.308 reloading

Discussion in 'Handloads' started by wired, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. wired

    wired Guest

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    I finally got my .308's front sight ramp installed, so I'm going to be shooting it a lot more, and want to do it for all my "bigger than rabbit" hunting. I was looking at the prices of a box of 20 rounds of premium rifle ammo. Ouch. I didn't feel as bad when I looked at some other ammo out there, though. Still, I'm interested in reloading for it.

    First off, could anyone who reloads .308 give me an idea how much they're saving compared to premium factory loads? Also, I'd like an opinion on going minimalist (to begin with, anyway). I'm thinking of going with the Lee Classic Loader. No, I don't care how long it takes to reload them. I just want a good bullet that doesn't have a premium price, with a better selection over what bullet I can shoot out of the thing. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    After the start up costs,which can be rather expensive with dies, loader, bullets, powder, primers and other sundry items, reloading for rifles and pistols becomes inexpensive and fun. You can build a load to suit your hunting or shooting needs. Unlike reloading shotgun shells,this is a real money saver. Shot shells can be bought for almost if not less than reloading.

    A box of premium shells may cost ya $20 or more. A box of reloads may cost ya less than $10.

    HWD
     

  3. mountainview

    mountainview Super Member

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    HWD (as usual) makes some good points. Since I've started reloading I've had to buy a PAST shooting pad since I've been able to get to the range a lot more often and shoot far more than I was able to before reloading. As a bonus, I've shrunk groups and learned a ton of things about ammo while engaged in my new "hobby". There is some investment in powder and bullets but unless you are trying a lot of different loads, the cost to get started is not too bad. I'd suggest paying the extra to buy the "better" bullets up front such as Hornady, Speer, etc. The bulk cheapie bullets usually gave me lousy groups even though the same bullets in factory loads worked very well, even with the primo bullets I am still saving some coin over factory.

    The Lee Classic is a very good way to start. It is simple, easy to use, ammo is every bit as good as stuff from presses, and the set-up is not costly which is why I started with it. The only reason I graduated to more costly dies and a press was due to arthritis since my hands can't sustain a lot of impact and banging now.
     
  4. wired

    wired Guest

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    Thanks for the info, guys. I will definately be getting good bullets, because that's my whole reason for reloading (other than costs). Not only that, it will allow me to shoot my actual hunting ammo when I'm getting sighted in and checking bullet drop. For plinking and just goofing off at the range, I can always get cheap sh!t and not bother reloading, though.
     
  5. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    If you're gonna buy cheap stuff for plinking,buy shells that you can reload,i.e. Rem,Fed,Win,Hornady. Some of the FMJ stuff comes with nonreloadable cases for about the same price as good brass. Just a thought!

    hwd
     
  6. wired

    wired Guest

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    I don't really shoot the cheap FMJ stuff for plinking as is. I usually stick with the Remy and Win for most of my shooting, and every now and then I'll get Federal. Good brass won't be much trouble for me to come by.

    I did some more looking and have another question. I was looking at the Lee Classic loader, and I found the Lee Hand Press. Are these two different? What all comes with the Classic, and how does that thing work? When I first saw the Classic, I thought it was the hand press. Also, what's the deal with cleaning the brass? Is it that necessary to use a tumbler or some kind of special solution?

    One more question on the powder. I've seen sets of scoops in reloading gear catalogs, not much unlike measuring spoons you'd use in the kitchen, that have certain volumes. Would these work well for the type of reloading I'd be doing?

    Thanks for all your input thus far. The more I research I do on it, the more questions I come up with :shock: I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
     
  7. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    I don't know much about the Lee Loaders. If I were buying another one tough,it would be one that was made to be munted on a bench. I believe that the hand loaders are just that. Stick shell in one end,smack with hammer to resize and knock out primer and so on. It may be nice at the range,because of portability,but not something that you'd use regularlly.

    You'll need something to clean the cases.Whether it's chemical or a tumbler is up to you. I've got a tumbler that I've been using for almost 20 years. I suppose that they can wear out but this ine still works fine.Just change the media occassionally. Cleaning the brass and lubing it helps with hte esae of loading. One stuck case and you'll lube and clean every case that you ever load again!

    I've not used those little scoops. I prefer to weight my charges. Get a set of scales and throw those things away or use them in the kitchen. Get one of the powder measures that you mount to a bench. These have a meter on them that allows you to increase or decrease a load.


    HWD
     
  8. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    If you get really obsessed, you get one of the electronic scales that couples with a powder trickler; normally, they're painfully slow, but the scoops are really handy now; you find one that gets you 95% of the required charge and let the trickler top it off. Cuts the time way down, and gives you powder charges that are VERY consistent.

    Short of that, like HWD said, a bench-mounted powder meter is the way to go. The only problem with powder meters is when you have a long rod-type powder - then they can get inconsistent. But now, most of the manufacturers are coming out with short rod versions of their old long rod powders to solve that problem.
     
  9. wired

    wired Guest

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    Since I've never reloaded before, I think I'm gonna start out with the Classic for now. That'll let me get some experience in handloading under my belt, and I'll probably appreciate a nicer loader even more later on. The Classic is cheap enough for a "trial period". Even if I used the scoops, I'd use some scales as well, just to ensure the accuracy of the loads.

    When reloading rifle cartridges, is there different loading data for different brass? From what I've seen on shotshell reloading (something else I'm looking into, since I'm getting myself a 28-gauge Beretta o/u for a graduation present) there are different recipes for different hulls. If I use Winchester brass, will the recipe be different than if I was using Remington brass?

