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Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

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RWS
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Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#1 Post by RWS » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:39 am

A friend of mine bought 1,000 rounds of Latvian 7.62 NATO ammo but doesn't reload so he has been giving me his fired cases. The cases have a headstamp of GGG 04. They are some of the most consistent cases I have ever seen. After depriming and tumbling there is usually less than 1 grain difference in weight from case to case.

I reloaded 50 of these to begin with, and they reloaded beautifully, but they are a few thousandths too long/out of spec when I drop them in my Wilson case gage. Furthermore, they will will barely chamber in my M1A rifles and won't chamber at all in my AR-10 (which I believe probably has a .308 chamber). Case necks are trimmed back to minimum specs and bullets are seated below max OAL. Also, the case webs are not overly expanded.

I bought an undersize .308 die and loaded a few more cases but they still refuse to chamber fully in the AR-10, while Lake City and WCC military cases chamber perfectly in the same AR-10.

I am beginning to believe the composition of the brass is such that I am getting too much springback when the case exits the resizing die and that the problem is in the headspacing area of the case shoulder but I really don't have a definitive root cause yet.

I was just wondering if anyone else has tried these Latvian cases and has experienced any problems.

-Bob

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#2 Post by Rapidrob » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:46 am

since you used a Small Base Die,they should fit any rifle made. I would measure the base of the case and the shoulder to see if either are too far forward or too wide.
If you did not use a real Small Base Die, that could be your problem. A "normal" .308 die will not size down a swollen case,a SBD will.
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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#3 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:45 am

Daft question, are you sure they're brass, not plated steel or something nasty?
I did find this looking up the head-stamp, maybe ask them?
GGG stands for Giraites Ginkluotes Gamykla (Giraite Armament Factory), Vijuku km., Uzliedziu sen, LT-54306 Kaunas raj., Lithuania. They have a nice web site.

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Re: Reloading Problem with Lithuanian 7.62 NATO Cases

#4 Post by RWS » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:56 am

Rob:
I agree with you that any case resized with a small base die should fit any 7.62 chamber but that is not the case with these Latvian Lithuanian cases. I am using a RCBS true small base die. I've also measured the the case web, shoulder, and neck diameter with my dial calipers. All dimensions are below max per my Lyman reloading handbook. Again, no problems with USGI or commercial brass, even when using the standard non-SBD resizing die. That's why I think it may be in the shoulder angle but am not certain. I have a buddy who has true .308 case headspace gages and we're going to get into it deeper this weekend. I was just trying to see if anyone else had tried these cases with more success than I've had.

Tommy:
Not a daft question at all. The cases are definitely brass but they're pretty thick. More so than USGI cases for sure. Therein lies the source of the problem but not the specific root cause. And... thanks for the corrective GGG info. I was told the cases were Latvian but it appears they are Lithuanian. Still Baltic, but I was given the wrong country apparently.

FWIW, the factory ammo as it comes out of the box seems to work in any 7.62 rifle in which it has been tried. It's trying to reload the fired cases that is problematic.

-Bob

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#5 Post by Rapidrob » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:00 pm

Can you send me a couple of cases? I'll figure out what is wrong and get back to you.
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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#6 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:10 pm

What happens when you try to reshoot a reload from other brands?

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#7 Post by polaris » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:12 am

Is it possible that your friends rifle has developed excessive headspace? See if you can get an unfired round and a fired case of different manufacture from his rifle and see where they guage. A friend has a custom rifle in .270 with a poorly headspaced barrel, right at maximum, and he ran into the same issue. Brass fired in this rifle can be resized with the die slightly backed off and fired in this rifle. Even fully sized brass from this rifle won't chamber easily in another .270. To correct this issue, he took one of the cheap Lee aluminum shellholders and gradually removed some metal to allow a deeper entry into the sizing die. Only took a couple thousandths to make the brass work easily in other rifles, but due to the headspace issue he only fires neck sized brass in the rifle with the long headspace.

I use the same modified shellholder technique to resize .308 to .300 Savage.

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#8 Post by RWS » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:20 am

Well, we're getting a leetle bit off-topic here. My original inquiry was about the LIthuanian GGG cases and whether anyone else had tried reloading them. That's really the question for me. However, because of the questions asked above I will provide the following information for additional clarity:

- My RCBS standard .308 resizing die has been making good ammunition for 40 years now. Last month I acquired a RCBS small base resizing die to add to the set.

