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Thread: Is .308 reloading a PITA?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Default Is .308 reloading a PITA?

    Does anyone else find that reloading .308 ammo is a major pain?

    First of all, most of my .308 rifles have refused to shoot factory ammo with any degree of accuracy. I can not use off the shelf soft point ammo for hunting with any 308 I own due to garbage can lid sized groups. Military surplus shoots a little better but not usually bragging sized groups. I was truly shocked and delighted that my TC Compass rifle would shoot Wolf into less than 2" groups.

    I reload about 50 calibers, give or take, and I have zero problems with most of them.

    I have reloaded hundreds of thousands of pistol rounds without a hiccup. .32ACP to .44mag and all of them shoot to sights and go bang every time.

    I can reload .303 using 7.62x54 Russian dies, neck size them, charge them and seat a bullet and they shoot like a champ! I don't even have proper dies and they work fine.

    I can crank out .223 like it was popcorn and it works in each rifle and shoots accurately in all of them.

    The same for 30-06. I have been reloading that caliber to a standard recipe for 50 years and never a bobble or complaint. The rounds work in any rifle I shove them into and shoot accurately.

    I do .308 buy the numbers and what do I get? Rounds won't chamber even when full length resized. Bolt will close on resized rounds but not on rounds with a bullet seated. Cases get stuck in the reloading dies even when properly lubed. And worst of all, no reload that works in one 308 will shoot accurately in any other .308!

    I have been working on this round for 4 decades and can not get it sorted out.

    Am I the only one?
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 02-26-2018 at 08:43 AM.


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    I have reloaded .308 for probably 40 years or more and rarely had the problems you describe. Yes, there are rifles that seem to be under or over size chambers or bores. Rifles like that I get rid of quickly. I have owned probably over a half dozen .308 rifles over that time and once I find a loading or two that a particular rifle likes, I load up several hundred rounds and mark them for that particular rifle (I rarely have more that two .308's at any one time.) I have noticed that individual rifles will prefer a particular bullet weight or shape or powder charge but Hey, thats why we reload, isn't it? I must give credit to the commercial ammunition companies, for turning out excellent loads at reasonable prices. I no longer load for my current .308 because Federal makes several very accurate FUSION loads that have given me very good bullet performance, at a price point that I have trouble meeting, with current shortages of loading supplies. I watch for sales on FUSION AMMO and stock up on what shoots best in my rifle. I shoot black bear with a 165 gr Fusion load and deer with a 150 gr load. When I went on a moose hunt last fall, I choose a Hornady 168 gr premium bullet load that shot sub-one inch groups in my rifle. (Too bad I never saw a moose to shoot at.!!) This rifle is a Ruger Frontier with a Mag-Na-Brake that will also take my suppressor.
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    Is it possible you have a bad set of dies?

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    Man, I have exactly the opposite problems with the 308 Win. I have rifle I built on a VZ24 action with a 1" bull barrel. Try as I might, I cannot load a load that will shoot like plain old green box Remington. I can get close but not as good, well maybe as good, but not better. I have a Savage 99 300 Savage that is the same way. Green Box Rem, Only 3 shot 1 hole group I eve shot. I thought the scope had cratered and I was missing the whole target. I shot another target and it likely would have been a four shot one holer.

    Consequently, I have not loaded any 308 in a long time for myself. #3 son has a Rem 700 (I guess it's called a Varminter or something like that. It has a larger contour barrel). We worked up a load and I loaded him 200 rounds a year or so ago. It'll last him a while. I'd have to look to see the load. But it shot well and no other issues.

    I bought four boxes of Rem Korlokt 150 grn just this past Sunday at an Academy in San Antonio for $15.99/box. If I keep up my present pace here lately, I'll shoot it up in about 2055.

    Alan

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizz123 View Post
    Is it possible you have a bad set of dies?
    Bought an extra set just to test that possibility. No such luck.

    I borrowed a friend's .308, actually he wanted me to zero if for him, and it did exactly the same as my own rifles. The reloads chamber like the case neck is too thick.

    Only thing my reloads chamber in freely is one semi-auto and they only shoot 1 1/2" from that particular rifle. Good enough but no gold star. The Wolf surplus does just as good.

    I am saving no money by reloading this round so I may call off the whole effort and buy factory and just keep the dies in storage in case of another ammo shortage.

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    If you are having a problem with chambering, check to see if your cases exceed recommended case length, Or try shortening a couple cases and try reloading them. It is sounding to me like a case length/case neck problem. Some times you will encounter a short chamber but if you are having the problem with multiple rifles, I think your case necks are too long.
    Last edited by Old Professor; 03-07-2018 at 10:29 AM. Reason: clarification
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    I was suspecting a case length problem but I have been using once fired brass and I have never had an issue with cases being too long in any rifle cartridge I have ever reloaded.

    I will mike some cases and see if they are exceeding recommended length on the first shot. Never having that problem I was putting off thinking about the need to trim cases practically new out of the box.

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    It is also a possibility that the barrel is screwed too far into the receiver, thereby shortening the space for the cartridge neck. Every thing you have described points to a case neck problem. Most likely with in the reloading die or rifle barrel. Since you say you are having the same problem with different rifles, that would lead me to think resizing die problem. I would try trimming the case shorter and resizing farther back on the case. (In effect, shortening the loaded cartridge)
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    It is not a rifle problem, since it occurs in each of the bolt action guns I have tried so far, three total in two different brands and varied production dates. All three rifles would not be defective.

    I have ordered the proper case trimming gear and will see if that corrects the problem.

    It makes me glad I am reloading in relatively small batches and do not have several hundred problem rounds built.

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