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Reloading question from a wannabe newbie

 
master steward
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I'm considering getting the gear to reload 308 ammo for my deer rifle.  My purpose in reloading would be to get better accuracy with copper bullets and ethically/accurately take 250 yard shots at deer.  

I got a bunch of good reloading gear a while back for pistol ammo and I'm trying to figure out what I need to do rifle ammo with it.  I think the only thing I need is a die set for 308.  Maybe something for the larger primers?

I have saved my brass for the past 20 years so I have 167 cases (yay).  So I wouldn't be buying new cases any time soon.

Given that, does anyone know what kind of die or dies I need to be shopping for?  I see a Lee precision ultimate die set here that has four dies in it.  Other sets have fewer dies in them.  Is a "full length resizing die" needed if I'm using brass that was already fired in my gun?  

Thanks!
 
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You won't need a full length resizing die. In the future you might need to trim your cases after several reloads. You can get real anal when it comes to reloading but for all practical purposes a three piece reloading set will do you just fine.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Robert!  So here's a 3 piece die set: Pace setter dies.  But it has the full length resizing die as well.  Along with a bullet seating die and a crimp die.

Even their two piece die set has the full length die as part of the tandem.  Am I just looking in the wrong website?  What brand should I be looking at?
 
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I use Lee gear extensively and am thoroughly satisfied with it.
The only reason to buy other than Lee .....is that you've found a more economical  set of dies used.
Any 7/8 x 14 threaded die will work in your press, if you've the "lock and load" bushings you'll need a set of those too, or you'll need to repurpose an old set.
Reject any die that shows rust or pitting.

Most important piece of equipment you'll need is a lubricating pad and case lube, One Shot spray on lube, works well too, but its messier.
Don't fail to lube every single case! A Qtip on the inside of the neck will help a lot make sure the lube you use won't contaminate your powder
Personally I like Lees ALOX lube, but a lube pad is faster I think. On a bottleneck cartridge there are no short cuts.
Don't forget an excess of lube especially wax lubes can be detrimental too......

If you use Lees neck dies  rather than full length resizing you'll get more reloads between annealing tasks.
But if you're using brass picked up at the range you should run it through a full length die at least once, neck dies are only if its a one rifle proposition.
Most presses come with a fairly clunky way to deal with primers, Lees  Auto prime is far faster, and well worth the money.
For best accuracy weighed charges are better than thrown charges, for thrown charges ball powder is more consistent,

Finally IMHO the craze for hyper speed is best if you can't understand ballistics.....(that is you want to aim dead on at every shot without considering the actual path the bullet takes) but study after study has shown speeds around 2500 fps to 2750 fps spoil much less meat.
Personally I prefer heavy bullets at lower speeds, they break bone and leave a better blood trail than a fast light spitzer
At these modest speeds a plain base bullet is wonderful in its accuracy, a boat tail starts to make a difference way out there at 600+ yards,
If your hunting at less than 300 yards then a soft point, or a round nose driven at 2700 fps is hard to beat.
Unless its required by the state your hunting in, pure copper bullets are a PC solution to a non existent problem.

At 300 yards or less the Point Blank Zero method works well;
https://www.everydaymarksman.co/marksmanship/point-blank-zero/
 
Robert Ray
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Yes don't forget lubrication especially with a full length die. Not something you fret about with pistol cartridges but a necessity with rifle dies.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Bill!  My gear came with a RCBS hand priming kit plus the reloader has the doohickey on it as well.  So I have options there.

I also have the lube pad and case lube

I just got done watching a pretty good youtube video and it confirms the idea that if I'm just using my own brass, I can get by with the neck die.  I might still want to get a full die kit in case I come across some other brass or get another rifle some day.  

Individually weighed charges sounds exactly like what I'd want to do to squeeze as much accuracy as possible without spending money (spending time I'm fine with).

Thanks for the speed and bullet nose type recommendations!  I'm going with copper so that I eat a little less lead and so the eagles/coyotes/wolves in the area also eat a bit less.

