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Re-forming Brass to New Calibres

01 Mar 2016
@ 04:52 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

So as to not hijack a couple of the threads running here, I will start a new one regarding the forming of brass for different calibres.

First question is when forming brass into the .308 Norma Magnum, what are you using for your parent case? From the interweb comes information stating that if you use .338WinMag brass, all you need to do is run it through the Norma f/l die and maybe ream or turn your neck diameters. But, the necks will be shorter than standard Norma magnum brass. If you use .300WinMag brass, all is good, you just need to keep bumping the shoulder back until the Win brass chambers with slight resistance in the Norma chamber.

Second question is why go to the Norma Mag chamber when the .30-.338 is identical (ballistically)? Going this route there is no concerns with shorter necks, and with the longer necks, helps maintain alignment and guidance.

This forming into new sizes is quite new to me, and I was just wondering which way you are going and why?

Replies

01 Mar 2016
@ 05:40 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
hi Paul.
i brought norma 308 norma mag brass so i didn't have to muck around at the start, when i burn through that ill try and get my hands on some wincherster 7 rem mag brass i should in theory only have to run it through a f/l 308 norma magnum die to me it seems easier neck up then necking down.

for the other part of the question.
when it comes to the belted magnums it seems there's a lot of similar options.
i went the 308 norma simply because its different and i wanted to run high bc projectiles (208gr amax) using the norma mag meant that i didn't need as much room as the 300 win mag. another option would be to take a small step down to the 300 wsm giving you plenty of room for long projectiles but not sure how well it would feed have heard wsm are pain to get to feed from a non wsm action.

01 Mar 2016
@ 03:18 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Good morning Thomas. I haven't had any luck finding Norma brass, still looking though. My next choice, of course, is the Winchester route. I was thinking of going the other way, starting with the .300WinMag, necking it down, then trimming. This would save the neck length necessary for long seating and guidance.

The .30-.338 does have some appeal, but it basically boils down to availability of brass. I just ordered my barrel, and the bolt parts haven't showed up yet, so there is still no rush on deciding. I also ran into a fellow at the local gun store who was willing to "get rid of" his Norma 3-die set for $30. Kind of crazy to pass on that.

You had mentioned that you had a special reamer made, with a longer throat (?) for the 208 grain bullets. Would you mind sharing the dimensions of that? Have you determined how the 212 gr. would fit in that?
01 Mar 2016
@ 07:32 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Hi Paul
I think the reason people use 7mm rem mag and 338 win mag brass is because I think you only have to change the neck but if you use 300 win mag you have to create a new shoulder further back.

I found reamer drawings this morning it's a zip file so I'll have to workout how to post it tonight.
I didn't realise you were ready to order your barrel after seeing grant can fit a trueflite barrel, I going to suggest you could order one from them and get it pre chambered with my reamer while it's there if you wanted.
02 Mar 2016
@ 01:02 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Thanks for the reamer offer Thomas, but it would mean shipping the barrel across the puddle, and mine will be here in about three days.

Don't worry about downloading the .zip file. I can figure out what I need for a throat length. I stuck a 208gr A-Max in my dummy .30-'06 case and worked out the depth of the boattail.

Making a new shoulder or pushing the existing one back shouldn't pose any problems, it's going to fireform no matter what case you use. I could be, and most probably am wrong with this. Like I said earlier, this is all new to me. Guess I need to do some more reading. Thanks again for the reamer offer.
02 Mar 2016
@ 05:10 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
managed to do it, it was an adobe file so printed it out and scanned it back into a jpeg im sure there's an easier way to do it but as my little brother tells me the problem exists between the computer and the chair.

no worries Paul.
that's fast turn around is it local barrel maker?

i guess if we dramatize it, it would be like making 308win brass out of 30.06 brass compared to necking up 7mm-08 brass it can be done but unless you got 300 win mag brass sitting there i would go 7mm rem mag brass myself.
02 Mar 2016
@ 05:26 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
It is a local barrel supplier, not a barrel maker. Because of the restraints put on firearms parts (ITAR) coming out of the states, we have to either have our own permit, which is way too expensive, or use a distributor with a permit. The barrels (Benchmark) come out of Washington which is right next door.
Is that the right measurement for the freebore? .045" looks a little short. I'm thinking the copy didn't come out clear. Maybe it's too early and not enough coffee yet, I'm probably looking at it wrong.
As to the brass, the only brass available to me now is .300WinMag, or .378WBY. The Weatherby is an option as I was also contemplating a .30-.378 Arch, instead of the Norma. If I go with the Arch, I'll have to have a reamer made which will add a couple of weeks. Still undecided.
02 Mar 2016
@ 05:53 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
You might try these folks in Montreal. You may have to brush up on your French however.

http://www.x-reload.com/308-norma-mag/

I contacted Benchmark some time back regarding their .243 Win barrels with a 5r rifling and proper twist for 100 up to 115 grain bullets. I am pretty sure this guy is in BC in the Caribou area, and he imports these barrels:

Gary Eakin Email address is

[email protected]
02 Mar 2016
@ 05:56 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
The few guys I know still shooting the .308 Norma Mag neck down 300 Win Mag brass.
02 Mar 2016
@ 07:38 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Hi Brian - Yes, it is Gary that I get my barrels from. He is in the Bulkley Valley, in Houston, BC [(250) 845-2201]. If you send him an email, he will send you a spreadsheet of his inventory, it's pretty extensive.

