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Old 12-24-2014, 17:48   #1
Team Sergeant
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Reloading .308 .300 who's got the best reloading equip?

I've been out of the reloading business for a few years..... who's making the best dies, reloaders, tricklers, scales, etc.

I'm going to start reloading .308 and .300. All I've done before was handgun ammo. Need some ideas on what equipment to pick up.

My new year resolution, to start reloading again.
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Old 12-24-2014, 18:27   #2
Peregrino
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Depends.

For match quality ammo I use a RCBS Rockchucker press, Redding Competition dies, and a RCBS Chargemaster powder measure. Add the tumbler, gauges, caliper, trimmer, Autoprime, etc. and it's a fairly involved process that gives me sub-MOA groups with match bullets (Sierra Matchking) and extruded powder (.308 = IMR/H4895, or Varget, 300WM = H4350).

For "range fodder" (5.56 and 7.62 only) I use a Dillon 550, RCBS or Dillon dies, the aforementioned QC tools and ball powder, usually W748 or BL-C(2). Depending on the quality of the projectile, I can still get easy MOA ammo.

I use both presses because it affords flexibility for testing and small batch while preserving production rates for volume shooting. I do have a significant investment; however, I've been accumulating it over 35 years (the stuff doesn't wear out!).

To start for rifle, I recommend the Rockchucker Supreme kit, probably from Natchez Shooters Supply; they always seem to have the best prices. Truthfully, any of the cast iron "O" frame presses will do the same thing. Stick with Redding dies for match ammo though.

If you want to do rifle and pistol "training ammo", get the Dillon and use Dillon dies. If you don't mind ball powder, it is also capable of producing excellent ammo. I just have my preferences and they work well for me.

HTH
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Old 12-24-2014, 20:35   #3
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Second Peregrino's assessment.

Sinclair makes some nice tools as well.

TR
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:38   #4
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Love the 550 as well. I do both of those calibers on it.

If I am doing an OCW for a new projo I will set the powder measure a little short and then put in on the scale and trickle to the desired amount. No fancy trickler, just one from Midway years ago. On the 550 you manually advance the rounds thru the stations so you can use it like a single stage, with some thought.

I am not a precision shooter but I do like turning out quality, consistant ammo that matches my rifle(s).

I have a bottom end Lee single stage for prep work (decapping, or pulling with a collet die).

Other stuff:
Some lighting from Inline Fabrication (several diffenent presses supported). Then also make a lot of organization and ergonomics widgets.

Something to pull your Oopses with, either a kinetic or collet puller.

Case trimmer, lots of options. I have an RCBS manual trimmer and a Possum Creek trimmer for 556 that goes in a drill if you want to crank through some brass. There are much higher quality trimmer out there/more expensive.

Hornady headspace gage: so you can minimize how much you resize you brass to get the most life out of it. Of course you need calipers too.

Primer hole deburring tool.

If you buy "once fired" brass with a crimp, you will need a decrimp widget. I have a motorized "prep station" with a RCBS crimp removing attachment, just takes a second or two. I also have a simple hand tool version.

Lots of places to buy overruns, seconds, and pulls for projectiles and brass: Shooters pro shop (nosler and SSA), Rocky Mountain Reloader (lots of pulls, brass) are two of my favorites. SPS does a 10% mil discount too. RMR has great prices and free shipping.
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Old 12-26-2014, 08:19   #5
atticus finch
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If for some reason you choose the RCBS small-base dies for .308 nato ?
Reloads from those dies will NOT fit into .308 winchester chambers, such as a commercial bolt-action.
If you reload with those dies and find the bolt won't close on them, it isn't your reloads, it's the dies. They don't reshape the shoulder on the brass down sufficiently to match the chamber, it ends up too long.
Just in case you were contemplating those dies. Otherwise they work very well for .308 nato chambers.

Add edit: I would suggest, based on my own experience, winchester 748 powder to start with. It is very forgiving, easy to find, and very easy to use in terms of metering through a powder measure. It also is very flexible as it'll work in a lot of different calibers. I've used it in .308 nato, .223, 8 X 57 mauser & several others. 8mm mauser really likes that powder.

Last edited by atticus finch; 12-26-2014 at 08:23.
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Old 12-26-2014, 09:30   #6
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My son and I load for both calibers using the Rock Chucker. Make sure to get a powder trickler, it really helps to get the exact amount of powder in each round. Get a digital caliper to measure OAL... We also use a sonic brass cleaner, it removes any powder build up from the inside of the case. We use a regular vibrating cleaner to polish the brass.

