Comments Live: Info Bleg On Reloading Gear From Scratch For 7.62×51, .260 Rem, & 6.5 Creedmoor

Want to reload my brass for my bolties.

Want to have right gear to make each round reliable, accurate, and repeatable.

Don’t want to eff around.

Share what works now for you; brand and model number will help, as will solid vendors.

Load data for 168 and 175 SMKs for .308, 140 ELD for 6.5 and .260 also welcome; usual acceptance of liability when I eff things up.

Proceed, with thanks.

36 thoughts on “Comments Live: Info Bleg On Reloading Gear From Scratch For 7.62×51, .260 Rem, & 6.5 Creedmoor”

    1. 308 data is pretty consistent and well know. Lots of good powders…lots of good bullets.
      44 gr of IMR 4064 will hit a thousand yards with a 168gr sierra match.
      42 gr of IME 4895 will……………………………………………..175 gr sierra match
      Palma shooters ..some..still use the 155.5 berger with lots of Varget behind it. 800,900 100 yards Upwards of 3,000fps.

      There are lots better calibers for long range than 308…. but the ammo is plentiful and if you have been purchasing all’s real affordable. At 600 yards… 308 is “plenty good enough”.

      Many a camp perry match has been won with 168 grain mexi match…. pulling the 173 grain long range military and putting on the thin skinned sierra. All things change….

      M1A/M14 gas guns like a bit different feed than a bolt gun. Some will not use match primers in a gas gun.

      It’s all fun… start a little under on your loads…and find what works. There are many new powders that are not temp sensitive…which is good for places with big temp swings morn till afternoon.

      Accuracy is the combination of lots of little things. Weigh the bullets, consistent brass…weigh the brass…. you can spend lots of time on brass improvements. Load them up… then weigh them all again. You can put a dial on them..see if the loads are concentric….take a thousands off… a thousands longer…

      You have the perfect load..the perfect gun… the best optics. Your the king!!! Then mother nature comes…blows a wind up on one part of the range and across on another….you miss two directions with any adjustment…. and your just another guy doing his best.

      Humility is always the best sword.

    2. We are canyon shooters here….. a one canyon gun… a two canyon gun. It’s steep…like 70% slopes…’s rugged…. and our people can hit a 10″ square piece of hanging metal at 1000 yards…. at 1600 yard…. 2,500 yard… . we own it here. We are the top predators. 308… to the Barrett….the Chey Tac.

      Welcome to Southern Oregon bitch-z!

    3. Cast Iron Turret press, any brand except Lee. Lee dies are the best though because of the steel decapper. Need a powder measure, mine is rcbs

      308/7.62 load: 40 to 42 grains of Benchmark + 147/150 fmj boatail bullet of your choice. non magnum primers, any brass. Works well in a 16″ Lr308 or bolt guns, light kick and runs cool. Hornaday 150gr are the most accurate I’ve used but it works with 150gr old Rem cor lokt or win 147fmjs or suplus pulls.

      kid load: 110gr RN or SP , 16gr SR4759, non mag primers, any brass. Can run up to 25 grains if you want higher velocity or heavier bullets (surplus)

  1. 10 or 11 twist barrel, the Berger 185 Juggernaut Target or the 185 Juggernaut Tactical is the best for .308 Win. 43.5 or so Varget (work up to this, ymmv), large primer brass or small primer brass, Federal 210 / 210M or CCI BR2, CCI 450 or BR4, seat mag length. Easy to tune. Outperforms the 175 stuff. One of Brian Litz’s greatest creations. The Federal 185 Berger Juggernaut factory cartridge also performs extremely well in 10 or 11 twist barrels. Before craziness you could get em for a buck a piece.

    The 168’s are simply outdated and not deserving of your time and expense.

    Avoid M118LR, it is absolute junk. It’s embarrassing they issue that stuff to troops.

  2. Accuracy costs, how accurate do you want to be? That being said, case preparation is critical. look at Sinclair International for tools/equipment. You should debur flash holes, uniform primer pockets, and most say you should turn the case necks. Case re-sizing for bolts guns is really neck sizing, not full length. You will also need a case length gauge to set headspace on your brass. You can use a single station reloading press (RCBS Rock Chucker) or a progressive (Dillon). Both are acceptable. I also recommend a primer searing tool rather than using the press for that function, but then you will be using a single stage press rather than the progressive. You will also need miscellaneous gear such as case lube, calipers for case length, a case length trimmer, and a bullet seating depth gauge. Don’t forget the powder measure and if you really are compulsive, a powder trickler. Finally, a lot of people recommend a case tumbler for polishing the cases. I don’t use one, but I rarely let my brass get that tarnished.

