"off-label" use of LEE .308 reloading dies

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by TopGas, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. TopGas

    TopGas Member

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    I'm considering doing some low volume (maybe no more than 20 at a time) reloading of .30-30 WIN for my levergun. I have a LEE single stage press and die sets for most of the firearms that I own.

    Obviously, the full length sizing dies are specific to a particular round. My question is, would it be reasonable / possible / practical / acceptable to use the bullet seating and factory crimp dies that I have from my .308 WIN die set to seat and crimp my .30-30 WIN reloads?

    Since the case length of the .30-30 WIN is only about 0.06 mm longer than the .308 WIN case, I think that I can easily compensate by adjusting the die position in the press. The bullet sizes are the same.

    I have a supply of range pick up .30-30 WIN cases that a friend full-length sized for me. Another friend is casting up some 170gr bullets for me. Yes, I know that the LEE Pacesetter 3 die set is pretty inexpensive and that the RGB 2 die set is even cheaper but I'm trying to minimize my investment AND I'm running out of room in my reloading cart;).

    So, is anyone else practicing "off-label" reloading?
    TG
     
  2. I think the difference is in the neck length with the 30 30 being longer. The 308 neck sizing die may not size the 30 30 properly. If you are willing to lose one try it. The 30 30 FCD has the number 90822 and the 308 has the number 90823. Using the 308 FCD just may work worth a try anyways.
     

  3. TopGas

    TopGas Member

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    I have read that it's best to full length size cases that are to be used in auto loaders AND lever action rifles so I didn't even consider using the neck-only sizer that I have in my .308 WIN die set. I am thinking that with the .30-30 WIN case being slightly longer that the .308 WIN FCD, it just may work but that the opposite situation would perhaps not be the case. I have the RGB 2 die set for .30-30 WIN in my Amazon.com wish list and hoping that with the Holidays approaching, some kind family member will take note:D.
    TG
     
  4. If it chambers I load it but lever and semi autos can be a PITA to do a chamber test.
     
  5. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I reload 30/30 using a Lee Loader, that's the one many use with a mallet, I happen to use an arbor press. Anyway it only neck sizes. I first full length size, then load using the Lee Loader, and continue using the Lee Loader till the cases get slightly hard to chamber then back to the full length sizer and the process continues.

    I normally need to resize every 5 to 6 reloads. Please note also I'm loading light, (mod edit) Trail Boss behind a 120 grain GC RN bullet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2014
  6. TopGas

    TopGas Member

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    I ended up getting a LEE RGB die set for .30-30 WIN. With tax, came to ~$20. It's definitely a bare bones product consisting of only a full length de-prime/full length sizing die and a bullet seating die in a green plastic box. No shell holder (I have one), no load data (I have the LEE Relaoding Guide), no dipper (don't use the others that I have). I'm pretty sure that I can make the FCD that I have for .308 WIN work for the .30-30 WIN.
    TG
     
  7. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

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    NE Utah
    You do realize the FCD is a totally optional item, right?

    Millions of rounds are done by reloaders without a crimp of any type beyond the seating die. Especially in guns that aren't semi.

    However...in a tube mag lever gun, I'd want to be sure I was getting a decent crimp out of whichever die I used, as bullet setback could be an issue. The good news...your seating die can do that.;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  8. TopGas

    TopGas Member

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    I do realize that the Factory Crimp Die is optional but like you go on to say it's probably a good idea in a tube magazine fed rifle such as the Win Mod 94. The same being the case for using the full length sizing die instead of the neck sizing only collet die when reloading for auto-loaders and lever action guns.

    The Dead Length seating die that I now have, to my knowledge (based on what I've read), does not apply any degree of crimp. I'm hoping that the .308 WIN FCD will be able to do the job.

    Wish me luck:). TG
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  9. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    35,286
    12,101
    NE Utah
    You don't need luck, you're covering the bases.;)

    Looks like you are correct about the Dead Length unit. The old RGB I was familiar with came with the older seat/crimp die, but about 2012, they went to the Dead Length, which applies no crimp.

    I'd bet money you can adjust the .308 enough to put a crimp on, the trick will be not smashing anything, or messing up the shoulder angles. It's only half a millimeter length difference.
     
  10. TopGas

    TopGas Member

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    This is what I'm counting on!:) I've got a friend that's making some bullets for me that I should be getting by mid-DEC.
    I'll be reporting on the trials and tribulations of the "off label use" as it happens. TG