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Old October 14, 2012, 10:28 AM   #1
Join Date: April 14, 2009
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Min OAL vs Max OAL

Brief history before my situation:
I used to have the Lee Turret press, used it for reloading my 9mm. Due to finances and other issues I sold it and greatly reduced my shooting. Never had any issues.

Now I bought the hand press from Lee to reload for my .222 and .223 and am working on the .222 load.

The load data says 2.130 Min OAL

I can get it down to 2.176, but my ocp is kicking in, I would prefer to get it closer. To top it off the hornady book puts it a COL 2.130, as does the LEE Reloading 2nd ed.

Here is my concern; the sheet that came with the dies (also from Lee) says MAXIMUM OAL 2.130

Obviously I am reducing the loads by 10% and working my way up, but with the difference in bullet depth I am concerned.

{yields to experts infinite wisdom}
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:31 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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What matters is the length that works in your gun. Book OAL is completely irrelevant. Completely.
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Won't a difference in the available space inside the case have an effect on the pressure?
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:57 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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That's why you start at starting loads and work up.

Yes, a different OAL affects pressure. So does different brass, barrels, chambers, powder lots, primers, temperatures....
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Old October 14, 2012, 11:00 AM   #5
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If you want to make factory rounds, go for 2.130".

If you want to make custom, tailored to your gun rounds, as Brian said, book oal is totally irrelivant.

Seat the bullet .030" off the rifling and start a powder workup.

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Old October 15, 2012, 05:52 PM   #6
Join Date: September 14, 2012
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test them out in your rifle. Mine liked about 1/10" of jump! I thought that was a lot but it works and just so happens that it turned out to be the max mag length in that rifle. This is contrary to what most say but I have never shot a bullet and it preform well when shoved close to the lands, even the A-max. In either of my rifles
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Old October 15, 2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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I generally load mine just short enough to fit in the magazine to start with. If they load into the chamber without any issues I shoot em, if not I seat a little deeper until they do. I can then experiment with OAL.
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Old October 16, 2012, 04:38 PM   #8
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I would be concerned if the manuals state 2.13, and you can't get below 2.18...

What Brian said above is absolutely correct. "OAL" is a rough guide- usually on the "safe" side- and should be OK with most bullets.

But as he stated, every rifle's chamber and freebore is different, as is the ogive on the bullets you might use and thus, the seating depth you can achieve.

Given that you can't get whatever bullet you're trying to load seated far enough to achieve "book" maximum, I'd proceed cautiously.

NO reason anyone that handloads (unless they're restricted by mag length and know they've got a ton of jump) shouldn't have a bullet comparator- or at least a modified case.

Order the Hornady LNL gauge, or you can make your own by slotting the case neck...but you need to make sure you're not jamming the bullet into the lands.

I could tell you a story from a couple of months ago when I started working up loads for my son's new K-31 and the modified case had not arrived yet...the manual OAL for the 7.5 x 55 is apparently based on other Swiss rifles with completely different chambers...

As we found out when, after about a half dozen rounds downrange he called me over to his bench. Couldn't get the bolt to close without a lot of effort...darndest thing... I told him to park it and shoot another rifle until we could figure it out rather than risk an out-of-battery disaster.

When the modified case came, I chucked the SMK into it and placed it in the chamber- the loads we were shooting based "on the manual" were a full 1/4" too long. That's a MILE in this context. He was jamming the bullet into the rifling that much; don't ask me how it shot so accurately, not to mention no "kaboom" from the obviously increased pressures.

Bullet comparators are too cheap not to have one- not only from a safety perspective, but also just knowing exactly what's going on in your chamber. Even bullets of the same weight, and different ogives, can have huge seating depth variations...

But that's yet another story.
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