    One thing you should not forget is a good notebook for recording your data. You will want to determine the best bullet seating depth for the bullets you want as well as the optimum powder and then powder charge. You can skimp on the chronograph by using your best load for accuracy, then shoot groups at 100 yards and then 300 yards and reverse calculate the muzzle velocity so you can then predict bullet drop and wind deflection for whatever distance you are shooting. Use your notebook to keep track of things and build towards a goal.

    I like Lapua or IMI brass, Sierra, Berger, or Lapua bullets. I also like Federal Gold Medal Match primers. For powders, I like Vihtavuori, but Hodgon is also good depending on what you are loading. The VLDs are nice, but you have to load them differently as the ogive will space differently to the lands of the barrel different from standard secant ogives. If you have issues with the VLD, some people have reported success with seating them way off the lands, even .100″ off.

    My favorite 7.62×51 is 42 gr. N140 behind a 175 Scenar of SMK. I don’t shoot 6.5. Keep in mind that optimal loads depend on your particular rifle, its harmonics and everything else. My bst load may not work for you. Also, if you really want to get your groups tight, work on your shooting technique. You will see more improvement from that than spending buckets of money chasing a few thousandths of improvement by neck turning, meplat uniforming, boron nitride bullet coating, or a dozen other exotic techniques.

    1. Im running almost the exact same load, lapua brass, neck turned/trimmed, weighed and sorted, 42.3 g N140, drop and trickle to exact, 175g SMK, use Redding comp dies on a RCBS Summit, have a custom .308win from Northwest Action Works, velocities all close, very predictable. The more time spent on consistency the higher the repeatable accuracy.

  3. My goal was 500 yards, I’m too hyper for 1000 yards.

    I have 12 twist 308s and I use 168g and 175g SMKs or Hornady HPBT. I use IMR 4895 primarily because I started 308 with an M1A and I have a ton of it. I also load Varget and XBR 8208 but I’m still in load development.

    I use Redding Dies, RCBS dies are good too but I think Redding is a little better.

    I like Lake City brass, Hornady Match brass works well for me too. Winchester Large Rifle primers. My loads in LC brass are 1/2 grain to 1 grain less because LC is heavier is brass than commercial.

    Graf and Sons is a good place to get stuff.

  4. My best load is 41.2 grains of AA2460 in Remington brass. Federal 210 primers with a Sierra 175gr HPBT Match bullet. I have a .375” group off the bench at 100 yards. Rifle is a Remington 700 Varmit with H S Precision graphite stock and 26” floated heavy barrel. Hope this helps.

  5. I’ve been using the Lee Hand Primer for decades. I used to watch TV and prime w/their Auto-Prime before I tossed my TV. The Auto-Prime lets the user control the depth intuitively and though I’m not a fanatic about loading I do regularly shoot to 700 yards and stay in the thorax most days. Lee components are less expensive than RCBS but there are millions of used RCBS dies on the market. If long range is your goal I would invest in a digital powder scale as well.

  6. For 308, recreate Federal Gold Medal with 168 and 175 SMK. Both use IMR4064, 43.6gr for 168 and 42.5gr. for 175. COAL 2.800″, for both. IMR4064 varies lot-to-lot, so adjust for a velocity 2650fps for 168, and 2600 for 175 (@Temp=70F). I think that is the best way to start reloading for 308. Emphasis is on “start”. Sky is the limit.

  7. 7.62 51 LC brass
    175 Berger VLD Sierra 175 MK for practice. Don’t use 168 any more.
    CCI prime
    Powder either Win 748 or Varget. 1-1.5 gr below max gives 2600 and good accuracy .
    Full length sizing. Neck sizing is a no go for a hunting or fighting round.
    Used JBM Ballistics for all trajectories.

    Creedmoor Lapua brass
    140 Berger VLD
    Varget light load so far so only 2550. One hole accurate though in Savage factory barrel.
    RCBS or Lee gear. No reason other than standardization. KISS method.
    Vendors – Midway , Grafs or Wideners. Pats Reloading for mil-surp components
    Hodgdon has an excellent interactive load/data site for basically every round.
    Don’t get lost in the bench-rest weeds. Factory specs. Minute of man,reliability and repeatability (and a rangefinder) is the way. Good luck.

  8. For anyone reloading .308/7.62NATO or .260Rem, .243 Win deserves consideration.
    Same shell casing, it’s very common factory ammo, and it’s a good urban varmint caliber.

