Using an auto pistol barrel find a MAX O.A.L with your bullet


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Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:13 PM
This topic comes up a lot, or should I say this question.

Why won't my reloads chamber?

A short throat is sometimes the culprit. Too long an O.A.L. is sometimes the problem, even with barrels with average throats.

This pic is often used to help explain correct headspacing and how O.A.L. can affect chambering and headspace.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=105029&d=1252459609

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Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:16 PM
I decided to do a little testing (with pics of course) with a couple of .45 ACP barrels and Precision 200 Gr SWC's.

The first barrel is a Fire Dragon barrel. A .894 long case dropped around .013 below flush. I started way long on the O.A.L. and went from there. The second is a Wilson. The .894 case dropped .008 below flush in it.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:19 PM
.45 ACP Fire Dragon barrel

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116147&stc=1&d=1266758518

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116148&stc=1&d=1266758681

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116149&stc=1&d=1266758920

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116150&stc=1&d=1266758923

So far so good. This O.A.L. would probably work.
.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:24 PM
Notice how another .014 shorter O.A.L. did not go any further below flush. Still .007

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116151&stc=1&d=1266759004

Notice how just a light taper crimp on the 1.239 O.A.L. round dropped the round another .004 deeper.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116152&stc=1&d=1266759011

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116153&stc=1&d=1266759011


Note: - Fire Dragon Barrel

A case .894 long and sized around .466 to .468 at the case mouth was .014 below flush.

A case loaded with a bullet that was now .470- at the case mouth would only go .011 below flush.
.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:27 PM
.45 ACP Wilson barrel

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116155&stc=1&d=1266759388

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116156&stc=1&d=1266759388

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116157&stc=1&d=1266759388

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116158&stc=1&d=1266759388

This O.A.L. would probably work. It may need to be a hair shorter. Should give good accuracy
.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:35 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116159&stc=1&d=1266759511

Notice how this time a crimp was no help in getting the round deeper in the chamber

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116163&stc=1&d=1266759839

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=116164&stc=1&d=1266759842

Note: - Wilson Barrel

A case .894 long and sized around .466 to .468 at the case mouth was .008 below flush.

A case loaded with a bullet that was now .470- at the case mouth would only go .003 below flush.
.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 05:46 PM
Now that we have our MAX O.A.L. with a bullet and a barrel, we can tweak it for feeding.

If you have several .45 (or whatever) barrels and want an O.A.L. that feeds and chambers in all of them, you will need to find the shortest max, and see if it works in all your barrels. Chances are it will.

R.W.Dale
February 20, 2010, 05:53 PM
Great sticky worthy write up!

But may I suggest you edit your title to reflect this is for a Pistol

While the principal is the same for a rifle the method of determining is completely different

mdripley
February 20, 2010, 06:04 PM
Thanks very much for the illustrated information, this is just what I needed.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 06:09 PM
But may I suggest you edit your title to reflect this is for a Pistol

While the principal is the same for a rifle the method of determining is completely different You are right. I will do just that.

That better? Any more suggestions?

jcwit
February 20, 2010, 08:44 PM
This should be a sticky. Come on mods

1SOW
February 20, 2010, 08:48 PM
Great camera work and labelling.

Thank you....again.

243winxb
February 20, 2010, 09:12 PM
Good job Walkalong, adding the light taper crimp on the fire dragon barrel dropped the below flush* down another .004" Right above the photo is posted Notice how just a light taper crimp on the 1.239 O.A.L. round dropped the round another .004 deeper. But the photo below has a type O i think?? on the measurement. (1.239" - 1.329") I would like to know the measurement from the head to the shoulder of the bullet on the fire dragon with a oal of 1.239" Thank you. Mine measures .947" http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/th_45acp947inch_001.jpg (http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/45acp947inch_001.jpg)

shootinxd
February 20, 2010, 10:13 PM
Hi Walkalong,
What effect will this have on pressures with all things being the same with very light crimp.Should starting load be used or below that?The reason I ask is I had my Fire Dragon barrel break at the locking lug today after only 100rnds using the method in this thread.By the way it is a 40 cal XD.175grn,5.5 grn of AA#5.but seated below lee specs.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 10:56 PM
But the photo below has a type O i think?? on the measurement. I would like to know the measurement from the head to the shoulder of the bullet on the fire dragon with a oal of 1.239" (1.239" - 1.329")

Both rounds are 1.239 O.A.L.. The only difference was the crimp narrowing the case mouth and allowing it to drop a bit deeper. I don't know the measurement to the shoulder. I have already seated it deeper so I cannot check it without doing up another round. It isn't important to this exercise.

