.338 Lapua Reloading Die questions

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by kdumph, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. kdumph

    kdumph Well-Known Member

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    Finally did it and put an order in for a custom .338 Lapua. Now I haven't reloaded for close to 6 years and got rid of all my old stuff. Now that I have about a 1500 dollar shopping cart at midwayusa I still need to select a pair of dies. Seems Foster and Reeding are the most recommended. I'm having issues figuring out the which set though, there are ones with 3 dies and 2 dies. From 300 dollars to 30 dollars...
    First question, how important is the neck sizing? I have never done this, does Lapua brass need to have the neck resized along with body after every firing? Or only do neck?

    Which do you do first, neck then body?

    317.00 Redding competition bushing 3-Die Neck sizer set, Is the extra 200 dollars really worth it?
    117.99 Redding Deluxe 3 die?
    96.99 Forster Ultra 2-Die set 338?

    Any other quirks I should know about reloading this round other then having to give away my first born for powder and Bergers?
     
  2. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    I am a Redding fan. The competition seaters are fantastic. For my 338LM I bought the type-S bushing die set, with body die and comp seater. I have a few smaller calibers where I use the comp neck sizer die, and it is nice too. I typically bump the shoulder 2 thou every time I load, so I am considering a FL bushing die for my next build (vs using the body die and neck bushing die in separate steps).

    My strong preference for loading accurate ammo is to use a bushing set-up and a competition seater. All of my set ups are Redding, but I have heard great things about Foster as well.
     

  3. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    This is what I use and love them. They use to be $220 but have went up like everything else. I still buy them as they work so well for me. If you just want ammo there are less expensive routes. If you want precision hand loads then this is what I recommend.

    Jeff
     
  4. coyotezapper

    coyotezapper Well-Known Member

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    My 338L

    Redding neck / bushing and body dies
    RCBS Gold Medal seating die
     
  5. kdumph

    kdumph Well-Known Member

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    Alright so doing some more reading here is where I'm at....
    With the redding comp 3-set you are able to select different bushing's for the neck sizer in effect allowing you to use this with just about any caliber?

    Which bushing do you use with new Lapua brass? 365? After how many loads typically would you have to go to a larger bushing such as 366? Am I understanding this concept correctly?

    So which die should you use first, the neck or the body? I'm guessing neck first?

    Oh my other question is how big of roll does the actual shell holder play here? Seems to be it simply holds the case.

    Iv read the information on redding website on this, but still confused is there somewhere else I could read up a bit more?
     
  6. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    Neck sizing dies are NOT interchangeable between (most) calibers. The bushing just gives you the flexibility to precisely control neck tension and eliminate over-sizing (ie constricting the neck way down then re-opening it on the upstroke like a conventional FL die).

    New Lapua brass should not need to be sized, neck or otherwise. Just load and go!

    For bushing selection, Redding recommends that you measure the OD neck diameter of a loaded round (in the brass you intend to use) and subtract 1 or 2 thou. I always end up buying 3 or 4 bushings to cover a range, especially if I intend to load using different brands of brass. I'll see what bushing I am using for 338LM (Lapua brand) later today and post it. It will be FYI only, as you will need to make sure your brass isn't slightly thicker or thinner thus needing a different bushing size.

    As far as sizing, a lot of guys only neck size for bolt guns. After a number of firings, the brass is difficult to chamber so they use the body die to bump the shoulder back slightly. I personally do this step at every reload as a matter of preference. I typically body size first and then neck size. Not sure it matters...
     
  7. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    One more quirk - you need to FIND powder and Bergers and then beg someone to take your firstborn in exchange. Other than that you have it covered! :D
     
  8. kdumph

    kdumph Well-Known Member

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    I'm really hoping that by the time my rifle is built the supply and demand of things are getting back to normal, 6 months or so from now.
     
  9. varmintH8R

    varmintH8R Well-Known Member

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    I looked and the bushing I am using is .367. YMMV, as they say...
     
  10. kdumph

    kdumph Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, I'll just wait to load a few up before I buy the bushings.
     
  11. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    365, 366 and 367 are the popular bushings for the 338 LM with Lapua brass. In most cases .366 and .365. It depends on the final thickness of your necks.

    You can probably start with a .366, but after 4 to 5 firings neck tension will start to go away do to the work hardening of the necks. Then you will need to drop down to the .365. Unless you anneal your brass. Then it will be the same all the time

    Jeff
     
  12. torrentuser

    torrentuser Member

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    I have an Accuracy International AX338MC. I've just shot my first ladder. I used Lapua brass but I also have some PPU that I use to warm up the barrel. I've taken the calipers to the outside neck width of the once fired case and found an average around .3735 with variances at the shoulder near .3780 and the tip at .3705.

    I just got an outside neck measurement from an unfired Lapua .338 case and found it was .366.

    Everyone in the thread and forums suggest I get the 365, 366, and 367 neck bushings for my Competition Redding Neck Sizing die. Why is that? Should I still get these or get something around .3735?

    Also, from my reloading manuals, the case dimension for the .338 Lapua neck outside width should be .3710 at the tip (according to Nosler). Are things different for my rifle? Explain which neck sizing bushings I ought to order and why. Finally, if I buy the three suggested, then which of the three do I run my brass through?

    Thanks so much!

    -Torrentuser
     
  13. coyotezapper

    coyotezapper Well-Known Member

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    Measure the neck of a loaded unfired round and then subtract .002-.003" for bushing size. Measure a few to get an average.
     
  14. torrentuser

    torrentuser Member

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    I got the following advice: Measure the neck of a loaded unfired round and then subtract .002-.003" for bushing size. Measure a few to get an average.
    I did and I consistently got .3675 inches. With that, advice, I'd get ordering:
    366, 365, .364

    Agree?