    1. Yes! My best shooters overall. Absolutely. Hands down. Pawn shop sleeper REM 788 and a spiffed up T/C Compass. I have a ton of benchrest loads on the 243.

  9. There are several big name suppliers of reloading equipment. I have been at it for a very long time and I have some very old RCBS presses and dies. Hornady seems to be the leader in the industry these days.
    Buy once cry once.
    Initial cost is a bugger.
    Right now components are hard to come by.
    For a starter load with 168s in the .308 try 40.0 grains of IMR 4895.
    If your rifle won’t shoot that it won’t shoot anything well.
    I use Varget these days but shoot lighter bullets.
    Be aware that different brands of brass hold different amounts of powder. LC is military brass and holds less powder. Be sure to work up your loads 1/2 grain at a time and be on the lookout for pressure signs.
    I try to stick to one brand of brass. Once you find a particular brand you like and can accumulate a good supply, start working up accuracy loads.
    The 175s do better at the longer ranges than the 168s.
    Stick with the same primers also.

  10. Redding dies and powder measure. If you’re spending serious cash, get a Harrell powder measure. They are worth the money.
    Loading blocks to hold cases as you work through them.
    RCBS or Sinclair hand priming tool with proper shell holders for caliber.
    Hornady Bullet Comprator to measure OAL off the ogive.
    Redding T7 press or Dillon 550. I have both and both work very well. T7 is good for small batch projects. If I could only keep one it would be the Redding.
    Case lube. Spray lube like Hornady One Shot is fine. You can DIY with lanolin and alcohol. I like case sizing wax. A 2 ounce can lasts a long time and wont dent your cases if you use too much.
    Case trimmer. I use as WFT brand trimmer because I’m too poor to buy a Giraud.

    Cases: Lapua or Federal. Federal have a short life span tho.
    Primers: first choice is Federal, second Winchester. These days whatever you can find.
    Bullets: I only shoot for meat, so Nosler Partition is my first choice. Hornady also has good bullets. Get what you can find. 6.5 bullets for hunting are really scarce these days.
    Powder: Varget, H4895 work well in .308 size cases and popular 6.5.

    You may want a bullet runout gauge. I use a piece of delrin and standard mag base dial indicator from the shop. Works fine to measure run out. There are specialty tools for hand loading that do the same job.

  11. .260 Remington. Interesting. I’ve never owned the caliber but I’ve always admired the round and always thought if I ever owned an AR it would be the the caliber I’d be cambering. It’s an extremely efficient cartridge.
    It’s never gotten the love that I think it should have.

  12. These are all benchrest accuracy loads, not velocity/hunting loads.
    You’re on your own with all loads. No liability whatsoever.

    Savage AxisII receiver; EABCO accuracy 24″ HB bbl; No Comp/Brake; Boyds walnut stock.
    0.006 Headspace
    FC brass; Generally 1x to start; up to 4 reloads or until primers feel ‘looser’
    –>>Brass generally neck sized only>You will need to ladder your own jumps for your bbl<<–

    140 HDY ELD
    COAL 2.767; 0.070 jump
    36.4gr IMR 4320

    140 SIE MK
    COAL 2.678; 0.070
    35.2gr IMR 4320

    140 NOS Custom Comp; 0.070 jump
    COAL 2.701; 0.070
    35.2gr IMR 4320

    140 Berger Hybrid
    COAL 2.878; 0.070 jump
    37.0gr IMR 4320

    6.5 Grendel
    AR platform; 9" MLOK handguard; RTB BCG/MPI 6.5G Bolt; 16" AR Stoner BBL; Rex Silentium helical comp for 6.5.
    (stick with double base ball pwdrs)
    So far, Varget sucks; AA2230 better but still sucks; IMR4895 really sucks.

    Universal 250 yard loads (Your welcome to get more frisky)

    120gr Speer Gold Dot
    Resized and fireformed 7.62×39; CCI LRP
    To resize stick with FC and WIN brass because they come in at 0.439 at the base.
    COAL 2.250
    28.2-28.6gr AA2520

    123gr HDY FMJBT (Bulk Grendel bullets via MidSouthShootingSupplydotcom)
    Same loads as above

  13. You can’t go wrong with Dillon. I have one of the first 450’s made (thanks dad.) It still works great. And the service and support? As good or better than Leopold.

    After that it’s just dies and recipes.

  14. Graf’s
    Midway USA


    BOLO for detailed email.

    Some things don’t get posted for general consumption.

    I’ll fire it off Friday morning.

