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Old November 4, 2009, 12:04 AM   #1
45romeo
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30-06 OAL Question

I am loading once fired Remington Brass with 53.5 gr H414 and 180 gr Speer Hot-Cor HCSP Bullets. This is the first time I have loaded for this rifle, a 1917 Enfield. The min OAL is stated as 3.300. I seated the bullets to that length, but they wouldn't chamber in the rifle. So I have seated them down to 3.175, the same length as Remington factory ammo 180 gr Core-lokt psp and they chamber fine. It appears that the bullet is protruding below the neck. Question is, is this dangerous? Should I pull the bullets (40 rounds) and get a different bullet. Why is the factory ammo OAL shorter than the min stated in the Lee manual? Thanks in advance
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Old November 4, 2009, 02:33 AM   #2
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The lands touch down where the ogive (sides of the nose) departs from the bearing surface (the cylindrical portion of the bullet that fills into grooves of the rifling). A long pointy nose shape will stick forward a lot further than a short round nose bullet when both are seated to touch the lands. The pointy shape will therefore have a longer COL when the two fit into the chamber with the same amount of extra room. So COL's don't tell you about chamber fit except for working with a specific bullet and your particular chamber.

QuickLOAD says your greater seating depth with the Speer will raise pressure about 5000 psi. This is equivalent to about 2.5 grains of H414, so I would lower the charge by at least that much and work back up in steps no greater than .5 grains, watching for pressure signs, to see if you can safely use the 40 rounds loaded with the full charge?
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Old November 4, 2009, 07:56 AM   #3
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Correct Caliber Listing?

Are you sure your Lee Enfield rifle is a 30-06 caliber. My Lee Enfield fires the 303 British caliber. While the projectile itself is still a 30 cal, the loading specs may be very different and the length may be different as well.

If you took the recipe for a 30-06 with the bullet you are using, it may not be compatible with the 303 and that may cause your non-chambering issue too.

When I looked at my Sierra Reloading manual, the two cartridges are very different. A 30-06 shoots a .308 while a British 303 shoots a .311 projectile. A 30-06 has a trim to length of 2.485 while the 303 has a trim to length of 2.212. The 30-06 has an OAL of 3.34 and the British has an OAL of 3.075 inches.

I would really look at your barrel and see if it is actually a 30-06 or a 303 British before you go any further.

Last edited by Qtiphky; November 4, 2009 at 08:47 AM.
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Old November 4, 2009, 09:32 AM   #4
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Yes- it is 30-06

Yes it is confirmed that it is 30-06. I have been shooting factory ammo through it for years.
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Old November 4, 2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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"Question is, is this (reduced OAL) dangerous?"

No.


"Should I pull the bullets (40 rounds) and get a different bullet. "

No.


"Why is the factory ammo OAL shorter than the minimum stated in the Lee manual?"

Book OALs are no more a law to be blindly followed than book powder charges. Each firearm is a "law" unto its self so seat each bullet as it needs be to function properly and develop your load at that OAL, all will be fine.

I've been reloading snce '65, lots of guns, lots of ammo, have never paid any attention to a book OAL. In fact, when I started few books or other loading data sources even bothered to mention an OAL.
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Old November 4, 2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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Thanks

I'll go ahead and shoot the ammo as loaded and see how it works. This ammo is for hunting and if it groups decently at 200 yds, I'll use as is. If not, I'll try something different. The 53.5 gr H414 is in the middle of the range between starting loads 50.0 gr and max 55.5 gr.
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Old November 4, 2009, 12:30 PM   #7
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As I said, it will likely run about 5000 psi higher. Perhaps I am being overly cautious, but I would still find five more cases and load 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0. and 0.5 grains lower and fire the five in that sequence, just double-checking for pressure signs after each step. Since 5,000 psi is less than the 15,000 psi increase you need to get to proof load pressures, it should not cause an issue, but I like to treat the old girls nicely. No extra stress.
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Old November 4, 2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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Are you sure your Lee Enfield rifle is a 30-06 caliber.
Quote:
This is the first time I have loaded for this rifle, a 1917 Enfield.
Note he did not say it was a Lee-Enfield, he says it is a 1917 Enfield rifle. Big difference.
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Old November 4, 2009, 03:08 PM   #9
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Good Advice