I bought one of their 6mm 5R, 1:8. It's been hand-lapped and looks really nice in the bore.

The way I see it, and nothing says I'm right, if you use the .300WinMag, you get the right neck length. When you use the .338 or the 7mm don't you end up with a .30-.338 instead of a Norma? I know the difference is negligible and the only issue would a shorter neck, if it even is an issue.
02 Mar 2016
@ 07:49 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Sorry, Bryan, for the misspell.

Thanks for the link to Mtl. That's a good source.
02 Mar 2016
@ 09:22 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Allrighty ho. Regarding both the .308 and .358 Norma, ideally we would use Norma brass and I can see why others would use .300 Win Mag brass.

The shoulders of the Norma's are around 40 thou / 1mm further forwards than the .338 win mag. So you can't just use the belt of the case and fireform. Instead, you have to neck down .338 Win Mag brass but do not size the whole neck, leaving the bottom of the unsized neck to create a false shoulder that sits tight in the rifle chamber, then fireform. Result will be a 1mm shorter neck and no trimming for the next however many rounds.

I have talked at length about this with Dave Manson. When making (or suggesting) reamers, do we opt for .30-338 or go with a parent design like the Norma? Sometimes its best to go with a parent design so that everyone is on the same page as far as case dimensions go (sourcing load data etc) and it can also be helpful with rifle resale if a rifle has to be sold.

Thomas, if you pre-order Norma brass through Dan, the importer will be able to sort it. For now, you may want to play with .338 brass if you can find any.
02 Mar 2016
@ 11:36 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Quote:

Thanks for the link to Mtl. That's a good source.


Have you thought that going for a .338 Win Magnum might be better yet than the .308 Norma Magnum you have set out to build? Would it not fit your action as well? Just asking as I do not know the answer myself, but really like the .338 Win and have shot elk with one and remain impressed. Not to mention brass is available for it but harder to find/make for the .308 Norma.

Last year I had a devil of a time trying to find brass for my 7x57 and ended up downsizing 8x57 brass made by PPU partizan. Decent brass but I prefer Lapua or Norma brands for it. I really do not like all that hassle and finally ended up buying PPU brass in 7x57 when a bunch became available.
03 Mar 2016
@ 12:14 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Already have the .338WinMag, on an accurized Ruger M77 Mkll. I re-bedded it (with Match Grade, of course) this winter and have yet to work up the new loads.

I finally found some .300Win brass in Vernon. Will get my sister-in-law to pick it up for me and send it in the mail. I'll try to make a few Norma cases, and if it doesn't work, I can always sell the remainder at the gun show in May.

Nathan - thanks for looking into this, it is appreciated. As this first round of brass is a "try and see", it will save me about two-thirds the cost of Norma brass. If it doesn't work, at least I now have a source for Norma brass, thanks to Bryan.
03 Mar 2016
@ 06:40 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
hi Paul the reamer was designed by Nathan and Dave Manson i was just on the side line watching the pro work, so im confident everything is right.

Nathan i brought a 50 back of norma brass, i also got a box of factory norma ammo (yes it was that expensive i have to sell my first born to pay for it)
i got brass, projectiles, redding dies, and 2213sc ready to go, not sure if to use magnum primers or LR thou?
all i need is a sightron for on top and to fire form brass so i can get a custom collet die made for it.
03 Mar 2016
@ 05:28 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Hey Thomas, sometimes when I'm sitting here I forget that other people do things different than me. When I had my cases and bullets and mics on the table, I was playing with throating depths (lengths) for a single shot, no mag rifle. There is a big difference in freebore under those conditions. Of course Nathan and Dave know what they are doing, and I would never presume to assume otherwise. Somehow, I thought you were also making up a single shot, but later I realized it's a hunter. Sorry for my screw-up.

On a side note, I picked up another three boxes of 208gr A-Max's. The store must have got their back-ordered shipment. Why Hornady would ship these instead of the ELD's is a mystery, unless they want to get rid of old stock first. Either way, it's a win/win.

03 Mar 2016
@ 10:55 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Hi Paul.
No worries I'm the same I assumed you were making mag feed rifle to, guess that why they say assumptions are the mother of all f ups.

I'm sure you got it sorted but thought I would mention the big mauser extractor might not be your friend on a single shot, I know you can modify them to slip over rim as I believe Parker hale did but its best for cartridge to feed up behind extractor.

