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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone... for X-mas my mother had gotten me a used Lee Challenger press, with Lee "Perfect Powder Measure", Lee "Safety scale", and I'm not sure if it comes with a case trimmer, primer tool, etc... The person she bought it from is supposed to throw in a .308 die for me as well, since that's what I shoot the most. I don't know if this is going to be everything I'll need or not... I know that I will have to get case holders, but anyways...
I have NEVER reloaded before, nor have I witnessed someone else doing it. This is going to be an all new experience for me. I am also very nervous about this, as I don't want to damage my rifle or myself for that matter. I am going to be loading for a Remington M700 SPS Varmint .308 Win. with a 26" heavy barrel. Right now, the best ammo I have had for it has been the Federal Premium match ammo, 168g. The Black Hills Moly-Match 168g's shoot very well for me as well. Here's my question...
What kind of powder would I need to buy to get as identical to those factory loads that I mentioned? I will be shooting 168g Matchkings for target practice, and 165g Scirocco's for hunting. I just want to select a powder for safety and accuracy. I don't want pressures to go ANY higher than factory ammo, I'm not a fan of "Light Magnum" style loads and stuff. Regular .308 loads are plenty powerful enough for what I do, and I want my rifle to last as long as possible.
Any help, suggestions, or recommendations from you .308 experts will be appreciated in a way you'd never understand! Literally, my local gunshops know NOTHING about handloading, and you guys are literally my ONLY source for help and info! Thanx in advance!
 

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Welcome to the world of reloading. There is lots to learn. First pick one or two good reloading manuals and read them from cover to cover, I like the Lyman manual. Try to find someone you trust that has experience reloading to show you the basics.

I like BL c-2 for .308 because it's a ball powder and meters well in my Dillon powder measure. My Rem PSS likes it too. Others like Varget, RL-15 and 4895 for 308.

Rifle cases take some prep work to reload but the results are good. Buy a bullet puller to disassemble your mistakes, you'll need one. A chronograph is nice to see exactly what your loads do in your rifle.

Start slow and try a few rounds with different weights of powder and work up a load that is safe and accurate in your gun.
 

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I really don't know myself, which is why I'm asking this:

Are there no good reloading write-ups online?

Another thought, local library? No idea if they ever carried this sort of thing, but perhaps.

It's a pretty simple process in my opinion, (having done it for years) but lots and lots of variables!

The simple fact is, follow the basics in a manual, and you will be fine.

To me one of the key aspects of reloading, especially for precision shooting, is realize that what works best in someone elses rifle, is likely not the best for YOUR rifle. Don't go hog wild buying components (powder, primers, bullets) right off the bat, but instead buy just enough to try each and figure out what your rifle likes best. That takes time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, I know what parts I'll probably still need to buy..
And thanx for the quick replies!
I guess a better way to ask this question is:
Is there a way to find out the exact powder type and weight in these factory loads? -Black Hills 168g Match -Federal Premium 168g Match -Remington Premier Match 168g .... Or even Remington Core-Lokt and Core-Lokt Ultra 150g.
I guess what I am trying to do is duplicate these factory loads, so I'll know that they're safe and accurate in my rifle, since I don't have the experience, and don't trust myself enough yet to just grab a box of medium burn-rate powder and start loading different amounts of powder.
Like I said, I am not at all worried (yet) about getting more accuracy or power than factory loads, my main reason for reloading is to save money. I have to pay $22.89 per box of ammo at my local shop. Should be able to reload 20 rds for 2/3's of that (If I did the math right..)
Thanx for the help guys!
Oh yeah- @k12lts - I don't know ANYONE around here that handloads... like I said earlier, the ONLY resources I have for help are this forum and I am going to buy the Hornady manual as soon as I get all this equipment set up.
 

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Welcome to reloading

Buy a book. It will be the BEST and cheapest money you'll ever spend on reloading. It will answer nearly all your questions, and answer the questions you don't know how to ask yet. The equipment you received is excellent for 308 Win, that's what I use for rifle. Many, many different powders will achieve your stated goals. But you have to learn your craft first. Buy a book.

yeager, online resources are pretty cool, but not nearly as reliable as printed publications. I've been reloading for 39 years, next year will be my fortieth. And I have yet to trust the stuff online, except the powder and bullet manufacturers' own web sites. The manufacturer's web sites are online publications of their own printed manuals.

