The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 4, 2013, 03:31 AM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: February 9, 2013
Posts: 110
New to Reloading. .308

I am going to get into reloading here very soon as match grade ammo is expensive. I know making match grade is not too cheap either. I ordered a lyman case prep set and a lee single stage press along with a deluxe .308 lee die set and a decapping die. I am going to slowly buy everything I need as it is hard to find stuff. So I will be asking questions throughout this thread.

My first questions are:

What primers do you guys recommend and what do I need? Bolt action

What powder is good for a bolt action?

And I am going to go with sierra match king bullets 175. I will be shooting distances at 300-1000 yards. Mostly 300-500.
savagest is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 03:38 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: May 6, 2012
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 1,670
Re: New to Reloading. .308

First you need a reloading manual. You don't buy a powder based on the type of gun, you buy it based on the bullet and primer that you will be using.

Right now finding components is very hard, almost as hard as finding factory ammunition. Varget is a good powder with the 175 gr SMK, but there are others as well.

The most important thing that you will need is another reloading manual (you should have at least 2)... They will answer all of your reloading questions.

You can also check to get loading info for a 175 gr SMK (it will help you with what powder to use and starting and max loads).

You will need large rifle primers. Brand doesn't matter too much, but once you pick one and get a load working with it, stick with it.

Last but not least, before you buy any components (except bullets, grab them if you find them) get a good reloading manual. Pick a load that you want to work with, and then go find those components. Don't find random components and then try to find a recipe to put them together. Just like with cooking, get the recipe first, and then the ingredients.

FWIW, my rifle likes 155 gr Lapua Scenars over 44.8 gr of IMR 8208 XBR, Federal cases, CCI BR-2 primers, and an OAL of 2.810"

Last edited by allaroundhunter; March 4, 2013 at 03:54 AM.
allaroundhunter is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 03:53 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: February 9, 2013
Posts: 110
For sure. I am just getting started. I am not doing anything serious until i get a book or two. The only thing i am going to do is prep te cases.

What are some good manuals out there?
savagest is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 03:56 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 6, 2012
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 1,670
Re: New to Reloading. .308

Originally Posted by savagest View Post
For sure. I am just getting started. I am not doing anything serious until i get a book or two. The only thing i am going to do is prep te cases.

What are some good manuals out there?
I would recommend that you get the most recent Lyman manual, and the Sierra manual since you are going to be shooting Sierra bullets. With those two and the Internet, you should be covered pretty well.
allaroundhunter is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 09:37 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: November 30, 2012
Location: Spring City, PA
Posts: 497
I reload .308 alot! I bought the Nosler 6th edition manual. Its very straight.forward and being a beginner, it was very easy to follow and understand. I reload 150gr sierra but i did start with a 180gr sierra. I use IMR4320 for the 150gr and IMR4350 for the 180gr. And as the other gentleman said, buy the manual first, then buy the components. Also, i find, as a beginner, that a boat tailer bullet is easier to work with then a spitzer simpmy because until you get a feel for seating, its easier to press without shaving the FMJ or ruining you casing neck. Also, if you are reloading for a bolt action rifle, here is a VERY easy and precise way to find your seating depth. Take a case that is NOT resized. Push the neck against gour bench to make a small flat spot on the neck. Take a bullet and slightly push it into the neck until its straight and held in place. DO NOT push it all the way in. Now, open your bolt and place the UNPRIMED/UNCHARGED "dummy" round into your gun. Close the bolt. Open and close the bolt a few times and what youve just done is seat the bullet to YOUR specific rifle. What ghat does is eliminate head space and boost accuracy. Double check you overall length against the spec in the manual and then set your die to seat to that depth. Factory ammo is made with head space so it can accomodate different rifle brands. You will IMMEDIATELY notice your accuracy get better. One thi.g to look for though. If you use this.method, after gou fire a few rounds, look at the it "flattened"? If so, then take your die down about a quarter turn to allow slight head space. You should see a difference in the looks of your spent primers. I use CCI and federal, which ever is available. Both have worked well for me. And if you can, save you plastic trays from .40s&w rounds, they make good reloading trays and will save u a couple bucks. I grab them from the trash at the range when im there.
Jeff2131 is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 10:08 PM   #6
Junior member
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,046
Varget and Sierras are good. I also shoot tons of Hornady 165 gr SSTs.
BuckRub is offline  
Old March 4, 2013, 10:32 PM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: February 5, 2013
Posts: 3
Wow, prepare to drink from a fire hose, cause you're going to get flooded with info from everyone.