Two more questions.....  

I have three different types of brass from various manufacturers.  How much could that affect the accuracy of my reloads?  Ie if I'm grouping 1 MOA on target with one kind of brass, would the other brasses likely change the size or location of the group at all?

Big Ed (youtube) mentions that crimping is helpful for hunting rounds.  I'll be using a semi auto so am I correct in thinking I should crimp?  Or is it more based on if the bullet presses into the brass rather easily?

 
Bill Haynes
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if you're betting twenty bucks per shot with your know it all brother in law......then separate by headstamp....then weigh them and divide them into twenty shot groups (one commercial box worth) by closest weights..... Of course if your down to that level of perfection your gonna want to turn the necks for concentricity, and render the flash holes uniform...
And what will it net?
If your running a heavy (as in 16 lbs +) bench rest rifle, on a solid shooting rest, it could be the difference between shooting a 1/2" group vs shooting a 1" group at 100 yards.....but if your shooting a light rifle from a shooting stick or just a casual sling wrap, you'll never hold it steady enough to tell the difference between a 2 grain difference in load volume.
Very rarely a manufacturer makes a gross difference from his competitors but usually case volumes are within a few percentages of a grain within factory lines and within a couple of grains across the entire spectrum of manufacturers.
Still its worth being as consistent as possible, so I usually sort them by headstamp.

Same thing with crimps if your shooting a heavy rifle from a bench then crimps are rarely an addition.....because you'll be loading one round at a time, from the box to the chamber, with no time spent in the magazine.
But if you're putting rounds in the magazine and they are slamming back and fourth under recoil, having a heavy crimp holding the bullet in place can be the difference between shots downrange or a magazine full of loose powder, bullets, and empty brass, or worse cartridges far under minimum overall length, developing tons more pressure than SAAMI recommends.
Once again Lee shines here with its Factory Crimp Die, Hornady makes an equivalent. while its an additional step the Factory Crimp will allow a ferocious crimp while keeping the case from buckling.
 
Robert Ray
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Start out slow and you can progress up to additional case prep. I have two rifles I reload for that are in the anal category. Flash holes reamed , necks trimmed, collette crimped, cartridges weighed, case indexed so it goes in the chamber the same way each time. Noting ambient temp when loading and when shooting. It just isn't necessary for a seasonal hunter initially. I have purchased .22 long rifle that are loaded for temperature ranges for biathlon competitions. If you like fiddling around you can go to the extreme.  A three die set for once fired brass from  your rifle will be just fine.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Bill!  I think I'll just get the Lee 4 die set to cover all my bases.  Crimping sounds like a step that consumes time but only has upsides so I might as well do it.

I realized that I don't have a tumbler.  If my brass is tolerably clean looking, is tumbling it necessary?

Luckily I'm not betting my brother in law, but I am trying to keep making ethical shots across a long field.  So far I've earned the trust of the landowner to be a good shot (thus I get a hunting spot on the big field) and I just want to improve from there.  The stand I sit in is practically a shooting bench so I can take pretty solid shots.

I think I'll start another thread on accuracy improvements for my old gun (here)
 
Bill Haynes
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Rotary tumbling works.....with stainless media, in a bath of water, Lemi-Shine, and dishsoap, for both inside and outside the case;

https://www.accurateshooter.com/technical-articles/reloading/brass-cleaning-with-stainless-media/

But for quick and dirty perfect polish when you have your brass chucked up in a battery drill for trimming via a Lee mandrel;

https://leeprecision.com/cutter-lock-stud.html

and a Lee case length gauge;

https://leeprecision.com/case-conditioning-tools/case-trimming-tools/case-length-gauge-holder

Simply use a piece of 0000 steel wool, to shine the outside. I take the time to run a pocket cleaner in the primer pocket;

https://leeprecision.com/primer-pocket-cleaner.html

None of these cleaning steps will make a marked difference in how the ammo shoots though,
Their utility is in forcing you to look critically at each piece and seeing if the flash hole is obstructed (prior to priming) and to see if hairline cracks are forming, or if the neck is possibly off center....

