Reloading .308 on Lee Classic Turret mentor

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Centurian22, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Centurian22

    Centurian22 New Member

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    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!
     
  2. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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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?
     

  3. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    I load for .308 as well as a few others. So let the questions flow
     
  4. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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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!
     
  5. Centurian22

    Centurian22 New Member

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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!
     
  6. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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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.
     
  7. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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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.
     
  8. Centurian22

    Centurian22 New Member

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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
     
  9. budman46

    budman46 New Member

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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.
     
  10. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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    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?
     
  11. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    Is everything you type NEGATIVE?
    If you can't help the OP with his questions,then do everyone else a favor,and not reply at all.
     
  12. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Active Member

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    The Classic Turret press is a good press.
    The auto disk will work OK on pistol loads,but really is more trouble than it's worth.
    The Perfect powder measure isn't perfect,or anywhere close.You can get a used RCBS Uniflow off Ebay pretty cheap,and they work great
    Also look for a used quality beam scale like a RCBS 505 on ebay,the Lee scale works,but is a PIA..
    Get a loading block,they're cheap,to load your powder charges into your cases.
    You also need to get a couple Load data books,all of the Powder and Bullet mfg's publish them,and several have online load data info.
    That will give you all of the load info that you need to load-Powder type,Primer type,Powder charges/min-max,OAL for each bullet/cartridge.

    This site has some very good prices on Lee stuff.
    https://fsreloading.com/lee-classic-turret-press-90064.html

    Also check with Natchez-Mid South Shooters Supply. Sometimes you can find lower prices on the same items at different places.
     
  13. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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    Not at all. I'm not judging you or what you do. It was a sincere question. By your own admittance, the Lee primer and powder feeds do not work well and you seperate these steps and perform them outside the press. (I did too). So basically you are using a press body to hold dies. That is the same thing I had to do with my Lee press. I tired quickly of it and upgraded to a Dillon and never looked back. Under the circumstances, would a single stage press not be better suited for the task at hand??? It would do the same thing and cost less. Why pay extra for non working parts? Is that point not helpful to the OP?

    My Lee was given to me and then I gave it away. The person I gave it to then bought a Dillon. There is a reason. Whether Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, etc, there are several setups out there that work better than Lee. The primer feeds work, the powder feeds work, and they're consistent. Is that point not helpful to the OP?

    The OP is looking for a press to purchase if I read correctly. You, me, and several others have already determined that certain parts of the Lee press suck. Let's just be honest about it. Therefore, I recommend either a single stage or a better quality turret/progressive. Wouldn't you?

    If the Lee press is what you have, and you're able to seperate priming and powder charging to outside of the press. That can work. If you don't want to spend more money to upgrade to something that can accomplish everything, that's fine too. But given the fact that the primer feeder and powder feeder are not up to par, would you really recommend this type of set up to a new reloader? Especially considering that if they buy the Lee, then they're going to have to also buy an additional priming tool and powder dispenser on top of the press kit purchase.

    My past experience and your current experience with Lee are both saying the same thing here.

    Whether the parts are bought in a kit or seperately, they need to work. Don't make the mistake I did buying junk the first time and then having to buy additional equipment afterwards. A new reloader does not have to spend a fortune up front for top of the line stuff. But the stuff they do buy needs to work properly. Why buy it twice?

    And for the record, I'm not a Lee basher. I own and use several sets of Lee dies and miscellaneous equipment. As long as that equipment does not have to dispense anything (cases, primers, powder, bullets) it will be fine. Dies, shell holders, loading blocks, single stage presses, and things of that nature from Lee will work just fine for you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  14. Centurian22

    Centurian22 New Member

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    Anyone else able to address some of my other questions?

    Crimping advantages and disadvantages?
    Crimping when seating or separate (with a FCD)?
    Crimping without a cannelure?
    .308 rifle powder that meters well in the perfect powder?
    9mm / .32s&w long powder that will meter well in the auto-disk?
    Is the adjustable powder bar helpful / worth it?

    Thanks for any further help!
     
  15. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    if using in a semi auto crimping should be done to help avoid the bullet getting pushed farther into the case during loading. the die is more personal choice. it can be done either way
     
  16. ryguy00

    ryguy00 New Member

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    crimping needs to be done to hold the bullet where it's supposed to be throughout loading, feeding, and recoil from other rounds. Crimping is good. However, that does NOT mean you have to crank it down tight. If you do, you will deform the bullet. Even a slightly deformed bullet will make your accuracy go to hell. When you are reloading, one particular step of the process is to flare the mouth of the case to be able to get the bullet started. This is a very slight flare. Anything more is just shortening the life of your brass. It should flare enough that you can just barely feel the flare with your fingers when running them along the side of the case. When you crimp, you really only want to be straightening that flare back out. If you absolutely need a tight crimp you can crimp it .001-.002 tighter than the case body. That should be plenty. Revolvers typically use a roll crimp which is different. I do not crimp my rifle cartridges. There is enough tension in the neck after resizing to hold the bullet where it needs to be since rifle cartridges do not get flared.

