Hand Loading for Precision Rifle (Pic Heavy)

Barney88PDC

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If it is the Forster Co-ax it does not use shell holders. The only way for you to adjust the amount your die will bump the shoulder would be to screw it in or further down for more shoulder bump and to loosen it or unscrew it for less shoulder bump. Obviously anyone else using any press can do the same thing even if they are not using competition shell holders.
 
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Widowmaker300

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and what happens if I do this and it never goes from 1.6220, using insert D for 308 to gather the intel. I’ve used the shellhplders accordingly off a video on YouTube but I wanna help my buddy tailor rounds for his rifle and can’t use the same method. Using rcbs competition die and I screwed it down further.
 

Barney88PDC

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The only way to bump a shoulder is to make it contact that surface in the die itself. Either by raising the bottom of the case higher by going from the 0.010 shell holder to the 0.002. Or if that doesn't work screw the die in further to lower the die in the press. If you have done both and the ram is going to cam over too hard then you have a die that is probably out if spec. You can either take some material off the bottom of the die, typically done at a machine shop in a lathe or possibly a mill. Or you have to send the die back to the manufacturer or buy another one. I stick to Redding Type S FL Bushing dies and I have had very good luck in several calibers.
 
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RunninRebel

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Maybe I missed this, but are you measuring the distance to the lands to determine bullet jump, or do you not find this to be necessary? If so, what are you using to measure the distance to the lands?
 

WilburW

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Great tutorial!
The pics tell more than just words.
Recently started reloading 6.5 and appreciate the details...
 

Barney88PDC

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Maybe I missed this, but are you measuring the distance to the lands to determine bullet jump, or do you not find this to be necessary? If so, what are you using to measure the distance to the lands?
This article was written in order to help you load ammo to book spec. Meaning consulting a loading manual and loading your bullet of choice to the OAL that is spec'd in the reloading manual for that bullet. As I stated in the opening paragraph it was not intended for "load development" which is more along the lines of determining best jump for the bullet in your specific chamber and how to do so, but I'll answer anyway.

The way I find the lands is as follows. This is probably TMI but......Keep in mind distance to lands is somewhat subjective. It is a "hard number" but if you gave the same rifle, case and bullet to different people who use different techniques and / or tools to determine that "hard number" you'd probably come up with slightly different numbers. Albeit I'm sure they would be close.

I do not use any tools as the only one I tried was the Hornady (Stony Point) measuring tool but I never got consistent, repeatable results. Matter of fact if someone pays shipping they can have it with a 308 treaded case. The way I do it works with any caliber and any bullet without any special tools needed.



Take a case that has been resized and is spec'd to your chamber by the process outlined at the beginning of this thread. DO NOT load a primer or powder for safety reasons for the exercise. Just use the case and the bullet you will be loading for. Load a round long, so long that the bolt might not even close on the first attempt. Spin the bullet in some 000 or 0000 steel wool. This will put a very shinny polish on the bullet. By hand load the long dummy round into the chamber and GENTLY attempt to close the bolt. If you have to muscle it then the round is too long and you need to seat the bullet deeper, don't force it. (There is some risk that the bullet may get stuck in the bore but just run a cleaning rod through the muzzle and it will come free easy with a light tap.) If the dummy round didn't chamber, put it back in the press, lower the seating stem and seat the bullet deeper. Then repolish the bullet in the steel wool and try again. When you can close the bolt, pull the dummy round out of the chamber and hold the side of the case as best you can so that the round is not dragging on the chamber or action and making marks on the bullet. Inspect the ojive area of the bullet for marks made by the lands in the barrel. If you have a traditional 4 groove barrel there will be 4 marks 90 degrees apart. If you have a 5 groove, such as a 5R barrel, there will be 5 marks 60 degrees apart. Seat the bullet about 0.010" deeper, polish the bullet, chamber it again, then extract and inspect the bullet again. At first the marks will be fairly pronounced, then as you seat the bullet deeper the marks will get more faint. At some point you may want to go down to only seating the bullet 0.005" or 0.002" deeper at a time. (Another reason to have a micrometer seating die.) At some point the marks will be EXTREMELY faint. Then you will seat the bullet just a touch more and you will not see any marks. I call that measurement "The Lands". Keep a record of that measurement from the case head to the ojive. Keep in mind, as you shoot, the throat erodes and the lands move away from the chamber. So this measurement will change over time. If shooting a Berger Hybrid or a Sierra SMK I will seat the bullet 0.020" DEEPER from "The Lands" measurement for a 20 thousandths jump. If using a Berger VLD I usually seat them 0.015" LONGER because the VLD's seem to like to be jammed into the lands to shoot well. As always follow the 10% rule when starting your charge weight with any new powder or anytime you change seating depth.

You may want to repeat this with new case and new bullet. No need to start way off just a touch longer and see if what you come up with matches what you did the first time. If not exactly the same I'm usually within a thou or two and that's close enough.
 
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dgc357

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Now to set up your FL sizing die.
For a bolt gun you are going to want to take a piece of brass that has been fired in your weapon and measure the distance from the base of the case to the shoulder.
I’m building a new rifle in 6.5 CM. I have no brass that has been shot from this rifle as it will be new. I do, however, have some once fired brass I picked up that was shot out of a semi-auto. What’s the best way to start in this situation?

Should I just resize with no shoulder bump at first and measure after I shoot it? Is it better to just buy a box of factory ammo and measure those fired pieces of brass?
 
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JimLee

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I’m building a new rifle in 6.5 CM. I have no brass that has been shot from this rifle as it will be new. I do, however, have some once fired brass I picked up that was shot out of a semi auto. What’s the best way to start in this situation?

Should I just resize with no sholder bump at first and measure after I shoot it? Is it better to just buy a box of factory ammo and measure those fired pieces of brass?
My long range rifle has never had a piece of factory ammo through it, i've reloaded for it from the beginning. With my first batch of brass I just sized it to the SAAMI specs listed in my Hornady manual for that brass.
 

Barney88PDC

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If it's new brass you shouldn't have to size it. If it was fired then if you bump the shoulder to the dimension listed in a reloading manual then it should chamber in any rifle you put it in.
 

clcustom1911

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This tutorial is excellent, and not too insane as far as the OCD of precision reloading.

I'm kinda ghetto when I measure my ogive/lands engagement:

By seating a bullet long, coloring it with black sharpie, seating the casing under the extractor and pressing it against the ejector, then slowly running the bolt home until I feel slight resistance, extract, and observe the witness marks created by the lands. The, take bullet to seating die, seat it a c-hair deeper... Color with black sharpie, seat casing against bolt face..... Etc....

Repeat until you no longer feel any resistance while still seeing witness marks of the lands touching the ogive. Save that cartridge as your reference. Then from there you can seat it longer for the "jam" effect, or you can seat shorter for tuning your jump.

It's not as precise, or quick as using all theem thar fancy measuring tools, but it has worked well for me.
 
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