If I wanted to seat the bullet to just touch the lands, I would put the final crimp on before I got to flush, and then slowly work my O.A.L. down until I was happy with the relationship of the bullet and case to the lands/chamber. I would not try to measure the distance to the shoulder as a reference for other bullets. I would repeat the procedure with other bullets. That is how I would do it anyway.

I don't load to touch the lands in any of my auto calibers by the way. They already out shoot me anyway. I load for 100% feeding, and take what I get. I'm not shootin' Bullseye, just playing around.

Walkalong
February 20, 2010, 11:01 PM
What effect will this have on pressures with all things being the same with very light crimp.Should starting load be used or below that?The reason I ask is I had my Fire Dragon barrel break at the locking lug today after only 100rnds using the method in this thread.

Obviously the pressure goes up a little as the O.A.L. gets shorter. How much is a job for a lab. When you get the O.A.L. you want to use, then yes, begin with a start load and work up.

Too bad about that barrel, but I bet it was not pressure but a mechanical problem, assuming the loaded rounds headspaced OK, as in not too long, and were not really jamming into the lands.

With only 5.5 Grs of AA #5, a 175 .40 Gr S&W bullet would have to be seated excessively deep to be over pressure IMHO.

Tilos
February 21, 2010, 07:23 PM
Not to steal your thread, I want to offer another method I have used.

An easy method to determine OAL can be done using a Digital or Dial Caliper and a new pencil cut about a 1/2 inch longer than the barrel.

With the barrel removed, put just a bullet into the chamber until it stops and hold it there.
Now put the cut pencil into the muzzle until it touches the bullet nose and measure the amount of pencil sticking out of the barrel.
Use the step feature on the BACK of the caliper and note the measurement.

Remove the bullet and re-assemble the barrel/gun.
Now put that same pencil into the muzzle until it touches the breech face and again measure the amount of pencil sticking out of the barrel.

The difference between the two measurements is the MAXIMUM overall length that will CHAMBER in THIS barrel/gun/bullet combination.(Fixed it, hows that:confused:)

Walkalong, feel free to reduce all these words to 2 pictures!

Note: The cut pencil must be square cut on both ends, not sharpened.:)
This works for rifle too...with a really long pencil though.:D
For my critics: If using a DIGITAL caliper, zero it on the 1st measurement and it will read the OAL on the 2nd measurement, no math required...or a micrometer:what:

1SOW
February 21, 2010, 10:37 PM
The difference between the two measurements is the MAXIMUM overall length for THIS barrel/gun/bullet combination.

Actually, as Walkalong brought up, this isn't the MAX "USABLE" oal. This measurement would be touching the leade/lands and would give high pressure spikes.

As taught to me by an old knowledgeable reloader (yea, I am thinking of you) you need to subtract your "max 'press' seating deviation" and a reasonable jump to the lands.

bds
February 22, 2010, 12:33 AM
A picture is worth a thousand words ... and you posted a lot of pictures! :D

Keep up the great work!

Oyeboten
February 22, 2010, 02:25 AM
Hi Walkalong,


What a nice, well done presentation.

Very good info, anyone Loading for Automatic Pistols will do well to look over.

The Bushmaster
February 22, 2010, 10:25 AM
Walkalong...Can I have your autograph?? (Before you get too famous)

crashclint
February 22, 2010, 02:57 PM
Thanks Walkalong, I will have to give this a go. I appreciate you taking the time with the pics and sharing this information.

joneb
February 22, 2010, 09:49 PM
Nice job Walkalong, So what camera did you get :)

Epicurean
February 23, 2010, 09:02 PM
Walkalong - this is manna from heaven for a newb like myself, but I'm still a little confused. I'm loading 9mm right now (115 grain Missouri Bullet LRN with 3.0 grains of Clays) and the Hodgdon site says OAL is 1.100 inches. I have four pistols in this caliber so. taking your advise, I'm loading to the shortest max. which turns out to be 1.069" for my SIG P6. My EDC is a SIG P239 and it worked out to be 1.095". My P226 can handle 1.108". What's really confusing is that my H&K P7 doesn't have a barrel hood and the 1.069" load protrudes way out the breech; but being a polygonal barrel I probably won't shoot lead in it. So, do I load to 1.069" which is way below Hodgdon COL for the other three guns?

