OK, I went out and purchased a Win Mod 70 XTR Sporter Magnum Win 338 Mag manufactured about 1975 at the local gun show this weekend and need some advice. Has a nice Burris 3x9 scope on it as well. Thinking about using it on elk or other big game this fall.
I reload for 30-30, 30-06, 7.7x58 Japanese, 6.5 Japanese, 7.62x54R, 7.62x39 and a lot of handgun calibers. I am very comfortable reloading straightwalled cases, rimmed cases, rimless-shoulder headspacing cartridges, and semi-rimmed cases.
I have never reloaded a belted magnum. I was sitting here looking at the Midway website saying to myself, what the heck do I really need for reloading this caliber?
Obviously some .338 bullets. I like H-4895 powder, have lots and have loads for bullets up to 225 grain bullets, which seems fine for the time being.
I also appear to need to buy some LR Magnum primers as I don't have any.
I also appear to need to buy a Lee case guage tool & shell holderhttp://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=309732
I also need to buy some dies. Normally, I would just buy a 3 die Pacesetter set of Lee dies and be off and running. Then later if I got fancy and only wanted to do neck sizing I would get some Collet dies.
However, how do I size the "belt?" Do I need to size the belt? Also I have heard that when reloading belted magnums one should expect a short case life (how few reloads? - I am sure it is a function of how hot I load things, but a rough idea would be nice to have - on all my other brass I usually end up crushing them by accident or have neck tears before I have any brass problems). To extend case life I would normally neck size, but I am not sure what to do with the .338 Win Mag.
Someone at the gunshow that I bought 2 boxes of factory Remington .338 Win Mag ammo from, said I needed to get a "short" reloading sizing die. I took this to mean that it only fit down to the top of the belt and not all the way to the base of the case. What kind of die is that and is that the way to go?
I have also heard that if I go hunting, I really need to have a great crimp to prevent recoil from dislocating bullets in the magazine, which in my book is probably the Lee Factory Crimp die.
Suggestions would be appreciated on (1) which dies to get so I can extend the length of my cases and still use them for hunting and (2) any suggestions on how many reloads per case I should expect? Also any recommendations on brands of brass would be appreciated.