First and foremost when reloading, identify the purpose of the cartridge you are going to reload for. I assume because you plan on loading SMKs that you're shooting competition? Or atleast not for hunting, as SMKs are not hunting bullets

If competition is your goal, then you've got your work cut out for you. Unfortunately allaroundhunter nailed it, it's hard as hell to find components right now.

Don't limit yourself, every rifle is different, some may like the 175 SMK some may not. What twist is your rifle? If you have a 1:12 you might want to look at a lighter bullet like the 155 Palma. If you've got the 1:10 a 175 would work pretty well but don't be afraid to experiment.

You NEED a manual, if you haven't already been told that enough.
Ensure that you only load within the manual's specifications. People have a lot of good recipes on the Internet but don't load to the unless they are within a manuals safety limits.

Precision shooting is nothing more than eliminating as many variables as you can, by that there are many things to consider.
- case prep (probably the most important aspect of precision shooting)
Weigh each case (From the same lot) and set aside each piece of brass that weighs any more than say half a grain, to ensure uniformity of volume within the case. Ream the primer pockets, debuted the flash hole, make sure all cases are trimmed to te same length, and chamfer the neck.

Powder- there are many powders out there, and most of them great. It really depends on your rifles appetite. That's where research comes in. When I am looking to develop a load, first I select the bullet for the mission, which seems like you already have. Then I do research on "pet loads" for that bullet in that caliber. There will be a ton of information out there, but look for a lot of repeats, i.e. a ton of people saying the same thing, say, 43.5gr of Varget with the 175SMK works best in theirs. Take that information and look in your manual, and make sure that is within the safety limits of the load. Then you've got something to test. I usually start about 10% of where i see alot of repeat recipes, and load up in increments of .2 grains. Load in groups of 3-5 cartridges per charge. once you have a few groups its time for a range test. But First...
Another consideration:
Seating depth is another consideration when loading, seating depth is how deep you seat the bullet into the case. for precision shooting, send an email to Sierra and see how far off the lands they suggest you seat the bullet. The lands are the beginning grooves of the barrels rifling. more often than not they suggest .030 - .070" off the lands. but consider your internal magazine as well. If you cannot load the ogive of the bullet off the lands, and fit the overall cartridge length within the max length of the internal magazine, that may be an issue for you, if you don't care, and would then rather single load your bullets, then you're good to go. Pick on ONE seating depth for your test (remember, you want your test to only measure ONE variable, in this case it would be the powder)

Once you have your cartridges to test, go to the range, and try em out. if you find one you like, then go with that, if you don't like your results you gotta keep testing. you can change up your variables, bullet, primer, brass, powder, seating depth, whichever.

I wish it were easier, but it took me quite a while to find my pet load.

I didn't adress each variable, because theres books written on that stuff, and too much info for a forum reply.

One last thing to think about when trying to get the tightest MOA group you can get, is understanding that the cartridge is one of three aspects of precision shooting.