If you intend to reuse the cases a lot learn to anneal or your limited to 2-3 loadings at max capacity and another half a dozen at moderate pressures,
learn to look at the base of the bullet for a ring (right where the web of the base connects to the walls) as its a sign if impending head separation,
trying to remove a headless case that's been form fitted to your chamber is a chore that will consume far more of your life than your willing to sacrifice!

FWIW.. I try for the sake of consistency to find a powder that come close to filling the case, with a published load,
Its a false economy to buy powders that are so energetic that only a few grains are needed,
there is a great deal of info on shot to shot variations caused by powder position in relation to primer, a full case presents the same relation every time.
 
Mike Haasl
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Oh, another question just came up...  I'm looking at different dies on amazon and a reviewer mentions that for semi auto 308s you need a "small base die" kit instead of the normal one.  That seems weird to me since I use factory ammo just fine in my gun so I'd think a normal die set would give factory sized ammo.  Is that a weird thing for ARs or other semi auto guns?
 
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You will absolutely need to full length size your brass for your Winchester 100!  You will also need to crimp the bullet firmly.  You should also have a case gauge (round metal thing with a hole in it)  to drop your loaded rounds into to make sure they meet specs.  You will probably not need the small base die, this is more for match grade (tight) chambers found on competition guns.

Necksized brass in a semi auto can result in slamfires or an out of battery firing.  Insufficient crimp can result in bullet setback during the autoloading process, potentially raising pressures to kaboom levels.

Pricier, but the RCBS X-dies will prolong the lifespan of your brass by many times.  I've replaced my lee sizing dies with the x dies for semi autos.  I still use the lee crimp dies.

I'll post more after reading the rest, but caught these items skimming...
 
Gray Henon
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I would sort your brass based on your desires for accuracy in the other thread.  

You do not need to clean the brass. If anything, residual carbon helps lube the case.  You will need to make sure flash holes are clear and that primers are fully seated, as a proud primer can result in the very undesirable slamfire/out of battery events mentioned in my last post.

Mentioned in the thread, but just to reiterate, you will need a good scale and calipers.  

You will need a way to trim brass to length.  I use the simple Lee tools to my satisfaction.  The case holder and pin holder (cutter) are sold seperately from the caliber specific gauge rod.  I chuck the case holder in a cordless drill, otherwise I could barely get through 20 cases before my hands cramp.

After trimming, you will need to chamfer and deburr the case mouth.  I found the Lee tool to be lacking and now use a RCBS all in one tool.  I do this while the case is still chucked in the drill from trimming.  Careful though, the tool cuts quickly.

Your brass may stretch each time you full length size with the Lee dies and will need to be checked each time.  The stretching takes place right in front of the case web, about 1/2"-3/4" up from the bottome of the case.  After several reloadings, depending on the pressure of your loads, and headspace of you rifle, this area begins to thin, but it is difficult to see from the outside of the case.  In order to inspect the case, take a stiff piece of wire, and run it up and down the inside of the case in this area, if the area is not smooth, destroy the case by crushing it.  If reloaded, it can result in a case head separation, stuck case, and or gas excursion.  None of which are good.   Autoloaders are less forgiving in this department as well.  This is a big departure from reloading pistol calibers.



The RCBS X Die (sizing), requires an initial trimming (I had to take a hair off my Lee trimmer to meet the spec) but then it holds the case to length and significantly controls the thinning at the case head, significantly extending case life.  I haven't found the limits yet, as I have not been using them long, but I have seen very good reports from reputable sources.
 