That's a good find on the amaxs you should really get them humming if your seating them out further then I can
04 Mar 2016
@ 03:01 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
You had me concerned about that extractor, so I went back to the web. I found that link from my P-14 post and found out that the extractor is designed to slip over the rims, such as in a push feed for the .303 case. "Well beveled" is how they put it. So I will just have to try it, if it proves to be difficult, I can always modify.

With going for a single load/feed, I can sit the long 208gr out so the base of the bullet is flush with or just above the junction of the case neck and the shoulder, which works out to about .210" of bearing surface forward of the case mouth. (These are approx. numbers, but close.) Makes for a very long COAL. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, velocity gain is possible with the extra room for powder.

I received confirmation today of my barrel being shipped, as well the brass is on it's way. Sure hope this brass conversion goes well, the price for Norma is pretty high. But then, you only have to buy it once.
04 Mar 2016
@ 10:48 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
I picked up my Norma dies today. Really good shape for 40+ years. I don't have my 300WinMag brass yet, but I couldn't stop myself from trying to re-size some 338WinMag cases. Here's what the results are:

I picked three. All were originally 7mmRemMag Federal brass that I picked up at the range. They appeared to be once fired, as it looked like factory sealer on the primers, as well, the plastic holders were clean and tight. I had re-sized them to 338WinMag, but had later discarded them, as they had excessive run-out. One case had .004", another had .005" and the third had .007".

As a matter of caution, I removed the decapping pin from the Norma die. Set the ram to touch the bottom of the die and then backed the die out one full turn, which it turns out, was very fortunate. The Norma die started to size the brass immediately at the shoulder, probably due to differences in my dies more than anything. I worked the case into the die in small increments, then back out, then in again until it sized it as far as it would go. At one turn out on the die, it never touched the neck.

I turned the die in one-half turn and repeated this procedure. When the ram was at full stroke, the neck had just entered that portion of the die just enough to start the re-sizing.

I reset the die to touch the shell holder and ran the case in slowly, still not sure if anything untoward was going to happen. It went in smooth, and more importantly, came out.

The neck portion of the die sized the case to a point about .090" above the original neck/shoulder junction, leaving the "false shoulder".

Unfortunately, I don't have a chamber for a Norma case, so I don't know if this is actually of any use. My intent was just to see how easy or difficult the overall operation was going to be. It was slow because I didn't want to get a case stuck, yet it was no more difficult than f/l sizing new brass.

I used Imperial sizing wax and made sure the inside necks were brushed out.

After I re-installed the decapping pin, I ran the sized brass back up into the die so I could check the new necks for run-out. As it turns out, two came out at less than .003" and the fourth was a touch over .003", so still usable to some extent. All this basically tells me is that this die is acceptable for reforming to new dimensions and will produce low run-out.

Thomas, you're lucky to get your Norma brass to save you some time, but if you ever need to re-size any other brass, it's good to know it can be done easily.
29 Mar 2016
@ 06:00 pm (GMT)

Kelly Kunz

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
I ve been reforming over 400 7mm Rem Mag brass to 264 Win Mag and I ve learned a lot about run out.... Try spinning your case 180 degrees if the run out is over .003. It that dosn't work spin it 90 or 270 etc. and it will in most cases come out to less than .003. Pulling out the expander ball does help and I assume you're using plenty of lube inside the case mouth but not using an expander ball will give you a lot of neck tension.... I've been running over 500 270 win. Cases as well as over 500 308 win. I also size 243 win. To 22 CHeetah as well. That's a lot of brass thru full length sizer dies and then checking the run out. I've learned that spinning the case 90,180,270 etc. degrees will usually iron out the miss aligned case neck. This is one of those mysteries of reloading most people are not aware of.
30 Mar 2016
@ 02:28 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Hey Kelly - I had heard of the method of rotating the brass and re-sizing. I was having trouble with a set of Lee Precision in .243Win. On new brass, any cases that were .003 or less, everything was fine. But on the cases that were .006 and over, the dies wouldn't straighten them. If I rotated them 180, most would get better, but still had some that were over .004. Funny thing was, if I could get them to .005, then one or two more turns through the die would usually bring them down to .003 or so, but, if they wouldn't change from the original runout, they just refused to straighten, no matter how many times I ran them in and out. I will probably use the difficult ones for pressure loads and them check them again after they have been fired once.

I also found that if I leave the expanders in place (in RCBS), and do the "lower the ram until you feel it" trick, then lock the expander, I can get close to zero on about 95% of my .338 brass. The rest is usually around .002 - .003.
30 Mar 2016
@ 02:44 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
Would the REDDING TYPE "S" NECK DIE SET with the right sized bushings not help here?
30 Mar 2016
@ 11:43 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Re-forming Brass to New Calibres
I'm not sure why I said RCBS, it might have been because I was just cleaning the Norma dies. My .338 dies are Redding S type, and I am sure that's why my runouts are so low. I still do the loose expander thing even with the Redding dies. Really, the only dies I have had troubles with are these Lee dies, but I will try them again after fireforming.
 

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