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If you are only loading .308 for a semi auto that you know what shoots without issue...you should NOT get into reloading.

Buy whatever bulk ammo shoots well in your rifle.

JMHO.

Joel
 

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Don't listen to Joel, Hatch. You will never suffer the pain of knowing that you did everything right only to find out your gun doesn't like the powder or the bullet that you thought would give you the magic "one hole group" at 100 yards. Instead you got a group that was worse than firing 00 buck from your 12 ga. at 50 yards. :)
I never knew my rifle could shoot so bad, and so good until I got into reloading. That was back in 1969 and I am still learning. (and having a lot of fun doing it!)
 

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Every handloader has to start somewhere. The previous posts ref. reading and UNDERSTANDING reloading manuals is essential. I started in the early 2000's reloading for 30-06 with the Speer manual and slavishly followed the step by step chapters while remembering always that if YOU screw up YOU and possibly range colleagues can be seriously injured via a burst chamber or worse. If in any doubt STOP, research and, if prudent dump the load and start over. There is a unique pride in finished rounds that perform as well as or better than factory material. Take your time...the education process is essentially endless...have been at it 20 years and am still learning both from people on this forum and through personal experience....best of luck to you.
 

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Don't listen to Joel, Hatch. You will never suffer the pain of knowing that you did everything right only to find out your gun doesn't like the powder or the bullet that you thought would give you the magic "one hole group" at 100 yards. Instead you got a group that was worse than firing 00 buck from your 12 ga. at 50 yards. :)
I never knew my rifle could shoot so bad, and so good until I got into reloading. That was back in 1969 and I am still learning. (and having a lot of fun doing it!)
I know you had your tongue planted firmly in your cheek when you said that and I feel your joy and your pain when it comes to searching for the perfect load. I too started reloading in the 60's at my Dad's side and took over the helm when he passed away in 1973.

I took a break from most shooting and reloading for a few years and it does get in your blood.

If the OP does decide to get into reloading, I suggest he buy another couple of calibers and keep doing that until he can justify his new found hobby. :D

Joel
 

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reloading creates more accuracy options.

Because of lack of funding to buy factory ammo, I got into reloading. That was in the 1960s. Only in the last few years has factory ammo come up to good accuracy standards, but the ammo makers have to make "one size fits all" ammo, and some rifles have tighter or looser chambers.

I do not have a .308 AR, but I once had Browning BAR semi-auto, and that rifle absolutely did not like any type of ammo, reloaded or new, that was even a tiny bit larger than published factory specs.

If I full-length sized cases, and reloaded precisely, it would feed and shoot. However, if any variation in cartridge case or overall length happened it would stop feeding. I finally gave up on reloading for it and sold it because I seldom shot it.

Now, however, after reloading for many years, I could probably diagnose the problem the Browning had and could make reloading work for it.

Posters gave good advice about buying a reloading kit that has everything in it, and also reading a basic reloading manual. You probably do need small base reloading dies. Nowadays, AR barrel chambers are probably done with CNC machines to very precise specs. So, any cartridge that is a thousandth of an inch too large in any way, will not chamber well.

Once you have reloading gear, simply reload a dummy round with no primer or powder and polish it with steel wool or spray it with a super thin coat of machinists blue, feed the round manually and see if you can determine where the tight spot that prevents chambering is located, and adjust your reloading dies to make the cartridge feed and fit easily.

After finding the solution, you can begin adjusting powder charges and bullet seating to improve accuracy.
 

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Reloading comes in two flavors-- Bulk and experimental.

If you just want cheap ammo, a progressive press and a minimum of trouble can get you going in one day.
Experimental reloading is its own 'sport' or 'hobby' and is a life-long learning experience.
 

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My reloading is more of the experimental type and as Jack mentioned, I'm one still in the learning phase even after doing it 40 years.

Concerning equipment, rather than buying a complete kit, I pick and choose the tools used and some I made myself.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I would pick a bolt gun to reload for first, cut my teeth on that a while before loading for a semi-auto. Even another 308 wouldn't be a bad investment.

RJ
 
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I know you had your tongue planted firmly in your cheek when you said that and I feel your joy and your pain when it comes to searching for the perfect load. I too started reloading in the 60's at my Dad's side and took over the helm when he passed away in 1973.

