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Old February 25, 2013, 10:47 PM   #1
bigclubs
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.308 Die Questions

Not quite new to reloading, but have a few questions about various descriptions used on .308 dies. I am looking to aquire a set of dies to begin reloading my empty brass. I have about 50 brass cases to reload that I have fired from my Savage 110 bolt action with a detachable mag., I'm not 100% sure all the brass is from my gun. (1) what is the difference between RCBS Small Base Die and Short Base FL. (2) I see Lee has a set of dies, what is the difference between Pacesetter and RGB series. (3) Difference between 2 die set -vs- 3 die set in .308. Is it better to have 3 dies?
I have a Lee Precission Press (uses 1 die at a time). I have used it with RCBS dies to load @400 (.380 auto) and Lee 3 set die set to load @300 (30 carbine) over the last several months.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:04 AM   #2
Marco Califo
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1. Get a reloading manual. 2, Read

Small base dies are for auto loading guns (usually gas operated). You don't need that with your Savage.
Full length sizing is the standard, normal resizing dies, you need one.
Neck sizing die is optional, and you can full length resize everytime. Neck sizing keeps the brass closer to your guns chamber. Neck sized brass is only used in the exact same rifle as fired before.
Quote:
Short Base FL. (2) I see Lee has a set of dies, what is the difference between Pacesetter and RGB series. (3) Difference between 2 die set -vs- 3 die set in .308. Is it better to have 3 dies?
Short base FL (Full length) - never heard of.
Lee Pacesetter is Lee's standard, They are good and worth the $3 extra.
Lee RGB Really Good Buy are about the same but do not come with the shellholder and dipper that Lee supplies with their other dies (worth the $3).
3 Die sets have 3 dies.
2 Die sets have two dies. Got it?
Now that we have the math straight, "standard" is FL Sizing Die and Bullet seating dies which also crimps. That is TWO dies.
You need to read the product descriptions carefully, but many add the neck sizing die as the Third die for rifle, but pistol dies may include a powder through neck expander, and/or a factory crimp die.
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Old February 26, 2013, 07:47 AM   #3
Bart B.
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bigclubs, a standard two-die full length sizing die set is all you'll need to make very good ammo for your .308 Win. cases. The sizing die's used to push out the fired case primers and resize it back to about factory dimensons. The other die's the bullet seater, used to seat bullets; just don't screw it too far down in the press or it'll start crimping the case mouth onto the bullet; bad stuff for best accuracy. I'd stay away from neck sizing dies as you'll still have to use a full length sizing die after 4 or 5 reloads on a neck only sized case anyway.

I suggest you get a good reloading manual, such as the one from Sierra Bullets, then read all that stuff in it about handloading bottleneck cases. Learn the terminology, different die uses, setup and use procedures.
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Old February 26, 2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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My feeling is that the Lee Deluxe set is the better choice. For a bolt gun you'll never need the factory crimp die that comes with the Pacesetter set.

I use a full length sizer on brass that I pick up from the range. For brass that I know came out of my bolt rifle I only use the collet neck die. So both sizer dies have a very useful role.

Another note is that if you full length size, you have to use a lube and then you have to remove the lube, either by wiping it off or tumbling.

If you only neck size, no lube is needed and you could forego the cleaning step.

In .308 I only run small batches at a time, so I use the Lee trimmer system, chucked in a drill and while the brass is still in the drill, I'll occasionally run a Scotch Brite pad over the case to shine it up. Looks as good as a tumbled case in FAR less time than it takes to tumble.
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Old February 26, 2013, 11:52 AM   #5
Bart B.
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HJ857, if you neck size without cleaning and lubing fired case necks before hand, how do you keep your dies from being scratched?

I've never known anyone do use such a process until I saw yours.
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Old February 26, 2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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If he's using the Lee Deluxe set, then he's got their collet die for neck sizing, which sizes the neck by pressing it inward against a mandrel rather than by sliding it into a constriction, as most dies do. It should be less prone to scratching for that reason, though, personally, I still get all the grit off the outside of the case and the carbon out of the inside of the neck to achieve the most uniform bullet pull. I then also set the shoulder back about a thousandth in a body die, but that's a whole other discussion.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:53 PM   #7
HJ857
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Unclenick made the correct assumption. Though I don't recall ever seeing grit on my cases as a problem. If I were using an autoloader that spat cases all about, then sure. For a bolt action were my cases never even hit the ground, not so much.
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:04 PM   #8
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Is there any reason here why one couldn't FL size the brass, then follow up with a run through the collet die? I would think that this would minimize run out on the FL sized cases throughout the case life regardless of neck thickness, and keep the neck tension under better control.

The only real problem I can think of would be that depending on the case and neck thickness, it might be hard to slip the collet die mandrel into the FL sized case.
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:20 PM   #9
lll Otto lll
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Just get the Lee Deluxe set to start off.
As you gain experience you can graduate to Type S dies, neck bushings, competition seaters, Lapua brass etc.
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Old February 26, 2013, 02:39 PM   #10
HJ857
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Quote:
Is there any reason here why one couldn't FL size the brass, then follow up with a run through the collet die? I would think that this would minimize run out on the FL sized cases throughout the case life regardless of neck thickness, and keep the neck tension under better control.

The only real problem I can think of would be that depending on the case and neck thickness, it might be hard to slip the collet die mandrel into the FL sized case.
This thread started the very same question.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=517081

I've been considering an initial test of this idea as soon as this weekend, but is also contingent on getting some bullets that are overdue in shipping.

