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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
I am getting into reloading in the beginning of next year and my JRA M1A is headspaced for the 7.62 NATO ammo, not the commercial .308 stuff. How do I go about reloading for this when they only make .308 dies? Do I just change the powder specs for it?
Thanks in advance!
Bill H.
 

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.308 dies are fine.GITEN

I use the RCBS X-Die.

There are other good products out there as well.
 

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It's definitely worth getting a case micrometer like the RCBS one so that you can measure the actual headspace length of the resized cases, or at least a drop-in min/max gauge like the RCBS or LE Wilson.

.308 reloading dies, when adjusted properly, should return a cartridge case to SAAMI .308 Win headspace length... and I say "should" because different types of brass will resize different amounts, and the dies can easily be misadjusted.

If you have a tight chamber like a 1.630" or 1.631", and your brass comes out of your dies just a bit too long, you could have rounds that won't chamber completely which is very bad in a semi-auto.

Also, it is easy and fairly common to resize your brass too much, which leaves them shorter than SAAMI specs. If you shoot these rounds in a long chamber, like a 7.62 NATO chamber that is headspaced out around 1.636" + you could end up with too much headspace which is also bad.

If you aren't measuring your resized cases one way or another you are rolling the dice. GI8
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So should I avoid the Lee's dies for the .308? I have the Lees for the '06 and 30 carbine but I don't have any dies for the .308 yet. I am open to suggestions as it is getting to be xmas season and there are a few people whom are stumped on what to get me.
 

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I use the XDie from RCBS because tests have shown that you can get many more loads out of the brass then standard dies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How is that possible? I don't know much about dies but aren't dies...dies? I was looking for some of the 3 pack dies like I got for the others.
 

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#1: Best Dies you can afford. I've used the Forster Custom Competition and never had a problem. My Redding's have been great too.
#2 Get gauges and use them to spot check as many cases as you need to guarantee consistency.
#3 Try to get an OAL throat reading so you know where to base your case measurements.
#4 Trim consistently and keep count of firings.....probably no more than 4 firings is a safe starting point but ymmv.
#5 Learn to read your fired brass...looking at primers for over-pressure signs/excessive flattening and case bands indicating possible case-head weakening.
#6 If your very cautious, use a bent paperclip to double check the inside of the cases for possible signs of case head "cracks" inside the brass.
#7 Work your brass as little as possible.
#8 Don't use overly-hot loads for maximum pressure. Real men use chronongraphs. I'm a cheap wimp and can tell the difference between a nice target load, and an uber-tactical, mil-spec super penetrator that kicks hard and badly deforms brass on extraction.
#9 Match Bullet/Powder/Primer to your needs. No need for a heavy 175 Grain bullet under a max powder load and a magnum primer if all you're doing is shooting paper targets at 50-100 yards.
600-1000 yard NRA Match Highpower Competition is a different story. But you wouldn't be asking questions here, in most cases, if you were starting your journey to the Presidents' 100 at Camp Perry.
But maybe you'll end up there.
Stranger things have happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, I am using the IMR 4895 powder because I can use it for '06, .308, and .223 and I hear its really nice powder. I got some FML Hornedy 150 gr bullets and some military spec primers because of the floating firing pin in the Garand and the M1A. The range I belong to only goes out to 200y so anything beyond that isn't worth it to me as I can't effectively test it out.
 

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Check your rifle's paperwork or check with James River re what your headspace measured when your rifle was shipped. Get back to us and we can be more help on stuff like case measurement and die settings and bullet seating depth.

PS, IMR 4895 is an excellent powder choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I plan to call them first thing Monday morning :)
Well I just read my paperwork and it says this... " The .308 specs are for a 1.630 go gauge, 1.634 no go, with a 1.638 field. The 7.62 NATO uses a 1.635 go, 1.640 no go, with a 1.645 field. All chrome lined M14 barrels we have come across have been machined using original GI blueprints with means they are machined to a 7.62 nato standard. At JRA we take cares that our rifles headspace in the very narrow range where .308 win and 7.62 nato will both safely work. Commercial loaded .308 win is fine in these rifles provided the bullet does not exceed 173 gr."
It also says in BIG BOLT LETTERS, USE 7.62 NATO AMMO ONLY.
So this means my HS should be alright if I load with either the 7.62 or the .308, or do I just load down 10% to make sure for the NATO ammo?
 

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.308 Win and 7.62 NATO ammunition have the same cartridge dimensions. The chamber is the difference. Use the Lee .308 Win dies. I have used them for service rifle competition ammunition for ten years or more.

Standard loads should be fine using IMR-4895. The posts in this thread have been a bit misleading. I just purchase LC once-fired brass and reload it 3 times. I like to get my resized cases to fit into a cartridge case gauge, either Wilson or Dillon is fine. Reloading for an M1A without one of these is negligent. You will experience FTE or FTF issues with oversized cases.

Good luck and ask a lot of questions.
 

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It's definitely worth getting a case micrometer like the RCBS one so that you can measure the actual headspace length of the resized cases, or at least a drop-in min/max gauge like the RCBS or LE Wilson.

.308 reloading dies, when adjusted properly, should return a cartridge case to SAAMI .308 Win headspace length... and I say "should" because different types of brass will resize different amounts, and the dies can easily be misadjusted.

If you have a tight chamber like a 1.630" or 1.631", and your brass comes out of your dies just a bit too long, you could have rounds that won't chamber completely which is very bad in a semi-auto.

