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Old 03-13-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
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Default Dies for 7.62 x 51 (.308)

I am a few days away from picking up my new Springfield M1A. I have 7.62 x 51 ammo (Federal NATO stamped surplus) on its way as well, and am now thinking of buying the reloading dies for this caliber. I realize the dies will be standard .308 caliber. But, should I buy the small base dies or the standard? I understand that the small base dies are recommended for reloading for semi-auto rifles, and I do use the small base dies for my .223/5.56 cal. AR-15's.

But, I am given to understand that the 7.62 x 51 rifle chambers (military) are a bit larger diameter than the SAAMI .308 specs. So would the small base dies be neccessary? Or would standard .308 dies be better (less case cold working)?

While I am on the subject of the M1A, does anybody have any favorite reload recipes that they would be willing to share?

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Old 03-13-2010, 11:57 AM   #2
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From Sierra:
Small Base Sizing

Some firearms will require that fired cases be returned to approximately unfired dimensions. This is the purpose of the so called small base sizing die. In essence, this is nothing more than a standard full length sizing die, which has been reamed to absolute minimum dimensions. Tight chambers, a lack of camming power, or a combination of these may require cases to be sized to these smaller dimensions to assure positive chambering. As we have noted, most conventional full length sizing dies reduce a case’s fired dimensions enough to allow the case to be easily rechambered, without bringing it down to its original, unfired dimensions. In some instances, this will not quite be sufficient to assure positive operation and functioning. This most often occurs in firearms that lack the camming power of a bolt action, such as semi-autos, pumps, and lever actions. Sierra has worked with a large number of these types of firearms that functioned perfectly well with conventional full length dies, and suggest resorting to small base dies only if they prove to be necessary. They do work the brass more, and will usually result in reduced case life.


Now, I use standard full length dies for .308/7.62x51 and .223/5.56x45. I have had no issues w/ either in my Cetme or AR15. BTW, The 150gr I load for my Cetme shoot fine in both my lever gun and bolt, no issues in any.

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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I usually start with new brass or stuff that I pick up at the range. So perhaps I am mistaken. But most military surplus ammo is berdan primed. Is the stuff you are buying boxer primed? I know that it is difficult to say the least to reload berdan primed brass. Some guys do it. But I have never been able to find the components.

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Old 03-13-2010, 01:33 PM   #4
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U.S. brass is Boxer primed, even Military.

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Old 03-13-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
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JP - Thanks, I'll order the standard .308 dies.

Rick - ditto to what JP said; all of the US made 5.56 military brass I have for my ARs is boxer primed and re-loadable. The Federal 7.62 x 51 that I have ordered is also boxer primed. Ammoman.com, where I bought the .762, also had some German made NATO surplus 7.62 x 51 that is Berdan primed and therefore not easily re-loadable. The German ammo was less expensive, but was not a good option for me as I intend to re-load.

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Old 03-13-2010, 02:42 PM   #6
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Huh, as my father would say, "You learn something new everyday." That's the only thing I will ever quote from him. Thruth is, he's an idiot.

But seriously, thats good info to have. Thanks.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:37 AM   #7
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TX, you didn't indicate which level of Springer M1A you are getting. I just sold an accurized loaded and still have one as well as a standard also accurized. These are some of the most accurate autoloading rifles I have ever handled and is more accurate than the M14 I was issued in the 60's.

The M1A as well as the M1 have floating firing pins and you must seat your primers so that they are below flush with the case head. A high primer can be very dangerous should you experience an out of battery slam fire. If you plan to use military brass, you will also need to swage or ream the primer pockets to get the crimp out.

The Springfield M1A loves 168 grain bullets ie: Sierra Match Kings, Hornady AMax and Nosler Ballistic Tips in particular.
My most accurate load is 39 gr. IMR 4895, Nosler BT, CCI primer in Lake City cases. I recently purchased 1000 IVI cases but have not loaded them yet.
I use RCBS small base dies to load with and according to Glen Zediker that is the way to go. Another recommendation is to get a Hornady Seventh Edition manual. It has a specific section for the service rifles. Loading for an autoloader is somewhat different than loading for a bolt gun.
I am also starting to load for my M1As with the RCBS XDIE
You might google his articles (Loading for the Match M14 and Once Fired) on loading for the M1A/M14.
Hope this helps and hope you enjoy and love the finest autoloader that there is. My 2c worth.

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Old 03-15-2010, 12:39 AM   #8
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Another recommendation---do not shoot Wolf ammo in your rifle.

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Old 03-15-2010, 02:18 AM   #9
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I use small base dies. Starline or Rem. brass, fully prepped, weighed for consistency, necks turned, trimmed to length, VLD chamfered. I use CCI match primers and 42 grs. of VV N-135 with Nosler J-4 Comp bullets.
They are very good bullets, click on the link below and read the reviews.

Nosler Custom Competition Bullets 30 Caliber (308 Diameter) 168 Grain Hollow Point Boat Tail - MidwayUSA

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Old 03-15-2010, 04:33 AM   #10
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I use Redding full body dies and so far so good. Trim height on the garrand action is critical as the M1A and M1 Garrand are prone to "slam fire" mostly caused by brass not trimmed to proper height and primers not seated flush. (or so I have read) My M1A seems to like the 175 gr. HPBT MatchKing for best accuracy. I've used Viht N540 and IMR 4895 with fairly close results. So far I've used Federal #210 primers but am going to try out CCI primers sometime this summer.

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