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Old June 21, 2007, 11:03 PM   #1
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Reloading rifle vs. handgun

I've been reloading for several years but it has all been handgun ammo, 9mm, 10mm, .38, .357, .40, .45Colt and .45ACP. I would like to begin reloading some .223 and .30-06. Is there a major difference in reolading these rifle calibers as opposed to the handgun calibers? Anything special to "watch out" for?

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Old June 21, 2007, 11:35 PM   #2
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Not a big difference. Most noticeable will be...

1) You don't bell the throat, so you'll have to hold the bullet until it enters the seating die.

2) You'll have to lube your cases when using a full length sizing die.
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Old June 21, 2007, 11:49 PM   #3
Smokey Joe
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Reloading rifle...

SKS--Differences from pistol:
1. With bottleneck rifle cases you can't use a carbide die, so the case must be lubed if you're full-length (FL) sizing the case. I say again, MUST be lubed. Otherwise the cases will stick in the die, a situation annoying at best, at worst you have to send yr die back to the manufacturer for stuck case removal.

1a. There is an ongoing debate as to the best case lube to use (probably RCBS Lube #2, and Imperial Sizing Die Wax, get the most votes) and the best method for removing the lube from the resized cases (use a tumbler with corncob medium. Every other method is more putzy.)

2. With cases you're reloading for re-use in the same bolt rifle, you can neck-size the cases instead of FL sizing them. This eliminates the need for lube. Case lube has to be removed from the newly resized cases, an extra hassle. The best die for neck-sizing-only is the Lee collet die. The Lee die squeezes the case neck around a mandrel rather than sizing it too small and then resizing it to the correct size--Less working of the brass, longer case life, more accuracy.

3. For bolt rifles, you don't have to crimp the case necks. Levers and semi-autos will still require crimping.

3a. With lead bullets, you still will have to bell-mouth the cases. Most rifle reloaders use jacketed bullets, probably partly to avoid bell-mouthing and then resizing the bell-mouth.

4. Your powder charge will almost certainly be larger with rifle reloading. It's appalling how fast a pound of powder will disappear through the powder measure. This is even more true if you are reloading one of the magnum cartridges.

These are the major differences I can think of right on the spot. Others will probably point out more. But basically, if you are an experienced pistol ammo reloader, then reloading rifle ammo will not be all that difficult for you to adjust to.
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Old June 22, 2007, 12:50 AM   #4
Tim R
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Smokey..I agree with you on every thing except 1 small item. I've shot 1,000's of reloads in my service rifles and don't crimp. I shoot '06, 308 and 233 in the gas guns.
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Old June 22, 2007, 12:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input guys. Makes me want to go get some dies tonight but it is a bit late for that.

I'm going to load 30-06 for hunting and .223 for fun! My last two trips to the range I picked up nearly 700 .223 R&P cartridges so I figured it was time to reload these too.
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Old June 22, 2007, 08:36 AM   #6
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I don't crimp any of my reloads either, and I reload for .30-06 Garand and .223 AR-15 Semi Auto's, as well as a 7mm Rem Mag bolt gun. For the .30-06 and .223, I say buy a bunch of Hodgdon Varget along with those dies and some small and large rifle primers and you'll be good to go.
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Old June 22, 2007, 08:46 AM   #7
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Second the Varget but get the Hornady one shot spray a lot easier than lube.
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Old June 22, 2007, 09:21 AM   #8
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SKS - get a stuck case remover, you will need it sooner or later. For me, that's the major difference
between pistol and rifle reloading.

Roc - I was not happy with Hornady One-Shot spray lube, and went back to rolling the brass on a pad. Too many stuck cases!

It takes 15-20 minutes of cursing, drilling, tapping and pulling to get a stick case out of a die. Takes all joy out of reloading.

The only spray lube I was ever happy with was old Dillon's oil-based spray. They discontinued it about 10 years ago, probably because people were not washing the resized cases, and oil would deaden the primers and weaken the powder.
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Old June 23, 2007, 03:04 PM   #9
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Linear - The Lee deluxe rifle dies come with the stuck case remover so I'll probably go that route.

Thanks to all for the input. I'll probably head to Cabela's this afternoon and get some goodies.
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