Walkalong
February 23, 2010, 10:16 PM
I don't see how you can get into trouble with 3.0 Grs Clays, even at that shorter O.A.L. Maybe one of the folks with Quickload can run it for you - Hint Hint. Clays is very fast, and is not real forgiving once it gets up there a bit in pressure.

While 700X is often by Clays in the burn rate charts, it is much more forgiving, and has worked well for me in 9MM, even with plated bullets as long as I don't push it real hard. W-231 would be another good one.

I think you will be fine though.

Hodgdon shows:

115 GR. LRN / Hodgdon Clays / .356" / 1.100" / 3.0 / 954 / 25,300 CUP / 3.4 / 1039 / 31,000 CUP

If you have a chrono, as long as you don't exceed 1039ish FPS, I would say your pressure is fine.

Clays is definitely not a good choice for speed in 9MM, as I am sure you are aware. AC

nplaggie07
June 21, 2010, 10:50 AM
Sorry to bring this thread back up but I have a question. I use this method mainly shooting lead. I ran into a problem when helping my brother load for his Sig 45acp.

He wanted to load 185 grain hp/xtp. We pulled the barrel out and I started at max oal (1.275) and the round chambered and dropped out easily. The manuals I have all had a oal of 1.175 to 1.230. My experience with 180 lead bullets lead me to believe the round needed to be shorter to get a clean powder burn.

I decided to seat them to 1.200 and use start loads. My question is what is causing the descrepancy between oals? Did I do the right thing in seating the bullet deaper or should I have stayed out at max? It didn't seem to make a difference on how deep the bullet was seated. They all chambered and dropped out of the barrel easily.

joneb
June 21, 2010, 12:43 PM
I settle on a COL that functions best in my firearms, finding a max COL is important when loading a bullet with or without load data.
I will load 2 or 3 dummy rounds (no primer or powder) with no crimp at the max COL minus .01", and then manually run these in the firearm. I check for bullet set back and dings in the bullet, if these rounds cycle well in my firearms I have a workable max COL, if not I gradually decrease the COL.
If I have load data for the bullet I'm using with a given COL, I will try to find a workable COL closest to it using the method above so I can determine a start charge.

Walkalong
June 21, 2010, 01:32 PM
Same here.

Determine an O.A.L. that functions well, and (while taking into account the O.A.L. the manual used), go from there. AC

Welcome to THR nplaggie07

nplaggie07
June 21, 2010, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the replys. Gonna try the rounds this weekend.

UltraCdp
February 13, 2012, 06:30 PM
Walkalong,
Just found this thread. Thank you for the great write up. May I ask what you use to polish your barrel with? It looks great.

Walkalong
February 13, 2012, 07:30 PM
Thanks. I did not do anything to the barrel.

joneb
February 13, 2012, 10:00 PM
I can't believe this thread is still not a STICKY :confused:

Again, nice work Walkalong

blarby
January 22, 2013, 08:36 PM
I use this thread over and over.

Its comin back around again.

Thanks walkies !

bds
January 22, 2013, 10:21 PM
Yes, awesome thread ... a picture is worth a thousand posts. :D

+1 for sticky.

greybeard57
April 6, 2013, 06:47 PM
Very informative. Great photography. But I must be tired or dense or stupit or all three.

Is the overall objective to get the greatest oal that will work in a given gun without actually binding on the rifling if it will cycle through at that length? Which, in affect, would make the oal given in the data the minimum oal which must not be gone under?
I read the Lyman book and the Lee reloading book and that, combined with being in a bachelor course these days in college, makes me think my brain is being scrambled. I'm too old for CRS, I must have entered the senility stage.. :eek: :banghead::p

Walkalong
April 6, 2013, 06:56 PM
The idea is to see how long you can load a particular bullet and still chamber without the leade/rifling being engaged and interfering with the round chambering.

After that you need to come up with an OAL that feeds and functions well. Knowing how long you go can speed that up and help avoid OALs that will be a problem.

This topic comes up a lot, or should I say this question.

