Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Now that I have my .338 winmag up and running I'm looking at reloading for it and have some questions. I'll also start reloading my .308. I have a Dillon 550 press and have done some 9mm but nothing else. I figure I can use it to load rifle rounds as well but suspect that I will hand measure the powder. What special procedures are there for doing them? I have been told that the dies are pretty much universal with one or two exceptions. What brands won't fit this machine? And why do some die sets have two dies and others have three?
    Thank you for keeping me safe.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye Hunter View Post
    Now that I have my .338 winmag up and running I'm looking at reloading for it and have some questions. I'll also start reloading my .308. I have a Dillon 550 press and have done some 9mm but nothing else. I figure I can use it to load rifle rounds as well but suspect that I will hand measure the powder. What special procedures are there for doing them? I have been told that the dies are pretty much universal with one or two exceptions. What brands won't fit this machine? And why do some die sets have two dies and others have three?
    I personally would get a separate single stage to do precision rifle. Everything the 550 does that benefit pistol and volume loading, is mostly wasted on precision rifle.

    Dies can seat bullets and crimp at the same time, some separate out seating from crimping. Some separate out full-length sizing from neck-only sizing. You figure out what you want and get the set that suits your needs.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye Hunter View Post
    Now that I have my .338 winmag up and running I'm looking at reloading for it and have some questions. I'll also start reloading my .308. I have a Dillon 550 press and have done some 9mm but nothing else. I figure I can use it to load rifle rounds as well but suspect that I will hand measure the powder. What special procedures are there for doing them? I have been told that the dies are pretty much universal with one or two exceptions. What brands won't fit this machine? And why do some die sets have two dies and others have three?
    WH. All good questions but I believe just getting a reloading manual, reading through it and following it pretty much step by step would be the best thing you could do.

    My basic procedure.
    Tumble clean brass. About 4 hours for me and it depends on how dirty it is.
    Set up your die / press combo as per your manual.
    Lube the cases on your case lube pad ( there are other methods).
    Run them through your sizer die and wipe off any excess lube.
    Put them back in the tumbler for a couple hours.
    Visually check each case for cracks/pressure signs.
    Clean the primer pockets and make sure the flash hole is open.
    Trim all the brass to ensure uniformity.
    Debur and chamfer the case mouth.

    Prime the cases either with a hand primer or if your press has the ability.
    Set up your seating die as per your manual or info in the die box.

    I have a balance scale so I zero it.

    Check the listing in your manual for the beginning charge and set your scale for that amount.
    Adjust your powder thrower just under the charge you choose.
    I use a powder trickle to finalize the charge weight. i have a funnel to dump said charge into each primed case.

    Take each charged case, verify the level of powder in each to make sure each case has a charge and its not over charged.

    I back out the seating plug before I start to seat the bullet and adjust it down to the over all length I choose.
    This is somewhat abbreviated but thats the general method I use.
    I don't weigh brass, check uniformity of primer pockets and flash holes, check concentricity of my brass or some other detail items precision shooter might do.

    If my reloads do sub minute of angle. I'm a happy 27

    I shoot those and start all over again.
    Opinions are like anal apertures. They all stink but mine.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    I only use my Dillon 550 for bulk loading after I worked up a load on a single stage press. You can change the variables a lot easier when you are loading one at a time. After you get a load you can crank out hundreds with your Dillon and if you use ball powders the Dillon powder measure works great once you dial it in. With bottleneck cartridges I still size and trim them separately. You might be OK running freshly trimmed cases thru your Dillon a second time but it can be risky.

    I have used Lee, RCBS, Redding and a few others on the Dillon with no problems. You don't need the Dillon dies. Most rifle dies come as two dies. Pistol comes in 3 because you need to flair the case before seating the bullet. For a lot of cartridges I like to finish up with a Lee factory crimp die in the fourth toolhead position. It can give a hard taper crimp which it is more even than a standard seating dies roll crimp (especially with uneven case lengths). They also have a sizer ring on the bottom that is more insurance that your cases will fit in the chamber.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    27Hand did a pretty good job spelling out the process involved.

    Basically with rifle brass the case prep involved is more extensive than with straight wall pistol brass.

    Loading such cartridges on a progressive can be done but unless you are doing bulk 5.56 where you don't care about trim length or whatever, the progressive doesn't really add an advantage.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    I was hoping I could trim them then run them through the press. Bullet seating and crimping all at once is something I never considered and didn't know they did that. I have heard that some guys don't even clean their brass, I'm going to try laying it out between two towels or old shirts or something and rubbing it around. The brass out of the bolt and lever actions is pretty clean to start with.
    Thank you for keeping me safe.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye Hunter View Post
    I was hoping I could trim them then run them through the press. Bullet seating and crimping all at once is something I never considered and didn't know they did that. I have heard that some guys don't even clean their brass, I'm going to try laying it out between two towels or old shirts or something and rubbing it around. The brass out of the bolt and lever actions is pretty clean to start with.
    The down side to not cleaning brass is scoring or scratching the interior of the die and every case that follows bears those scratches..
    Ask me how i learned that..

    I've never crimped rifle rounds only pistol cases.

    How are you trimming brass.
    I have a Lee setup that I use a battery drill with.
    I have some .300 win mags tumbling now.
    After this evenings archery, I'll trim. clean the primer pockets and debu / chamfer them.
    I'll take some pics along the way and post them
    Opinions are like anal apertures. They all stink but mine.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    I disagree on the progressive not giving you substantial time savings..

    I decap and size my brass, off the press for a trim, back on for priming, powder, and seating.

    The 550 means I don't have to pull brass off (falls off on its own) and the powder and seating can be performed with a single pull. Also means I can use a separate decap and size die (helpful for me for when I inevitably get a case stuck)

    I also measure each charge using a charge master and a powder funnel on the press.

    I personally like the mighty armory decap and size dies, and I use the hornady seating dies with the micro adjuster. Much easier then trying to dial in a standard seating die!

    I also use the giraud 3 in 1 trimmer hooked up to a harbor freight grinder. Very quick, just wear gloves so your fingertips don't melt off

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Does it need trimmed after sizing? I have a Lyman trimmer that I'm hoping I can use for trimming, it works on the .308's. And it sounds like a good tip on marring up the dies with dirty brass. Thanks again.
    Thank you for keeping me safe.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Reloading Rifle Ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye Hunter View Post
    Does it need trimmed after sizing? I have a Lyman trimmer that I'm hoping I can use for trimming, it works on the .308's. And it sounds like a good tip on marring up the dies with dirty brass. Thanks again.
    I would say yes to trimming after sizing and do so on all my rifle rounds.
    Almost every case stretches a bit when fired. Even some 30-30s with full charge loads.
    You could check them first with a caliper for length but I just trim them. Once they are chucked into my drill, I deburr and chamfer them.

    I have only used a RCBS rockchucker for over 30 years so I don't know the capabilities of the Dillons.
    Even my 38s, 357s, .41s and 44s are done on the single stage.

    I reload .300 win mag, 30.06,.308, 30-30
    Opinions are like anal apertures. They all stink but mine.

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