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Posted: 12/25/2012 2:38:39 PM EDT
I am not new to reloading by any means, but I am running into a problem when I am reloading 308 for my gas guns.

The problem: Depending on the rifle, the rounds are either chambering and are hard to extract by hand, or not able to completely chamber and still hard to extract by hand. They shoot fine and cycle fine, but problems by rifle are: SCAR 17 hard to extract by hand but otherwise work fine. Colt 901 very hard to extract by hand and hard to get them to chamber from the magazine. If I lock to bolt open, insert a full mag and release the bolt, the bolt doesn't quite fully go into battery. If I manually put the first round into the chamber and let the bolt down, then insert the magazine, it runs through the whole mag without a problem.

Specs on the ammo: Once fired lake city brass, wc844 mil powder, magtech primers, and 147gr full metal jacket bullets. Brass is withing spec length as well as the cartridge overall length, fit fine into 20lr pmags.

Specs on the reloading equipment: RCBS AR series 308 small base dies, Lee turret press, crimp applied with a lee factory crimp die.

As it sits right now I am kinda stumped, the 223 that I have loaded up with the exact same set up, including RCBS AR series dies, work perfectly. The only thing I really noticed between the commercial ammo I have that works perfect in the 901 was it seems like the shoulder hight on the reloads is too high. The only thing I could think of there would be that maybe the ammo was shot out of a machine gun with a long chamber, but it seems like my sizing die should fix that.

Any ideas guys?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 2:45:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 2:45:43 PM EDT by borderpatrol]
Your loaded round headspace is too long for your rifle. If you are already cammed over on your single stage you will need to remove metal from the top of your shell holder. Use 600 grit wet/dry sand paper or emery cloth and circlular or figure-8 motions to remove metal. Use your caliper to find the pre-sandiing height. Remove .002" and readjust your die downward to take advantage of the new clearance. Repeat as needed.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 3:31:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 4:47:44 PM EDT
One small point to add- get a case gauge for every caliber you load.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 4:58:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 5:00:00 PM EDT by steve4102]
Originally Posted By dryflash3:
Your not sizing your cases enough.


Right, screw the sizing die into the press 1/8 turn at a time until an empty case chambers and extracts with ease.

Genaric set up of the sizing die is to screw it into the press until it touches the shell holder PLUS 1/4 turn more. You may need more than 1/4 turn.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 5:03:18 PM EDT
get a case gauge for every caliber you load

This really saves a lot of headaches and frustration...............
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 6:10:22 PM EDT
read the 223 tutorial on how to use a case gage to set up a sizing die, the steps will apply to .308 as well.
Make sure you trim the cases if needed after sizing, the drop in case gage will tell you if the cases need to be trimmed as well.

Then make 5 dummy rounds (no powder or primer) and load them in a mag and cycle through your gun manually of course.

If they cycle and look good in the gage then you can go live. Use a factory round in the case gage to see if your sized cases fall in the same spot between the high and low steps on the gage.

You can use a kinetic bullet puller to pull and salvage the projectiles from your dummy rounds

The factory round is good to get you in the ball park on how deep to seat your projectiles. Double check with calipers to make sure your OAL is under max
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 6:42:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 6:46:18 PM EDT by SteelonSteel]
Most likely in my estimation is your crimp is messing your round up. Try the rounds before crimping. Good chance they go in smoothly.

Eta- check fit all the way through your reloading stages$m. After Sizing, after seating, and again after crimp. Where you find the problem will tell you your issue. Eta2 those drop in gages are not the same cut as your chamber.
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 7:07:58 PM EDT
The drop in case gage wont tell you what a Hornady headspace Gage will
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 8:16:45 PM EDT
I don't see a mention of trimming. How do you trim the sized cases?
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 12:46:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By glorifiedG:
The drop in case gage wont tell you what a Hornady headspace Gage will

and vice versa, both are valuable tools.

A request for anyone that has both tools, has anyone adjusted their sizing die per a drop in case gage and then checked the case with the Hornady gage and found them to be off by a significant amount? If so, only reason I can think of is if someone has an out of whack chamber and needs the Hornady gage to resize their brass properly, otherwise, the drop in gages work just fine
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 1:40:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2012 1:41:27 PM EDT by steve4102]
Originally Posted By SteelonSteel:
Most likely in my estimation is your crimp is messing your round up. Try the rounds before crimping. Good chance they go in smoothly.

Eta- check fit all the way through your reloading stages$m. After Sizing, after seating, and again after crimp. Where you find the problem will tell you your issue. Eta2 those drop in gages are not the same cut as your chamber.


He is crimping with the Lee Factory Crimp Die. Almost impossible to cause this kind of problem with the LFCD.

It is possible that he has his Seating die set to over crimp thus buckling the case before he crimps with the LFCD, but the LFCD isn't his problem.

Link Posted: 12/26/2012 7:51:31 PM EDT
I believe borderpatrol hit it right on the head, I realized that with the 223 that I was loading I was using a rcbs shell holder, on the 308 I was using a lee shell holder. I'm in the process of tracking down an RCBS shell holder and see if that fixes it. Might pick up a case gauge at the same time.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 2:06:53 AM EDT
Get a case gauge. I have sized some brass for my M1 using the headspace measurement from hornady. The base was not sized enough and the would not chamber. I have 223 brass that would not go into the gauge because the rim was too dinged up from previous firing even though the shoulders were alright according to the caliper measure.
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 3:47:17 PM EDT
If the problem was not enough sizing, I'd rather remove material from the bottom of the die rather than the shellholder, but that's just me. FWIW, I feed my gas guns with an RCBS X die without any problems since initial brass processing. This is with milspec duplicate loads using milsurp brass and bullets. YMMV.
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