Bill Haynes
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On conventional dies it usually sizes the forward 3/4 portion of the brass, because the body of the die is tapered, to facilitate a slow (comparatively) remolding of the brass.
If you have an extraordinarily tight chamber (unlikely) over a short time this taper will begin to act as a wedge keeping your bolt from locking into battery, usually there are safeguards to keep a gun from firing out of battery, but rarely they will fail, if you have a snap cap you can run a reasonable test.....put the rifle into battery chambering the snap cap and see if it will allow the firing pin to fall, as you incrementally open the bolt. (By incrementally i mean a few thousandths at a time) if it will, don't take a chance and ensure the round is small enough to chamber completely.
Slamfires are a known problem with this model. Usually a combination of heavy firing pins, and a lack of inertia canceling springs, cause slamfires.

A small base die is just what it sounds like, it forces the round through a sizing ring to ensure the round is back to factory specs.

https://www.amazon.com/RCBS-Small-Base-Die-Set-308/dp/B000N8QLPM/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=308+small+base+die&qid=1606876978&sr=8-2

A competition AR10 is likely to have a chamber that tight, a custom made bench rest rifle perhaps, if you do...count your blessings.

I'm with the group that says you are jiggering with a family heirloom, and unlikely to find its the ideal candidate for your hopes,
There is a reason every serious competitor shoots bolt action rifles.......or conspicuously spends bukoo bucks,
You will pour a considerable amount of money, into this rifle to get it to where a $300.00 used Savage starts.

As long as we're here let me recommend Savage (and their Accutrigger) as an ideal platform to experiment with, barrel swaps are cheap and easy, the Accutrigger system can be reduced way below common sense, if its an early model, aftermarket triggers are far from rare, there are stocks galore, there are so many you never need to feel pressured to buy one, a good used rifle will be available everywhere.
Savage, Mossberg, Tikka and Ruger .....all excellent rifles, These companies are more interested in assuring customer satisfaction, then wringing the last dollar out of each sale. Of the lot Savage is the easiest to adapt has a broad base of gunsmiths making cool things for it, and just like an old Chevy if something breaks there are probably a dozen within spitting distance to rob parts from.
 
Mike Haasl
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Wow, thanks guys!!!  I was starting to think I knew too much for my own good but now I'm getting confused again (which is good and keeps my head from getting too big)

So I'm hearing I do need the full length dies (not small base) and that the neck dies aren't a good idea for an autoloader.  Check
Crimping is a very good thing.  Check
RCBS X dies are cool.  But I doubt I'll reload these brasses more than a half a dozen times so maybe I don't need that level of fanciness?
Sorting brass is good.  All my brass is from two manufactureres so I have 60+ of each.  Weighing them would be next.  Check
My scale may not be good enough.  It's electronic, not a balance beam...
I have a caliper or 4 laying around.  Check
I think I have a brass length trimmer.  It looks like a little lathe with a crank on the tail stock.  I can get a picture if needed

Bill, I'm sorry but you lost me with the snap cap stuff.  Is that related to the small base die?  
 
Bill Haynes
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its related to weather your rifle is capable of firing out of battery, (prior to the bolt locking), as mentioned in Mr. Henon's discourse.

https://www.amazon.com/ZOOM-Precision-Snap-Caps-Pack/dp/B002IEM9NM/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=308+snap+caps&qid=1606883104&sr=8-2

Snap caps are used to protect the firing pin, in every civilized locale, dry firing (pulling the trigger on an empty chamber) a gun is considered gauche, (and possibly will get your nose rearranged if you do it to a strangers antique!)

If you ever watch an old timer test the trigger pull on a single action pistol, you'll see him slip his thumb between the firing pin and the hammer to protect the firing pin from dry firing.
 
Mike Haasl
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Ahh, I think I see.  So the snap cap is to protect the firing pin when testing if it can fire when the bolt isn't fully forward.  Which would need to be watched for if I did neck sizing.  Which isn't recommended for my autoloader anyway.  Did I get that right?
 
Bill Haynes
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Yup!

Just a modest way of checking potential , useful on any autoloader.
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Ahh, I think I see.  So the snap cap is to protect the firing pin when testing if it can fire when the bolt isn't fully forward.  Which would need to be watched for if I did neck sizing.  Which isn't recommended for my autoloader anyway.  Did I get that right?



