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Making 8mm Lebel Brass (8x50R) from 348 Win


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Andy_P
Gunboards Premium Member



Canada
140 Posts
Posted - 03/05/2005 : 12:39:34 PM
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Well we all know that the milsurp stuff is scarce and not reloadable, and that Grafs is playing their game of advertising the stuff and then starting the process to acquire it, so we are left to make our own. I have done it and it is not that difficult or expensive.

Buy Winchester made 348 Win brass, which is no more expensive than your average brass. It also happens to be a little thinner about the web than spec (.545" vs. .553") and that helps since 8x50R needs to be .536". I also bought the Lee die set for 8x50R.

Here's what you need to do:

1. turn the bottom 1/4" of the 348 Win brass down to .536". I did it on my wood lathe, but a drill press could also be used. Place the smooth part of a 11/32" drill bit (not the twisted cutting part) into the neck of the brass and then grip it in the chuck. The drill bit gives the chuck something to squeeze, otherwise you just crush the neck. Mount a live centre in the primer hole to support the other end. In a drill press, you would rig up a live centre on a jig on the table. Spin the lathe (or drill press), and using a sharp bit, or even a file, carefully remove brass for the first 1/4", until it is at .536-.538"

2. F/L size in the 8x50R sizing die.

3. trim to 1.98". I used a tubing cutter, then trimmed to exact length.

4. load as normal.

5. anneal the neck after the first firing because you worked the brass quite a bit in the forming process.

I tried to skip Step 1 and ran into several problems, namely:

a. the cartridge was a tight fit into the 8x50R shellholder (foreshadowing another problem)
b. the brass could not be fully forced into the F/L sizing die, hence the neck was too far forward.
c. I met some moderate resistance chambering the round (see a. and b.)
d. the round would not extract. The extractor did not have enough rim to grasp (the shellholder tried to tell me that would happen). The 348 rim is already .011" smaller in diameter than 8x50R, and that extra .009" I re-claimed when I turned the brass at the web is needed for extraction. Could be too that the tight fit of the round compounded the situation, but a cleaning rod easily knocked the "stuck" brass out, so I support the extractor theory as the primary cause.

I shot a few rounds in my Turkish Forestry Carbine and it worked well. The Turk is chambered to "Balle N" and slugs to .326", but the .323" bullets I used went pretty well where aimed and didn't keyhole. In the future I will cast from my Lee .329" die intended for the 8x56R Hungarian, get Lee to make a custom sizer die for .327" (for $25) and shoot cast.

My $0.02 worth......

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Edited by - Andy_P on 03/05/2005 12:44:13 PM

DocAV
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



Australia
3278 Posts
Posted - 03/08/2005 : 02:38:46 AM
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Easier than turning down in front of the rim of the .348 is to use a "Ring Die" to swage down the head to .535 . I made my own (I have the necessary tooling) and use it in a Shop screw press. A Big vice would do as well.
Press in, and then press out. Clean and easy reduction of the head, without risks of tearing a case (drill chuck) or other disasters.
Then I Full length size first in a 8x56R Kropatcheck die (or a .33 Wincester die, to get the shoulder started...the Kropatschek Die you can get all the case in ( body is slightly bigger than Lebel case)
And then finish off with proper Lebel die. Trim to finished length (51mm), and Load.

The reason I use the head Ring die, is to prevent the risk of "splitting open" a thin walled Lebel FLS Die ( have done a couple, years ago...RCBS at that) in trying to FLS a .348 case up front without headswage first. (Ignorant me!!!)


As to the shell holder, use a standard .348 Holder (#5 RCBS) instead of using the "8mm lebel" SH which is made to the original Miliatry case specs (and rim thickness/diameter... the .348 rim is .605, the lebel is .627 Rim diameter; and the thicknesses are different, as the Lebel rim is beveled, whilst the 348 is not. Hence the fitting problem.
I don't bevel my 348/8 Lebel rims, but I do it to the .348/8mm Kropatchek cases, as the bolt is dished to accept the bevelled Krop. cases to properly headspace them (and close the bolt).

Good work Andy,
regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballisitcs




Joe Turner
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1145 Posts
Posted - 03/08/2005 : 2:50:10 PM
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When I started making my 8MM Lebel ammo from Winchester .348 Brass I purchased the RCBS purposse built forming die for 8MM Lebel. This appears to take care of several issues ( as far as I can see and use )
1. In one stroke the brass is formed to Lebel contour.
2. With the neck sticking through the top of the forming die the exposed brass is cut off and filed smooth, so exact case length is achieved.
3. I have had no extraction problems with this brass following the initial forming and then full length resize and reloading steps. IT could very well be that my N bored guns have loose chambers but fired brass does not appear to be malformed after firing. I have heard that older Winchester and Remington .348 brass was larger at the head than the new stuff but in any case my current combination of tools and brass seems to work well.