Why won't my reloads chamber?
A short throat is sometimes the culprit. Too long an O.A.L. is sometimes the problem, even with barrels with average throats.

bds
April 6, 2013, 08:00 PM
The closer the bullet's bearing surface (part of bullet base that rides the rifling) is to the start of rifling when chambered, sooner the chamber pressures will build when the primer ignites the powder charge.

If the bearing surface is further away from the start of rifling when chambered, more high pressure gas will leak around the bullet before chamber pressure builds.

More consistent chamber pressures will produce more consistent muzzle velocities/lower standard deviation (SD) which will lead to more consistent shot groups/accuracy.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=182403&stc=1&d=1365292827

The not to scale picture above shows leade as space the bullet jumps from the case neck/chamber to the start of rifling. While shorter OALs will allow the finished rounds to feed/chamber reliably from the magazine, more high pressure gas will leak around the bullet when the primer ignites the powder charge as the bearing surface of the bullet base will take longer to engage the start of rifling and shot groups may not be as accurate as rounds with longer OALs.

As Walkalong posted in this thread and illustrated well with many pictures/barrels, using the barrel drop test to determine the max OAL and then determining the working OAL that will reliably feed/chamber from the magazine for your particular pistol will ensure more accurate loads.

orionengnr
April 6, 2013, 08:46 PM
I have had that blue drawing/diagram showing the case seating depth for several years; have shared it, have consulted it regularly...it is great info.

The remainder of the thread seems to show that there is a huge difference in .45acp barrels--far more than I have seen.

The first pic with the dark grey "Precision Bullet" looks as if the "shoulder" of the bullet sits proud of the case by 1/4" or better. That is a huge amount.

The later pics show it seated deeper. But in order for me to get to the point where the "blue background" diagram of the case sitting flush with the barrel or a bit less...I need to have the bullet seated a lot deeper--just a smidge of the shoulder sitting outside the case. Call it .030 or so.

That works both with my Dillon Case Gage, and passes the "ker-plunk" test with the barrel of any of my 1911s.

1SOW
April 7, 2013, 01:51 AM
RF Wobbly "PUSH TEST" method for finding max "usable" oal in straight-wall semi-auto loads:


There are several ways to do this, but here's my method.... Fit a new bullet into a fired case. (No powder; fired primer.) If you try 2 or 3 bullet/case combinations you'll end up with 1 or 2 where the bullet is a snug "push fit". Set the bullet out to an OAL of like 1.300". Any OAL longer than what you need. Working with your barrel REMOVED from the gun, slide this "test cartridge" into the chamber. At some point it will stop going into the chamber. In other words, whatever the bullet is striking is keeping the test cartridge from going all the way in. At this point, if you continue to push, the bullet will slide back into the case until the mouth of the case comes to rest on the end of the chamber. So whatever the bullet was striking has pushed the bullet back into the case. Follow?
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-yLmkVZAQXdQ/TYaL2jO9rDI/AAAAAAAACu0/6ltANwFQ1us/s720/Finding%252520OAL%2525201.jpg
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-m3QKZlCDEfg/TYaL3yyvjzI/AAAAAAAACu0/XrZTYIzrL7M/s720/Finding%252520OAL%2525202.jpg



Now, slowly and carefully withdraw the test cartridge and measure its new length. Do this with other bullets and other cases until you start to see the same number again and again. That measurement is your exact chamber length for that bullet in that barrel. Now of course we need a set-back distance off the rifling, so subtract at least .015" from that number to obtain your maximum OAL.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-bU8GSfr2a4k/TYaL4aQdYpI/AAAAAAAACu0/UfdUgRuGlSY/s720/Finding%252520OAL%2525203.jpg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-KL_eJUIJOKs/TYaL3o0VwzI/AAAAAAAACu0/_cE7gKpaGKo/s720/Finding%252520OAL%2525204.jpg


So let's assume your test cartridge keeps giving you a number like 1.177". We subtract our setback and get 1.177" - .015" to equal 1.160". You see I've backed off an additional .002" because 1) it's simply easier to read on a caliper, 2) the chances of finding a load for 1.162" is impossible, whereas 1.160 is probably pretty good, and 3) we're talking less than a human hair, so gee whiz give it a break!