If you want to check to see if the gun will fire out of battery, I would use a primed piece of brass. It will give positive feedback if the gun actually fired when the hammer falls. I agree with full-length sizing. I would not use a small-base sizer unless a standard one didn't work out first. If an auto-loader has a strong enough spring, and/or a heavy enough bolt carrier it can force the action closed on a case that is a hair too long. Some action designs allow brass to stretch more than others as well. But they are designed to close easily on a cartridge. It is hard on the camming surfaces to force things into battery. I wouldn't want to put any extra wear on an old gun like that one, even if it was safe.

If I had it to do all over again, there are a few things I would change about getting into reloading. I would not waste money on a balance beam scale like I did; I would go straight to a digital one. Back then, there were no cheap ones. Today, they are much cheaper. If you don't have a good one, I just noticed Midway has some on clearance for half-off for $25 with 4/5 star reviews. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1019558826?pid=691348  A lot of people absolutely OBSESS over charge weights. I have a book that shows the results of their testing that showed that on a cartridge the size of the 308Win, being within half a grain is plenty accurate enough. They found it boils down more to the harmonics of the barrel rather than the exact powder charge. It's very common to see people bragging in gun shops, puffing out their chests, "I weigh every charge to ONE TENTH of a grain, so that I know my loads are as accurate as possible!" On a cartridge like the 5.7x28, where the difference between the minimum and maximum charge can be less than one grain, that kind of accuracy is essential to be safe. If you are shooting a full-size cartridge at 1500 yards, yes, the slight variations in pressure can show up as vertical dispersions. Or if you have time to waste, why not? I don't usually have time to waste.

Which brings me to the next thing I would have done differently: buy a powder measure. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012837257/ This is one by Lee for $25.99 right now. I have about three now, they are so handy. They work extremely well with stick powders, but they leak small ball powders rather badly (however they still work accurately even with them). With most powders, mine have been accurate to no worse than one or two tenths of a grain. I've even used it with IMR-5010, which has kernels so large it's nicknamed "Purina Rifle Chow." A tip I discovered by accident is to make it throw two or three small charges rather than one big one. This way you are getting an average, and less likely to have an odd one here and there. It also means smaller adjustments changing between large and small cartridges. It also just happens to fit Lee's powder through expander die. I use a lot of cast bullets, so with it mounted on top of the die, I don't even have to remove the case to charge it. I just raise it up into the neck expander die, throw the charging lever, and lower the ram and move to the next stage.

Which brings me to the next thing: a turret press. I first bought a RCBS single stage press, thinking the press was the heart of the operation and I should get a real name brand. I now mostly use a Lee Classic 4-Hole Turret Press. https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1013020843?pid=814175  It's very robust (I reform cases and swage bullets on it) and the ability to instantly switch between not just different dies for a given cartridge, but entire sets of dies for other cartridges is unbelievably handy. And loading cartridges one at a time is safer than loading them by batch operations, which a single stage press encourages.

Handloading is a thing where you can get as detailed as you want. I've noticed many people tend to get what I call "Gadget-itis." They think they need over a thousand dollars worth of equipment to make decent ammo. They think they have to break everything down into as many steps as physically possible, and take as much time as possible. That's fine if that's what they want to do, but I've seen a lot of people try to discourage others who don't want to go to the same extremes by telling them they have to if they want decent ammo. It's a matter of finding what you need. You may get by fine with a $40 Lee Hand Loader and a wooden mallet, or you may end up with eleven presses, about 30 sets of dies, about 50 bullet molds, bullet swaging dies, so much powder you can't legally store it in one place (50lbs is the limit in US, btw), and the list goes on and on. Not that I know anyone like that...
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Jordan!  Luckily I'm cheap so I won't go overboard on the gadgets   But it looks like I bought a good set-up from the fellow on craigslist a decade ago.  I've got a single stage press, a powder measure (like your link), a little digital scale (not as fancy as your link), a powder trickler, a case length trimmer and the full sized die set on the way.

