Handloading dies question

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by bast0573, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. bast0573

    bast0573 Active Member

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    I am new to handloading, read A LOT of stuff about it, ordered the ABC's of reloading and started reading that, but had a couple questions. I am going to be reloading .338 Lapua. What are some progressive and single stage presses that will fit that round? I was looking at the Dillon 550b. I had read somewhere that the 650 wont fit the 338, but I dont know for sure. Secondly, do I need a set of dies for everything I do? Do I need a set of dies for neck sizing and a seperate set for priming and seating my projectile? Or do I just need one set of dies and it does whatever I need? I have googled this question and can not find anything. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. WyoElk2Hunt

    WyoElk2Hunt Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend a single stage press for more precise loading than a progressive press. RCBS Rock Chucker is what i use and love it i use my Dillon 550 for piston ammo more than rifle ammo, I would also recommend Redding Dies. That is what I like over the RCBS dies. You will need a different set of dies for each caliber you reload.
     

  3. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    forget a progressive for the 338.

    Progressives are nice IF and WHEN you finally get them set up and leave them. However, they are really for high volume pistol and some rifle rounds but a 338 would not even fit any progressive available that I know of.

    Buy the rockchucker. Mine is 40+ years old and still knocking them out good as the first day.
     
  4. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    First order of business, when beginning the handloading adventure, is to purchase a good reloading manual. Read the "Introduction to Handloading" entirely from page one. Go back and read it again. Highlight any parts that you don't understand. Handloading can be a rewarding and enjoyable pastime but, if not done properly can result in misery.
     
  5. bast0573

    bast0573 Active Member

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    I was hoping someone would talk me into the single stage. It might be slower, but I think it would be more consistent. Im about half way done with my second reloading book and still have some questions. I also watched a sierra reloading video. (That helped a lot for the parts I read and didn't understand, but didn't cover everything).

    I read some stuff about pressure and proper head space, but completely lost on how to make it 100% SAFE for me and my rifle? It said if you seat the bullet too deep it could get dangerous... Anyone able to explain that to me? I want to be 100% safe with this stuff. I dont want to put anyone at risk over something I didn't understand. Especially since I take my daughters are around when I shoot most of the time.
     
  6. mtdonahue

    mtdonahue Well-Known Member

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    I'm like the rest, been using the Rock Chucker for 30 yrs +, I have Hornady, RCBS & Redding dies, I stay with Redding for any more purchases. Excellent luck with a RCBS hand primer. Would not think of loading without a digital power measure. Good luck, you will enjoy doing it yourself, gun)

    KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY & SUN TO YOUR BACK
     
  7. Wachsmann

    Wachsmann Well-Known Member

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    You might want to search youtube about seating the bullets. So starting out I set my die to seat the bullet way out (way long) and then start decreasing the length till I get to or close to my book recommended cartridge over all length or COAL I believe is the abbv. Another quick and dirty way is if you have any bought ammo place it in you bullet seater die in the press with the bullet seater screwed almost all the way out...run your bullet up in the ram very easy and then screw down the seater till it touches the bullet....next back it out about 5 full turns...This will put you close to most SAMMI spec COAL length. You will have to use a micrometer to get the preferred length making small adjust downward on the seating die measureing each time seating the bullet a little deeper each time. But then depending on which bullet you are seating say like a VLD style bullet the die or seater stem may push the bullet from the knose and not the ogive so that can make your length change slightly but nothing too drastic. Once you get the right length on the bullet lock down the seater die. Honestly the best way is to find someone close by that can walk you through the process step by step. I which I would of done that because I spent about 6 months flustrated at my reloads and and almost caused me to stop. I know cabelas here in Utah sometime gives a reloading class if you in Utah. Also here is something else to read....
    Effects of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 2 | Berger Bullets

    One other thing that really messed me up was tring to measure every load on a balance beam. If you have a powder dropper set it up using you balance bean and then charge your loads with it. If you have a electronic scale that works great for measuring your loads. I went to the charge master by RCBS and it works great. Also the hornady Lock N load charge is works great as well.

    And one last think I vote for Redding dies as well. The regular FLS 2 die set with bullet seater and the decap/expander die works very well and give you good repeatable bullet tension on the case mouth. I don't really fell the need to go to a bushing die. But if I did it would also be reading as well. I full length size every thing and I consistently get .5moa or less at 100yrds.
     
  8. bast0573

    bast0573 Active Member

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    That sounds great! Thank you very much for all of the help. So ultimately I'm only going to need a set of 2 dies for seating? And if I go with a vld bullet, I'd need a single die for that also. Right? I just hears about these vld dies the other day. I didn't know if need a special die for it, but is it just called a vld die? I'm going to be reloading 338 lapua rounds if that helps any. Thanks a lot!
     