However I would really like to lay my hands on the head squeezing die that has been mentioned in this thread. Any chance someone could make me one? Sounds like that would solve any problems regarding case head variance and chamber variance. Thanks, Joe Turner


Egostomus
Gunboards Super Premium Member



284 Posts
Posted - 03/09/2005 : 5:14:11 PM
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Greetings Joe,

If you contact the people at 4D Die company, they can make you such a die. Just give them the specs and they'll make it. They can make most anything. Years ago I had one made at RCBS, but that sort of thing is probably cost prohibitive through them now.


Merle
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1849 Posts
Posted - 03/12/2005 : 11:43:59 AM
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When I reworked my batch of 348 brass, I strapped my Craftsman 1/2" drill to my workbench & used it as a lathe. Chambers seem to vary a lot, so trial & error is the word.


Merle
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1849 Posts
Posted - 03/12/2005 : 11:50:56 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Egostomus

Greetings Joe,

If you contact the people at 4D Die company, they can make you such a die. Just give them the specs and they'll make it. They can make most anything. Years ago I had one made at RCBS, but that sort of thing is probably cost prohibitive through them now.

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Do you have a link or address for them? Do they make custom reloading dies, etc too?
Thanx for the tip.



Joe Turner
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1145 Posts
Posted - 03/13/2005 : 12:27:01 AM
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Egostomus, Thanks for the tip. The RCBS purpose built forming die takes a lot of the forming problems and makes them moot. While the .348 brass is large at the head than factory Lebel I have experienced no problems with chambering or extraction although sometimes an old Berthier extractor will pop over the smaller .348 rim. I am sure you have experienced this as well. I have loaded some ammo for other folks and one person had a problem with the loaded round chambering in a non N bored rifle. The ring die seems to be my answer. Do you have a link or address for 4D? PM me or email me at; [email protected] Thanks again for the info! Joe Turner


Andy_P
Gunboards Premium Member



Canada
140 Posts
Posted - 03/13/2005 : 05:57:40 AM
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http://www.ch4d.com/


Mr. Dolittle
Starting Member



USA
9 Posts
Posted - 05/16/2005 : 07:20:20 AM
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I bought 50 brass cases of re-formed Winnchester brass from Buffalo Arms for my 8mm Lebels. I have four, a 1886 Lebel, one 3 shot Berthier and two 5 shot Berthiers. The bolts on all of them close on the brass, however on of the five shot Berthier will not eject the brass (this gun is markeked N on the receiver). I think this has something to do with the smaller rim. I've got some "original" 8mm Lebel round ans I try and run them through the gun to see if this is the problem. How can I make the new brass eject, or should I just not fire the gun? Also, these rifles are in fine shape and I want to fire them, how do I check head space? There are not any Go, or No-Go gauges for these rifels that I knwo of. Any suggestions?


jonk
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



1743 Posts
Posted - 05/16/2005 : 09:01:53 AM
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Hmm. Or you can do what I did. I went to a cartridge collector' show and bought all their 'blasting ammo', i.e. old commercial stuff at $.50 a cartridge, plus three boxes of old REM UMC at a show for a total of $80 for all of it. Works out to about a dollar a loaded round, and I'm on the fifth reload (after annealing) on some of it, no trouble.


Mr. Dolittle
Starting Member



USA
9 Posts
Posted - 05/20/2005 : 07:32:17 AM
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8mm Lebel extraction with re-formed 348 brass: I had problems with the re-formed brass not extraction from one of my 1916 Berthiers, they were also a little tight going in (this gun has a N marked breech). I took some of my original 8mm Lebel last evening and they cycled flawlessly through this gun! My other three guns all extract the re-formed brass fine. Someone mentioned on an eariler post that there is a die that will actually form down the lower part of the cartridge to original Lebel spec. I purchashed the RCBS die that is supposed to do a full re-form of the 348 brass (have not used it yet -the brass i got was from Buffalo Arms). Is there something lacking in the RCBS die that I should be aware of? Does the re-formed brass require an additional step?


Egostomus
Gunboards Super Premium Member



284 Posts
Posted - 05/20/2005 : 09:43:06 AM
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Greetings Mr. Doolittle,

You probably purchased the standard reloading dies that RCBS offers for the 8 Lebel. Sometimes the full length sizer dies will not size reformed brass (from .348 Winchester)to the proper head dimensions and therefore they will not chamber in some rifles. Most of the time these rifles are very forgiving of slight dimension differences in the cartridges, but occasionally there is a problem. One of my French rifles is very particular about what it will eat, the others don't care.

Buffalo Arms brass should function fine in any weapon, but again, there may be exceptions. The die we are discussing is a special swage die that sizes the head of the case down to actual specs so that it will function in virtually any weapon chambered for 8 Lebel. To reform .348 brass yourself you generally only have to full length size it in a standard die and trim off the excess length. Buffalo brass does not require further forming.
 
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