I took a break from most shooting and reloading for a few years and it does get in your blood.

If the OP does decide to get into reloading, I suggest he buy another couple of calibers and keep doing that until he can justify his new found hobby. :D

Joel
Joel,
I tried to make it obvious that I was throwing mud pies so I was sure you would see that.
I started reloading when I had just one gun. then it was two, three, five and so on. I do have a different opinion on what a person should start reloading on. The semi auto rifle and pistols are the pickiest to load for and if you learn to load on those you can load for anything.
I started with my 03A3 and then my 357. They could be fed junk and devour it like it was the best available. When I got my 9mm a year or so ago I had problems with fail to go into battery. I followed everything in the manual, including the OAL and found out my CZ has almost no throat and goes right into the taper of the leade. I learned the hard way just what the "plunk" test was. :)
When I got my AR I started my loads near the start load and they would cycle but not far enough to pick up the next round. When I brought the pressures up it worked fine. The first thing I tried was some factory ammo and it worked so that eliminated everything except the loads.

If I had started loading for those two going to the bolt action and the revolver would have been easy.
I do see your point but heck he is going to have to make the step some day so it might be best to get him started on the stuff that challenges us.

I gave up on the search for that magic "one hole group" a long time ago. Now, if I want a one hole group I fire just one round. :) I've gotten a few cloverleaf groups that were kind of in one hole but it wasn't round and I got a few sub-caliber one hole groups that measured .33 average of twenty shots and the best group with that 358 of .30" at 100 yards. That was close enough for me and it was an accident as I was fire-forming brass made from LC 308 cases. The gun is a custom Model 700 made for me by Mr. Cohen who made 600 yard rifles for competition. It is a magic gun for sure.
 

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Reloading comes in two flavors-- Bulk and experimental.

If you just want cheap ammo, a progressive press and a minimum of trouble can get you going in one day.
Experimental reloading is its own 'sport' or 'hobby' and is a life-long learning experience.
I only experiment to find the load that works well in my guns. Then I change bullets and start over. ;)
I am still learning and I still experiment occasionally. Once I have a load I usually keep it for a long time. I am not a bulk loader though. I tried it once and sold the Dillon 550 after about a month. I just could not force myself to trust a machine to do what I would double and triple check as I reloaded on my Ruck Chucker. Even when I am loading a tried and tested load I still check everything. I fondle my brass more than my wife... there is something wrong there.:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #33
A couple more ?'s from the novice reloader. How do you select a powder from load data with multiple powders listed? If it's a poor choice what do you do with the powder you don't want anymore? Seems expensive to just throw it away. How then do you pick a better powder? How many rounds do you typically build to prove a load? What kind of accuracy is acceptable at 100 yds, 1/8", 1/4",1/2"? Or is it like golf, just one stroke better today! How do I find somebody close to me that reloads. Maybe a little one on one would help clear the fog.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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1) How do you select a powder from load data with multiple powders listed? 2) If it's a poor choice what do you do with the powder you don't want anymore?
3) How then do you pick a better powder?
4) How many rounds do you typically build to prove a load?
5) What kind of accuracy is acceptable at 100 yds, 1/8", 1/4",1/2"? Or is it like golf, just one stroke better today!
6) How do I find somebody close to me that reloads. Maybe a little one on one would help clear the fog.
1) One that you can readily get, and preferably has the widest load range. So if one powder has a min to max difference of 8gr, Vs one that has a 4gr. Just means the powder is a good fit work a happy window in that application.
2) Use it somewhere else, or, use it for plinking. FAR to many people overlook trigger time. Learning the rifle and your own weaknesses, is as much of the game as the actual rifle accuracy.
3) See #1, then just trial and error.
4) absolute bare minimum for me is 10-round groups, unless it's plinking and trigger time. Then 5 rounds is fine.
5) Depends on what I'm doing. The load I use for Painless at a mile, isn't very stunning at 100 yards. I have a Creedmoor that will print a blob at 100, but isn't super at a mile. So the question is what do I want, what do you want?
6) Can't help with the local social part, but here is how I learned. Open you load manuals and read everything, EXCEPT the load data. Repeat that at least twice. Theory of operation it's the point to learn, then work on loading. I've made a fair little profit on betting against folks who buy really expensive equipment, and have almost no real trigger time. Don't discount experience, even with less than an ideal setup


