"I also noticed the OAL that Lyman recommends for the 243win doesnt match my factory loads length"
Lyman, nor anyone else, "recommends" any OAL at all. What the manuals all list is the OAL the test team used to develope the book's listed data. It's no more of an assurance for what's 'right' to anyone else than the charges they show.
Averaging data from various books is fun but meaningless. Start at the listed starting charges with any new gun or load and slowly, .2, .3., .5 grain steps depending on the size of the case. Work up to the book's max while watching for evidence of excessive pressure; probably won't happen. If it does, then what the book says doesn't matter; back off about 10% and call that YOUR max for that powder, case, primer and bullet in YOUR rig.
Seat your handgun bullets at the crimping groove unless you have reason to otherwise, especially so for revolver rounds. Otherwise, rifle or pistol, using a factory round as a gage is as good a place for a new guy to start as any.
Last edited by wncchester; January 25, 2013 at 07:27 PM.