  9. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

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    You need a VLD bullet seating stem /punch for your seating die. If the die maker does not have one then you have to buy another maker's seating die w/ VLD punch.

    Read the COAL listed in the manual for the load you are working on and use the author's COAL. That will keep you out of trouble for the most part. Don't mess with the seating depth until you have established a safe maximum load. The depth is adjusted to bring your group size down.

    I have an RCBS and a Lee hand primer and like them both. I buy extra RCBS shell holders and keep them with the hand primer. The Lee has unique shell holders so there is always those to buy. I hand prime everything!Even for the progressive press.

    There is no drawback to a single stage press. A progressive is faster, a little, but having done this for 40+ years I can crank the single stage pretty fast. I load bucket to bucket and it would amaze you how fast it can be done. My progressive is set up for a single load and changing it is a PITA. No progressive can load as accurate ammo as a quality single stage- close but not quite.

    I've had good and bad die sets from most makers but Redding is consistently quality product. My 375 Ruger is a Hornady set and it is top shelf. The seating die is as good as a press setup as there is. Only a bench rest grade hand seater is better.

    Most posters on this site reload and they are all really good at it. But the best part is everybody here loves to help the newbies. There isn't a better site than LRH!
     
  10. bast0573

    bast0573 Active Member

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    Well, I've seen quite a few assholes on here, but when I find someone good, they're usually awesome! They go out of their way to help. One guy sent me his number and we've spent a few hours on the phone while he answered every one of my questions.

    I went to order redding dies, but they were out of stock. So I decided on rcbs fl dies since I bought a single stage rock chucker. I heard rcbs are excellent products, so hopefully I'll be ok. I haven't gotten anything in the mail yet. I'm waiting for everything to arrive and should be here by Tuesday. I'm really excited, but nervous at the same time. I've read 1 book so far and 3/4 of the way done with my second book. I'm still lost at what the give is though and what they're meaning by .005" off the lands and stuff like that. I know the measurements but not sure what they mean by lands and ogive.

    Lastly, I'm lost at when you know your powder amount is good. It says to start at the minimum and work up. But how do you know when its your perfect amount. Or how to tell the sweet spot for the ogive for your gun? I may be typing this wrong... hopefully you understand. Thanks for all the advice though!
     
  11. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

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    "Off the lands" means the bullet is seated back from contact with the origin of the rifling. Try to see it it this way: you drop the bullet into the chamber and it slides forward into the barrel until it rests against the start of the barrel's rifling. Then you take a case and push it onto that bullet and close the bolt behind it. When that bullet/case comes out of the chamber the bullet is seated far out enough to contact the lands if it is put back in. This is called "jammed" or as long as the bullet can be safely seated out of the case where the bullet is just touching the lands. Anything shorter than that is going to be "back off jammed" or the measurement less than that is the bullet "jump" to the rifling. Example:

    In 375 Ruger, my current development project, maximum COAL is 3.340" which is the common maximum COAL for most SAAMI "standard length" cartridges e.i. 30/06, 300 WinMag, 7 mm RemMag, 270, etc.
    The Speer 270 grain SpBT 375 caliber bullet is in full contact with the rifling at a measured length of 3.557"
    The Savage 116 detachable box magazine has an actual inside length of 3.528" even though the standard length cartridge max is 3.340". Some clearance is required in the magazine to function reliably and keep the bullet noses from being battered when the gun recoils. So I have loaded the preliminary trial ammo at a length of 3.400". This is short enough for the magazine, longer than standard to reduce the bullet jump, and safer than having the bullet "jammed" against the rifling with a load that can only be single fed into the chamber rendering the rifle a single shot.

    So the math is: 3.557" jammed length - 3.400" loaded length for a bullet jump of 0.157". Or, the bullet is seated "off the lands" 0.157". When fired the bullet will slide unhindered for 0.157" when it then stops against the rifling origin until pressure rises high enough to push the bullet into the rifling and out the barrel. This is more than most people like to have their bullets "jump" but less than if the bullets are loaded to SAAMI's maximum COAL. If the cartridges stay put in the magazine under recoil I will definitely load the bullets out further consistent with them feeding up out of the mag into the chamber.

    All of this makes perfect sense the first time you measure the contact length of a bullet in your rifle and start dialing in the seating die for seating that bullet. My 45/70 has almost no "jump" at SAAMI maximum because the bullet leade is so short in Ruger's chambers. Might explain why it is so accurate.

    Feel free to PM any questions you have as I will gladly help anyone starting out in this fabulous hobby.

    KB
     
  12. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

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    Where are you located. If you are starting from scratch it would be beneficial to spend a little time with someone. I am sure someone would volunteer a few hours and your cloud help with the grunt work.