Also, it is easy and fairly common to resize your brass too much, which leaves them shorter than SAAMI specs. If you shoot these rounds in a long chamber, like a 7.62 NATO chamber that is headspaced out around 1.636" + you could end up with too much headspace which is also bad.

If you aren't measuring your resized cases one way or another you are rolling the dice. GI8
I definitely would recommend a drop-in Wilson case gauge. I always find a few cases that are not within spec when picking up once fired brass. Will save you the heartache of reloading these and then finding out the hard way that they won't chamber properly.
 

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You've come this far, go ahead and make your phone call.

I don't THINK you or your rifle could get hurt if you started with a box of new Winchester commercial .308 brass cases or once-fired LC or IVI 7.62 NATO cases, which you'll need to full-length resize. Use hard primers. CCI's are best, Winchester's Large Rifle primers are good. If you're going to splurge on anything, make it good bullets, like the Sierra 168 gr Match King HP (there's also a 150 and 155). Follow your reloading manual for the bullet you want to load over IMR 4895. Keep in mind the military 7.62 cases max out at a little less powder than commercial. This will be well-covered if you use the Sierra manual. Glen Zediker's web site (google Zediker) is good on loading for the M14, too, especially the part about you can't depend on un-resized fired brass for info about anything except your own firing pin's strike and any signs of overpressure at the fired primers.
 

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Lee .308 Win dies
Wilson .308 Win case gauge
IMR-4895
LC once-fired cases
CCI 34 primers
Nosler 155 or 168 CC BTHP projectiles
Sierra manual and Hornady manuals; I have attached the .308 Win Sierra section as a .pdf

Ask any questions that come to mind. Good luck and always err on the side of safety. We have been doing this for decades and we don't mind helping at all.
 

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I plan to call them first thing Monday morning :)
Well I just read my paperwork and it says this... " The .308 specs are for a 1.630 go gauge, 1.634 no go, with a 1.638 field. The 7.62 NATO uses a 1.635 go, 1.640 no go, with a 1.645 field. All chrome lined M14 barrels we have come across have been machined using original GI blueprints with means they are machined to a 7.62 nato standard. At JRA we take cares that our rifles headspace in the very narrow range where .308 win and 7.62 nato will both safely work. Commercial loaded .308 win is fine in these rifles provided the bullet does not exceed 173 gr."
It also says in BIG BOLT LETTERS, USE 7.62 NATO AMMO ONLY.
So this means my HS should be alright if I load with either the 7.62 or the .308, or do I just load down 10% to make sure for the NATO ammo?
Downloading has to do with the type of brass you are using. If its thick-walled brass like Lake City download at least half a grain from what you would use in a commercial thinner walled case.

Folks we are dealing with two separate issues here. Chamber dimensions and load data. There is some confusion from what I see..

OP, no current production U.S. made 7.62x51 NATO is outside the dimensions of a 308 Winny case. I have checked them all. The brass may have thicker walls, but thats internally. Download the powder weights for this brass. This has nothing to do with your chamber. Do note, however, cartridges fired from Milspec 7.62x51 chambers will resize themselves slightly larger. Meaning they will take more work (relatively) in a 308 Die to get back to size. If they are not brought back to size they will no longer fit "tighter" 308 Winchester chambers ( if that matters to you? - perhaps you have a 308 bolt gun and will use the brass for it too?).

Just so all this is clear, we ARE dealing with 2 separate issues here; handloading/reloading and chamber dimensions. They dont directly correlate...

This statement:

"USE 7.62 NATO AMMO ONLY"

does not mean anything or they do not understand what they are talking about, unless they mean do not fire ammo that is loaded with a heavy charge that would be safe in a bolt gun but would push port pressures in a gas gun, which in my opinion is what "they" are trying to convey. Saying "USE 7.62 NATO AMMO ONLY" is an easy way for them to say it and get out of any legal repercussions or having to fix something. 308 Winchester is loaded with powder from all across the spectrum and with bullets up to and including 220 grains. The M14 expects specific burn rates which is a small part of that spectrum. This has nothing to do with the chamber. It has to do with the pressure being induced by the powder used. If you tell someone to use 7.62 NATO AMMO only, they are telling them to use ammo that is probably within the smaller, proper burn spectrum and suitable weight bullets.....

Otherwise, ALL 7.62 NATO ammo maintains 308 Winchester case dimensions if its made in the USA, and it is the case that matters when we are concerned with chamber dimensions......

A 308 Winchester cartridge with 200 Grain bullet and 44 grains of Varget could blow a 14s gas system apart. The case is still the same size, nevertheless... Saying use 7.62 NATO only, keeps people who dont know any better from doing it....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Awesome! All I have is the m1a and an Fal for. 308 so no real need for perfect. 308 as the Fal eats anything lol!
 

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When using LC or any other Heavy Military Brass I Download 1 Full Grain from what the Book says I use a Wilson Drop in Gauge to check my Brass, that is all I have ever done all of my Life and I still do that to this Day, I own three M14s, two Match Rifles with .308 Barrels and one Standard Rifle with a 7.62 Barrel and I have NEVER had a Problem!ICONWINK

 

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But PLEASE do not assume if ammo works well in the FAL it'll be fine for an M1A Gas System.
The load development should be aimed at YOUR gun and how it all works together for YOU.

PLEASE get the proper gauges, micrometers, et al and use them.
Don't forget about primer seating, which IS a major issue with this platform.

Most Importantly be careful and have FUN.
 
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