With an OAL like 1.160" you can use any load for 200gr jacketed that is equal to or shorter than. So the load for the 1.155" from Hodgdon will work nicely. Can you follow all that? I hope so. Now you are armed with EXACT knowledge of your firearm and don't have to guess any longer.

greybeard57
April 10, 2013, 01:55 AM
OK, I guess. :neener: ;)

No, This is really seriously good info! :)

With an OAL like 1.160" you can use any load for 200gr jacketed that is equal to or shorter than. So the load for the 1.155" from Hodgdon will work nicely. Can you follow all that? I hope so. Now you are armed with EXACT knowledge of your firearm and don't have to guess any longer.

I followed you up until this. MAN! I really must be dense! I understand the equal to or shorter than part. What I'm not picking up on is whether or not I maintain my OAL at the set point I determined from the push tests? In other words, ALL my built ammo will end up at the same length (per my chamber dimensions) and the loads that can be safely used will be ANYTHING which will fit into a recipe that calls for a OAL SHORTER than that? (not going over max of course) :banghead: Am I getting close? :confused:

I have a 4.0 GPA but I'm feeling SOOO stupit right now.

Thanks for the assumed patience BTW. :)

1SOW
April 10, 2013, 02:17 AM
greybeard57
If the longest your chamber will accept is -say- 1.160", subtract about .015" and that gives 1.145" as the longest SAFE OAL for THAT GUN's chamber with THAT particular bullet. 1.145 is the MAXIMUM OAL you can use and be sure of no problems

THEN any load manual recipe for an OAL "at 1.145" OR Shorter will run smoothly in THAT guns chamber with THAT particular bullet.

So if Hogdon says load at 1.142"--no problem--you're good-to-go.

Hope this makes sense.

SpentCasing
April 10, 2013, 07:17 PM
So the OAL in the book is a lowest point? If I do the test stated above, with my G17 bbl, My max COAL is longer than SAAMI spec. (1.169)

So does that mean that this particular bullet (124gr XTP) is safe from SAAMI max spec all the way down to what Hornady states in thier book (1.060) in my bbl?

I also have Hornady 124gr HBFP bullets and they state in their book OAL is 1.050.

This OAL stuff is really confusing me. I want to go by the book, but the book lists really small OAL it seems especially compared to other books I have. I can safely go higher than suggested OAL but never lower, correct?

Walkalong
April 10, 2013, 09:14 PM
SAMMI puts out a max OAL, not a minimum. Load books log what OAL they test a bullet at. Increasing that OAL will decrease pressure, while decreasing that OAL will increase pressures. This has nothing to do with feeding or fitting, which is what this exercise is about.

In .45 ACP a .030 decrease in OAL will not increase pressures much, due to the large capacity of the case and the low pressure it operates at. An .030 decrease in 9MM can increase pressure a great deal, due to the small case and the high pressure it operates at.

So does that mean that this particular bullet (124gr XTP) is safe from SAAMI max spec all the way down to what Hornady states in thier book (1.060) in my bbl?Basically, yes, as the pressure is safe at the OAL they tested at (1.060), and increasing it anywhere from that to a Max 1.169 will only decrease pressures.

bds
April 10, 2013, 10:00 PM
So the OAL in the book is a lowest point?
No. The OAL in the book is the OAL that was used to test the average maximum chamber pressures for that load data.


I can safely go higher than suggested OAL but never lower, correct?
Not quite, The listed OALs in published load data are not "suggested" OALs but simply OALs that were used for the test barrel fixtures (and not real pistols) to measure average maximum chamber pressures. Different pistols/barrels may require shorter/longer than listed OALs to reliably feed and fully chamber the finished rounds.


G17 bbl, My max COAL is longer than SAAMI spec. (1.169)

So does that mean that this particular bullet (124gr XTP) is safe from SAAMI max spec all the way down to what Hornady states in thier book (1.060) in my bbl?
Not practically. Glock barrels have longer leade (see pictures below) and more gradual start of rifling than many barrels and will allow longer than SAAMI max OAL. Even though longer than SAAMI max OAL may pass the barrel drop test, it does not mean the round will fit the magazine and/or feed/chamber from the magazine when the slide is released. I usually start with SAAMI max OAL when I conduct my barrel drop test outlined in this thread.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=182403&stc=1&d=1365292827
Glock barrel
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163255&stc=1&d=1335152658


I want to go by the book, but the book lists really small OAL it seems especially compared to other books I have.
For semi-auto pistols, using book OAL WILL NOT ensure the listed OAL will reliably work with your pistols/barrels/magazines. For any new bullet you reload for your pistol, you should conduct the barrel drop test to determine the max OAL and function test to determine the working OAL.