      1. Here’s a decent burn rate chart. Ignore all the highlights and star. Everyone will be at a loss to buy new/additional powders and primers now. You have to go to the dance with who brung you. As an approximation, select powder’s burn rate that you do have NEAR the burn rate of the target powder that you don’t have. At that point, you’ll need to figure out what your platform likes. And, they are finicky and unpredictable. It’s not perfect. An example would be a 7.62×39 that likes VV N120 but hates IMR4198 but then likes AA1680 again…with the same bullet/primer. That’s just life on the shooting sticks.

  15. If you ever end up with loaded cases that won’t chamber because you botched the last bit of the base is just a bit bulged still… mostly a problem for semi auto.

    Take your 30.06 depriming and resizing die apart, and send it down over the loaded .308 round. It had enough case length to resize the base of a .308 without editing the seat or crimp.

    Had 200 riund all said and done, and 30 were just slightly bulged, and would not chamber.

    This trick fixed those cases and all ran beautifully.

  16. I’ve also used Accurate 2230, 2460 and 2520. Very consistent accuracy because they meter so well but run very hot since its a ball powder instead of extruded. Anything in the 38 to 40 grains with Lc brass. magnum primers required.

    I prefer extruded powder due to less heat but it may not be available.

    Always wanted to try Varget but its always out of stock locally and can’t be found anywhere at any price now.

  17. Also, Lee case trimmers fit very well in a benchtop drill press and are very cost effective. Surplus brass always needs to be trimmed due to possible mg use.

  18. For .308 Win, use the Navy load of 41.7 grains of 4064 and a 175 grain Sierra HPBT. It is temperature stable, repeatable, accurate. You can’t be wrong. Brand of brass isn’t critical but use one type if you can. Lapua is excellent, but plain ole Winchester will do nicely too. Primers aren’t that critical either. Wolf and Tula primers have worked well for me in recent years. I have also used Winchester primers by the tens of thousands. Use one type. Magnum primers aren’t necessary unless you are shooting in extremely cold conditions. But if you work up your load using magnum primers, stick with them exclusively.

    For tools, I use Dillon equipment. A 550 press will do pretty much anything you need to do short of .50 BMG. I do like Lee size dies and Lee Factory Crimp dies. I do all my initial sizing on an old RCBS Rock Chucker. Little Crow gun works makes an excellent case trimmer you can put in your electric drill and I highly recommend it. Get a chamfering tool for finishing after trimming. If the electric grid fails, you’ll use a hand crank trimmer. Get one of those just in case.

    Play with seating depth a little bit. Find your cartridge over all length by seating your bullet into the lands, but then back off a bit. HPBT bullets like a little jump to the lands, like 20-40 thousandths. Play with it and see what your rifle likes. But you might be limited by your magazine’s internal length, but you can still single load. Your choice.

    This subject is a real rabbit hole. The more you play with it, the more you learn, the more you want to try, the more you discover, the more you want to try, etc…

    Good luck!

  19. All good info above, so just adding my $0.02. I took advantage of some unemployed time a while back to dive deep with .308. Here is where I ended up:

    SMK 175, 4064 powder 44.90gr, 210M primer, ogive 2.065. This round is supersonic through 1000yds. 2665 +/- 31 fps. Price per round: $0.58.

    I shot a 3″ group at 500yds in a tournament with this, and (once windage is dialed in) I can hit a 10″ plate at 1000yds until I’m bored. Three decisions that made massive improvements: 1) I tried to make 168SMK work, as well as some Berger hybrid bullets. The 175 was far more stable and forgiving. 2) I used a match-grade ogive bullet seating die to get the perfect distance to the rifling of my custom Broughton 23″ barrel. 3) I also upgraded to a scale that measures to the hundredths of a grain.

    The SMK 175 makes for a great subsonic round too. Good to 200yds out of the Broughton barrel with a 4″ group, but only good to 100yds out of my Savage Scout with a 2-3″ group.

    SMK 175, Trailboss 10.30gr, CCI BR-2 primer, ogive 2.068. 1073 +/- 23 fps. (1113 fps was supersonic at the Ohio elevation where I used to live.) Price per round: $0.52.

  20. Where you are now was where I was 9 years ago. Since then, I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge and gear. Still, it’s a work in progress. Especially in regards to precision shooting. But… most everything I hand load for will shoot better than most factory. The exception being FGMM out of gas guns.

    If you can, first thing you should do is get yourself a mentor who know what he’s doing. You can read and read all you want in manuals and books, but someone who can show you hands-on is much more preferable.

    My mentor got me going on to Redding products quite early on in the learning process. Nearly all of my dies and equipment are Redding, with an RCBS/Hornady/Lyman thrown in (usually because I bought them as a package deal with through private sale). But, truth be told, if you’re not looking to win F-Class tournaments, most of the mfg’s make decent dies, and each will get the job done.

