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Old January 25, 2012, 12:08 PM   #1
larzb93
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Bullet Seating Depth

anyone have a good method to determine your bullet seating depth. i have heard so many of them but need one that works! Shooting a Remington 700 Target Tactical 308
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Old January 25, 2012, 12:13 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Hornady OAL gauge will find the length that touches the rifling and assist in measuring where the ogive (caliber diamater) of your finished round falls.

In terms of determining what's best, you have to shoot bullets to figure that out.
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Old January 25, 2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
anyone have a good method to determine your bullet seating depth
Bullet seating depth = bullet length - exposed bullet length after seating

But I don't think that is what you are really after? I'm not trying to be a SA, just trying to understand what you really want to know.
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Old January 25, 2012, 07:05 PM   #4
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1) Find out what your max COL for your rifle and that bullet
2) Reduce this by 0.020" to start with
3) Determine powder/charge range that gives the best accuracy
4) Vary the COL up to contact with the rifling/lede to about 0.030" short and see what COL your rifle likes with that particular bullet
To do this best, get a case length gage that measures from the ogive of the bullet and not the bullet nose.
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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Old January 26, 2012, 12:40 AM   #6
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Assemble a dummy round and seat the bullet very long with just enough neck tension that the bullet doesn't move freely inside the neck. Chamber it. It wil hit the lands and push back into the neck. Eject it, measure it, and then adjust your seating die to it. Then make micro adjustments deeper to keep the bullet just off the lands. THAT is your maximum OAL according to chamber. Now, max OAL according to magazine may be somewhat shorter.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rangefinder View Post
Assemble a dummy round and seat the bullet very long with just enough neck tension that the bullet doesn't move freely inside the neck. Chamber it. It wil hit the lands and push back into the neck. Eject it, measure it, and then adjust your seating die to it. Then make micro adjustments deeper to keep the bullet just off the lands. THAT is your maximum OAL according to chamber. Now, max OAL according to magazine may be somewhat shorter.
I see that several people use this method with apparent success. I tried it in all my guns and was never able to get reliable results.
I use Lee collet neck dies so I can adjust neck tension easily and repeatable.
I was never able to get good results in any gun.
I always found that if the tension was light enough so the bullet wouldn't stick in the rifling it was so light I couldn't reliably measure or even handle the cartridge. If it was tight enough to handle and measure reliably it was tight enough that the force required to slide it into the case caused it to stick in the rifling and pull back out on extraction.
I had considered using a drop of glue on the bullet and leaving it chambered until the glue dried but I never tried it.
The Hornady OAL gauge is an inexpensive, easy, reliable solution for me.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:59 AM   #8
larzb93
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i agree, the whole method with the dummy round has NEVER gave me good results. could be the way my rifle operates but i know some other people have had good luck with it though .....
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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This method works for me:

1) Drop a bullet into the chamber and tap it lightly against the lands with a cleaning rod
2) Slowly drop the cleaning rod into the muzzle until it touches the bullet
3) MArk the cleaning rod with a fine tip "magic marker" by making a half circle around the rod
4) Knock the bullet out of the rifle
5) Make a dummy round and seat the bullet longer than anticipated
6) Chamber the dummy round
7) Reinsert the cleaning rod until it touches the bullet
8) Make a full circle on the cleaning rod with the "magic marker"
9) If you now have one circle, your dummy round is at the lands
10) Measure it with Hornady tool described in these posts or buy a similar one made by Stoney Point. It measures ogive to base of the case. Subtract 0.01, 0.015 or 0.02" from that reading and that's the length your seated rounds should be
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Old January 26, 2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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10) Measure it with Hornady tool described in these posts or buy a similar one made by Stoney Point. It measures ogive to base of the case. Subtract 0.01, 0.015 or 0.02" from that reading and that's the length your seated rounds should be
If you have the Hornady (previously Stoney Point) OAL gauge, there is no need for all those shenanigans.

I tried the method you describe also. While it certainly gives you a general idea, when you're playing with measurements of .001 it isn't close enough. I suppose that if you're setting the bullet .010 or more of the rifling it's probably close enough but many handloaders are looking for .005 or less, maybe even "kissing" the rifling.

I tried all these methods, trying to save myself $25. It's just not worth it. Spend the $25 and get solid, accurate, repeatable results.
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Old January 26, 2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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I have to agree with Peezakilla. The reason the Stoney Point tool is so popular with so many reloaders is that very reason. (not to mention why Hornady bought the design) It makes simple what used to be less simple and even iffy.