Cheers
 

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A couple more ?'s from the novice reloader. How do you select a powder from load data with multiple powders listed? If it's a poor choice what do you do with the powder you don't want anymore? Seems expensive to just throw it away. How then do you pick a better powder? How many rounds do you typically build to prove a load? What kind of accuracy is acceptable at 100 yds, 1/8", 1/4",1/2"? Or is it like golf, just one stroke better today! How do I find somebody close to me that reloads. Maybe a little one on one would help clear the fog.
Some reloading manuals list "Favorite Loads" or "most accurate loads" That is a big help. When I started loading, it was a lot of trial and error. Sites like this one make it easier as you can ask for load information. If you are beginning to load for .308 it may be somewhat easier for you. As I stated earlier, I've loaded for many different .308's have gotten better that average accuracy with any load that I've tried. Just about any of the ball powders listed will work real well. On the other hand, I have a .22 Hornet in which I've tried about every powder listed, and still cannot get it to shoot as tight as I know a Hornet can.
 

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Picking powder is easy for me....what load listed is a case full? That's the one I want. 100% loading density, if possible. They tend to be the most versitile powders, also.
I've got left-over Alcan 5 from 1960s shotgun Lee loading and a LOT of powder from the '70s and 80s. In fact my youngest powder could probably vote. :)

Accuracy is what you expect from the equipment. Ammo is not the only or even the most important factor in accuracy except in the most extreme cases. Load a known good load or shoot factory ammo to test the rifle. Then the rifle can test your loads.

I seldom try more than two powders and two bullets in any rifle I buy or build. About 99% of the time, the load for the new gun is the same as its been for the last 60 years in similar rifles.

Miracle groups happen once in a while to everybody. Consistency is tough to achieve and very seldom results in a personal best group, but always shows a 'good' group.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I use whatever is handy and appropriate to the job at hand. Seating bullets straight (harder than you think), getting cases sized to fit the chamber (but the action will still close), and finding a bullet that your rifle 'likes' all are more important than what powder you are using, in my experience.

Get all the other stuff 'perfect' then worry about trying different powders. Oh and of course you'll have to work up with each powder. The 'sweet spot' with ANY powder, is likely to be better than the poor results with a 'perfect' powder. The bench rest crowd has their favorites, and maybe in that area it makes a worthwhile difference, but for most of us, just grabbing something known to work, is going to yield pretty good results.

If you are reloading for a .308, you have more powders than the barrel will last testing, to choose from. Pick one and go with it.....
 

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What difference does the powder make when loading for an AR?
Do you have the same problems that you have in military semi-autos?
 

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Some reloading manuals list "Favorite Loads" or "most accurate loads" That is a big help. When I started loading, it was a lot of trial and error. I have a .22 Hornet in which I've tried about every powder listed, and still cannot get it to shoot as tight as I know a Hornet can.
I use Lit'Gun powder in my .22 Hornet, a Ruger 77/.22 Hornet. I replaced my trigger spring and sear, making the trigger pull lighter, and receiving excellent accuracy with 45 grain bullets. Might be your problem, with your Hornet rifle, trigger pull might be too heavy.
 

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I use Lit'Gun powder in my .22 Hornet, a Ruger 77/.22 Hornet. I replaced my trigger spring and sear, making the trigger pull lighter, and receiving excellent accuracy with 45 grain bullets. Might be your problem, with your Hornet rifle, trigger pull might be too heavy.
It is a Contender with a 10" barrel. I have gotten good accuracy out of it, just nothing that I think it is capable of. Have not tried Lil Gun. Seems not to like much over 40 grain bullets. Think I've tried some 35 grain. I got the best accuracy of all out of WW748 (I think.......... without checking, I know it was a WW powder) and a 40 grain bullet. With this load, velocity was way lower than expected. Up the powder charge 1 or 2 tenths and groups opened in size considerably. The Hornet project has been shelved for many years, but lately, I have been thinking about breaking it out again. As many of us, I have too many projects and so little time. Thanks for you input.
 
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