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REALLY hard to resize .303 british?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by coosbaycreep, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep 9 miles South of Roseburg Active Member

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    I finally got all the stuff I need to start loading for .303 today. I set up the dies (RCBS) the way it says to in the instructions. I went to size the first case, and I could only get the handle down far enough to barely knock out the primer, but not all the way down as far as the handle will go. I put some more lube on it and tried a few more times, and finally got it all the way down, but I also managed to increase the size of the crack in my bench (my reloading bench is a piece of crap). I had to stand up, put pressure on the press with one hand (because it flexes where the crack is), and put as much leverage as possible on the handle to size the next two, which is all I did before I gave up.

    I'm going to get an adjustable shower rod (or something similar) to put under the cracked part of my bench, which should hopefully keep it from flexing or breaking anymore, but I wanted to know if .303 is usually this difficult to resize? Is there a chance that maybe my dies aren't set up properly, or maybe there's something wrong with the brass? I'm a pretty weak dude, but there's no way that ANY caliber should be this difficult to resize.

    The few that I did resize don't look much different than the other fired cases that haven't been resized yet. I don't have anymore factory ammo to compare the cases to either, because I was thinking that maybe the chamber on my gun is really big or something, and the cases are just blown out or something, but they look about the same as the ones in the pics of factory ammo at midwayusa.

    Any ideas?

  2. motoman98

    motoman98 Gresham, OR Active Member

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    You really need a sturdy top. I like one made of double layered 3/4 plywood for strength.
    Rifle brass takes a good pull of the handle to size. Any flexing and you're toast.
  3. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Sounds like something wrong there... I full-length resize three rifle calibres one-handed with an RCBS press.

    I use Imperial sizing wax - makes even reforming brass really easy.

  4. turq

    turq Molino,oregon Member

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    +1 on Imperial sizing wax (may also be called Sinclair sizing wax)
  5. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    the bench is your problem.Or most of it,fighting the flex is just gonna give u headaches every time.
    what lube are you using.? If OneShot,try a wipe on lube like imperial.It always gets the job done,OneShot gets very mixed reviews.
    If the cases werer fired in your gun,you may be able to get away with neck sizing.some do this by raising the die up,or in youir case just not going all the way down.A true ns die is the way to do it correctly.See if the necks have been sized compared to a fired brass,and if the empties will slide into your chamber and the bolt close easily.If so you're good to go.
    also,check oal after sizing and trim to length.
  6. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep 9 miles South of Roseburg Active Member

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    A stick shoved under the desk is the best I can do for now. It's ghetto and it looks like crap, but it's the best I can do with what I got. An actual "bench" is out of the question for the time being, and until yesterday with the .303, I had never had too many problems with it.

    Some of the cases were still really tough, and then others only required as much effort as any other rifle case.

    I use the RCBS case lube that came with my reloading kit. Some of the cases I probably didn't have enough lube on, but others I had too much on, and dented some cases because of it. I'll eventually get a different kind of lube, as no one seems to like/recommend the RCBS stuff, but that's what I have for now.

    I'm still not sure why it was so difficult to resize those cases at first, but I managed to get through all the brass I needed to resize today. I haven't loaded any rounds yet, but I tried a few resized brass, and they all fit in the gun with no problems. Hopefully I get some loaded up and get a chance to shoot it tomorrow.
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    You shouldn't have too much trouble resizing .303, but I will say it's a tough nut compared to some of the other ones out there. Also, what kind of brass do you have? Is it a bunch of old dominion war surplus or is it brand new commercial? There are two types of RCBS lube, the stuff that comes in a toothpaste tube, and the spray on kind. I like the toothpaste tube stuff, but don't smear too much on the neck, and get a q-tip and put some on the inside of the case mouth (the .303 for whatever reason does a lot better with this). If you get too much on the case neck you will get the lube dents.

    +1 on imperial sizing wax, it makes sizing 577-450MH brass go like **** through a goose.

    Last time I did a bunch of .303 I was using lanolin/alcohol lube and it worked ok, but seemed a bit much for the RCBS partner I was doing it on, when I switched over to the RC4 I barely knew I was resizing, but it was clear the brass was getting a workout.

    For the most part, the .303 has a lot of body taper, so it takes a fair amount of effort to resize it properly. You may also want to check the dies you got, and make sure they say ".303 brit FL" on the sizing die, as you may have been given a small base set that will say ".303 brit SB" which is tighter than the standard full-length die set.

    You may also want to check your gun for proper headspace (this is something of a misnomer since the cartridge headspaces off the rim) in terms of the fit to the shoulder of the cartridge. If your chamber is loose, you may be working the brass a lot more than you think you are, which would account for the increased sizing force. You may want to do some research and read up on how to anneal the brass which will make it last much longer.

    Also, I don't know what load you plan on using, but IMR3031 is the commercial equivalent to the original loading of the Mk VII (with a 174gr FMJ-BT bullets availible from PRVI).