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.308 cases won't chamber

dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
edited July 2007 in Ask the Experts
I am reloading factory once fired brass for .308. Some were fired in an M1-A and the rest in a Tikka T-3. I decapped and sized (full case) all the cases in the same die. I trimmed all cases to 2.005 inch. Now I have discovered about 30% of them will not chamber in the Tikka but will chamber in the M1-A. By not chambering, I mean the bolt will go all the way forward into the chamber, but it will not close, not even a fraction of an inch. I suspect the ones that won't fit the Tikka were fired in the M1-A. I bought the RCBS dies new last week for this project.

What I don't get is why, after full sizing they don't all fit in the Tikka. A couple, I could force the bolt down and closed. These showed the base of the case had been scored by the bolt face.

I also trimmed several cases to 2.000 by mistake. I assume these are safe to load and shoot, but would like to know if there is a problem there besides, maybe some accuracy loss.

My goal is to create good hunting loads, so inch to inch and a half groups are fine.


  • gskyhawkgskyhawk Member Posts: 4,773
    edited November -1
    just because you are useing a full lenght resizing die doesn't mean a thing if you don't have the die set right

    do you have the die set to touch the ram when its all the way up ? if not try screwing the die in just a bit more
  • dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Yes, the bottom of the die touches the top of the shell holder when the shell holder is in to up position....
  • buddybbuddyb Member Posts: 4,775 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I had the same problem with the same caliber when I started loading.The cure is to size the case,wipe the lube off and try to chamber it in the rifle you are loading it for.If it will not chamber,turn the sizing die in a tiny bit at a time and resize it until the brass will chamber easy.Try to keep the case lube out of the rifle chamber because it will cause problems that we don't want to go into now.
  • dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I had the press adjusted so the bottom on the die contacted the top of the shell holder when the lever was pushed all the way down. There was no room for anymore adjustment. I always clean the lube off the cases right after sizing, before I trim. It just doesn't make sense!
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Hello are the dies the same brand as the shell holder? The reason I ask is not all are made to interchange between brands some times You might need to turn just a few .001 inch off the bottom of die But the real way to tell is with a case go / no-go gage. a semi auto might also have head expansion that does not happen in a bolt gun the head of the case does not get sized all the way to the extractor groove.
  • 41 nut41 nut Member Posts: 3,016
    edited November -1
    Sounds to me like the Tikka has a tight chamber and you need a small base resizer die. Most sizer dies either do not size the base or size them only a very minimal amount. The small base sizer die is made to size the base back to original specs. Browning semi auto rifles are known for having a tight chamber and a small base sizer is usually needed for these rifles along with some of the Rem 742s, and I've seen a few other rifles that needed a small base resizer to load for. Take a couple cases fired in each rifle and measure the expanded base diamater. I'll bet that the M1-A has a loose chamber and the bases are expanding while the bases on the ctgs fired in the Tikka arn't expanding nearly as much.
  • dcs shootersdcs shooters Member Posts: 10,969
    edited November -1
    I agree with 41, I had a Remington 760 I had to use a small base sizing die for. Also you should keep your brass for the M1A separate from the Tikka. I have a Tikka in 223, and some AR'S and don't mix the brass.
  • dannejdannej Member Posts: 478 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Rcbs dies with a Lyman press/shell holder. I notice the case isn't sized all the way to the bottom of the die. It appears that the empty case goes all the way into the Tikka chamber, but the bolt won't turn. I measured the cases just above the extractor groove found they vary from .466 to .469. A couple from the bunch that won't feed measured .467 and still couldn't close the bolt.

    I wonder if the M1A doesn't stretch the extractor groove, causeing the case to be to long by a hair, as the bolt pushes the shell into the chamber and you can see the bolt start to move down and then stop.

    I haven't heard of a 'small base resizer die'. Does that resize the cas all the way to the extractor groove. This die sizes about a quarter inch short of the groove.

    I really appreciate all you info!
  • I.ShuteI.Shute Member Posts: 658 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You are just screwing the die in 'till it touches the shell holder.
    You are getting a bit of springing in the press and if you look you could probably get a .005 feeler gauge between the shell holder and the cartridge base when the ram is up and the case is sized.
    Drop the ram, screw the die in untill it takes a little force to lock the ram in the up position. That's what gskyhawk mentioned.

    The RCBS Piggyback has so much spring that you can't no way size a tough .50bmg case unless you beef it up with a strongback and even that's iffy.
  • rock,roll,n,loadrock,roll,n,load Member Posts: 698 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    +1 on what I.Shute said.
    Screw the die down with the ram up until it touches the ram, let the ram down, then screw in the die another 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Especially since you are using different brand shell holder / dies.
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