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Thread: resizing and reloading 338-06

  1. #1
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    resizing and reloading 338-06

    I am just getting started on a 338-06 build. One of the reasons that I went this way is my over abundance of 30-06 brass. I am still a ways away from reloading but I am pondering the steps I need to make for this process. I plan to sort the brass by make, then go through it to inspect it-mainly looking for case wear etc. as there is some that I know have been reloaded more than once. I then plan to resize, inspect and place into cartridge boxes marked accordingly for the 338-06. Is there something I am missing or something else to consider? I was wondering if I should mark the brass somehow? Anyone have suggestions on the best brass for necking up to the 338?
    I plan to post a separate thread on reload recipes after I review some more here and other places online.
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    I would start off with new brass.... or make sure you anneal your used brass. Changing the neck of hardened brass doesn't work that great. I generally neck down- but I have necked up and have gotten the same results... (until I had problems with a 6.5-06, but that was a defective die). The reason I neck down is so that if a round ever gets fired in the wrong gun it wont be a big problem. When I was making my 6.5-06 brass I went with 30-06 instead of 25-06 for this reason. A .264 bullet in a 30 cal is a lot better than trying to send it down a .257 barrel. I don't think that i would do this- but if someone else just looked at the headstamp and managed to get it to chamber it could be a problem,,, but I would be surprised if a 338-06 would chamber in a 30-06?

    As far as marking the brass.... I'd like to hear a good idea. I use a black sharpie- and it works ok. It will eventually rub off but it makes it through one complete reloading cycle and then i can reapply it.

  3. #3
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    All the brass I have for my 338-06 is Winchester and it started out as 30-06. I use a Lyman sizing die. When expanding the 30-06 brass I lube the brass (inside and out), I raise the brass three or four times into the die, going a little further each time. That way it's not so hard on the neck. It has been my experience that the finished brass will come out about .010 short of the minimum length of 2.484 but I'm ok with that. I have found a couple of tricks to brass runout on the second loading but I'm too lazy to type it right now.

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    I necked both directions for my 6.5-06. Using 25-06 & 30-06 brass. I did use nickel-plated brass for a .243 for one of my grandsons, because his brother was using a 260.
    As far as marking, a colored sharpie on the head end should be fine. There is no way the 338-06 will chamber in an 06.
    Shooting the smaller in the larger is probably not a good idea but also most likely of no consequence.

  5. #5
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    I would get a sizing die or expander die and take one piece of brass of each make and size them up. Then check neck thickness nearest the shoulder to see if you are going to get doughnuts from the thicker shoulder brass becoming the neck. I ran into this problem using Norma brass but did not have any issues with winchester. Getting rid of doughnuts can be a pain in the butt.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguyshm View Post
    I would get a sizing die or expander die and take one piece of brass of each make and size them up. Then check neck thickness nearest the shoulder to see if you are going to get doughnuts from the thicker shoulder brass becoming the neck. I ran into this problem using Norma brass but did not have any issues with winchester. Getting rid of doughnuts can be a pain in the butt.

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    What do you mean by Doughnuts?

  7. #7
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    The thickness of a case in the shoulder area can vary from the thickness of the neck of a case. When you neck 30 cal brass up to 338, you use some of the shoulder to make your neck.

    Google rifle brass doughnut, there are many topics on this that can explain it better than I can. I'll leave you with this.



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    Donuts are a non issue if you are using a sizing die with a mandrel. If how ever you intend to use a bushing sizing die then you may need to be concerned.

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    As I recall, I used an 8mm Mauser die (actually the depriving stem) to open the case mouth of 06’ cases. Next I used my 338-06 fl die.

    The converted brass was a little shorter than the trim to length but it is nice to not have to trim now and then.

    Three44s

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    Quote Originally Posted by olddav View Post
    Donuts are a non issue if you are using a sizing die with a mandrel. If how ever you intend to use a bushing sizing die then you may need to be concerned.
    Disagree. New Norma brass caused doughnuts just by necking up.

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    Thanks for the clarification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguyshm View Post
    Disagree. New Norma brass caused doughnuts just by necking up.

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    Please elaborate. I can see how sizing down could cause donuts but sizing up with a mandrel die should size the neck ID and avoid the afore mentioned donuts. When going from 30-06 to 338-06, the case retains its original dimensions with the exception of neck diameter and shoulder length. I could be wrong, I've been wrong before.

  13. #13
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    When you neck down you turn thinner neck into shoulder, smaller diameter hole moves the neck/shoulder junction forward. When you neck up you move the junction closer to the base of the cartridge and it uses the thicker brass that was once shoulder for the base of the neck.

    Using a mandrel simply moves the thicker brass to the outside of the case, which with a min spec chamber won't allow you to close the bolt. There is still a doughnut, just on the outside of the case.

    Bench rest shooters get around the doughnut by having their bullet base above the doughnut, so it stays on the inside of the case and isn't a problem. 338 caliber bullets are long and generally seated past where the doughnut would be in the neck.

    Just my personal experience with this specific round.

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    I now understand your position. I was not aware that anyone was using a 338-06 as a target round or using it in a tight neck chambered barrel. My suggestion was offered with the assumption that the OP would be using it as a hunting rifle with a SAAMI chamber. One quick question regarding donuts, could do you turn the necks after sizing the brass eliminating the donuts?

  15. #15
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    You can get rid of the doughnuts by turning for sure, or reaming. SAAMI spec is a range, most commercial chambers are on the large end of the scale. Since the 338-06 isn't commercially available anymore, most custom chambers are tighter spec then the largest allowable. My rifle wasn't set as a bench rest rig, it's just not sloppy, mass produced.

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