Books in the library are excellent for learning the basics, even though they are often outdated. The fundamentals haven't changed that much. Just be wary of old reloading data.
 

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I don't know of anyway to exactly match factory loads because they usually use different powder than is available to us. The best way is to chronograph the factory ammo you like out of your gun then develop a load that closley matches the bullet speed. You will probably find your loads to be more accurate because you will should hold tighter tolerences than factory loads.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ok, thanx for the info thus far! Thanx for that link!
I still have a couple of things I feel I need to ask, might seem like "stupid" questions, I just want to make sure I have the right idea here...
-When I charge a case, set it into the case holder on the ram, then set a bullet on there and raise it into the seating die, will this die crimp the case? Would I need a separate die to crimp the case? Is crimping always needed? I notice that some bullets do not have an indentation or "cannelure"... these bullets wouldn't need a crimp, right?
I haven't received this present (reloading equipment) yet, so I don't know what he means by including a "308 die". I don't know if that means a "die set" or just one die...
Also, do you guys have any starting loads you could recommend for me to start with? Like for instance, a good, cheap powder + cheap bullets (FMJ, HP, anything) just for a cheap starting point for some cheap target practice? (I DON'T buy cheap bulk military ammo, corrosive or otherwise).
Also, is there any way without a chronograph to tell when I am approaching maximum pressure levels?
Forgive my ignorance, and thank you for all info!
-D
 

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The accuracy load for the serria 168 gr match king in their book is 41.6 gr of IMR 4064. if my memory is on right now.....get the book to make sure. That charge is on the low end so there is room to play or make an error.
 

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Once you get the books and read, these things will be a lot clearer. As Gunner advises, get the book to make sure.

The bullet seating die can be adjusted to form a light crimp on rifle bullets, or you can use a separate crimp die. With or without cannelure, many rifle bullets may require no crimp, except that discharge inertia can sometimes affect the cartridges in the magazine. A light crimp helps control that. Rifles with tubular magazines (most lever actions) get a stronger crimp for safety. You will learn from the books that making the inside neck diameter of the case .001" smaller than the outside diameter of the bullet generally provides a good fit. You will also learn the signs of excessive pressure. Many books include current load data, from which you can select your target load.

Before you think about buying powder, primer, or bullets, please get a book and learn the craft. A little knowledge will go a long way when it's time to choose components. The first rifle components I bought were a bad choice for a beginner. I make much better choices today.
 

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The most important thing is: don't let it overwhelm or intimidate you. Reloading isn't all that difficult (women do it) - take it a step at a time and read everything you can find. A month from now you'll wonder why you were so concerned.
 

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Here's a group of .308 links that I like

Some of these will require registration. Many of these are regarding Service Rifle, which uses semi-auto rifles such as the Garand or M14. The ammo that shoots well in these is similar to that which you say you have had good experiences with.

I used to shoot a 168gr Sierra with 39.5 gr IMR 4895 or IMR 3031 and a Federal primer in a LC case. Now I shoot a 168 with 41.5gr IMR 4895 and a Winchester primer in a LC case. This shoots well in .308 M1's, an M1A, and FAL's.

Long Range rifle shooting discussion:
http://www.long-range.com/forums/index.php?&

National Match rifle shooting discussion:
http://www.nationalmatch.us/forums/index.php?

