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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to reloading and am in the process of obtaining all my equipment. I would just like some info and clarification on dies. I was planning on the Redding Type S Bushing Full Length Sizer Die Small Base 308 Winchester, Redding Comp Bullet Seater, 308 Win, and Lee Factory Crimp Die 308 Winchester. I know I need to measure the neck of loaded cases with a micrometer and subtract .003 for the correct bushing. I have bulk lithuanian. So I just measure the neck on those loaded cases?

Can someone please explain why I am subtracting the .003 for the bushing? Also, can someone explain how sizing the brass works and then trimming the brass?

Sorry for the confusion. I just want to start out correctly and understand. I took a reloading course and learned a lot and will take a precision reloading course again soon.

Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

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I'm not familiar with using bushing dies. I normally think of them as neck sizing dies and not full length sizing dies. Somebody did describe to me a bit how the Redding bushing dies work and they sound like a bit more than neck sizing but I'm still not certain if they are 100% full length sizing dies. I do know that brass is "springy" and after being sized or compressed a bit of it will spring back larger than the sizing die. You also want the case neck to have tight tension on the bullet so it would have to sized smaller than the finished size to gain this tension. I have never used those types of dies but I was thinking to try them for a bolt action rifle. The description I got was they do bump the case shoulder a bit which normal neck sizing dies do not. I have wondered how they keep the case from bulging unless they are full length sizing dies, so maybe they will work just fine but I haven't even looked at them yet so I really don't know anything about other than what I've been told.
 

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Your on the right track with the Redding Die and bullet seater, RCBS X-dies are also excellent . I bought the Redding as a set, # 36155, Redding Type "S" Match die set. You will need bushings from .334"-.336" for military grade cases, smaller for comercial cases. I do not like the Lee Factory crimp, I got the Redding taper crimp die. The Lee one can re-shape the bullet. I did get the titanium nitride bushings and also the 30 cal. carbide size button kit. These are optional, so get what you can afford.
I think you are confusing the the headspace measurement from chamber to loaded cases. If you know your rifles headspace, you subtract .003 from that, but you must have the precise measurement. Most people use a Wilson or Dillion cartridge headspce guage. I have the Dillon one. I use a Hornady cartridge headspace comparator to make sure the cases have the same headspace. The RCBS Precision Mic is good for that measuring case headpace and bullet seating depth.
I have a good supply of Lithuanian brass too. You are going to need a primer pocket reamer and primer uniformer to get primers to fit. Some people use a swage to remove the crimp.

I hope this helps,
Glenn
 

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Up First:
Buy at least 3 different reloading manuals.
Find as many different load recipes as you can online.
Understand the difference between bullets, brass, powder and primers.

Get "Hardware":
Decide what you like/afford and buy it.
You'll also need gauges to measure and make sure your finished loads are within spec's.

Get Components:
Brass...start with fully processed LC Once-Fired cases so you don't need to mess with de-crimping primer pockets or re-sizing/length issues at first. Or start with best quality new brass and double check it's spec's before loading it.

Bullets/Primers/Powder: Best you can afford, keep it simple and start with "standard loads".

Establish Q-C Procedure

Decide how often you need to triple-check loaded rounds/primer seating/bullet seating/ powder pour accuracy.
Also, learn to "read" your fired brass for overpressure signs/primers backing out/shinny bands around the base of the caseheads.

Adjust your loading according to your Q-C findings and have fun.

Also, try "Ladder Loads":
Pick a good, safe starting place and try a few grains less, and add about 3/10ths of a grain to a few cases up to your maximum safe load ...to see what your gun likes best.

Then there's the accuracy issue of different brass/primers/powders/bullet weights once you start feeling cocky!

It never ends!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all of that info guys.

Glenn, So will a stoney point gage and micrometer be all that I need for measurements?

Also, how exactly do I measure my headspace in my rifle?
 

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Thanks for all of that info guys.

Glenn, So will a stoney point gage and micrometer be all that I need for measurements?

Also, how exactly do I measure my headspace in my rifle?
The Stoney Point headspace comparator gauge is the same as the Hornady gauge.(I believe Hornady bought out Stoney Point) So you can use them to check case headspace.

