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Posted: 2/20/2023 9:34:07 AM EST
I bought a Lymann turret reloading press from someone in 2021, it's probably over 50 years old.  I have the press, a hornady auto charging electric powder measure, plenty of cases/primers/powder etc.  What I don't have is experience or knowledge.  I am specifically trying to load 175 SMK for my 308 Mrad rifle.  Currently I am shooting 175 GGG and Federal gold medal match but would like to get into reloading.  My questions is, what gage do I buy to measure acceptable overall length?  I see a Wilson product that Lymann seems to also have that is a go/no go for cases.  Is there something for loaded cartridges or do I use calipers for that?  Is all of this info in a  reloading manual?   I don't think I can download Sierras loading manual but I can download Hornadys.   I know I am wandering around, I don't have a lot of experience with these.   I am trying to use 2520 with a 175 SMK in brass that is already primed.            
I shoot a lot, different guns and calibers.  I know very very little about reloading.  Any help or constructive criticism is welcomed!
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:49:43 AM EST
Use calipers to determine the overall length, then use your gun's chamber to determine if it loads.
That's the best gauge.
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:49:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: Nobody69s] [#2]
To measure overall length you need a set of calipers.
Or if you want to measure to the ogive of the bullet (which is more accurate) you need something like Hornady's Bullet Comparator tool.

Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:50:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: HBruns] [#3]
You have to measure it.
Then compare that number with the spec.

If you can't measure it, there is no way of knowing.

---yes, a case gauge is a measuring device.

A case gauge is the correct tool to use to ensure the loaded round is sized properly.

Overall case length is measured AFTER the case is sized and before it is a finished round.

There is another concern, especially for heavy/long bullets.
This concern is - How far is the bullet from the lands in your particular rifle.
No fixed gauge is made for this because rifles differ and bullets differ.
There is a particular tool that you can get for this measurement. Most people who reload don't use it.
Because in most cases, a bullet seated to an appropriate depth will be an appropriate distance from the lands.

In most cases, having the bullet at or jammed into the lands is "bad".
When this happens, the bullet takes a lot more force to start moving down the barrel and pressure builds much faster, often into unsafe levels for an otherwise normal load.

I suggest getting hard copies of a couple different loading manuals. Some of them go into great detail about all of this. Load data is given later in the manual.
I have forgotten which manuals are best for this, as I was reading all this stuff in the '80s and getting deep into tight necks & fitted rounds in the 90's.
Damn I'm getting old.  
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:50:53 AM EST
A quality 0-6" caliper is what you need.  I'll let others make their suggestions of which are a good value for the cost.
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:55:15 AM EST
Buy (I know, horrors!) a hard copy reloading manual. The first 100 pages or so cover all the basics that you need.  Alternately, or in addition, go get the "ABC's of Reloading" (available on Kindle if you want digital format).

And yes, there are various 'gauges' that can simplify things. I'd recommend getting a set of calipers (digital will make your life a lot simpler) and learning to use those.  Eventually you'll need some kind of comparator gauge of you are resizing center fire rifle cartridges - which you will understand more once you read that introductory material mentioned above.
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 9:59:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: AeroE] [#6]
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 10:23:14 AM EST
Thank you everyone for the help, I have a chrono and digital set up calipers.   Sorry I should have mentioned that.  I was going to buy a Sierra reloading manual, and I will get the ABCs of reloading that was recommended.  Are there specific manuals I should or should not be using?
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 12:17:27 PM EST
OP, case guages are neat, and fast, but only if they match reasonably close to the actual chamber of your firearm..A much more accurate way is start with a SAAMI print of your cartridge..It gives you every single dimension of both the chamber and the cartridge(they are different) they both will have a range of dimensions, which goes from a minimum spec to a maximum spec....With that drawing and some cases shot in that chamber you can get an almost exact picture of the chambers dimensions and how you need to size cartridges for it..
Link Posted: 2/20/2023 12:51:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: AeroE] [#9]
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