I bought some bullets today, Barnes TTSX in 150 grain.  Seems like everyone is out of powder and primers.  Or am I looking in the wrong places?  

I'm thinking the die set will come with some powder suggestions, plus the Barnes site has recommendations of loads as well.  None of the Barnes recommended powders were in stock anywhere.  Are there some common powders that I should be seeking for a 308?  Any advice on primer sizes/types/brands?

Good to know about the 50 lb limit, I think I'll be waaaaay under that...
 
Jordan Holland
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Powder and primers are hard to find everywhere in the US pretty much, right now. I would be buying anything reloading related you may want sooner rather than later. I don't expect things to clear up any time soon.

For the case length trimmer, make sure it has the correct pilot and chuck for 308 Win. If not, you will need to find some in order to use it.

I've heard good things about the TTSX bullets, but I've never used them due to cost. One thing to remember with the monolithic copper bullets is they will typically generate higher pressure than an equivalent weight jacketed bullet. This is not an issue if you strictly follow published loads, but if you ever have to extrapolate it's something to keep in mind.

Lee dies usually come with a few loads, unless it's an obscure or very new cartridge. Richard Lee was not a stickler for exact loads for exact bullets, but rather for generalizing bullets of a given weight. This can come into play with the TTSX bullets causing higher pressure. I would go with the Barnes data, but yes, it may be hard to find powder. Having it shipped will have a hefty haz-mat fee. Same for primers. Primer size will have to match the brass. 308 Winchester uses large rifle primers. Some manufacturers are starting to put small rifle primers in some large cartridges trying to make them more accurate (like 6.5 Creedmore), I'm not sure if it's been done for 308 Win yet but it's something to look out for. If your brass came from hunting ammo, it's unlikely to have small primers. I like Winchester primers. They contain small traces of powdered aluminum which helps to consistently ignite powder. I typically use magnum primers because I often use powders that are slow and hard to ignite being designed for 50BMG and 20MM cannon, but have used them on various powders with no ill effect. Magnum powders can sometime hurt accuracy a tad, and sometimes it helps it. The primer recommendation is generally part of the reloading recipe, so make substitutions at your own risk. I've never seen a major effect from changing primers. A general rule of thumb is to use magnum primers on magnum cartridges or with ball powders. Stick powders are easier to ignite and shouldn't need them. I would use stick powders in your gun. They typically burn cleaner, which is good news in a gas-operated auto-loader. IMR-4895 is a reliable, old, versatile stand-by that would work well, but is likely one of the most sought right now. One thing to remember about older powders is they tend to be temperature sensitive. If you only shoot it in winter, that may not matter. Hodgdon has their own 4895 with modern coatings that prevent this. Also. some other newer powders have stuff in them to prevent copper fouling in the bore. When people are hoarding, it is hard to reload unless you were already prepared. On forums you see a lot of, "Can I use XXXXX powder in YYYYY?" at these times. It's definitely hard to follow recipes to the letter when you are lucky to  find just one ingredient. Add in if you don't know which one your gun likes, it's that much harder.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thank you Jordan!  I'll investigate the trimmer to see what parts it needs.

Gotcha on using the Barnes specs for a starting point.  I'm guessing I'll only go halfway up the range to avoid any chance of overpressure on this semi auto.

The temperature sensitivity of the powder may or may not be a problem...  I'll likely develop this load in summer but hunt in winter.  Does the temperature change just affect trajectory or also accuracy?  I can re-sight in just before hunting season but it would suck to find a good shooting load in summer that becomes squirrely during deer season.

I do have a friend who said he has a bunch of different powders to try (woo hoo!).  If I didn't want to suck up a bunch of his powder, how might I figure out which one works well?  Just make up identical loads (except for the powder) and see if one is best?  Or do you have to work up a full set of loads and COALs for each powder to really know?
 