- Ammunition made with either the standard or small base dies (except for the GGG cases) chambers well in six 7.62/.308 rifles, those being 2 M1A's, a Lewis Machine & Tool AR-10, a Palmetto Armory AR-10, a FN-49 Argentine 7.62 rifle, and a Remington 600 in .308.

- Only the GGG cases have a problem with the bolt not fully closing when chambered after using either the standard or small base resizing dies.

- ALL other cases, USGI and commercial, chamber perfectly in the gun after resizing, regardless of which gun they were fired in.

- Per Polaris's question, my friend's .308 rifle is a Lewis Machine & Tool AR-10, which is the rifle in which the GGG cases were fired. I have Wheeler .308 headspacing gages and he has a different brand gage set. Both indicate proper headspacing on every 7.62/.308 rifle we both own with either/both sets of headpacing gages.

- USGI 7.62 NATO or commercial cases fired in either his LMT or my Palmetto Armory AR-10, or either of my 2 M1A's, resize just fine. Only the GGG cases fail to resize properly.


I'm thinking at this point that the GGG cases are simply too thick to resize properly.

And, I'm still just wondering if anyone else has tried to reload these Lithuanian cases.

- Bob

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#9 Post by DaleH » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:48 am

Doesn’t help your semis, but sounds like they’d be super as neck-sized only for the bolt gun.

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#10 Post by RWS » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:36 am

Nah Dale, they're too long for ANY .308 SAAMI chamber. Or any 7.62 NATO chamber for that matter. A friend of mine has some serious .308 headspace gaging tools that can measure down to 1/10,000 of an inch. Last night we measured some USGI and some commercial cases that I had reloaded and found those cartridges to be perfectly within specs.

The Lithuanian GGG cases, even after being resized with a small base resizing die are .004"-.005" longer (headspacing-wise) than maximum SAAMI limits. Or, more simply put, the sized GGG cases are up to .005" longer than the no-go gage, so they won't work in anything with a correctly headspaced bolt/chamber combination. This with the same identical press setup that loaded the aforementioned USGI and commercial cases.

The culprit is, as I suspected, excessive springback. The resizing die is setting the case shoulder back to where it should be but it is springing back that extra .004" or so when it exits the resizing die. Just enough so no bolt will close on it.

Polaris' idea of grinding a donor shell holder down about .005" or so would probably allow these cases to be used, and if I had thousands of these cases that might make sense. But... I have only 200 of these GGG cases but I have plenty of USGI and commercial cases I think I will just stick these in the back of my reloading supplies cabinet until some kind of use occurs to me. This long ago ceased to be a thread about how I could make these cases work and more about solving the puzzle as to why they would NOT work. I think I know now.

Thanks to all for chiming in. I appreciate your thoughts.

-Bob

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#11 Post by dezzertrat » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:21 am

I wonder if annealing the cases would help? I looked at the thread to see if annealing was mentioned, but might have missed it if it was.

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#12 Post by RWS » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:31 am

It possibly would help but it's not worth it to me, considering how few cases I have and how much trouble annealing is. Maybe in an obsolete caliber for which finding cases is difficult, but not for .308/7.62. Life's too short...

Thanks for the thought though.

-Bob

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#13 Post by ammolab » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:37 pm

Are you re-adjusting your die for those thick/tough cases or using the die set to size your other brass? Make sure your shell holder contacts the die bottom when you size the GGG brass. With the extra effort involved...it may simply be you are partially sizing that tough brass and extruding the shoulder a hair forward.

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Re: Reloading Problem with Latvian 7.62 NATO Cases

#14 Post by RWS » Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:38 am

Absolutely. The resizing die is firmly touching the shellholder and you can feel the breakover point when you operate the handle. Screwing the die in any further would just put excessive load on the press and it's exactly the same setup on my RockChucker press that produces perfect reloads with commercial and USGI brass. The brass is just too thick to reload with small base or standard resizing dies. A friend got some empty fired cases from me and is going to run them through his RCBS X-resizing die as one last test.

UPDATE: The RCBS X-die did the trick. I just resized and loaded 80 of the GGG cases and they all chamber in my smallest (AR-10) .308 chamber now. Problem solved. Thanks to all who contributed ideas and suggestions.

-Bob

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