How to Reload .308 Ammo

Using this instructable will guide in reloading ammo for the .308 Winchester. Reloading ammo is important for improving accuracy and saving shooters money. By reloading bullets you can experiment a little with the charge, seating depth, and weight of the bullet to achieve maximum accuracy for your rifle. The process is simple and easy to remember. In my process, due to the tools I own, it takes me about two minutes per cartridge I reload. With more advanced equipment this process can easily be shortened. By reloading bullets you can improve your accuracy, save money, and have fun.

The materials I use when reloading my .308 ammo may differ from materials used by other people. Thus my process for reloading will be different as well. The materials I use are:

  • Breech Lock Challenger Press
  • .308 Sizing and Depriming Die
  • Number 2 Shell Holder
  • Premium Sizing Lube
  • .308 Case Trimmer
  • Chamfer Tool
  • Dial Caliper
  • Primer Pocket Cleaner
  • Case Tumbler
  • Tumbler Media
  • Powder Scale
  • Charge Tables
  • Powder Dispenser
  • Case Holder
  • .308 Bullet Seating Die
  • .308 Factory Crimp Die
  • Large Rifle Primers
  • Gunpowder
  • 30 cal bullets

The gunpowder I use is Varget by Hodgdon. You should use powder that is recommended for .308 Winchester. If there is no load data for .308 in that powder then DO NOT use that powder.

Note: Images are in order with steps top to bottom, left to right.

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Step 1: Size and De-prime Cartridge

The first step is to size and de-prime the cartridge.

1. Install Shell Holder.

2. Attach sizing die to the reloading press.

3. While holding handle down, screw the die in until it touches the shell holder.

4. Release handle and screw die in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 turn.

5. Tighten lock ring down.

6. Lube case

Tip: Lube inside of case mouth with Q-tip.

Caution: Lube the case body and inside of the case neck only. Do not lube the outside of the case neck to avoid damage to the case.

7. Place lubricated case in shell holder.

8. Raise case into sizing die.

Note: In this step the case will be re-sized and the primer will be ejected from the case.

9. Use dial caliper to ensure a case length of 2.015" maximum.

Note: If the case is longer that 2.015" use the case trimmer until no more brass is removed.

10. Clean primer pocket with primer pocket cleaner.

11. Chamfer inside and outside of case mouth.

Step 2: Clean Cartridge

The next step is to clean the cartridges.

1. Fill tumbler with media.

2. Fill tumbler with cartridges.

3. Turn on tumbler.

Note: It is best to repeat steps 1 and 2 while these cartridges are in the tumbler because it takes about an hour for the tumbler to clean the brass.

4. Remove cases from tumbler.

Step 3: Prime Cartridge

In this step I will go back to the reloading press to prime cases, but you can also use a hand primer.

1. Insert cartridge into shell holder.

2. Insert large rifle primer into primer lever.

3. Lower the case onto the primer lever.

Note: The primer should be seated slightly below flush with the bottom of the cartridge.

Step 4: Calculating the Correct Charge

By this step the case should be sized, de-primed, cleaned, and re-primed.

1. Dispense charge with powder dispenser.

2. Use charge tables to calculate correct charge.

DANGER: Do not exceed this charge, the case could explode in the gun. It is recommended to start by using a charge 10% less than the max load, that is the load in the tables, and work your way up.

3. Use scale to weigh charge.

4. Use dial on dispenser to adjust amount of powder dispensed.

5. Repeat steps 1,3, and 4 until the correct charge is dispensed every time.

Note: For liability purposes I did not include the charge I use. DO NOT USE CHARGE IN MY PICTURE! This is a random charge with the balance leveled for demonstration.

Step 5: Charging Cartridge

With the correct charge measured it is time to start charging the cartridges.

1. Place shell under powder dispenser.

2. Dispense powder into cartridge.

3. Place cartridge upright in a case holder or immediately move on to seating the bullet.

DANGER: Once the cartridge is charged NEVER try to seat primer deeper. The primer could ignite the powder.

Step 6: Seating Bullet

Now that the cartridge is sized, primed, and charged you can seat the bullet.

1. Insert bullet seating die into reloading press.

2. Place charged cartridge into shell holder.

3. Place a bullet on case mouth.

4. Fully raise cartridge with bullet into the die.

Note: The bullet is now seated and can be adjusted to suit with the adjustment screw on top of the die.

5. Seat the bullet to a desired location but do not exceed an over all length of 2.810".

Note: It is recommended that the bullet be seated to factory depth.

Step 7: Crimping the Cartridge

Crimping the cartridge will improve the accuracy of the round, and will improve the consistency of each shot.

Note: For a proper crimp, all cases must be trimmed to the same length or the die will need adjusting each time.

1. Insert factory crimp die into reloading press.

2. Raise the round into crimp die.

3. Screw die in to provide a good crimp.

4. The die is now calibrated for all rounds that length.

CAUTION: Attempts to apply excessive crimp will crush the case.

You have now reloaded .308 Winchester ammo. It is strongly advised for beginners to read manuals several times before attempting to reload for the first time. Reloading takes time and practice. However, reloading will save shooters money and it will increase accuracy if done correctly. Once you are more experienced you can play around with powder, charges, bullet weights, seating depth, and bullet types to increase your accuracy and find out which round fires the best from your rifle. Reloading bullets is a fun hobby for all types of shooters.



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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    You need to mention checking head space, after sizing. If there is too much, your rifle may not chamber the cartridge completely, or the cartridge could get stuck in the chamber. This is particularly important if you are resizing military brass. Believe me, this has caused many headaches, until I learned all about full length sizing.


    3 years ago

    Very well written and explained indestructible.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great project! Thanks for calling out points of caution and potential dangers. I grew up around all of this equipment but only vaguely knew what it was for. I am retroactively proud of my parents for being crafty and thrifty and concerned about accuracy. (My father has yet to bag a bighorn sheep despite his improved ammunition.)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This was very informative! I've known a lot of shooters who do their own reloading, but I was never familiar with what the process involved. I learned a lot from this. Thank you!