Complete NEWBIE

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by .308 shooter, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter New Member

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    Okay..... I apologize for my total lack of knowledge. I've only reloaded once, and it was a disaster. I was reloading under the tutilage of someone that had done it for years. I wanted good consistent loads with maximum safe velocity for the accuracy. My... let's say.. teacher, mistook that for maximum velocity period. He loaded the cases with maximum powder - per the manual and seated the bullet for maximum length. Needless to say, I had to send my new Savage tactical .308 back to Savage for bolt repair...... Yes, I know - I was lucky. Savage even honored the warranty.

    Now.... my question. I've just ordered my own reloading equipment. RCBS Master kit. Basically has everything I need to get started.. with a few minor exceptions. I've downloaded the Hodgdon manual and it only lists the maximum load and doesn't suggest cartridge length or minimum loads or anything.

    Where can I find some good manuals and what manuals should I get? I'm doing this from scratch, with basically no real knowledge and would prefer not to have the gun blow up in my face. :)

    Suggestions?
  2. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    Well, the Hodgdon books show starting loads & overall lengths & the set is very good. Speer, Hodgdon, Lee, Sierra, Nosler, Barnes & to a lesser degree Lyman are all good manuals & worth every penny to buy.

    www.midwayusa.com

    is a good place to buy manuals if you don't have them available localy.
  3. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter New Member

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    Thanks. But should I use the manual for the powder I'm using or the bullet, or a combindation. I was told to use the manual for the powder at one point. Is this valid?

    Also, Is there a better powder than others? I had originally purchased BLC-2. But I really don't know anything about it.

    I realize someone out there is saying "This dude is crazy for wanting to reload... he know's nothing!" But you have to learn somehow right?
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    .308 shooter:

    Put the RCBS reloading stuff back in the box until you read and read and read some more, several reloading manuals introductory chapters. You should match your reloading manual to the bullets you intend to use or at least to the powder you intend to use. I have perhaps ten manuals and refer to most of them all the time.

    The Hornady manual has a very good section on how cartridges work. Since the gun must handle pressures in the 50,000 to 60,000 PSI range, it needs help from the cartridge to act as a gasket. The firing process the case goes through and the reloading process we must do to reload it are spelled out with illustration and text that will get you up to speed quickly.

    Since you have BLC2 powder get the Hodgdon manual (not just the specs as downloaded from the Internet) and read it as well. BLC2 is a good middle of the road powder that may work out for you. You need to test it and other powders to determine what YOUR gun likes, not what powder you buddy's gun likes. What works in his gun may not work well in your gun for best accuracy. Best accuracy is achieved through testing and varying all the possible combination of powder, amount of powder, bullets, primers, and seating depth. You must have an approach to this testing or you will never end the test phase. Some people's whole reloading thing is testing every combination they can find to get to the "perfect" load. You may not be interested in going that far but some testing is required to find the maximum load which MAY BE less than that listed in the manual. Best accurcy is not necessarily found at max loads and in my experience rarely is found there.

    Anyway, read the manuals and know how it all works before you try reloading again. When you are sure you understand the theroy well, then break out the RCBS stuff and start the process. Remember to start at the starting load and work up looking for pressure signs along the way, never exceeding the listed max load level. It is best to start with the exact recipe (case, primer, bullet, seating depth) listed in the manual. You can vary that later after you get some experience reloading and shooting your reloads. Without much testing you may find the load that is "adequate" for your uses without a bunch more testing.

    You will also need to develop a bench shooting technique that takes you out of the equation for accuracy. Support of the gun, support of you, correct breathing, correct trigger pull, correct sight picture or correct adjustment of the optics, all play into the resultant accuracy. Everything must be the same and good to be able to compare results between various loads.

    Good luck with reloading. You may find the act of reloading as much fun (creating something....the reloaded cartridge) as shooting, expecially when you finally get stellar results.

