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Reloading Military Brass #16159445 06/10/21
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Dixie_Dude Offline OP
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I am having a hard time reloading 308 military brass. I have around 400 rounds. What I have reloading only about half will cycle. I ran some through a standard die, then used a Lee full length resizing die. I trimmed the length. I de-crimped the primer pockets. Then I can't even close the bolt on my bolt rifle (Ruger 77) nor close the bolt on a BLR Browning lever.

I'm thinking the necks aren't sized right or the base is too wide. They go in except the last little bit. I can't see inside my gun so I'm not sure what to do.

I know the military brass is thicker, but I've never had this problem with .223 military brass.

Any ideas?
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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16159502 06/10/21
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Son_of_the_Gael Offline
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Color a case with a magic marker and try to chamber it. That should show you where it is over sized.


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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16159677 06/10/21
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I had a similar problem when using a Lyman shellholder in a RCBS press with RCBS dies.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16159682 06/10/21
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DANNYL Offline
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Sounds like the full length die needs to be turned down a bit.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: DANNYL] #16159869 06/10/21
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Originally Posted by Son_of_the_Gael
Color a case with a magic marker and try to chamber it. That should show you where it is over sized.

Originally Posted by DANNYL
Sounds like the full length die needs to be turned down a bit.


In some extreme cases brass fired from machine guns with worn chambers need some extra sizing via a small base die, but it's actually kind of rare. Generally, the two quotes above will help you trouble shoot and solve your problem.


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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16159873 06/10/21
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bluejay75 Offline
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If you didn’t have much to trim you most likely didn’t size them enough. A lot of LC once fired is most likely machine gun brass. Their chambers are on the large side of SAAMI to make sure the gun cycles in most conditions.

If you weren’t measuring 2.020 or near that you didn’t size them enough. Run your die until the ram/ shell holder cams when pressing against the die. Or get a set of small base dies. I have been there. I feel your pain.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160186 06/10/21
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doubleDs55 Offline
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Run one of then hard to chamber cases up the size die with the die turned down some more try chambering again, if you have to turn die down, do it again. Don't go by the instructions on these dies that say turn die down until contact with shell holder. Some times you have to turn it down until it makes solid contact through the cycle past cam-over. Machine gun brass will fatten out again when you pull it out of the die, try raising and lowering the case a few times. You'll get er.

Last edited by doubleDs55; 06/10/21.

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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160270 06/10/21
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Dixie_Dude Offline OP
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It must have been machine gun brass. I've never had this problem with any other reloading. I've reloaded thousands of pistol and rifle calibers. I measured and trimmed to proper length, ran through two different sizing dies. I've never had this problem with commercial brass.

Would anneling the cases, then sizing them help?

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160298 06/10/21
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I got a bush basket of 308 brass - military. I had similar problems. I bought a small base die. Still same problems. I talked to a RCBS technician. He told me to set the full length sizing die 1/4 turn past touching the shell holder. That did the trick. I didn't have to resize that way after that. Evidently the brass was shot with a M60. The base was too wide.


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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160761 06/11/21
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Originally Posted by Dixie_Dude
It must have been machine gun brass. I've never had this problem with any other reloading. I've reloaded thousands of pistol and rifle calibers. I measured and trimmed to proper length, ran through two different sizing dies. I've never had this problem with commercial brass.

Would anneling the cases, then sizing them help?
NO...

As said, Small Base Die, or other alternative would be a body die, and do the 1/4 turn camming effect on the brass...
Pocket swager from Dillon...for the military primer crimp.
Then also do neck via a 308 Lee Collet Neck Sizing die.

Simple solution, you just evidently don't have the right dies for the application..


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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160779 06/11/21
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Your biggest problem is probably the .200 line on your brass is big, a small base die will help but I would be careful doing the 1/4 turn cam over to many times some dies can push the shoulder back .010 or more and to many times doing that you will be getting a case separation.
A comparator will tell you how far your pushing the shoulder back.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16160800 06/11/21
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DD, Some 7.62 chambers are long enough to essentially ruin brass on the first firing. And brass spring-back is a thing. Well.....unless you're sizing just enough to rechamber in that particular 7.62 MG.