Unclenick--Good advice and I will heed that. I have loaded up 5 rounds at 51.0, 51.5, 52.0, 52.5 and 53.0 gr H414. Will seat them the same as the other 40 and fire these 5 rounds, looking for signs of pressure, before attempting the 53.5 gr. I'll let you know what I find out.
Thanks
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Old November 4, 2009, 03:31 PM   #10
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The min OAL is stated as 3.300. I seated the bullets to that length, but they wouldn't chamber in the rifle. So I have seated them down to 3.175, the same length as Remington factory ammo 180 gr Core-lokt psp and they chamber fine.
Check your manual again. It could be that their listed load was tested at that length, but that's not a minimum OAL as far as over all specs are concerned. Could be that's what delivered the best accuracy after testing different seating depths with their specific bullet and rifle.

My Speer #14 lists the MAXIMUM OAL for 30-06 as 3.340". Same as most any other manual. Many loads with long heavier weight bullets make seating the base of the bullet below the neck mandatory.


No it's not dangerous, as some have already mentioned. Check out a factory 180 gr. and measure the length if you're concerned about seating too deep.


If you jammed the bullet into the lands and it wouldn't chamber, and then you backed it off until it did, you're probably about right. However, just because you don't feel the lands when you chamber, doesn't mean you aren't touching them. You can see the lands marks if you use a magnifying glass. Some shooters prefer to touch the lands---barely.

Now that you're a handloader, start keeping notes with re: to everything you do.

Last edited by Nnobby45; November 4, 2009 at 03:41 PM.
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Old November 4, 2009, 03:46 PM   #11
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No it's not dangerous, as some have already mentioned. Check out a factory 180 gr. and measure the length if you're concerned about seating too deep.
It does, however, reduce case capacity, and one must consider that when working up a load.
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Old November 4, 2009, 06:32 PM   #12
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I do apologize

I had never heard of a 1917 Enfield and therefore was confused by your comments. I have since researched and have been educated on said rifle.
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Old November 4, 2009, 07:35 PM   #13
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It does, however, reduce case capacity, and one must consider that when working up a load.
Sometimes, perhaps, but the difference in velocity/pressure is minimal in loads I've tested in 30-06. That's because the 30-06 has quite a bit of room to begin with and deep seated bullets don't decrease volume that much.

If you're loaded heavy bullets like 200 or 220, they're deep seated anyway in load testing for the manual.

On the other hand, when seating bullets deep enough to feed in a short action magazine in my 6mm, the difference was noticeable in increased pressure when using 100 gr. bullets that seated below the neck. Some rifles have short throats, and hand load data is tested with bullets that are seated deep to begin with in order to feed in all rifles. Same with factory ammo.

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Old November 4, 2009, 08:06 PM   #14
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"It does, however, reduce case capacity, and one must consider that when working up a load. "

Actually, that's not a problem in rifles. Seating deeper gives the bullet a better "running start" before hitting the lands so peak pressues are typically reduced, sometimes significantly. That fact is what makes Roy Weatherby's large capacity rifles safe with some pretty heavy charges that would over-load rifles with less "free bore."
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Old November 5, 2009, 02:20 AM   #15
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Actually, that's not a problem in rifles. Seating deeper gives the bullet a better "running start" before hitting the lands so peak pressues are typically reduced, sometimes significantly. That fact is what makes Roy Weatherby's large capacity rifles safe with some pretty heavy charges that would over-load rifles with less "free bore."
Well, as I mentioned, seating bullets deeper in '06 didn't cause any detectable differences. I used a chronograph. If pressure had increased, velocity would have, also--got more velocity variations using different primer brands.

