Author Topic: Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag  (Read 1666 times)

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Offline Robert357

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Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« on: January 21, 2006, 04:08:27 pm »
HELP?

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 holder
http://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.

Thanks

Graybeard Outdoors

Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« on: January 21, 2006, 04:08:27 pm »
 

Offline Lone Star

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Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006, 07:31:51 pm »
I've loaded the .338 for 20 years, and all I use is a standard RCBS 2-die set.  You do not size the belt; set the die up just like you would on your .30-06, to headspace on the shoulder.  Neck sizing may or may not work, just as with "standard" cartridges.  Just treat the belted cases like they don't have the belt.  I get at least ten reloads per case set up this way, usually more.  You do not need to crimp the bullets as long as your expander plug is not too large.

H-4895 is pretty fast and it leaves a lot of airspace in the large .338 case.  It is really more appropriate for reduced loads IMO, but that may be what you want at first.   For top performance you should use slow powders like IMR4350, RL19, IMR4831, etc.  Be sure to use current load data, not some from 30 years ago.

Good luck, I'm sure that you will enjoy your "new" .338!

Offline Robert357

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Thanks for the advice!
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2006, 12:08:12 am »
In looking over some recent reloading tables, yes a faster powder may be in order, but I think I will start with what I have handy.

I guess, I can headspace on the shoulder...  Ten or more reloads per case sounds pretty good for a heavy magnum to me.

You indicated that you use the two die RCBS set, I have to ask, which one?

Neck sizing........  
http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=0004416302

Full length resizing......  http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=0004416301

I have cleaned the rifle and checked it out, including pulling the bolt and verifying that the scope seems to be bore sighted well.  Checked the various screws and bolts.  Next stop probably next weekend will be the range.  I will make sure I take my Past Shoulder Shield with me when I shoot some of the factory ammo to get brass for reloading.

Hopefully I will order some bullets and dies within the next couple of days.

Thanks again.

Offline gwindrider1

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Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2006, 04:55:59 pm »
Get some SLOWER powder, then, just heed the advice that "lone star" gave you.

Hint: Slower burning powder, i.e., 4350, 4831, 7828, Re 22, or 25, etc..., will give you a slower recoil velocity.  This cartridge performs best with the slower end of the powder spectrum.

I suspect the advice you were given about "short dies", was meant to be about "short sizing".  This is a technique where you do not run the die all the way down to touch the shell holder, but set it just deep enough to size down to the base of the neck.  This sizes the case body enough, but does not move the shoulder back.  This is how you get a belted case to headspace on the shoulder, rather than the belt.  Case life is extended by doing this.  

Best of luck with your new .338.  It's a very capable cartridge!!! :D

Offline Chuck White

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Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2006, 06:42:14 am »
Quote from: Lone Star
I've loaded the .338 for 20 years, and all I use is a standard RCBS 2-die set.  You do not size the belt; set the die up just like you would on your .30-06, to headspace on the shoulder.  Neck sizing may or may not work, just as with "standard" cartridges.  Just treat the belted cases like they don't have the belt.  I get at least ten reloads per case set up this way, usually more.  You do not need to crimp the bullets as long as your expander plug is not too large.
For top performance you should use slow powders like IMR4350, RL19, IMR4831, etc.  


I agree with these comments by Lone Star!
I've loaded lots of 7mm Rem mags, 300's, 338's, 375's & 458's and I just set my RCBS sizer die to FL size just like it was a non-belted cartridge!

One suggestion though!  Before installing your die into the press, check the recess in the base of the die (the part the belt fits into) to make sure there is nothing in it!
Chuck White
USAF Retired, Life Member, NRA & NAHC
Don't matter what gun you use,
just get good with it!

Offline Robert357

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say What?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2006, 11:21:34 am »
Quote from: Chuck White

One suggestion though!  Before installing your die into the press, check the recess in the base of the die (the part the belt fits into) to make sure there is nothing in it!


Thank you for the advice.  

But what would be in the die?  Are you saying to look for burrs, or things that need to be polished out?  Are you saying to look for grease to be cleaned out?  Are you saying, that there might be foreign objects in the die?

The reason I am asking is if I should just make sure I clean the dies well the first time I use them or if you are suggesting something a bit more like polishing or something?

Offline Robert357

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OK, I got powder, dies, bullets, primers and am set to go!
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2006, 03:50:08 pm »
Quote from: gwindrider1
Get some SLOWER powder, then, just heed the advice that "lone star" gave you.

Hint: Slower burning powder, i.e., 4350, 4831, 7828, Re 22, or 25, etc..., will give you a slower recoil velocity.  This cartridge performs best with the slower end of the powder spectrum.


OK, I ordered RCBS neck sizing dies & shell holder, 50-pieces of .338 Win Mag Brass, Lee full length sizing die set with factory crimp die, bullets, plastic shell boxes, and bullets from Midway.  I just picked up locally a pound of H-4831SC and one thousand Winchester Large Rifle Magnum Primers.

I choose the H-4831SC (short cut) based on your recommendation and the fact that it appears to be slower than the IRM 4831 and much slower burning than the RL 19 that lots of folks see to recommend.   If slow burning reduces recoil this should be the ticket.  It is just fast enough that I can use it on some 220 grain bullets I want to load for my 30-06 and some 215 Woodleigh bullets for my 7.62x54R MN 1891/30 & 7.7x58mm Japanese Arisaka.

Now I just need to get enough reloading time followed by range time.

Thanks for all the advice!

Offline sgtt

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Belted Magnum reloading advice 338 Win Mag
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2006, 10:46:03 pm »
I don't believe a slower powder will reduce recoil.
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