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The Tinker
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I've reloaded tons of straight-walled pistol cartridges, mostly on Dillons, but have never done rifle reloading. I'm going to get started reloading again, but am not sure what equipment would be best for reloading both pistol and rifle ammo. For pistols I'll be reloading 45, 40, and 10mm.

The rifle stuff is where I'm unsure what to do. I have two rifles: A Ruger precision rifle bolt-action, and a LR-308 that actually has a 7.62x51 barrel in it. I can shoot 308 or 7.62x51 in the Ruger, but the LR needs strictly 7.62x51, or so I believe. Am I wrong? Also, I think I read somewhere that I can neck size for the bolt-action, but need to full-length resize for the semi-auto? Can I reload 7.62 brass?

The Dillon 550 is advertised as being able to reload a bunch of rifle calibers, but are they neck sizing only?

Would a Redding T-7 be a better overall choice? I'm not competitive shooting anymore, so I won't be loading thousands of rounds a month. But who knows going forward? :)
 
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I've used Dillon presses, both the 550 and 650 for more than 30 years. The Dillon 550 will work fine for your rifles. As far as neck sizing versus full length sizing, that is up to you but given that the LR is semi automatic you will want to full length resize. Most likely you won't be able to use your neck sized brass in anything but your Ruger bolt action. Not sure what to say about using .308 brass or 7.62X51.
 

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308 brass, like 223 brass doesnt have the same case dimensions as the Military counterpart and will not take the same pressures as the military brass does. It will chamber, it will fire but if your using commercial load brass (.223 Remington or 308 ) stay far away from max loads on the military case.

If you buy any surplus brass you want to make sure it wasnt fired in a Machine gun chamber. I have several thousand rounds of 7.62x51 brass that was shot thru M-60's in the 80's...I break a deprime pin about every 5 rounds. The 60 had a very loose chamber. (FAF to shoot though)

Full length or neck only is a product of how far you shove the case in the sizing die. I full length for semi's, neck only for bolts and MARK EVERTHING CLEARLY. theres nothing like hauling them AR10's all the way to the shooting range with a 1000 rounds of ammo expecting a couple of hours of grin time to find out your dumb arse grabbed the wrong ammo!
 

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I'm a terminal 1911 Addict!
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I have an LR-308, M1-A, and a Rem-700 VS in 308 win.
I load strickly 308 and shoot them in all three rifles.
I size and trim cases to .308 specs.
7.62x51 rifles can shoot both. .308 rifles should only be fed .308.

Loading bottle necked cases is nothing like straight walled case reloading.
It's a pain in the azz. However, with the prices of ammo now, you will save a ton of $$$ especially when loading premium bullets.

Here is the readers digest procedure I use because I don't
have a Single stage press for case prep.
You can trim and size 7.62 cases to .308 specs, however you will need
a military primer pocket crimp swaging tool. I use the Dillon Super Swage 600.
I use a 550B, and when loading rifle cases.


I lube and size/de-prime the case, remove it, trim it and de-bure it, check it in a case gauge, check to see if has a military primer crimp, swage if needed, place it back in the press, re-prime and continue. It's slow but its safe. Its recommended to neck size cases for precision bolt guns, however given you will be shooting a semi, as already stated, you will want to use a full length sizing die due to the larger chambers in auto guns.
Do yourself a favor and get the Dillon or other carbide sizing die..
Remember to Lube the cases!
The first time you crush a case or get one stuck because you forgot to lube them,
you will remember it the next time.

After all is said and done I randomly check the final cartridge in a case guage. As cases are
are made in lots, and chambers vary and brass moves in the loading process. Watch your tolerances. Semi auto rifles can take more variables in the cartridge than bolt rifles. Then on your rifles keep an eye on head space....
Sorry, I had to say it..

Good luck.
 
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Hi,
For rifle reloading I like big heavy single stage reloading presses.
I use a loading block and reload 50 at a time and do each operation seperatly.
I also trim, ream the primer pockets, and deburr the flash hole from the inside.
All of this to make the ammo as close to "Match" as possible.
1111.jpg
 

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You must full length size for the automatic. I saw a guy bring some sort of AR10 to an F class match. He had been shooting factory match ammo but had started reloading. I suspect whoever advised him on reloading thought he was shooting a bolt action like the rest of us and told him to neck size. It did not work. At all.