    Crimping during seating works just fine as long as the mouth of the case is free from burrs, the flare is correct, and the crimp is set up correctly. If your crimp is too tight, again, it will deform the bullet. If your crimp is too tight AND you seat and crimp in one step, then you will see shavings from the bullet that have been scraped off by the case mouth. This is not what you want to see. If you see it, back off your crimp. Theoretically, seating and crimping in separate steps allows the bullet to be seated before there is pressure (crimp) on it. That allows the bullet to be seated without being scraped by the case mouth. Again, if your flare is correct, and your crimp die is adjusted correctly, this will not be an issue anyways.

    Factory crimp die. I've never used one. I've loaded 10's of thousands of rounds in my life and never used one. I'm sure they work and work well but I can't weigh in here because I have no experience with them. I'm not sure who would need one, but I can say for me, they're not necessary.

    Crimping without a cannelure: Works just fine. Not all bullets have them and can be crimped just fine without them. If you are loading for a rifle and the bullets do have cannelures, you may find that the seat depth that works for your rifle does not land on the cannelure anyways. No biggie.

    .308 powder that works in the perfect powder measure: Stay away from extruded powders if you can. Those are the cylindrical shaped kernel powders that look like tiny little tubes. Also called "stick powder". They do not work well through lee or any other powder measure from other manufacturers that I'm aware of. They are just tough to dispense consistently. Some extruded powders are available in shortened kernels which helps slightly. Flake powders dispense pretty well. Ball powders dispense the best. The best method with a powder dispenser such as the lee perfect powder measure is to set the charge about a half grain lower than you want it. Throw that charge into your little powder loading pan and set it on your scale. Then use a trickler to dispense that last half grain to get it up to where you need it. With a little practice, it can be done MUCH faster than you would expect. The perfect powder measure itself may not be consistent enough (depending on the powder being used) to reliably throw an exact charge. And depending on powder being used, neither is my dillon.

    Auto disc: I never was able to get my auto disk to work with any degree of accuracy or consistency. Not even with the adjustable powder bar. By design it just sucks. Skip those parts and select them from a better quality manufacturer if you can.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  17. blackhawk44

    blackhawk44 New Member

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    Since you would be loading for use in a bolt action, the .308 Factory Crimp Die would not be needed. They are handy for rounds used in lever and autoloading actions, which are rougher in their feed cycle and could potentially push a bullet deeper into the case during feeding. The standard seating die will be fine.
     
  18. budman46

    budman46 New Member

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    ryguy00,
    the guy asked about a classic cast turret...a dedicated progressive would be faster for quantity loading, but changeovers in my square deal b's and 550 take time, so i use them only for runs of 100 or more.

    time saving using a turret over a single-stage the way i described: put an empty in the shell holder, work ram, turn turret, work ram again. saves removing the case and later putting it back in for the second step...doesn't seem like much, but it adds up. if i miss a step, like not belling a pistol case...generally found when the powder is in the case and bullet is ready to be seated, i back up the turret and fix the problem without even dumping the powder; with a single-stage i'd be changing dies back and forth, etc.

    with lee's turrets, dies are pre-set in removable turrets, so changeovers require seconds...which is why the cct is my go-to press...most of my reloading is for 40-100 rds, not enough to crank up one of my dillons.

    my comments regarding lee's auto-prime, powder measures and scales were based on experience...good designs, but poor execution imo.
     
  19. budman46

    budman46 New Member

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    centurian22,
    volumetric powder measures like ball and flake powders...for the .308 that would be ww748, h335 or equivalent surplus (wc844?). for the 9mm or s&w .32 long accurate arms #2, #5, bullseye, ww231 and hp38 meter and work well...

    save yourself grief and do as txhillbilly says: get an rcbs uniflow and a good ohaus/rcbs/lyman scale on e-bay.
     
  20. tiberius10721

    tiberius10721 New Member

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    For non magnum pistol cartridges I use the Lee disk system with powders like bullseye ,tightgroup and hp-38. Every powder drop is within a tenth of a grain. For everything else I use my rcbs chargemaster 1500. A little pricey but totally worth it. My first and only press I own is my lee 4 hole turret press that I bought in 1998. As far as priming my brass I won't use anything else other than the lee hand priming tool. Its an extra step but well worth it. So far I have reloaded at least 30000 plus rounds with my lee turret press so I would say it has been well worth the money I paid for it. I will admit that lee does make some flimsy stuff though which I have never understood because us customers usually do not mind spending a few extra dollars for a quality product.