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Old January 24, 2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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please recommend an oal gauge

I spent some time last evening reading reviews of different overall length gauges on sites such as midway etc. I looked at the hornady gauge quite a bit but the reviews made it sound somewhat fragile. Is this the case and if so would you still recommend it? If not, please recommend a better option.
Thank you
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Old January 24, 2012, 05:56 PM   #2
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It is not that fragile and there is no reason to be forceful with it. You could also get some bushing from the hardware store and use them. All you need is a bushing about 1/2 inch long and about 3/4 the diameter of your bullet.
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Old January 24, 2012, 07:13 PM   #3
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I recently purchased the Hornady OAL gauge. I really like it. Doesn't seem that fragile to me.
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Old January 24, 2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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I have one and my only complant is that the bushing are to much smaller than the dia. of the bullets and sit at different places on the bullet depending on ojive of the bullet.
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Old January 24, 2012, 09:34 PM   #5
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If you are talking about these items

They are superb. [Make sure to order the proper modified case case(s) when
you order the (long/skinny thing) OAL guage.]

As far as the comparator inserts go, there is one (in the set) for every caliber. They are
designed to engage the bullet at bore/lands diameter so as to get a true reading of
the proper (comparator) length of the cartridge relative to those lands. Every different
bullet design will therefore have its own different measurement.
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Old January 24, 2012, 10:52 PM   #6
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First get a good set of dial calibers so you get consistent readings if you going to use the Hornady system with bushings for headspace and OAL length at the ogive (comparator). I have used the Hornady, Sinclair, RCBS and Innovative Technologies tools and they all work. These are extremely useful when setting up FL dies for proper headspace and generally use a combination of them when doing so.
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Old January 24, 2012, 11:57 PM   #7
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I have a nice dial caliper and a digital one too. I seem to prefer the dial. I went ahead and ordered this setup with the comparators (was a hoot listening to the kid at midway trying to pronounce that btw). Ordered half a dozen or so modified cases...figures that the one I really wanted the most was back ordered. The 223 case won't be back in till February 7th. Also some of the reviews I read suggested using a wooden dowel down the bore to gently work the bullet back and forth to truly find the depth. Any thoughts on this?
Going to use this as a part of fine tuning the loads for my 204, 223, and 22- 250. Also ordered the latest nosler manual to go with my 8th ed. Hornady book. My 223 is a 1:12 twist that prefers 40 grain bullets. I'm hoping the nosler book has more information about powders to put behind the light bullets because the hornady doesn't offer that much info. Also ordered some sierra blitzkings to try. 40's for the 223 and 32' s for the 204. I keep tinkering with my 223 and we both keep getting better.
Thanks for the help guys.
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:25 AM   #8
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suggested using a wooden dowel down the bore to gently work the bullet back and forth
to truly find the depth. Any thoughts on this?
Wooden dowels that small in diameter tend to "not be straight" (that's an understatement)

I use a cleaning rod with a flat tipped jag (or whatever closes the thread hole) to
work the bullet back and forth very gently so it juuuust kisses the lands, and
then take a reading. (If you actually press into the lands to any degree, readings can
vary wildly). The right feel is an art, but you pick it up quickly.

I do 5 bullets 3-5 times each and take an average across the lot. Usually that gives me
a number ± 2-thou or so -- more than accurate enough. (Don't get too anal.)
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:13 AM   #9
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I use a Vernier caliper to measure OAL and it works well. I use the Hornady case gauge with it to measure the shoulder dimension to make sure casings fit in my rifle chambers. It also works well and is not fragile.
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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I use a digital caliper from Frankfort Arsenal, and the Hornady OAL guage system, MDD it isn't fragile, but heck don't try to unstick a frozen shut bus door with them.. They are worth the dough when you really need to know. Thanks you, Thank you, Can't be more pleased than I am with my set MDD.
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Old January 28, 2012, 12:26 AM   #11
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I recently made the jump from overall length to comparator length.

I use the hornady doodad on the calipers to measure the shoulder to verify that my sizer is set right. Then I use a wilson case gauge on all the cases before they go in the box to make sure they are all in spec and without bulges that would make them chamber poorly.

The wilson case gauge is pretty much indestructable, but you need to clean it with a chamber brush from time to time. The Hornady comparator would be a lot cooler if it wasn't made out of soft aluminum, but it's durable enough for a precision measuring instrument.

I had the bullet comparator insert for a while, but only started using it recently when I got the hornady bullet seating set up to actually measure how far away the lands are.

It's really not that much harder to use than plain calipers. I was just being lazy before.

If you want something durable, you can use this:

It's the same concept but it doesn't stay attached to the calipers like the hornady one does. I like the hornady system better.

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