Last edited by mark46th; 12-26-2014 at 09:46.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus finch View Post
If for some reason you choose the RCBS small-base dies for .308 nato ?
Reloads from those dies will NOT fit into .308 winchester chambers, such as a commercial bolt-action.
If you reload with those dies and find the bolt won't close on them, it isn't your reloads, it's the dies. They don't reshape the shoulder on the brass down sufficiently to match the chamber, it ends up too long.
Just in case you were contemplating those dies. Otherwise they work very well for .308 nato chambers.

Add edit: I would suggest, based on my own experience, winchester 748 powder to start with. It is very forgiving, easy to find, and very easy to use in terms of metering through a powder measure. It also is very flexible as it'll work in a lot of different calibers. I've used it in .308 nato, .223, 8 X 57 mauser & several others. 8mm mauser really likes that powder.
Just to clarify, there is no .308 NATO.

There is .308 Winchester, and there is 7.62x51 NATO.

TR
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:28   #8
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RL550B

What I like most about the Dillon 550 is the tool head. If you want to change calibers it is a matter of pulling two push pins and disconnecting the powder charge linkage, then slide out the tool head and insert the next one. This saves a lot of time. There is a bit of a cost when you are setting up a new caliber as you have to buy a powder measure/dispenser for each caliber but once you do, changing from one caliber to another is fast and easy as long as your primer size is the same. And finally, the customer service at Dillon is top notch. When my low primer alarm went out I tried to rebuild it. When I called Dillon for new parts, he told me not to bother and sent me a new one, free of charge, didn't even charge me for shipping.
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:46   #9
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Originally Posted by greentick View Post
Other stuff: Some lighting from Inline Fabrication (several different presses supported). They also make a lot of organization and ergonomics widgets.
Thanks for the IF head nod. I didn't know about them until you got my curiosity up. I'll be ordering the LED system for my 550.
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Old 12-26-2014, 18:22   #10
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Especially considering you live in Phoenix, I would not even consider anything else but Dillon.

http://www.dillonprecision.com/retail_store.html

Currently I load for .308, .243, & 5.56, but when I was big into IPSC I loaded several thousand rounds of 38 Super, .45 & .40. All on a 550 using "quick changes" to swap calibers. I can tell you, I have made a few trips to Dillon for "emergencies" and several just to ask questions. It is hard to figure out some things by talking to someone on the phone. With Dillion you can go in and they can actually show you things on the actual equipment you would be using. I have literally walked into the showroom with my toolhead to get help with a problem.

My best Dillon customer service story is when a new puppy chewed up the power cord on my brass tumbler. When I took it in to drop it off, the guys at Dillon put on a new cord while I waited AND they covered it under their warranty. Show me another company that would do that for a customer.

Also, Bruno's Shooter Supply is right around the corner from Dillon. That would be the first place I check prices on primers, powder, bullets, etc.

http://www.brunoshooters.com/

BTW-I switched over to CFE223 powder for 5.56 and .308. I don't load for 300 WIN Mag so I don't know if that powder would be an option for that caliber. I shoot all Sierra bullets. 168 and 77 gr Matchkings to play and Gamekings for hunting.

Last edited by Bushmaster; 12-26-2014 at 20:13.
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Old 12-26-2014, 20:25   #11
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Thanks for the IF head nod. I didn't know about them until you got my curiosity up. I'll be ordering the LED system for my 550.
Welcome. I had jerry-rigged an extra under-cabinet halogen light with a piece of coat hanger that would attach to the seater die. Lighting was great but had to watch the knuckles on the L hand. The LED is not as bright but more on target.
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:57   #12
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Just to clarify, there is no .308 NATO.

There is .308 Winchester, and there is 7.62x51 NATO.

TR
No doubt, albeit that being it's most common reference.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:04   #13
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No doubt, albeit that being it's most common reference.
Must be a Navy thing.

Show it to me in a reference work.

TR
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Old 12-27-2014, 12:40   #14
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Especially considering you live in Phoenix, I would not even consider anything else but Dillon.
Not really big on Dillon, especially since I think their magazine photographer is lying about being assigned to 5th Special Forces Group. If I knew his real name I'd get his real military records. I even had a chat with the owners of Dillon a while back and they said they'd look into it, yeah, never happened.


That said who's using a Forster Press? I've read a lot of good things about that press!
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Old 12-27-2014, 17:25   #15
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Pretty much all things Forster are good. Their Co-Ax press is really nice and has some great features. It's a bit more expensive.

Also look at the Forster dies. I've used Redding for a long time but have been converting over to Forster.

If you want a progressive other than the Dillon, take a look at the Hornady Lock and Load A&P.


Also, if you go with the Chargemaster (which is a great product) - look at the "straw mod" to aid in accurate trickling. For what it's worth, I had a very expensive accurate scale (I could measure a 1/2 kernel of power) but I saw no real difference using it vs the Chargemaster.
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