Look at the upper right and click on the 'Reloading Stuph' link here:
http://radomski.us/njhp/

Bunches of .308 articles here:
http://yarchive.net/gun/index.html

What all this shooting is going to cost you:
http://handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp

http://www.6mmbr.com/308Win.html

http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/308_loads.html

http://www.accuratepowder.com/data/Accurate 3-1.pdf

http://www.accuratereloading.com/primer.html

http://www.gswagner.com/bigreloading/components/powderburnrate.html

http://www.biggameinfo.com/BallisticsLinks.aspx

http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanx everyone! Those links are especially helpful NuJudge.
Today, I was visiting my mother (she's who has gotten me all the reloading equipment) and asked her if I could have the paperwork to all that stuff early so I could be better prepared for setting everything up.
One of the papers that came with all this is a "Lee Data Manual". It's a small manual for Hodgdon powders. I know this isn't not nearly as good as a full size reloading book, which I will have to get later (x-mas has broken me for a few weeks :()... will this one be ok? It lists a description for all it's powders, and recommends 2 in particular for a "smaller than 30-06 case".
One is BL-C(2). It says that this is the "propellant of choice for the .308. It's actually military specification for the .308 (7.62 NATO). When it was first introduced, the bench rest shooters and other target shooters made it an immediate success."
The other is H335, which they say "is what the military uses for loading the .223 or 5.56 NATO. Like BL-C(2), H335 works very well in most cases from .30/06 down."
For a .308, it also shows these load recommendations (maximum loads, they are saying to start 6% under these loads and work up).
.308 Win, 26" Barrel, 168-172 Gr.
BL-C(2) - 46.0 / 2614 FPS / 46,500 CUP
H335 - 42.0 / 2548 FPS / 47,000 CUP

They also list other powders such as - H380, H4895, and H322. There's only 5 powder options for 168-172 Gr... whereas the 150 and 180 Gr. data shows 9 powder options... weird.
Any of you guys try BL-C(2)? I believe I am going to get a can of that and some 168 Gr. Matchkings to start out with..
Can I make it loading with this little book for a month or so? Right now I will only be loading for .308, but am going to buy a .38/.357 and .45 ACP die sets next with some Universal Clays.
The whole reason I even WANTED to get into reloading is since I have made the decision to buy a Dakota Longbow in .338 Lapua for 1000 yd F-Class matches, and the ammo for that caliber in INSANE... and besides, all the successful 1000 yard guys out there load their own.
I want to thank all of you for the advice thusfar!
 

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Yes, that little manual has Hodgdon load data. But that little manual doesn't take the place of a real reloading book, which will teach you the safety procedures and everything else you need to know.

Funny thing. You're worried about taking care of your precious rifle. But you don't want to spend $12 on a book that will teach you how to do that.
Well, it's your rifle and your money. Do whatever you want.
 

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Trigger Creep said:
But you don't want to spend $12 on a book that will teach you how to do that.
Geez...It would be nice if they were only $12 at MY gunshop...try between $20-$25!!!

But still...whats 20 bucks when you are looking at the cost of ammo compared to the savings you'll experience with your new hobby.

As many have already stated...GO BUY A BOOK!!!

I have Hornady, Nosler and Speer books and they all have loads (no pun, LOL) of information within them.

As far as trying to duplicate factory loads, why not just experiment with different load combinations and then figure out what will OUTSHOOT those factory loads you're trying to copy? Thats one of the other beauties of reloading.

Want to know why those 1000 yrd shooters reload?...because factory loads don't even compare to what they can put together themselves.

Some load combinations will make your target look like it got hit by a shotgun, while others will put more than one bullet through one hole!

EXPERIMENT!!!

Be careful...pay attention to what you are doing...and above all...HAVE FUN!!
 

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I also recently started to reload .308 My first book was the Hornady manual and the second was the ABC's of reloading. I also watched ever reloading video avaliable on youtube.com as I don't have a freind that reloads that could walk me thru the steps.

I also read the information on this site and http://www.accuratereloading.com/ after reading other peoples experience I started loading using 4064 powder. My first loads easily got .5 MOA from my Remi 700 LTR using Hornady 168 A-Max.

I have also found this site for the loading manuals
http://www.ssrsi.org/sr1/Weapon/reload.htm I cross reference information to compare different companies data on loads.
 

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Congrats on getting a reloading setup. If I still had a copy of ABC's of reloading I'd loan it to you, lots of good general info in there.

Take things slow, read a LOT and never, EVER take someones reloading data without double checking it against a good manual.
 
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