People approach the MG brass conundrum in different ways, as you've read. Here's what I do.

I use a LE Wilson case gauge. Every piece of bulk-purchase (possibly MG fired) brass gets checked in the gauge before any processing. Can do it by feel, watching TV (if there's anything on). But the check is step one. Any pieces that are badly overstretched are culled. How much stretch? Usually pieces over 10 thou above max shelf (often they're more like 20 thou) will stand out from the rest. Suppose you could have a batch that are all no good, but haven't yet.

If you want to try and rehab the long ones, sort them by degree of stretch and try a few.

Anyway, you can use a std FL die to FL size the "good" pieces, which will most likely chamber in in any .308 Win.

My rationale. No matter what is done to make a badly overstretched case fit a somewhat spec .308 chamber, there's an incipient separation waiting to happen. Might be first reload, might be fifth. I don't need the aggravation.

Prevention vs cure. JMHO.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16161058 06/11/21
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Dixie_Dude Offline OP
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OK, thanks guys.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16163686 06/12/21
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DD,
You got a lot of suggestions there but until you try the simplest (turn your current FL die down some more, such that some force is required to cam over the lever on your press after the die contacts the shellholder) I wouldn't worry over the other stuff.
Probably a good idea to make sure the shellholder and die are of the same brand, if the above doesn't work.

Let us know what your solution turns out to be, if you find one. Good luck with it.

Rex

P.S. of course if the "turn down the die" plan works, then you'll want to back it off until your bolt will just barely close with a little resistance, and that oughta be perfect. But it sounds like you know all that stuff.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16163830 06/12/21
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Magnum_Bob Offline
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I bought a bunch of GI brass that was once fired thru a mg. I cam over sized it and checked all the sized cases in a Dillon case case gauge after I had trimmed to min. and chamfered it.
Any that did not gauge went into one pile and were checked for chambering in my bolt guns, they all chambered. The gauge passed ones are loaded for my AR-10. Works for me.


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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: sherm_61] #16163905 06/12/21
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Originally Posted by sherm_61
Your biggest problem is probably the .200 line on your brass is big, a small base die will help but I would be careful doing the 1/4 turn cam over to many times some dies can push the shoulder back .010 or more and to many times doing that you will be getting a case separation.
A comparator will tell you how far your pushing the shoulder back.


This post includes a valid warning and a suggestion for the proper tool to prevent setting the shoulder too far back. You'd do well to take this advice.

I shoot a Garand a lot, and if I do the "contact shellholder plus one-quarter turn" I may get 3 loadings out of the brass. Using a comparator to set the shoulder back .002" and annealing every third loading, 20 loadings are quite possible. Same with ARs.

This is done without small-base dies and the rifles run fine.

Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16164018 06/12/21
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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16164350 06/12/21
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Get a small base die. I use it on Lake City brass.

Last edited by hanco; 06/12/21.
Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16164420 06/12/21
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Bugger Offline
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A few of you have missed the advise I gave.

I got this from a RCBS technician - Turn the die 1/4 turn past touching the shell holder. That will bring the base into spec. After that size like you normally would. After the first sizing to get the base the correct diameter I set the full length sizing die to almost touch the neck. This has worked in my AR-10 and my 308 bolt guns and my Browning BLR 358 (using 308 military brass).

This "1/4 turn past touching the shell holder to get the base right" advise came from RCBS. It worked for me and that's my recommendation.

Last edited by Bugger; 06/12/21.

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Re: Reloading Military Brass [Re: Dixie_Dude] #16165312 06/12/21
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And it set the shoulder back on my cases about .010" more than I needed....with RCBS dies.

Case stretch, of course, was a quick killer of case life.

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