It did, however, make a difference in my 6mm ICL (an improved 6mm with blown out shoulder to increase powder capacity). It was built on a short action (to my regret) and bullets have to be seated deeper (in order to fit the short actions' magazine), since I like Sierra 100 gr Spitzers which are long for the caliber. Velocity increased, and so did pressure signs, like flattened primers and even a slightly sticky bolt---suggesting more than a little high pressure. Admittedly, these loads were close to max to begin with, so I didn't have much leeway for pressure increases.

As for Weatherby rifles and their extra free bore, P.O. Ackley's comments were interesting. Essentially that increasing freebore decreases pressure. In order to get the pressure up to equal standard rifles (without extra freebore) you have to increase the powder charge. Otherwise you have less pressure AND less velocity. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there is a trade off. In addition, you can't seat the bullet out far enough to get near the lands for best accuracy. I had an '06 like that. Hunting accuracy was adequate, but it was no tack driver.

I also load for a friends' rifle (30-06) and his has such a short throat, that bullets have to be seated deeper. It's not a simple subject , but an interesting one.

I hope 45Romeo has learned a few things. Mainly that he seated his bullets out too far and jammed the bullet into the lands because he mistook 3.3" OAl for the minimum when in fact it's maximum length. The SPEC for OAL is found on the first page where the caliber is discussed. The OAL length a particular bullet was seated to for a certain load may not apply to his rifle, since different rifles have different throat lengths--even rifles from the same manufacturer, and same model, produced in the same week can have different throats.
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Old November 6, 2009, 10:35 PM   #16
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Range Report

As unclenick suggested, I loaded up 5 rounds, 51.0, 51.5, 52.0, 52.5 and 53.0grains of H414 and seated them all at 3.175. I fired them in that order and looked for signs of pressure, but didn't see any problems, so I went ahead and sighted in with the 53.5 gr rounds. They shot real nice--dime sized group at 100 yds. So now we all know.

Also, Nnobby45 said "I hope 45Romeo has learned a few things. Mainly that he seated his bullets out too far and jammed the bullet into the lands because he mistook 3.3" OAl for the minimum when in fact it's maximum length. The SPEC for OAL is found on the first page where the caliber is discussed.

I am able to read the manual and my Lee manual 2nd Edition on page 451 states MIN (that is minimum) OAL as 3.300" for 180 gr jacketed bullet loaded with H414. The drawing of the cartrige on page 444 shows the length to be 3.340". That is the whole reason I started the thread, because the MINIMUM OAL would not chamber in my rifle. Thanks to all for your input.
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Old November 25, 2009, 11:30 AM   #17
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45romeo,

I'm just looking back over some aging threads to see where they landed?

I think Lee should revise that minimum length information to be more bullet specific. As you discovered, it would only be valid if all jacketed bullets of the same weight had the same profile, so it wound up causing more confusion than anything else. They only apply their recommended minimum COL to maximum loads. I guess they expect you to realize you can modify COL for less-than-maximum loads. But still, it really only works for one bullet shape.

Glad you got good results in the end. Nothing more satisfying than that!
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Old November 25, 2009, 07:29 PM   #18
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I'm here to beat the dead horse. It's actually a U.S. Model 1917. The 1917 Enfield was chambered in .303 british under contract to the british before the US entered World War I. Once the US entered the fray they changed the chambering to .30-06.

My Sierra book shows a spire point OAL as 3.340 max.
My Lyman book also shows OAL max as 3.340
My Hornaday book evidently is in hiding.
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Old November 26, 2009, 07:17 AM   #19
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3.340" is the SAAMI maximum that has to be observed if you want to guarantee your round will fit into and feed from a SAAMI compliant magazine. That's all it is for. Lots of accuracy shooters who feed rounds singly will seat out further to try to help bullet alignment with the bore. A blunt shape like a round nose will usually touch the throat long before it is seated to 3.340", so it has to be seated shorter. A lot of lighter bullets have crimp cannelures that will be seated shorter if you use the cannelure. For example, Hornady's 150 grain FMJ's seat to 3.185" when the cannelure is flush with the case mouth.

