Dies for 7.62 x 51 (.308)

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by TXnorton, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

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    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?
     
  2. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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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.
     

  3. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  4. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

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    U.S. brass is Boxer primed, even Military.
     
  5. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

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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.
     
  6. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  7. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

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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.
     
  8. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

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    Another recommendation---do not shoot Wolf ammo in your rifle.
     
  9. 753X0

    753X0 New Member

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  10. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  11. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

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    All:

    I have bought what appears to be a standard - loaded with the medium weight stainless barrel. It is not a Supermatch. I get to pick it up tomorrow, so I'll have more time to look into it's details. It is a pre-owned rifle, but looks like it was barely (if ever) fired. It comes with a nice bi-pod already on it.

    I'l post photos Tuesday evening after I get it home. I am very excited about this acquisition.

    I have ordered 500 rounds of the Federal 7.61 x 51 NATO stamped ammo. They are 150 grain bullets. I load my Garand and 1903-A3 with the 165 grain bullets.

    I do have the latest Hornady loading manual. I have been using IMR-4064 for my .30-06 loads for 30 years, but I look into the 4895 for the 7.62x51 M1A.

    I am overly anal about trimming rifle cases. I do it every time, whether they need it or not!

    Now, I have assumed that I should only use the military 7.62x51 brass, either from my lot of purchased Federal, or range pick-ups. I am somthing of a range rat and I do pick up a lot of range brass for re-loading. I see a lot of .308 brass lying unclaimed at the range, but I have assumed that I should not try to reload these for the M1A - any comments?

    I am going to try the standard .308 dies first and see how they work, if I need to I will buy a small base rsizing die later.

    Now, recommendations on magazines. Springfield mags are VERY expensve, how about the CMI magazines?

    Later I intend to scope this rifle for longer range shooting - any recommendations on scope mounting systems?
     
  12. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

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    TX you are about to own a very nice rifle. One of mine is the SS bbl loaded but accurized. You may want to look into that with a good M1A/M14 armorer at some time down the road. Bedding, unitizing the gas system, venting the gas plug, and honing the trigger mech will definitely turn it into a super accurate rifle.
    You may do well with the standard dies so give them a try first. I went ahead and bought small base to begin with and then a small base XDIE.

    I used to be a brass hoarder at the range too, but some time back got into some that wanted to stick in my die even with a good lubing. I quit picking it up when I ran into problems, also I didn't know how many firings some of it had been through.
    A good rule is to put your brass in the salvage can after four firings. If you try for more you will definitely experience case head separations with the M1A.
    The cost of an M1A is such that it is better to know what you are feeding it. Once you have had it for a while, you will develop a love for it like you have had with no other firearm. If you don't already have one, you will need to bring home its pappy--an M1 Garand then the M1A won't feel so lonely.
    Be sure to read the articles by Glen Zediker and also jump over and join us sometime on the M14 Firing Line Public Forum. That is where you can gain tons of knowledge about the M1A/M14 rifle from Gus and Art. You really need to know how to care for it and how to enhance it.
     
  13. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

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    In the M1A I have up and running now, I have put 32,000 plus rounds through it and I'll have to say 99% of the ammo used was and still is .308 Winchester, not 7.62X51 NATO. The brass I'm reloading is .308 win exclusively.