lindlerle
lindlerle
2 posts
Joined March 2009

Lake City 308 brass problem

I am having a real head scratcher loading Lake City once fired 308 brass. The brass is Lake City (LC headstamp) but was bought as Federal American Eagle "red box" essentially M80 equivalent. The brass was fired once with a Sig Sauer 716 that was suppressed.

My loading set up is as follows- Dillon 550 press.
First round I set station 1 to decap with a Lee Universal die. Station 3 is a Dillon case trimmer/sizer set up as directed and I trimmed to 2.005. These cases fit perfectly in a Wilson gauge after trim and re-size as part of round 1. I tumble before going to round 2.

Second round is my loading set up with station 1 an RCBS sizer/decapper/expander die screwed down 1/2 turn past contact with the shell plate. I drop powder with a Dillon autopowder set up and use a small base RCBS die with slight taper crimp and OAL of 2.800 with 168g Sierra BTHP.

I noticed that some of my reloads were tight in my Remington 700 so I started checking my rounds for fit either after loading or later with just a sized case. Even though the case would fit in a Wilson gauge, my bolt would not close on some sized cases alone (unloaded ammo). After some discussion with veterans of the M14 forum, I bought a Sheridan Engineering slotted 308 gauge and started using Forster's high pressure case lube. I now check EACH round with the Sheridan gauge before going through the loading process after learning my lesson. 1/3rd of these Lake City once fired cases come out about a rim's width above the no go step on the Sheridan gauge (although the fit fine in a Wilson gauge) and are very tight in my Remington. I realize semi auto chambers may be a little looser to aide feeding but my feeling is if it won't fit correctly in my bolt gun, I am not taking the chance. Also, I measure my brass after two sizings (once with the trim die and once with the RCBS) and it is always under spec- even the ones that are above the no go step.

This seems very odd to me. After many discussions with the guys on the M14 forum and scratching my head, I think these cases that do not size are bent or something. They have also mentioned cases bulging near the "web" whatever that is. Apparently Lake City is notorious for being hard to size. Have you ever heard of anything like this?
dillon
Administrator
dillon
2,891 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: Lake City 308 brass problem

Where in your Wilson gage does a sized case drop to? For a tight chamber, adjust the size die so the sized, lube-free case drops in flush with the bottom step on the Wilson gage. Your size die might need to be adjusted down another 1/16- 1/8 turn.
gpoitras
gpoitras
1 post
Joined September 2013

RE: Lake City 308 brass problem

I have experienced a similar issue with some lots of LC 762x51 brass.  It's as if the brass is off it's axis, or warped. It's easy for me to spot these cases as they require additional force to be resized.  I began using a small based die, which fixed about half of them, however the other half refuse to resize properly.  I have even tried resizing the same piece of brass over 16 times, turning the case 1/16th of a turn between resizing - with no resolve.  Try purchasing some brass from a different retailer, and perhaps this may solve your problem.   It only takes one old faulty machine gun on a firing line to cause a lot of headaches for reloaders wanting to use military brass.
Big_Ernie
Big_Ernie
1 post
Joined May 2016

RE: Lake City 308 brass problem

I have also had this problem. Quite a few of my once fired military brass fails the case gauge test, maybe 1 in 40. I have tried the undersized dies, but almost all still fail. What was odd was that most of these would chamber. I never fired them for fear of something catastrophic happening.

Just by accident I ran my thumb over the rim of one as I was looking at a different case that failed. I felt the case rim on my thumb sticking a little higher. A light went on and I realized my resizing dies were working fine. They just didn't resize the rim.

I ran a few cases through my press till I found one that would fail the case gauge. Sure enough the rim was not round. I could verify this by putting a straight edge to the case and the elongated rim would stop the movement of the straight edge. I then took sand paper to the protruding section of the rim and the case then passed the case gauge test.

Is there something out there to put the rims back to round?

Is it safe to fire a round that will chamber, but fail a case gauge?
dillon
Administrator
dillon
2,891 posts
Joined July 2007

RE: Lake City 308 brass problem

Short of chucking the cases in a lathe, no reloading process is going to address inconsistancies in the cases rim. These typically have no effect on chambering or firing, as the boltface is large enough to accept most rim deformities.