In 45romeo's case, the Lee manual had put a minimum of 3.330" for maximum loads so the powder space would not be reduced by deeper seating, which raises pressure. The problem was, the Lee manual makes a generalization about that for all jacketed 180 grains bullets in .30-06, and because of the different shapes, as with my example of the round nose, that just can't work. It will jam some bullets into the throat, as it did with 45romeo's.
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Old December 1, 2009, 08:18 AM   #20
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i am new to reloading. i've been studying for about 2 months. i loaded my first 30 rds. of 30.06 last night. i have the lee second edition and as stated in the previous posts, it really doesnt give you good starting length(o.a.l.) for light or medium loads with diff. bullets types. my question is, is there a manual
that gives that info with diff. bullet types? thanks
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Old December 1, 2009, 02:48 PM   #21
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Welcome to the forum.

The answer is no because it varies with every bullet maker. In general, manuals from a bullet maker will mention the COL's (OAL, COAL) they use with their bullets. Hornady, for example, gives a different one for each of their bullet designs in a given cartridge. But you need their manual to have it at your fingertips.

The major bullet makers all have 800 numbers. You can call them and ask what they recommend for a particular bullet? For a bullet that fits many chamberings, they may give a seating depth. You convert that to COL for your cartridge by:

COL= case length + bullet length - recommending seating depth
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Old December 1, 2009, 09:14 PM   #22
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Glad the original poster started this thread. I have just recently run into a chambering problem with a new Model 700 7MM MAG I just bought. Must I add that I have been reloading on and off for about 21 years, but this problem has me wondering if I seated the bullets too long (not deep enough in the case). I full length sized all the cases and loaded up some Sierra 160 grain Spitzer Boat Tails (factory number 1920). On my COL I was just a little under or right at the COL(3.290") of the Hodgon loading manual and others. When I went to the range I noticed that the first round was real hard to chamber. When I closed the bolt all the way it was hard to close it all the way down. I knew something was not exactly right and marked the bullet with a magic marker and put it back in there. Indeed there were bite marks on the bullet and I would assume that was from the bullet getting into the lands. Correct me if I am wrong but it appears that I need to seat the bullets a little deeper for this rifle? After I determined there was a problem with my reloads I pulled out the factory Hornady 162 Grain Boat Tails I had bought. I sighted the rifle in and have been hunting with those rounds and the only problem is I have not got to try them out on a deer yet. The Hornady rounds chamber just fine in the rifle.
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Old December 2, 2009, 08:04 AM   #23
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thanks UNCLENICK.
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Old December 2, 2009, 12:13 PM   #24
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I loaded some 180 grn 30-06 to the book listed 3.30" for a buddy. Well he ended up with a bullet stuck in the rifling when he unloaded. I was later able to measure the max COL in his gun with that bullet. It came out to 3.286" was the max to touch the rifling. This was a rather big lesson learned for me. I do continue to load for him,yes he still asks for ammo. I now load it a shade under the 3.286". I've never had a problem adjusting rifle col, within reason.
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Old December 3, 2009, 10:10 AM   #25
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Big R,

The Sierra manual has a COL of 3.245" for that bullet in the 7mm Rem. Mag. They recommend a maximum load of 63.6 grains of IMR 4831 SC for hunting and 50.9 grains of IMR 4064 for accuracy. This is using a Federal case and Federal 215 primer. The tests were in a Savage 116, and not a pressure test gun, so you should lower them 10% and work up, especially if you are using different cases and primers.

You will all notice that the Hornady LNL Overal Chamber Gauge and the RCBS Precision Mic, and the other seating depth gauges all work by measuring between the bottom of the case and a diameter near the shoulder, where the bullet ogive departs the bearing surface. That is where the lands make contact. They do this precisely because the shape of the nose varies with the design of the bullet. COL is only good for one particular bullet shape.

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