    Thanks for the continued info. I wanna do this correclty from the start.
     
  10. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    Unlike shotshells, Metallic shells will generally take the same powder charges. What you will find is that you can have different points of impact with different brands. Why? WHo knows!Not me! I just accept it and load only one brand of brass.

    As for your 28...Go buy a Mec Jr. This will do all you ever want.


    HWD
     
  11. wired

    wired Guest

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    Whenever I finally get the 28 and start reloading for it, I was planning on getting the 600jr, actually.

    Well, I've got some Remy brass saved up and I've got some Winchester brass saved up. I guess I'll be flipping a coin on which ones I use and which ones I leave at the range for other reloaders. If I use the Remy brass, is it recommended that I use Remy primers?
     
  12. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    No. Just make sure that you're buying Large Rifle primers and not MAGNUM RIFLE primers.

    Don't leave the brass at the range. You might find that one does better than the other,so keep it all. Youy may even be able to trade some to someone for the kind you use.


    HWD
     
  13. wired

    wired Guest

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    Good idea, HW. Even if I load it and prefer the other, I can find something worthwhile to do with it.
     
  14. wired

    wired Guest

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    Dang. After looking at some price lists, I might go with something other than the X-bullets for a while. Those things are pretty pricey. If I was going black bear or elk hunting I'd probably go for it, though. Even the good Hornaday bullets are less!
    Just for practice, I think I'll probably just start with some Core-Lokt or Powerpoints or something.

    I'm gonna be picking up some reloading gear this week. How much depends on whether I get a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars or not :wink: .
     
  15. mountainview

    mountainview Super Member

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    Wired, welcome to reloading and a fun new hobby. I'd go for the Hornady bullets off the bat. For some reason the factory Rem and Winnie loads will shoot great in my rifles but group lousy when I used the same bullets in my handloads. I reckon I could have tinkered with scads of different powders,primers, etc to see what would make 'em work but that seemed to be uneconomical. Once I went with Hornady bullets, I rarely have problems getting good groups and loads and I'm still farther ahead than buying most any namebrand factory load. I started out using the little Lee Classic and the thing works fine, a bit slow but works. Since I now got arthritis, I've had to move on to a regular press setup but the Classic was a great way to learn the ropes and I still use it when I only want to load a small lot.
     
  16. wired

    wired Guest

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    I would have picked up enough reloading components to start tossing some loads together, but I ended up buying a pair of Leupold Wind River Mesa binoculars instead.

    I heard a local reloader say that for brass that has only been fired once, you can clean them like you're washing dishes (dish soap, water, bore brush, and toothbrush). Does this actually work?
     
  17. Mule

    Mule Well-Known Member

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    Wired,

    A couple of things that are important.

    Be certain the sized cases are trimmed to the appropriate length. A too long case can get you in touble.

    A scale is a must have item. Weigh every charge. You will find dippers to be inconsistent and not condusive to repeatable accuracy. A manually operated powder trickler is a great tool to have.

    Before I had a tumbler, I polished up brass with a couple of swipes of 0000 steel wool. You can use a small screw driver to clean primer pockets.

    Your choice of 150gr bullets is fine for deer size game. Strive for accuracy, not max speed. If you can get both, good! A well placed projectile is much more important than an extra 300FPS.

    Welcome to the addiction. I have been buying loading tools for 30 years and still don't have everything I think I need.

    Shoot Safe!
    Shoot Often!
     
  18. wired

    wired Guest

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    Pretty much done getting all my stuff. Picked up an RCBS 505 scale today, along with the Speer book #13. I'm starting to wonder about that little shop now, though. He said that one jacketed bullet wouldn't be much different than another for reloading purposes, so the data on the Speer spire points would be just fine for my Hornadays. I've heard varying reports on this so far. Also, they sell powder in small sealed paper bags instead of the factory jugs. Am I wrong in thinking this might be something to be hesitant about? They've got the powder written on the outside of the bag, but that's it. This shop is pretty well known, and a lot of people get their supplies from there. I'm just wanting a few more opinions before I start hauling powders home and start filling up cases. Thanks for any advice.

    -edit- after some research and some thinking, I'm not going to worry so much about the bullet. In the Speer #13, it shows at least 5 different types of Speer 150-grain bullets, with one table of powder charges. That leads me to believe that Speer doesn't think the loading will be any different for 5 different types of bullets they produce. I figure as long as I start at the minimum, I won't have to worry about pressure problems with my Hornaday SP. I'm pretty sure I'm going to start with IMR4064, just to get the ball rolling. Still a bit skeptical of the powder in paper bags, though.
     
  19. The_Cook

    The_Cook Guest

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    Yeah pretty much the same I hear on the Speer data, also called West Coasts Bullets about the bullets I got from them .308 150grn and they said go look at the speer manual. So I think you're safe on that one.

    As for the powder in paper baggies..... The question is how much do you trust them?

    editors note: Have done only 2 rounds of reloading on my first batch of brass.
     
  20. huntswithdogs

    huntswithdogs Moderator

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    Wired,

    I'd be very careful about the powder issue. I'm not even certain that this is a legal way to sell powder. One powder can look like another but have a different burn rate. I either steer clear of the bagged and ask for a canister. Be sure to check the seal that comes on the powder before paying for it.If it ain't sealed,I'd not buy it!

    As for your manuals, check some used book stores around your area.Libraries have some manuals and generally have a copy machine. Online sources such as IMR,Hogdon and Accurate are quite good also. In a recent issue of Shooting Times, Rick Jamison listed a lot of websites that can help us reloaders.Check it out!


    HWD