I prepped 15 cases this morning using a basic RCBS FL die and the Lee Collet Neck Die. The FL sized cases fit in to the Collet die just fine.

The idea makes some sense, but if you read through a number of Bart's recent posts regarding FL sizing, which is darn interesting, it's easy to assume that neck sizing is irrelevant or unnecessary.

My feeling is that it's a matter of to what level of handloading precision are you striving for, or perhaps, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:00 PM   #11
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I called RCBS and they told me their small base die sizes the case head 0.002" more than their standard base die.

You can get away with standard dies for bolt guns.
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Old February 26, 2013, 03:45 PM   #12
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Yesterday, 10:47 PM #1
bigclubs
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Join Date: January 6, 2012
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 2 .308 Die Questions

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not quite new to reloading, but have a few questions about various descriptions used on .308 dies. I am looking to acquire a set of dies to begin reloading my empty brass. I have about 50 brass cases to reload that I have fired from my Savage 110 bolt action with a detachable mag., I'm not 100% sure all the brass is from my gun. (1) what is the difference between RCBS Small Base Die and Short Base FL. (2) I see Lee has a set of dies, what is the difference between Pacesetter and RGB series. (3) Difference between 2 die set -vs- 3 die set in .308. Is it better to have 3 dies?
I have a Lee Precision Press (uses 1 die at a time). I have used it with RCBS dies to load @400 (.380 auto) and Lee 3 set die set to load @300 (30 carbine) over the last several months.
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Bigclubs, I have purchased thousands of cases from the range. in my opinion it is mindless to full length size cases ‘JUST BECAUSE THE CASES WERE NOT FIRED IN MY CHAMBERs!, I am a case sizer, I size cases to my chambers, my favorite case is the case that has been shot in a trashy old chamber, it is simple, I know the length of the chamber, I adjust my sizing die to size the case length to off set the length of the chamber, rational, I want to cut down on all that case travel.

Full length sizing die, my favorite die, I can size a case in as many as 26 different length from .012- (under a minimum length/full length sized case) to .014” longer than a minimum length sized case (again) with one full length sizer die. That makes my full length sizer die, the versatile die. That puts my full length sizer dies in to the category of (rare) dies that can ‘actually’ move the shoulder back TOO FAR! You hear that a lot, a die (bumping) ‘pushing?’ the shoulder back too far. Setting the shoulder where I want it is no accident...for me.

I have dies, there are not many dies I do not have, my favorite die is the forming die, among my forming die the 308 W is my favorite, after that comes the 243 Winchester forming die. Neck sizing dies and small base dies? I have them, I do not need them, When a full length sizing die fails to restore my cases to minimum length I know it.

A bad habit is about failing to keep up with a cases ability to resist sizing.

I have RCBS small base dies, in the glossary of terms published by RCBS they claim small base dies are equivalent to a very well mad/cut full length sizer die. I do not have to call them to determine the difference between small base dies and standard dies, I can measure the difference.

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Old February 26, 2013, 09:06 PM   #13
bigclubs
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Thanks for the information about the .308 dies, I have reloaded years ago, but it's been a long time since my brother and I reloaded rifle rounds so this was a refresher course. I will be picking up a set of full length dies since I ususally pick up range brass, used brass at gun shows and online. Reloading 30 carbine, I regularly mic the cases to make sure they still fall within the case limits. Once I pick up some more powder I will be loading .308, 32 win Special, .41 mag and 30 carbine. I need to check powder selections for each caliber yet, so need to get a copy of the latest reload manual. Thanks again

One other thought: do you find the .308 cases stretch a lot and need to be trimmed to length, or does the full length dies correct this the majority of the time?
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Old February 27, 2013, 06:29 AM   #14
Marco Califo
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Used 308 brass will need to trimmed, more so than, for example, 223. It does seem to stretch more. Furthermore, most of the commercially available 308/7.62 MilSpec brass available will have been fired in machine guns which tends to puff the brass out significantly; including length. This is because auto loading weapons have loose chambers by design, to ensure reliable feeding and extraction at high rates of fire. That makes the cases more difficult to resize initially, but subsequent resizing after firing in your bolt gun will not be as difficult, and hopefully you will not need to trim every time.

I do have some commercial 308/7.62 brass (R-P) which I like, and also foreign military surplus, which are reloadable if they are boxer primed. I like AFF (So. African) as it seems on par with LC and better than TAA, which for some reason, when I have a case issue, its is one of the TAA's. If you can find WW, R-P or other new commercial range brass, you are good. A lot of military surplus will have Berdan primers and can not be deprimed and reprimed on the common equipment.
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Old February 28, 2013, 10:24 AM   #15
F. Guffey
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BigClubs, it is something akin to ‘THE SHADOW’. “WHO KNOWS!!?” “WHAT EVIL LURKS ...etc.,” I don’t, BUT! The 308 W is shorter than the 30/06, the 308W is larger in diameter but shorter than the 30/06. The 308 W has little trouble keeping up with the 30/06 when both are shooting 150 grain bullets. Then there is that part reloaders have so much trouble getting a grip on, the WSM case takes a beating when fired, again, the WSM is larger in diameter and and shorter, meaning the case takes a beating, or gets a hammering from the inside out when fired. Back to the ever present question, “I can not size my WSM cases, no matter how much bumping I do I can not bump the shoulder back, what must I do? The number one answer has to do with bump and bounce, a no win condition.

Then there is the Chinese (finger) hand-cuff principle.

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