Precision shooting is based around
- the equipment (your rifle and optics)
- the cartridge
- the shooter

The Equipment: couple things for your rifle you may want to consider
- The stock - if your stock isn't bedded, do it. it will make a world of difference, whether its pillar bedded, glass bedded, full length aluminum bedded, always better than nothing. Make sure your barrel is floated. and test your trigger tension, find a tension you like, but you definitely don't want it very tight, because that will effect your group quite a bit.
- the barrel - its very important for you to understand all of the physical things that happen as soon as the firing pin hits the primer. understand how temperature effects the whip of your barrel. When testing a load, shoot every shot only once the barrel has cooled.
- The Optics - get yourself some quality optics, plain and simple, if youre shooting out to 500+ you need some good glass. for a beginner, I would suggest the Vortex Diamondback 4-12x 40mm. Its a good scope for a good price. but it isn't the best of quality either. if you have money to spend, look to Leupold.

The Cartridge - We went over a little bit of that, but do your reading and research.

The Shooter - The most important thing for you to tighten your group, is shoot shoot shoot. I would suggest getting something like a bolt action 22LR. Cheap to practice with, accurate, and no recoil to develop bad habits. You can even do that with a pellet gun (set up an indoor range in your garage with a bb gun or pellet gun, remember the goal is trigger time, doesn't matter what kind of projectile)

I think thats more than enough to digest for now, but if you have any questions please let me know.
Nate_Sandback is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 12:20 AM   #8
Junior member
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,046
Very nicely put Nate. Why didn't I run into someone who would have been helpful say 20+ years ago when I really starting reloading. Good Read.
BuckRub is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 01:57 PM   #9
Bart B.
Senior Member
Join Date: February 15, 2009
Posts: 6,318
Wolf primers are about as good as one can get these days.

No reloading manual will answer all your questions. Several have bogus information in them, especially Lee's information on crimping case mouths onto otherwise perfect bullets. Best "myth" I've seen in loading manuals is their saying a cartridge lays in the bottom of the chamber when it's fired; that's physically impossible for bottleneck cases. Over the years at looking through several, Sierra Bullets' manual probably has the best info over all.

Head space in .308 chambers is the distance from the bolt fact to the shoulder point that's .400" diameter. Overall cartridge length is the distance from the case head to bullet tip.

A 1:12 twist works great for bullets from 160 to 190 grains from a .308 case for 1000 yards if the barrel’s at least 24 inches long. Lighter bullets need a longer barrel; 30 inches for 155's to leave at 2950 fps or more.

As brand new unprepped .308 Win. cases not even sorted by weight have a track record of shooting no worse than 3/4 MOA at 600 yards (1/3 MOA at 100 yards) from good match rifles, case prep is not the most important aspect of precision shooting.

I doubt any powder in a .308 case has shot bullets as accurate as IMR4064.

Shoot at least 10 shots per test group; 15's better. Any less and what they show isn’t all too credible for representing where all shots with that load will go.

Seating bullets into the lands for shooting them has always produced the best accuracy for Sierra’s bullets. Berger’s VLD ones need a few thousandths jump.

Either boattail or flat base bullet seat with equal ease and without scraping jacket material off bullets when the case mouth's at the right diameter and has a smooth rounded edge.

As the metalurgy properties of rifle barrels doesn’t change in the temperatures they reach when shot, they all whip the same for every shot fired. How else could one shoot 40 shots 20 seconds apart from a .308 rifle into less than 2 inches at 600 yards? That’s been done. Arsenals testing 7.62 NATO match ammo shoot a couple hundred shots per test group at the same rate and they all land inside 6 inches at 600 yards for National Match lots of ammo. If your barrel changes point of impact as it heats up, it's either fit poorly to the receiver or not stress relieved correctly.
US Navy Distinguished Marksman Badge 153
Former US Navy & Palma Rifle Team Member
NRA High Power Master & Long Range High Master
NRA Smallbore Prone Master

Last edited by Bart B.; March 5, 2013 at 09:12 PM.
Bart B. is offline  
Old March 5, 2013, 06:38 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Posts: 1,201
Check out reloading videos on Youtube also. Once you get there search "ammosmith".
TheNatureBoy is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11925 seconds with 9 queries