I have read different opinions on sizing for a bolt action, one experienced target shooter says full length sizing is common. But they are not ramming them into a standard die screwed down against the shell holder, either.

Except for a foray in 3 Gun, I don't use mixed brass or surplus brass. All my rifle ammo is loaded on a single stage and shot carefully at a target.
 

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I recently started up on loading for rifle (5.56 and .308), by recently I mean I have spent the first three weeks of isolation working my way through home depot buckets of brass (cleaning and prepping) and loading my first test rounds for when the ranges around me open up again.

I use the 650 on the 5.56 and a Forster single stage on the .308 currently, I will likely get a Dillon toolhead for the 308 at some point but i just dont blaze through that ammo like I do pistol or 5.56.
 

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I load all my pistol stuff and 306 and 223 on a Dillon 550. For rifles that I shoot a lot of rounds out of. Though it does load very accurate rifle ammo with the right powders. I.e. powders that meter well.
Most of the time I size the 308's on an old RCBS rock chucker prior to running the rest of the operations on the Dillon. Just easier on me and the press.
 
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The Tinker
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys!

I'll probably just full length resize all my 7.62 brass, that way I don't confuse myself (getting old ya know...). :confused:

And it sounds like a Redding T-7 turret press might be a good compromise between a single station and a Dillon 550, which was going to be my first choice. Reason I like the idea of the Redding is because if (when?) I try my hand at making more accurate rounds for the RPS I don't think the Dillon will do a very good job at that.
 
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Straight wall pistol & rifle cases are pretty straight forward. When you start getting into bottleneck cases there are a few more steps. One important step is to size the case first, them measure for overall length. Bottleneck case tend to stretch when fired and resized. So resize, measure for length, trim as needed, then you can clean up the cut neck with a de-burring tool, inside and out side. I do this probably twice on the life span of my .223, and more often on my .308 precision ammo. For my SCAR 17, only when over the length limit. This is a very important aspect of reloading rifle and bottlenecked pistol, as it can effect pressure if the case neck gets smushed when you chamber it.
 

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I can very highly recommend the Redding T-7. For bolt action rifles I separately body and neck size but really it’s whatever floats your boat. I personally strongly prefer imperial sizing die wax for case lube. I swear a container will last a lifetime .
 

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Lot's of good info...

Most commercial case lube is anhydrous lanolin mixed with 99% PPL Alcohol. I prefer to use lanolin oil spread on an RCBS pad. Roll the cases 5 at a time. This prevents lube from getting into cases and screwing up powder drops.

Before you start, the best $30 you will ever spend when resizing rifle would be a RCBS stuck case removal tool! Trust me on this!

Realize that rifle reloading is time consuming but well worth the effort. This past week while on quarantine I reloaded 500 @ .223 and 200 @ 30cal for the Garand! Time well spent.

Here is a target shot at 100 yards with 50 year old primers and 73 year old eyes! (I found 5K primers doing an inventory last week too!)
Old primers and M1 Garand 20200321_102543.jpg


Smiles,
 

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7.62x51 and 3006 garand ammunition must be loaded at 50000psi. If M1 and M14/M1a that are loaded above 50000psi you will break the op rod. Only projectiles from 147grs to 180grs should be used for reloading. Off the shelf 308 Winchester and 3006 cartridges should not be used in these rifles. AR10 type rifles can be fired with higher pressure rounds, but continuous use will cause excessive wear. I try to keep AR10 ammunition I reload around 55000psi.
5.56 x 45mm and .223 Remington ammunition is the opposite. You can fire 223 in a 5.56 chamber, while you cannot fire 5.56 in a 223 chamber. 5.56 chambers have a longer throat for heavier bullets.
You should always full length size brass for semi and fully automatic rifles, but you can either neck size or full length size for bolt guns. Military brass is thicker than commercial brass. After three or four reloads, military brass hardens and becomes brittle. I anneal military cases by standing them in a tray of water, heat the necks with a propane tor
 

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torch, then tipping them over in the water. I can get ten to twelve loadings for these cases.(sorry about the continued message)
Indy
 
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