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There are probably dozens of powders that are suitable for the 308.  The usual suspects are H4895, IMR 4895, IMR 4064, IMR 3031.  I'd probably google accuracy loads for the M1a, then check them against PUBLISHED DATA.  

No way of telling what a temp change will do in your rifle.  I recommend testing the load in weather consistent with hunting season.

Also be aware of how you hold the rifle for bench work should be the same as hunting.  Had a rifle yesterday that went from 6" groups to 1.5" groups depending on the way I held it.  Extreme example, but it makes a difference.

 
Gray Henon
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You really need to work up each powder and find the sweet spot for that powder before moving on to the next.
 
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https://www.barnesbullets.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/308WinchesterForWeb.pdf
 
Jordan Holland
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Here's a link to a forum run by a guy I know from another forum who is an excellent gunsmith. https://goodsteelforum.com/forums/topic/winchester-model-100-i-give-up/  It has some good information on the Winchester 100 and some possible problems that may arise in your future, hopefully knowing about possibilities can help you avoid them and keep it going for years to come. Goodsteel is quite competent, and anything posted on internet forums by Larry Gibson can be taken to the bank, I've found. They have confirmed one of my suspicions, in that many problems people have with this gun are from the fact that the gun was designed when the 308 Win. was new, and factory ammo has changed a lot since then. In the pursuit of power, and most hunters using bolt action rifles, powders have been developed that have a pressure curve too long for these rifles. They often seem to develop problems with being over-gassed, causing the extractor to fail to do its job. That's an interesting tidbit to remember; most guns do not develop problems due to a dirty extractor. Your gun has likely been shot less than many and has seen proper care. If yours is shooting modern hunting ammo reliably (especially Remington with their notoriously soft brass), that's a good sign. I would definitely steer your handloading to try to keep it in good condition, especially since it is an heirloom. You mention using middle of the road loads, yes, that may work, but middle of the road loads are middle of the road chamber pressure; they may not be middle of the road loads when it comes to port pressure. I'll keep researching.
 
Mike Haasl
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Thanks Gray, I had found that Barnes load chart already but none of the powders were available at the places I checked.  Need to get to the next city down the road to see if they have any of them...

Didn't realize how you held the rifle mattered that much.  Luckily the stand I'm shooting from is somewhat similar to the benches at the range.

Would any of the powders Gray listed be similarish to factory loads?  Maybe then I'd know that I'm in the realm of proper pressure loads that already work fine in the rifle.  Regarding the upkeep of the gun, grandpa used it to hold down barb wire fences and I've never tried to clean the innards of the gas mechanism.  If it's in good shape it's due to only having a few hundred rounds go through it over the years...
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Thanks Gray, I had found that Barnes load chart already but none of the powders were available at the places I checked.  Need to get to the next city down the road to see if they have any of them...

Didn't realize how you held the rifle mattered that much.  Luckily the stand I'm shooting from is somewhat similar to the benches at the range.

Would any of the powders Gray listed be similarish to factory loads?  Maybe then I'd know that I'm in the realm of proper pressure loads that already work fine in the rifle.  Regarding the upkeep of the gun, grandpa used it to hold down barb wire fences and I've never tried to clean the innards of the gas mechanism.  If it's in good shape it's due to only having a few hundred rounds go through it over the years...



All those powders are similarish to factory loads in terms of burn rate.  If you haven't already, take a look at a powder burn rate chart.  The powder you chose should probably be somewhere between IMR 3031 and IMR 4064 or mighty close.  Depending on the chart, positions may vary just a bit.  Burn rate charts should also not be used as substitution chart!

A call to Winchester, Remington, Hornady, etc might yield what powder they use in a certain load, but they likely use a "generic" or proprietary powder that may or may not match up with a retail powder.  That failing, you can probably google a duplication of a certain factory loading, just be sure to check it against PUBLISHED DATA.

Oh yeah, you'll need a bullet puller.  If you ever have any doubt about a round (or a hundred) you loaded, pull it.  I use the hammer type.
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