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 Post subject: Bullet seating for .308?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:32 pm 
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I know a bunch of you guys reload. I picked up a Lee breech lock challenger press last week, never reloaded before but after I saw 20 rounds for $18 at Chinamart I said what the hell. I already broke the damn depriming pin :x but they are sending me a new one :)

I loaded 2 dummy rounds (no primer or powder), trimmed cases using a Lee trimmer by hand.

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The one on the left is a reload I picked up from a gun show, $15 for 50 2 years ago. It measures 2.874 overall, case is 2.009. Silver one is 2.766, same case. Now the right one measures 2.702 overall, case crimped 2.011. The bullets are Hornaday FMJBT 150 grain.

The general consensus is overall it should be 2.810. Is there a minimum overall cartridge length? I can't find an answer anywhere online. I thought I was spot on with the cannelure on the right round. :? It seems to short though. I don't have my rifle with me to test it out.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Depending on the powder, 2.530 and 2.800 for a 150gR FMJBT (according to Modern Reloading, Second Edition, by Richard Lee). Don't quote me on this though, I'm still very new to reloading.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:06 pm 
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The reason you won't find the minimum OAL (overall length) for .308, or any other round for that matter, is because the OAL varies within the same round by powder type and bullet weight. That's why you need a load book. If you got a Lee .308 die set, it should have a table for .308 which includes minimum length. The maximum length is the same for all .308, since if the entire cartridge is too long, it won't feed. On the other hand, a bullet seated too far in can cause pressures to exceed the maximum safe limit. Get a load table for that round.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:13 pm 
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My best advise is to check your reloading manual, you do have at least one right? :D

The OAL of the cartridge changes depending on bullet type, weight and sometimes even the powder. You need to look at the reloading tables and find your bullet and powder it will give give you the starting and max loads. Sometimes you need more than one manual to cover all the calibers and combinations you have and never ever exceed the max loads listed in any of the manuals.

Initially you can spend a bit of money on figuring out what load your gun likes. The way I do that is I start out at the suggested starting grains load some cartridges usually 5 for a rifle and about 9 for a pistol then increase 1/10 of a grain up to like 1 or 2/10's below max. Then take them to the range and see how they do. Rinse and repeat till you find the one that works good for your gun.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:24 pm 
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A bullet seated too deep will also screw accuracy since it has to "jump" to reach rifling.
On bolt rifles its better for the bullet to just touch the rifling when chambered.
Auto loaders you want to minimize the distance without going too long.
Some rifles have a gap before the rifling starts. (called free bore) Some times, SOME TIMES this will increase accuracy but general consensus is that its not good.
While your new to reloading, play it safe, follow the books!
If you have a bolt gun you can skip the full resizing and only size the neck and you can skip the crimp as well.
Everything affects accuracy, some positivly others negatively, so record everything and experiment until you find some loads you like. Have fun and be safe!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Erik wrote:
The reason you won't find the minimum OAL (overall length) for .308, or any other round for that matter, is because the OAL varies within the same round by powder type and bullet weight. That's why you need a load book. .

What Erik says:
You need a reloading manual or two for the reasons listed above.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:17 am 
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Necrodamus wrote:
and you can skip the crimp as well.

No. Recoil may shake the bullets out of position. It mostly happens with powerful calibers in light weapons (Ruger LCR people: let rip 5 rounds of +p, while having an uncrimped cartridge in the sixth chamber, then look at it and compare it to an unabused one).

Always crimp that shit, unless your gun is a single-shot. It won't affect accuracy negatively unless you have a straight-wall nonbelted cartridge, since these headspace on the case mouth, but it's free, and makes your shots more consistent due to less variation in bullet position and thus free flight and powder burn rates.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:56 pm 
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That German Guy wrote:
Necrodamus wrote:
and you can skip the crimp as well.

No. Recoil may shake the bullets out of position. It mostly happens with powerful calibers in light weapons (Ruger LCR people: let rip 5 rounds of +p, while having an uncrimped cartridge in the sixth chamber, then look at it and compare it to an unabused one).

Always crimp that shit, unless your gun is a single-shot. It won't affect accuracy negatively unless you have a straight-wall nonbelted cartridge, since these headspace on the case mouth, but it's free, and makes your shots more consistent due to less variation in bullet position and thus free flight and powder burn rates.


Wrong. If this is going in a bolt-action there is no need to crimp. I personally wouldn't crimp for a semi-auto, but I don't argue much on that one. I reload several calibers from .17 Rem to .338 Win Mag, the only thing I crimp is near max .45 colt loads.

To the OP, there is a TON of 308 reloading data online.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:01 am 
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Ah well, upon further review of the info that came with the dies, it does have the minimum length. I didn't know what it was at first glance. :o Minimum is 2.755 for the powder I have. The cannelure is what threw me off, as I was sure that was a measurement of some sort. Thanks for all the help :!:

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