This OAL stuff is really confusing me.
How about some easier step-by-steps?

Note: For the barrel drop and the function tests, I use .021" added to the bullet diameter for the taper crimp. So for .355" diameter bullet, I use .376" taper crimp.


Determine the max OAL:
- Remove the barrel from the pistol and clean the barrel, including the chamber
- Using a dummy round (no powder/no primer), start with the SAAMI max OAL and incrementally decrease the OAL until the dummy round falls in the chamber freely with a "plonk" and spin without hitting the start of rifling
- This OAL is your max OAL


Determine the working OAL:
- Put the barrel back in the slide and reassemble the pistol
- Lock the slide back
- Load the max OAL dummy round in the magazine and insert in the pistol
- Release the slide without riding the slide
- If the dummy round won't fully chamber reliably, incrementally decrease the OAL until it does
- This OAL is your working OAL


Conduct powder work up:
- Reference all available published load data from powder and bullet manufacturers for the given bullet weight and nose type and establish the lowest start-to-max powder charges
- If the working OAL is longer than published OAL and the bullet seating depth is shallower, use the published start/max charges
- If the working OAL is shorter than published OAL and the bullet seating depth is deeper, consider decreasing the start/max charges by .2/.3 grain.
- Load 5-10 rounds of .1-.2 incremental charges from start-to-max charges using the working OAL
- Range test to determine the powder charge that starts to reliably cycle the slide, fully feed/chamber rounds from the magazine and reliably extract the spent cases (depending on the bullet/powder combination, this may happen either at start-to-mid range load data or mid-to-high range load data)
- Continue the range test while monitoring the accuracy trend. The powder charge that begins to produce accurate shot groups is your lighter recoil/range practice/plinking/target load (depending on bullet/powder combination, this may happen either at mid-to-high range load data or high-to-near max load data)


mid-range target load vs full-power max load:
- Some powders with faster burn rate than W231/HP-38/Unique/Universal will start to produce accuracy even at mid-range load data at slower velocities. I use these powders for slower velocity target loads.

- Some powders with slower burn rate than W231/HP-38/Unique/Universal will produce optimal accuracy at high-to-near max load data. I will use these powders for higher velocity full-power loads.


Using mixed range pick up brass and max loads:
If you use mixed range pick up brass to reload, you may want to consider this, especially if you have barrels with less than fully supported chambers.

The spent cases you pick up at the range or purchase may have been reloaded several times and you do not know the condition of the brass strength, mealiability, etc. For these reasons, I reserve known once-fired rounds I saw go from factory boxes to the pistols for max loads to shoot in 40S&W Glocks. For me, I use mid-to-high range load data for mixed range brass with unknown reload history. I may be too cautious doing this but have not experienced any KaBoom in my 9mm/40S&W/45ACP Gen2/Gen3 Glocks with factory barrels the past 18 years even with using faster burning powders like Bullseye/Titegroup/Clays/Promo/Green Dot/WST/N320/W231/HP-38. YMMV

I hope this helped.

SpentCasing
April 11, 2013, 04:21 PM
Thanks to everyone who took their time to create and respond to this thread. It's seemed to help a lot of people, myself included. This is why I love this site. Keep up the good work!

highway2082
May 3, 2013, 10:42 PM
Lyman says 1.275 OAL. When I use Berry's Premium Plated 230 gr. JHP they are way to long? If I seat shorter will that not change pressure with the 5.5 grains of W231? Can I seat until mags feed or recommend pull and lower powder? Respect/FD

Walkalong
May 4, 2013, 08:34 AM
1.275 is the SAMMI max OAL for .45 ACP. I seat round nose bullets to fall between 1.260 and 1.265 OAL. Others use a slightly longer or shorter range.

The Berrys 230 Gr HP is going to have to be loaded shorter than that due to the shape. I cannot find a pic of it and do not remember what it looks like. I don't remember them making a 230 Gr HP. I seat the Berrys 200 Gr HP at 1.200.

Yes, seating the bullet shorter will increase pressures. Start out with around 4.7 Grs W-231 and work up. You should not start with 5.5 Grs no matter what OAL you use.

