax and dry neck lube are some of your best investments. Sometimes I'm in a hurry and use spray lube. But, I always use the dry neck lube.

    Any excess stress on the neck due to the expander button will tend to impart eccentricity (opposite of concentricity) on the neck. So, polishing your expander button can be very useful. But, you don't want to "grind" it down resulting in increased neck tension.

    There are many schools of thought on sizing. Full-length, neck-only, partial neck sizing, bushing dies, collet dies can be and are all effective when used properly.

    I like Lee collet dies which are excellent. But, they can be a little tricky to set up.

    I also like Redding Type-S bushing dies for a little extra control. And, for some rifles, I only size part of the neck.

    Full-length sizing is not required for bolt guns. But, it can be a good method if you're carefull not to over-work your brass.

    -- richard
     
  7. Mirage33

    Mirage33 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    ok, I think I now know everything I was unsure of.
    I'm going to put an order and will try to apply all that knowledge!:rolleyes:
    I'll let you know how it went.
    Thanks
     
  8. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,475
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    ok, here's a quick reloading overview...

    1. determine the primary use of the rifle (you've done that - paper punching)

    2. determine best bullet for the job based on all factors (budget, BC, etc). For the sake of this post, lets use the 175SMK as the go-to bullet since it has been mentioned earlier and is a good choice for punching holes in paper with the 308. (remember that bullet choice is paramount since it's the bullet that will ultimately be doing all the 'work')

    3. determine maximum overall length of cartridge. I use the hornady COAL gauge (the one with the modified case). This will give you a measurement of 'on the lands' (this means where the bullet actually touches the rifling). From this measurement you will probably want to start at .010 off the lands. Remember that you MUST go through this step for every type of bullet you will shoot in the rifle. this means in your log book you will record a COAL for 175SMK of 2.XYZ" and COAL for 190VLD of 2.ABC". Also, I use the Hornady Comparator to measure all cartridges as it measures on the ogive (the part of the bullet that would touch the lands). The ogive is a more reliable place to measure rather than the tip of the bullet.

    4. determine powder and primer you wish to start with. As suggested earlier, Fed210M and CCI BR2 primers are good choices. Varget and RL17 are good powder choices. Whichever you choose, start low and work up.

    5a. brass prep - determine proper case length from your reloading manual and measure/trim each case to that dimension.

    5b. brass prep - I use Redding Competition dies to neck-size only. Be sure to chamfer and deburr the case mouth.

    5c. brass prep - uniform primer pockets and deburr flash holes. there are specific tools for both of these steps and they are inexpensive.

    5d. brass prep - neck turning. if you choose to take this step, just turn them enough to clean up the necks. you want to be careful not to remove too much material.

    If you use Lapua brass you will not need to go through steps 5c and 5d. Initially, you probably wouldn't need to go through 5a.

    6. seat primers - there are lots of tools to accomplish this task. Since you have reloaded before you probably have an appropriate tool. Just be sure that it is set up for large rifle primers (handgun primers are much smaller)

    7. powder - measure each charge and drop it in the case.

    8. bullet seating - I use Redding Competition Seating dies (the one with the micrometer on top) so that you can seat the bullet precisely at the length you wish. Because there is some variation in bullets, you may wish to measure each of your finished cartridges and make any necessary adjustments. This is especially true if/when you start loading VLD type bullets and they need to be closer to or 'on' the lands.

    9. put cartridge in rifle, pull trigger, measure reasults. By measure results, I would encourage to do most of your testing over a chronograph. To shoot without one is like shooting with your eyes closed. Having the rifle shoot small groups at 100 or 300 yards is nice, but if the velocity is all over the place, then 1k is going to be difficult and give you lots of veritical stringing. Finding a load that will shoot .5moa with an extreme spread (ES) of <15fps is great.

    Notes - once all of these steps have been completed and you're left with fired cases, be sure to track how many firings each case has. I check case lengths and trim as necessary after three firings and will also anneal all cases after three firings.

    Good luck, have fun, be safe.
     
  9. Mirage33

    Mirage33 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Wow... Nothing to add or ask. Everything is there!
    Thanks a lot:)
     
  10. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,226
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Mirage- the 308 is one of the most forgiving ( or easy find a good load for ) cartridges. only one i found easier was the .222. use varget or I4064. win brass and a match bullet. i would load .030 off the lands. there is more info on the 308 at riflemanjournal.com. enjoy
     
  11. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,475
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Just wrote that quickly. Even as I re-read it now, I would tweak things a bit. Almost anyone you ask would give you a slightly different answer on how best to reload rifle cartridges. Also, as you get into reloading more and more, you will discover the techniques that work best for you.
     
  12. Mirage33

    Mirage33 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Well, now all I have to do is order the hardware and apply your knowledge to it.
    Thanks again. Don't worry, I'll be back with more dumb questions:rolleyes: I know what I know and also what I don't.