338 lapua headspace issue

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by craiger40, May 21, 2012.

  1. craiger40

    craiger40 Member

    Apr 14, 2012

    I have been having a problem getting my sized cases to chamber without setting my headspace back too far. I full length size my Lapua brass with a RCBS full length die until it chambers, then when I check how far I bumped the shoulder its 8 thousandths back. I dont want to bump my brass that much but it wont chamber if I don't. New cases chamber just fine and fired cases chamber a little tight .

    Here is some info.

    Savage 110 FCP 338 Lapua
    Lapua brass

    Headspace measurements with a Hornady gauge (which is about 2" long)

    New brass - 4.319"
    Once fired - 4.325"
    Once fired and sized - 4.317"

    It just wont size the body enough to chamber without shoving my shoulder back too far
    Is 8 thousandths too much or am I being picky , for the cost of this brass i need it to last . not to mention accuracy.

    Thanks for any ideas

  2. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2012
    what is your trim to lenght? your brass could be too long and when you push the shoulder back that might be enough to make it fit.

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Sometimes the dies are machined wrong and just dont match the chamber.

    You should not have to bump the shoulder at all until 3 or 4 firings so I would just buy a new set
    of dies (Redding or Hornady).

    Dies are cheaper than Lapua brass so it would save you some money.

    I have had this happen several times and found the new dies solved all of the problems.

  4. Max Heat

    Max Heat Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2012

    I'll go +1 on that.

    But, if your trim length does NOT exceed the length of fresh cases, then my guess is that your barrel likely has a chamber that is out of spec. But first you need to make sure that the headspace is minimal. This is especially important if you run hot loads. From the #'s that you provide, it looks like the growth of the fired cases, as compared to fresh ones, exceeds what it should, or at least could, be. If the case moves back in the chamber when it's fired, it will grow slightly in diameter (depending on how much taper it has), as well as in length, and that can only make it more difficult to get it properly re-sized.

    Starting with the assumption that the chamber specs out OK, there is the possibility that the headspace gauge that you are using could be OOS. Try taking a batch of say, 50 new cases, and setting your HS for zero slack on the largest one out of the batch. Then load and shoot a few of them. If that brings the growth #'s down, and they fit into the chamber OK after re-sizing to match new brass size (4.319), then that was the problem.

    If THAT didn't work, the only other possibility that I can come up with (assuming that the re-sizing die is OK), is that the chamber was over-cut, over-reamed, or something of that nature.

    P.S. I didn't see that other post until just now. Looks like I spent too much time with the reply window open. He is taking the position that the re-sizing die is what probably is NOT OK. And in hindsight, he is probably right to suspect that as being more likely the problem, before putting the blame on something more drastic, like the chamber. And being that he has already run into that problem more than once before, it does sound like the way to go.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  5. craiger40

    craiger40 Member

    Apr 14, 2012
    I do think that the problem is the die. I have sent this die back to RCBS before. It was leaving verticle scrapes on the neck of my cases. RCBS polished the die and sent it back. My trim to length is 2.715"
  6. craiger40

    craiger40 Member

    Apr 14, 2012

    When I try to chamber the once fired sized brass it may or may not chamber smoothly. If I eject that case and chamber it again it will chamber just fine. What in the world could cause that?
  7. mhiltz

    mhiltz Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Howdy Craiger40,

    My friend just bought the same gun as yours, and he was experincing the same sort of problems.

    First his chamber is cut very tight on his rifle, which is common with the Savages.

    Second, look at your picatinnay rail screws. The first screw over the chamber may be too long, and needs to be moved to one of the back holes.

    The third thing that he did was take it to a gun smith and have him polish the chamber up real nice.

    Now it shoots, and chambers really well. This seems like a very popular subject with the Savage 110's. You may find quite a bit more info on this subject by just browsing through a few weeks of forum posts here. That is if you find the problem does not lie with your dies.

    Hope this helps,
  8. albertakid

    albertakid Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    It is a savage issue I had the same problem call savage asap.