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Just Getting Started


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Hi Folks,

After looking over my buddy's shoulder for a couple of years, I finally took the plunge and laid down the $ for a set of reloading gear (and then I laid down some more $... and then just a few $ more... and then only a little bit more... and then...).  Got a Lee press and RCBS dies in .308 and .300 BLK (so far) plus the various other accoutrements necessary to polish, measure, clean, trim, deburr/ chamfer, prime, etc.. etc...

Anyway, here's what I've learned so far: I still know squat, but I now know more squat than before...

I've made probably 400 or so .300 BLK cases from recycled .223 and have it down pretty good. I usually do these all in stages (examining the brass in detail each step of the way for any disqualifying characteristics):

1. Zip with the cutting tool on the Dremel right at the shoulder

2. Lube up and de-prime/ size

3. Use a Lee trim die with power drill to remove most of the extra brass and get within striking distance (around 1.370" or so)

4. Switch to a hand crank with de-burring/ chamfering attachment (Lee Quick Trim Deluxe) for the final few thousandths of an inch (I generally trim to 1.363")

4. Into the tumbler with walnut media for polishing

5. Clean primer pockets, remove stuck media from holes if needed

6. Polish with cloth, remove any stuck brass shavings as necessary

7. Prime, opening up any primer pockets as needed

Did a case capacity study of the brass I'm using for .308 so there are no surprises from that perspective.  Bought a lot of the Turkish ZQI 7.62x51 NATO from Wally World back when they were selling it, so I have a lot of the MKE stamped brass from that.  Got Federal, Winchester and Perfecta recycled from store bought ammo and also Hornady and Winchester store bought brass.  Was only able to test capacity on 3 Federal cases so far, will try to get another 2 measurements to round out the set.  The protocol I used was to process the once fired brass as normal (sized, trimmed to 2.008" and primed). Brass was weighed empty, filled to capacity with water using an eyedropper, then weighed again.


1. MKE seems like it's fairly sturdy brass and processes well. Also fairly consistent as far as capacity.

2. Hornady averages 1 grain more and Winchester averages about 2 grains more than Federal and Perfecta commercial cases.

3. MKE has around the same capacity as recycled commercial Federal and Perfecta.

4. Winchester is the most consistent in capacity, followed by Hornady (did not include Federal here because of the small sample size)

I'm experimenting with marking the primers with Sharpies in different colors depending on how many times the brass has been fired.  It's working out fairly well, though some colors/ shades are turning out to be more durable than others for some reason... especially in the .308, which experiences significant duress during firing, some of the colors tend to come off easier than others.

Gold = 1, Green = 2, Blue = 3, Orange = 4, Pink = 5, Red = 6, Purple = 7, Brown = 8, Black = 9

As far as loads... let me first say this: Any loads described here are for entertainment purposes only...no copying, no cribbing, no buts, do your own work... use of these loads in your firearm could have very serious consequences including (but not limited to):

1. Increased wear and tear on and damage to your firearm and/ or person

2. Shooting your eye out

3. A total solar eclipse

4. Mobs of Social Justice Warriors taking to the streets 

5. The exit of Britain from the European Union

6. The breakup of the band Van Halen

7. Van Halen getting back together again

8. Van Halen breaking up again

... but seriously folks, you know the deal: Use published loads from dependable sources and work up from a minimum to see how it works with your own equipment and applications.

I like to use funny names and mnemonic devices when working up my loads, it helps me to remember the recipe without having to refer to the paper.  I use a BDC reticle on the scope I've got on the .308, so I've included distance figures for each load which correspond to the markings on the reticle as well as a ballistics table for general reference.  Will be doing some accuracy testing as well as to see how the estimated trajectories match up to the actual.

That's what I've got so far... will post up with some more stuff as things move along.

Case Capacity Study.jpg

TAC Driver.jpg

Frozen Ropes-page-001.jpg



Edited by Alamo
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Thanks Seargent, the more I know the more I realize I'm only scratching the surface of what a lot of the old timers have already "forgotten" so to speak.

Appreciate the tip on TAC Survival, will have to check that out. I trim to 2.008 because it's a mnemonic device to ironically commemorate the greatest gun salesman in history. It's like if the book called for a trim length of 1.775, I'd for sure be trimming to 1.776.

Edited by Alamo
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Speaking of TAC. I know a lot of people that know a lot about reloading use Varget for .308. Buddy of mine came over to use my press last night, and when he was at the store buying components, the guy told him he wanted Varget (I had told him to get TAC). We did about 50 rounds. I can say that I really like the way the large pieces don't jam up the works of the powder thrower like the smaller grains of the TAC do... but that's about it. We had the dangdest time trying to get the thrower to give us a consistent load and then it was a pain to trickle up or trickle down as the slightest tap would cause too much to come out because of the much larger particles.

I know the two powders are right next to each other on the burn rate chart... so, all things being (just about) equal... I'm sticking with the TAC.

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  I use the Tac in both my Dillon Powder measurer & my old Redding with micro metering & I don't have an issue with it . My Redding throws them so close to my set weight , I sometimes don't re- check the weight till I went through about a doz. ., of course thats dependent on what I'm loading for , my Target or hunting rounds get weighed to the exact weight to the tenth of a Grain . Practice ammo , I just use the Powder measure to charge them & check it as said .

    When I hand weigh each charge, I set the Powder measure to drop a less then target charge & Trickle it to target weight .

  Nothing wrong with Varget Powder . If you think you have an issue with Tac , try some 4064 , that stuff is hard to throw with out some crunching .:thumbup:

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