Art Luppino has an thread on getting headspace in Accuracy Unlimited. Check that out. Art's the MAN.

Glenn
 

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For someone new to reloading I would stay away from bushing dies for the time being. If you want a good set of dies I highly recommend the Forster bench rest dies the seater is just as good as the redding comp and cost less. Ok maybe the redding is better but not enough to tell the difference in anything other than a BR rifle. The .002-.003 is for brass spring back. Basically when you size the neck down the the brass will spring back open a few thousands. I use the NM set from Forster as it is like a small base die, you can get by with just a standard set of Full length dies no problems. I do recommend a good seating die like the Forster or Redding Comp. Learn the basics first then try the advanced stuff. The M1 rifles are not the best platform to experiment with. Alot to watch out for.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For someone new to reloading I would stay away from bushing dies for the time being. If you want a good set of dies I highly recommend the Forster bench rest dies the seater is just as good as the redding comp and cost less. Ok maybe the redding is better but not enough to tell the difference in anything other than a BR rifle. The .002-.003 is for brass spring back. Basically when you size the neck down the the brass will spring back open a few thousands. I use the NM set from Forster as it is like a small base die, you can get by with just a standard set of Full length dies no problems. I do recommend a good seating die like the Forster or Redding Comp. Learn the basics first then try the advanced stuff. The M1 rifles are not the best platform to experiment with. Alot to watch out for.
So get a forster full length small base sizing die?

So I size the brass and get it to the right length, then take off another .003 with my case trimmer to compensate for the brass springing back open?
 

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I believe for a beginner reloader you should just get a regular die set and learn how to reload, you don't need a bushing die set for reloading for the MIA.. you don't even need a small base die set..It's a semi auto it's gonna trash your brass.. all you need is a standard die set.. I'd get a Lee RGB 308 die set it's like $15 bucks.. save you money for your comp dies until you gain some basic know how..
If you want to get a $130 die set you can always get it after you learn a few things about trimming, swedging primer pockets.. lubing necks, anneling brass, cleaning primer pockets, deburing necks, flash holes...the difference between crimped primer pockets berdan primers bla bla bla..a lot to learn.. The X die also requires it to be set up, case trimmed to length and adjusted.. not as easy for a beginner.. as it sounds.. I think you'd be better off spending your $$ getting a good powder scale or meter, a basic die set, basic press, rock chucker etc.. Just my IMO.. B2B
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks for the info. So I will still have to trim the case no matter what die set I use, correct?
 

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thanks for the info. So I will still have to trim the case no matter what die set I use, correct?
Yes, you will need trim the cases to length. Case trimmers can be very basic, like the Lee hand held case trimmers. To fancy, like the Wilson case trimmers.

Glenn
 

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I agree with some of the other posters re: bushing type dies and measuring & controlling neck tension. These techniques are used by benchrest and long range competitors shooting bolt guns. They are squeezing the last fraction of precision out of the ammo.

You need to full length resize, trim to overall length and deburr the mouth.

Trimming to length is required because the case stretches axially when fired and resized. The case wall gets progressively thinner and can eventually seperate. The M14/M1A is hard on brass - expect 4 or 5 firings. It is a good idea to segregate brass by # of times fired. Work out a color code system and mark the base with a magic marker.

Your resizing die needs to be adjusted so that the cartridge chambers easily. If the cartridge is oversized the risk of a slam fire increases.

Cartridge headspace gages are available for this purpose. I use a Mo's micrometer type.

Keep it simple at first.

Regards

Jim
 

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So get a forster full length small base sizing die?

So I size the brass and get it to the right length, then take off another .003 with my case trimmer to compensate for the brass springing back open?
Well you don't need small base dies but some semi auto chambers require them for reliable feeding. The NM dies from Forster are specifically made with the M14 in mind. I used RCBS full length for a couple years and never had an issue. The spring back I was referring too was actually for neck sizing when using a bushing. Let's say your loaded round necks measures .336 you subtract .002-003 for a proper bushing size. Headspace is another thing all together. Typically in a bolt action you measure all your fired cases then bump the shoulder back .003-.005 with a full length die. This help with reliable feeding and reduces over working the brass. You can't do this the same way with a semi-auto! If you want to measure the headspace you need a precision mic like the one RCBS sells. I just use a cartridge gauge from Wilson. I really don't worry about over sizing the case in my M1s. I usually toss all my brass after 5 reloads anyways. The bolt action is a different story.
 