    LDBennett
  5. Gene Seward

    Gene Seward Member

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    I agree with the others here, and if it were not not for this forum I would be in a world of (it). LOL I got the DVD from RCBS and it helped set everything up. I also read and reread the manuels that I bought (Speer and Nosler). I was scared to death to even start, but now I love it. Don't say this is the load I am going to use and do 1000 rounds to start. I load about 10 rounds of two or three loads and test for accuracy. This saves money and alot of frustration. Good luck and don't forget if you have questions feel free to ask. I am also a newbie, but with the help here I have saved lots of money, and get better results than ever.
  6. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter New Member

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    Re: Complete NEWBIE - part 2

    Thanks everyone for your help.

    LDBennett..... I just picked it up today.... it's not even in the box yet. I have no intentions of putting this thing on a fast track to no-wheresville. I am definitly doing my homework first.... that's why I'm hear. There's a Speers manual that came the kit. I'm going to read that first. Then I'm ordering the Sierra manual as I plan to use some Sierra Matchking bullets. I'm also ordering a small manual that has only .308 information - I believe it compares a number of different bullet manufactures and has the specs for them.

    NEW QUESTION -
    I don't have much of teh BLC2 Powder left. Is there a powder that's better than another. I know it depends on what the individual gun likes, but there has to be a starting point that's a favorite right? What about Varget.. I've seen that mentioned alot. Who's the manufacturer? Again.... all your help is appreciated.
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    308 shooter:


    NEW QUESTION -
    I don't have much of teh BLC2 Powder left. Is there a powder that's better than another. I know it depends on what the individual gun likes, but there has to be a starting point that's a favorite right? What about Varget.. I've seen that mentioned alot. Who's the manufacturer? Again.... all your help is appreciated.


    BLC2 and Varget are Hodgdon powders.

    There are two basic kind of powders: single base and double base. Both include nitrocellulous (can be from wood) but the dual base includes nitroglycerine. Most extruded powders (IMR type) are cylindrical in shape and most are single base. Most all the Hodgdon powders are dual based and the shape is ball (sherical or squashed flat spheres). The dual base powders are more energetic and often give enhanced velocities, but not always. The ball powders feed better through powder measures but the new Short Cut single based powders now feed through powder measures better than they used to. All Winchester powders are ball. All IMR powders are single based cylindrical (both long and short cut with newer varieties becoming short cut as Hodgdon now owns the IMR powders). Most Hodgdon powders are made in the former Winchester powder plant and are ball because of that (Winchester invented ball powders).

    Varget is a good choice as it is a ball dual base modern powder. It has a big following and is usable in almost everything but pistols and magnum cartridges. It should work just fine for 308 loads.

    My Dillon measure is sensitive to powder shape and does not like long cut single based powders. Long ago I setteled on a few powders for my purposes. I reload for over 30 different cartridges from 22 Hornet to 45-70, from 357 to 45 long colt, both regular and magnum rifle and pistol cartridges. I try to use only Hodgdon 335 and 414 for most rifle cartridges so as to limit the number of powders on hand. I buy powder in 8 lb containers. I use Hodgdon HP38 (exactly same as Wincheter 231) for all pistol cartridges. Magnum cartridges require slower burning rate powders and I have not really settled on one for either pistols or rifles but I have used 2400, Accurate Arms #7 & #9, IMR 4227 for pistols and Hodgdon 4831SC and Hodgdon 870 for magnum rifle cartridges.

    LDBennett
  8. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    You'll find that the manuals are more bullet brand oriented than powder oriented.

    As far as powder goes & for manuals that are powder oriented you need to know about all the free mini-manuals offered for free by the powder companies & that your powder supplier should be able to give you. This way you get a bunch of free manuals to have more listed loads to use. The bad thing about them is that they have no loading procedure help in them.

    Others are correct that you'll want to get one or two good manuals & read the heck out of them. Don't forget to read any info that comes with the particular equipment that you buy.

    There are basic rules to follow that you'll find in any good manual along with the load info they have.
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