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wolfehunter
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Posted: March 24 2008 at 1:22pm | IP Logged Quote wolfehunter

I'm going to try and take a deer this year with this old relic that belonged to my grandfather. It's a WWI gun used by the French and made by Remington. I have several boxes of spent Remington Kleanbore casings I was thinking about reloading but had a strange question.

Do Lee dies work in an RCBS press? Reason I ask is the RCBS 2 die set is like $142 or something where the Lee 2 die set is only $26 or something like that at Midway. I can special order the ammo from a place in Maryland but it's $36 a box plus shipping for 20 rounds and I thought I could save myself a few bucks by reloading them.

Thanks
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 24 2008 at 5:43pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Yes the Lee dies work in RCBS presses. I have RCBS, Lee, Pacific, Lyman, Herters and C&H dies and all of them work in my Rock Chucker.

Where did you get that brass? I didn't know anybody loaded ammo for the Lebel, last guy I knew that loaded one had to make cases from .348 Winchester brass, and I hate the idea of modifying brass that's already rare.

Good luck with this project, keep us posted.

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wolfehunter
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Posted: March 24 2008 at 6:05pm | IP Logged Quote wolfehunter

Thanks for the information richhodg66. I think I'm farther ahead buying the Lee dies and reloading the brass I have which is about 5 boxes. My father has had this gun ever since my grandfather died back in 1966 and the empty brass came with it. No full cartridges and dad said he was told years ago that he'd never find ammo for it so he never pursued it. The boxes say Remington Kleanbore 170 grain soft point on them and the brass has Rem UMC stamped on it. Will I have to make modifications or will this brass reload OK in the Lee dies? Also, can I find bullets for these cartridges? Powder suggestions? Any info. would be helpful.

thank you,
Scott
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Leftoverdj
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Posted: March 24 2008 at 6:15pm | IP Logged Quote Leftoverdj

Lee #2 has loading data for the 8mm Lebel and shows it using standard .323 bullets. WW 748 seems to be the best powder choice, and performance is just a notch above the .30-30. Since your grandfather was shooting 170 grain bullets, those are probably what the sights are set for.

I'd anneal those case necks before resizing them, but otherwise I see no problems.
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 24 2008 at 7:28pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Well, I guess that at one time. American manufacturers must have loaded factory ammo, I didn't know that. Be sure to treat that brass with kid gloves, but you can form .348 brass if you have to.

I also didn't know what the nominal bpre size for the Lebel was, but Leftoverdj did the homework for you. SHould be adequate bullet selection.

I think I'd try cast bullets if for no other reason than to save wear and tear on the brass and the rifle. There are good flat point designs that seem like they'd work for short range deer hunting real well.

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wolfehunter
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Posted: March 25 2008 at 5:36am | IP Logged Quote wolfehunter

Thanks guys. Couple more questions since I don't want to mess this up.

1. What does anneal mean?

2. Are cast bullets something different than what Speer or Hornady makes?
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 25 2008 at 5:52am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Annealing is where you heat the brass with a flame or torch and then quench it in water. Over time and resizing, brass work hardens and gets brittle, annealing will soften and therefore make it less prone to split necks and such thereby lengthening case life. Since you're working with rare brass, it sounds like very prudent advice. Do a search on here and you'll find different techniques for doing it. If your cases are only once fired factory, you may not need to worry about it right away.

Cast bullets are softer lead alloy bullets you usually cast yourself, but a lot of places sell them if you aren't set up to do it. They are easier on bores, generally, and have the advantage of being able to vary the size somewhat in case you have a rifle with oddball bore dimensions which is pretty common in older military rifles.

How much reloading experience do you have? If you're a beginner, I'd recommend starting with a basic jacketed bullet in the middle weight range for the caliber, the 170 grain ones mentioned ought to be great, pick a powder that seems to work well across the range for that bullet and start with that before getting too much into other things. There's lots and lots of experience on this board, I've been hand loading in one capacity or another all my life (42 years) and still seem to learn something every day off this board.

One other word of advice; if the rifle hasn't been shot for years, you may want to take it by a gunsmith and have him take a look just to be sure. If nothing else, it'll give you peace of mind and it helps to develop a rapport with a local gunsmith anyway, so this would be a good opportunity for you to do that. You'd hate to do something that might damage a family heirloom like that. I'm interested in how this turns out, please be sure to post results as you delve further into this project.

Edited by richhodg66 on March 25 2008 at 5:55am


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Leftoverdj
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Posted: March 25 2008 at 6:29am | IP Logged Quote Leftoverdj

Rich, the American arms makers got stuck with tens of thousands of contract rifles at the end of WWI and wound up selling them on the American market. They had to produce domestic ammo to make them salable. Same thing happened with 7.62x54R.
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richhodg66
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Posted: March 25 2008 at 10:10am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I knew that about Mosin Nagants but not the Lebels, I have a Mosin of Remington manufacture that was unfortunately sporterized. The bore it it is real good and someone did a good trigger job on it though, so I'll re-stock it someday and try huntiong with it I suppose.

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