Loading 308 w. 168 SMK - did I screw up?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shopfox, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I loaded some 168gr SMK into once fired LC brass. I set the COAL to 2.806". The manual being used showed a min of 2.800" and a max of 2.810".

    At the range, I chambered a round, and immediately had difficulty trying to push the bolt handle down. I pulled the round out, chambered another, and again, it took some force to lock the bolt.

    I did not fire any rounds. Went home, checked my COAL's, and they varied between 2.803" and 2.809" - still in spec... I loaded and cycled the bolt with other ammo. The ammo was much shorter, but the bolt cycled 100%

    I chambered some of the empty LC brass, and it was fine to cycle. Looking closely at the loaded bullets, and I think there is a light scuff from the lands.

    Is the ammo safe to shoot if it touches the lands?
    Did I do something wrong e.g. rely on COAL?
    Should I re-seat the bullets slightly deeper?
     
    towboater likes this.
  2. Wambli

    Wambli Well-Known Member

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    Did you full length resize the brass?
     
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  3. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I found the problem. I had purchased the brass from a private party. It was (supposed to be) fully processed: f/l resized, trimmed, primer pocket swaged.

    When I dropped it in my go/no-go gauge, I could see a sliver of light on either side of the case head on the top of max length side of the gauge.

    The mistake I made was not fully checking the quality of processing done by a private 3rd party.

    I resized a couple myself this morning, and they drop further in the gauge. It looks like I have to re-size some improperly resized brass. Bleh.
     
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  4. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    If you're wanting to get the best accuracy out of your hand loads,you really need to measure your chamber with an OAL gauge tool in order to know where the lands are for the bullets that you are loading.
    As you have found out,Never trust that used brass has been resized correctly. Always prep your cases before you load them,it will save you time and headaches in the long run!
     
  5. Rifling82

    Rifling82 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pretty good lesson for everyone!
     
  6. Wambli

    Wambli Well-Known Member

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    Been there. Good troubleshooting!