Reloading .308 on Lee Classic Turret mentor
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Reloading .308 on Lee Classic Turret mentor

Ok, I've read the 'stickies' on other forums, I've read the ABC's of Reloading, I've spent countless hours scouring the reloading forum, the lee precision page (including two phone calls), midwayusa, and fsreloading. Some brief background: I intend to reload .308 for a bolt action for range and hunting, .32 S&W Long for range and SD, and 9mm for the same. There have now been three separate times I've come to a point where I've said to myself "I think I'm getting a handle on this!" and therefore been wrong at least twice now lol!

What I am seeking now is ANYONE who loads any of the three calibers, but hopefully .308 as that's my first main focus, on a Lee Classic Turret. I have no family or friends who reload and have very limited time at home as I work away. This would make it very difficult to find a mentor at my local range and make schedules work. Is anyone who fits the description willing to spend some time (any would help) either through email, message or even over the phone (my dime) to help walk me through and make sure I am ordering EVERYTHING I need and that it will all work as I intend it to?

I'll also throw into this mix a couple quick component questions. I plan to buy and use Sierra Match King 168gr for the range (possibly try 175gr but so far my gun has disliked the one factory ammo over 168 that I tried) as these gave me the best performance in factory ammo. For hunting whitetail I'm debating between Nosler Partition and Sierra Gameking / Pro hunter. For powder I hear alot about Varget being a good starter, and primers I figure go for what I've heard to be one of the best CCI. So: does anyone use these components and willing to share recepies? Do you have better sugestions? How is Varget for volume as I'd like to use a powder that fills as much of the case as possible for two reasons: first I've heard it can improve accuracy and second one more step to make it less likely to over or double charge. Don't get me wrong I have every intention of taking all possible precautions but the more fool proof to start the better.

Thanks in advance, especially to anyone willing to 'tele-mentor' an eager learner!

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Old 08-01-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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I don't use a lee press but I do reload several different calibers. 9mm, .40s&w, .45 acp, .38 special, .357 magnum, 10mm, .223/5.56, .22-250, .308, .30-06, and have loaded several others in the past. I'll help you with anything I can. What do you need to know?

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Old 08-01-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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I load for .308 as well as a few others. So let the questions flow

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Old 08-02-2012, 04:10 AM   #4
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First thing is to set-up the dies in the turret plate following the instructions. Depending on your barrels chamber,you may need to make minor die adjustments,but most of the time,the initial set-up will work fine.
Next make sure you seat all of your primers correctly,and use the correct primers for the case's.

Varget is a good powder,but it does tend to have problems metering with most powder dispensers.So,always check your powder charges. Reloader 15 & 19 is also a good 308 powder,and they meter much better than Varget.

Make sure that you seat the bullets to the correct length.Too long or short can cause pressure problems.

Make a couple dummie rounds before you make a live round,and cycle them thru your guns to make sure the brass is sized correctly,and your bullets are seated properly.

Go slow,and pay attention to everything,and you'll be fine.
Welcome to Reloading!

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Old 08-02-2012, 09:39 AM   #5
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Ok questions I still have:

For charging the .308, do you do this on the press with the pro auto-disk with the double disk add-on and rifle charging die, or off press with the lee perfect powder measure and why? The technician I spoke with at lee said that he would recommend the perfect powder measure for 308 because even with the double disk the Autodisk was limited and could not be used with certain powders. Are there certain powders that the auto disk or perfect powder don't like? Can / should you crimp if the bullet doesn't have a cannelure? What are the advantages to crimping or not crimping for accuracy / hunting. Same crimping questions for the pistol rounds. I'm not familiar with powder volumes, what powders would you recommend for .308 for filling most of (or at least more than half) these cases. I have heard good things about Varget, IMR 4064, IMR 4895, and Reloader 15. Same question to 9mm and .32 S&W long. Are there powders that could be used for both of those pistol calibers or am I better off or required (by safety) to use diff powders.

I will be doing load work up research on all of these, I figure your experience and input can give me a good place to get started though.