Magazine fed rifles can be gauged as described, but often the limiting factor is the length of the magazine....it is usually shorter than the "just short of the lands" goal of a single-round-fed bench rest rifle. That said, I use the Stoney Point tool first, then adjust for the magazine if I have to.
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Old January 26, 2012, 12:08 PM   #12
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i mean hell, id pay 25 dollars just for someone to do it for me! ill order the hornady tool today
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Old January 26, 2012, 01:07 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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Life would be easier if you had the bullet comparator set also. It's not 100% necessary but it allows you to measure the bullet ogive (caliber diameter) rather than the tip so you can set any bullet to the same distance from the rifling no matter the length of the bullet or shape of the tip.
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Old January 26, 2012, 02:15 PM   #14
tim s
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Use the dummy round approach. Use a fired case and just ding the neck so it holds a bullet. Put a little lube on the bullet so it won't stick, and repeat it 3-4 times until you get a consistant measurement.

This is the way most guys do it with $3m-$4m bench guns because it's pretty reliable and you don't need a tool.
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Old January 26, 2012, 03:40 PM   #15
cdoc42
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Correction to my instructions: item #10 should mean the comparator, not the Hornady tool. As I read the thread I thought they were the same thing. But as you can see, there are many ways to skin this cat. You'll need to do what I'm sure we all did - try multiple techniques until you get comfortable with a technique and the results work for you.
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Old January 26, 2012, 11:14 PM   #16
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I used to play with bullet seating depth and found no improvement in accuracy being closer to the lands or farther back. Ended up going by simple factory overall length measurements and the loads always grouped just as well. Of course I was loading for hunting and not splitting hairs on a target.
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:24 AM   #17
larzb93
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once i find the O give how far should i set my bullet off the lands
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Assemble a dummy round and seat the bullet very long with just enough neck tension that the bullet doesn't move freely inside the neck. Chamber it. It wil hit the lands and push back into the neck. Eject it, measure it, and then adjust your seating die to it. Then make micro adjustments deeper to keep the bullet just off the lands. THAT is your maximum OAL according to chamber. Now, max OAL according to magazine may be somewhat shorter.
What he said but here is cool tip. After neck resizing, use a dremel tool make two cross cuts into the top of the neck using a carborundum blade (very thin).
The bullet will hold nicely. Once you have determined the best OAL, save the dummy bullet for future adjustments. You should have one dummy round for each gun. Finding that sweet spot really makes a difference in accuracy. I made about 5 different loads (3 each) of OAL and simply bench tested for accuracy. Each load was .002 difference in OAL. My end result was a bullet that was too long for my magazine but that's the way it goes.
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Old January 27, 2012, 09:01 AM   #19
cdoc42
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"once i find the O give how far should i set my bullet off the lands"

I make 5 rounds each: 0.01", 0.015" and 0.02" - most of the time I've found 0.015" is the most accurate for my rifles. As noted herein, these may not fit into the magazine, especially if it is removeable. At that point you have to seat them just to fit in the magazine - and that can be as deep as 0.2"
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Old January 27, 2012, 10:57 AM   #20
larzb93
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anyone have a good idea where the best place to purchase the Hornady OAL gauge, the modified 308 case and the bullet comparitor?
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Old January 27, 2012, 11:21 AM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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Check the usual suspects....

MidWayUSA
Natchez
Graf and Sons
Midsouthshooterssupply
Cheaperthandirt
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:00 PM   #22
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Bass Pro shops, is where mine was purchased. I tried for years using the "dumb__s" method but it never was concrete like the OAL guage from Hornady, It's just to easy to do the job right, with the proper tools right Peetzakiller?
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Old January 28, 2012, 09:47 AM   #23
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"...a good method to determine your bullet seating depth. i have heard so many of them but need one that works! "

You hear so many ways to determine the MAX OAL because there are so many ways to do it and they all work fine if done properly. But, nothing works well if it's done improperly.

The Hornady/Stoney Point device is as good as any, it's fairly easy to use and very versatile. You have to use it along with a precison caliper but every reloader should have one of those anyway.
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Old February 14, 2012, 10:46 AM   #24
larzb93
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just recieved my hornady OAL gauge and bullet comparitor. life is easy.....
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:18 PM   #25
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I've done it both ways,dummy round and stoney point false round.Both worked equal.The hardest thing with the dummy round is keeping the bullet from sticking in the lands when removing.Some bullets shapes worked better,some rifles lands grabbed less.The guage is a more controlled method.
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