    In the past several years, there have been a lot of YT channels which provide videos on how to reload which are above-and-beyond anything I could describe here. Here are just a few channels to check out:

    Johnny’s Reloading Bench
    The Real Gunsmith
    Panhandle Precision

    Those are just a few.

    Get yourself one or two reloading manuals. Each bullet mfg has their own, as do the major mfg’s; if you’re sticking with Sierra bullets, get one of those. Note though, that many manuals are what I consider to be quite conservative, and *max* loads will be nowhere near real-world max. In my experience, this is especially true with Hornady (at least the 9th Ed.) which I’m now convinced was written with five of their lawyers looking over their shoulder.

    You didn’t mention how many rifles you have in each caliber. If you have just one of each, size your brass according to your chamber. You will get many more firings out of the brass by doing this, and will most likely be more accurate. Still requires use of a FL die, but you don’t full-length resize, if you know what I mean. Resize just enough so that you can feel some resistance on the last 1/4 turn or so on the bolt when chambering. The Real Gunsmith explains this quite well in one of his YT vids. This is assuming, of course, that the case has already been fire-formed to that chamber. However, if the ammo will be used across more than one rifle, either full-length resize all brass, or make sure that whatever you’re resizing will chamber in each rifle.

    If you’re using 1x-fired military brass, understand that (with the exception of LC LR) you’ll have to swage the primer pockets before you can prime them.

    Understand the difference between Box and Berdan primed brass if you’re looking to pick up 1x-fired brass second hand (or if you’re going to be reloading milsurp that you’ve shot before). At the present moment, you’re going to want Boxer brass as Berdan primers in the calibers you’re looking at have become virtually unobtanium. And yes, despite what so many say, Berdan brass IS reloadable! Have done over a thousand rounds myself… just need a RCBS Berdan de-priming tool, and Berdan primers. Easy-peasy.

    Now, here is what I’ve found that works in MY rifles. Your results may, and most likely will, vary. None of these loads is what I would consider to be super-hot. But if you if you use them, start about a grain or so below and work yourself up.

    168gr Horn BTHP
    LC brass
    CCI34 primer
    40.5gr IMR4895
    Recommended C.O.L.
    –This is actually quite a soft load, but it was a sweet spot in my rifle. This was sub-MOA and deadly accurate out to at least 500 yards out of my bolt gun.

    LC LR Brass
    CCI BR-2 Primers
    42.7gr Varget
    C.O.L. ~20 thousandths off the lands.
    Sub-MOA out of the same rifle as above.

    .260 Rem
    CCI BR-2 Primers
    42gr H4350
    C.O.L. 2.780″
    –As luck would have it, as soon as I fine-tuned this load, I realized that I was low on bullets and then discovered that, presently, these are hard to get. So, I’m switching to Horn 140gr BTHP, of which I got my hands on a decent supply.

    Regarding C.O.L., you either have the option of going recommended out of manual, or seating your bullet 15 – 20 thousandths off the lands of your rifle. I’ve come to the conclusion that starting with recommended C.O.L., finding a sweet spot of powder charge that the rifle likes, and then playing with C.O.L. to see if that has any effect on group size, is the better way of going about things.

    As with anything, YMMV.

    Good luck.

  21. .260 Rem savage 10 w/ Crown Ridge Barrel Works chambered X-Caliber Sendero profile SS 24″
    Ammo made from .308 PPU using RCBS dies.
    37.5gn of IMR 4895
    (It’s all I have…)
    CCI 200 primers
    Hornaday 136 Scenar-L

    ~2750 fps

    1/2″ at 100yds
    Ballistic AE data right on the $ to 500 yds.

    1. Thanks. This is good to know. IMR4895 is the powder I have most of, and I do have some 136 Scenars sitting around as well.

  22. One tip:

    If you’re likely to be shooting multiple rifles in the same caliber, try all loads in all rifles of the same caliber (eg a bolt .308 and a semi-auto).

    Obviously, every rifle likes one set-up best. But you may find that one load works very well, if not best, in both or all rifles in that caliber.
    Given that you may need to shunt rounds from one to another, best is enemy of “good enough”.

    IOW, if a you find a loading that works well enough in all same-caliber loadings, go with that one, not the exotic load that a bolt action loves and your semi-auto hates.

    You can always squirrel away the data, and perhaps a box or two of golden BBs, for special purposes, like castrating gnats at 1000m.
    But cases of one loading that work in everything you’ve got are a better bet for the large supply.

    Just saying.

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