I do not have the equipment yet but here is my 'shopping list':

Lee Classic 4-hole turret kit (with pro auto disk, scale, case prep, case trimmer, and safety prime)
Lee powder funnel
Lee perfect powder measure
Lee Auto-Disk adjustable powder charge bar
Frankford arsenal SS Dial caliper
Frankford arsenal Bullet puller
Two extra turrets
Lee deluxe 3-die set 308
Lee factory crimp die 308
Lee case gage and shell holder 308
Lee carbide 3-die set 32S&W long
Lee case gage and shell holder 32
Lee deluxe carbide 4 die set 9mm
Lee case gage and shell holder 9mm

If I've done my math right, from midway I'm looking at ~ $440 before shipping. Might wait on the .32 for now and pick up dies for that and 7.62x54r for my new Mosin (I have an awesome Father in law on a side note!!!) at a later time.

So far unless your experiences change my mind I plan to charge 308 off press with the perfect powder measure and plan to charge both pistol cases on press with the adjustable charge bar.

Ok let the knowledge and input flow please. I greatly appreciate the help and have tried my best not to just repost the same old 'new Reloader' questions that have been answered a hundred times before.

Thanks!

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Old 08-02-2012, 11:11 AM   #6
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If you haven't bought your equipment yet, don't. At that price you could buy a Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, or anything else. My experiences with the lee powder measures is that they are not very consistent. I had to weigh each charge on a seperate Hornady scale to get any kind of accurate measuring. Obviously, this was a pain. The primer feeder on my Lee press also never worked right. The primers jammed. Yes, I was using the correct parts. No, they do not work. Therefore all priming had to be done seperately outside the press. Basically the Lee press is a die holder. If you want a progressive press that actually works and works consistently, buy something else. I love my dillon. RL 550b is right in your price range. You can pick up additional dies in the future to help keep initial costs down.

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Old 08-02-2012, 02:16 PM   #7
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to me it seems what you have should work. just follow the directions. also you should get a couple manuals to compare notes on. for powder i like IMR 3031, shoots great in my .308. i would say charging seperatly of a powder measure/dispenser would be best. as far as gear i think you need to add a case trimmer of some sort to keep your brass the right lenght. personally i use RCBS gear but ive heard lee works just fine.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #8
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I'll look into IMR3031 thanks for the suggestion. As for the case trimmer its included in the press kit (see above).

Thanks

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Old 08-02-2012, 07:14 PM   #9
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centurian,

as a long time reloader i feel that there's no one best set-up...lee's classic cast turret is my favorite press. i use it more than my dillons and rockchucker combined. of over 30 sets of reloading dies, 20 are lee.

as an equally long time bullet caster i've retired all my stuff but lee...so, i'm a lee fan, but not of everything! their powder measures, scales and auto-primer feeds leave lots to be desired.

i size/decap a pistol case; bell its neck without removing it from the press; prime with lee's hand-held priming tool, powder with an rcbs 'lil dandy or uniflow measure; then seat the bullet/crimp.

for bottle-neck rifle cases, i size/deprime, tumble, prime with the hand tool, powder with rcbs and seat the bullet, crimping if needed.

my scale is an mtm digital. i use a 50 gr sierra bullet as a check weight.

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Old 08-02-2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budman46 View Post
centurian,

as a long time reloader i feel that there's no one best set-up...lee's classic cast turret is my favorite press. i use it more than my dillons and rockchucker combined. of over 30 sets of reloading dies, 20 are lee.

as an equally long time bullet caster i've retired all my stuff but lee...so, i'm a lee fan, but not of everything! their powder measures, scales and auto-primer feeds leave lots to be desired.

i size/decap a pistol case; bell its neck without removing it from the press; prime with lee's hand-held priming tool, powder with an rcbs 'lil dandy or uniflow measure; then seat the bullet/crimp.

for bottle-neck rifle cases, i size/deprime, tumble, prime with the hand tool, powder with rcbs and seat the bullet, crimping if needed.

my scale is an mtm digital. i use a 50 gr sierra bullet as a check weight.
If you're going to seperate the steps like that, then a progressive or turret press would be a waste. You might as well use a single stage. If a progressive or turret press can't be relied on to complete ALL of the necessary steps, including priming and dispensing powder, then why would anyone want to use it?
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