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I use the Forster Trimmer with the 3-in-1 trim/chamfer/deburr tool and absolutely love it. Big time saver compared to trimming and manually chamfering and deburring, and it is super consistent once the blades are set correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again for all the responses. I was under the impression I needed the bushing die to reload the m14. I was getting a bit intimidated by the complexity of this, being a new reloader.

So I need a full length sizer die? It can be small base, but does not need to be?

Do the seater dies crimp? I thought I needed the lee factory crimp die, but then read that others don't use that. What's the best option to crimp?

Thanks.
 

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Thanks again for all the responses. I was under the impression I needed the bushing die to reload the m14. I was getting a bit intimidated by the complexity of this, being a new reloader.

So I need a full length sizer die? It can be small base, but does not need to be?

Do the seater dies crimp? I thought I needed the lee factory crimp die, but then read that others don't use that. What's the best option to crimp?

Thanks.
I've been using standard Lee full-length sizer dies without any problems. You may or may not need small-base dies depending on your chamber headspace. The small-base is the safe bet, but if you can just use a regular full-length sizer, your brass will last longer due to less working/hardening of the brass. I know for sure that the Lee seater die can do a roll-crimp if you set it up that way. The deluxe set comes with the factory crimp as well, another option. I personally don't like to crimp unless necessary. I figure that it already cost enough time and money in other parts that I might as well load all match-grade Sierra or Lapua bullets, which will usually never have a cannelure.

If you're new to reloading, I'll recommend the Lee Single Stage Press kit, an excellent way to learn the ins and outs with reloading and give you an inexpensive idea of what reloading can do for you. It takes longer than a turret press, but you can still make premium ammo at a fraction of the price of buying it.

It's probably simpler than it seems when you actually do it. One other thing I'll recommend is a digital powder scale when you want to weight every charge for accuracy, it'll make life a lot easier. The Lee powder measure in the kit will usually get you within +/- 0.2 grains with most types of powders.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
thanks, but I am going rcbs single stage kit.

I am not just reloading to save money but for accuracy. My m1a is setup to be a tack driver and I hope to get the skills reloading to get it to perform.
 

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I took a reloading course and learned a lot and will take a precision reloading course again soon.

Where did you receive your instruction?

Reloading is a great hobby & you can save a little $$ by doing so.

I would start by getting a good book on the ABC's of reloading.

Learn about the proper powders (burn rates) and bullets(projectile weight) for the M14 platform.

Be safe and don't worry too much about what kind of "gear" to buy.

Reloading stuff comes in all colors and shapes.

Carry on!

9th
 

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So I need a full length sizer die?

Full length resize is a safety requirement for semi-autos.

It can be small base, but does not need to be?

If the barrel was chambered to the correct dimensions for an M14/M1A small base resizing is not required and in fact is a negative.

Do the seater dies crimp? I thought I needed the lee factory crimp die, but then read that others don't use that. What's the best option to crimp?

If your objective is accuracy, then do not crimp. I have never met a Service Rifle (M1, M14, AR15) competitor who crimped bullets. If you ever need to pull a bullet from an uncrimped reload, you will be surprised at the force required to do so.

For a crimp to be effective the bullet must be cannelured and the popular rifle target bullets are not cannelured because the cannelure negatively affects the flight of the bullet.

Reloaded pistol ammo is usually crimped. I assume (?) this is necessary due to the straight sided cartridge case and possible feeding problems w/o a crimp. Not a factor with tapered, bottlenecked rifle cases.

I recommend that you go to the Sierra Bullet website and order a copy (paper or DVD) of their reloading manual.

My paper copy contains an excellent how & why section on reloading in general and it has a section specific for reloading for semi-autos and Service Rifles. More details on reloading techniques than have been discussed here but also recommendations on powder and primers.

This is an excellent resource.

http://www.sierrabullets.com/index.cfm?section=reloading

Regards

Jim
 
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