Welcome to THR

Berrys 230 Gr RN
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=153244&d=1322011199

ASCTLC
May 4, 2013, 08:46 AM
People like me greatly appreciate your taking the time to detail this information for us Walkalong! It sure simplified my way of determining seating depth followed by a plonk test for verification.

Andy

gamestalker
May 4, 2013, 11:43 AM
Tilos, I've used your method, but without the pencil. I used a dial caliper down the barrel, which completely eliminated having to measure the pencil. It seems as though using the pencil adds one more step?

Sorry Walkalong, I'm not trying to impede your message, which by the way is some really nice work, and will most certainly help many reloaders to fine tune their seating methods.

GS

918v
May 4, 2013, 12:38 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=182403&stc=1&d=1365292827

The Leade/Throat/Freebore (people use these terms interchangably)

DIAMETER

is also very important, something that everyone left out.

The above picture shows the case, the bullet shank, and the bullet nose. Notice how some of the bullet shank sits in the "leade". This is so that the "leade" can align the bullet with the bore for accuracy.

Typically, the "leade" diameter is larger than the bullet shank diameter. Sometimes, however, the "leade" is the same or smaller in diameter:

Case in point- I had a Wilson CQB .45 ACP with a .452" "leade" diameter. It would not allow .452" #68 SWC rounds to chamber at 1.250" OAL. They had to be loaded to 1.200" or shorter. That's stupid. That's alot of lead shaving. So I resized the bullets to .4515" and I was now able to use the correct OAL.

Many times what causes problems is not that the "leade" is too short. It's just that the "leade" is too narrow and the bullet ogjive is stopping against the beginning of the "leade".

BBQJOE
May 4, 2013, 03:06 PM
I understand almost all of this.
Is the .015 setback a universal "given" for best bullet performance?

918v
May 4, 2013, 03:09 PM
No.

If you are counting on .015" bullet setback your handloads are improperly assembled.

bds
May 4, 2013, 03:23 PM
The Leade/Throat/Freebore (people use these terms interchangably)
Here's definition of all three - http://blog.sinclairintl.com/2009/03/26/determining-bullet-seating-depth/
Throat/Leade – Interchangeable with leade. The throat is located just forward of the chamber and is the tapered entrance leading to where the rifling begins in the barrel. The throat is an area of the rifling that has been relieved/machined to allow the bullet clearance prior to reaching the rifling. This is sometimes referred to as the unrifled section of the bore or free bore.

My Sig/M&P/Glock/Lone Wolf barrels look like the picture below with just the leade but the KKM barrel I have has the additional "throat/freebore" cut in the leade (I will post comparison pictures later when I get some clear shots).

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=183594&stc=1&d=1367696103
Some pistol barrels have longer leade than others. The picture on the left (white arrow) shows a Lone Wolf 40S&W barrel with typical leade length I have seen in many factory barrels. The picture on the right shows Sig 1911 TacPac barrel with almost no leade. My latest 40S&W Lone Wolf barrel for Glock 23 also has almost no leade like the Sig barrel. The longer leade barrel allows for longer OAL of the finished round typically used but the shorter/no leade barrel forces you to use shorter than typically used OAL.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=165332&stc=1&d=1338347310http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=165331&stc=1&d=1338347030

For M&P45/RIA 1911 barrels with longer leade, I can load various 200 gr SWC bullets to 1.250" - 1.265" OAL without feeding/chambering issues but for Sig 1911 barrel with almost no leade, same bullets loaded longer than 1.245" OAL will allow the shoulder (bearing surface) of the bullet to hit the start of rifling and prevent the finished round from fully chambering.

918v
May 4, 2013, 04:07 PM
Throat/Leade – Interchangeable with leade. The throat is located just forward of the chamber and is the tapered entrance leading to where the rifling begins in the barrel. The throat is an area of the rifling that has been relieved/machined to allow the bullet clearance prior to reaching the rifling. This is sometimes referred to as the unrifled section of the bore or free bore.

In any case, the L/T/F diameter is just as important as L/T/F length when the bullet ogjive is jamming at the entrance of the L/T/F. You dont want the sharp entrance of the L/T/F scraping lead off the bullet.

Feanaro
June 18, 2013, 01:52 AM
I've just started reloading and want to make sure I've got this correct. I'm working on a .45acp load with a 230gr LRN bullet. The shortest OAL that will reliably plunk in my XDs barrel is 1.622. Both of my loading manuals suggest 1.267 to 1.270 as the minimum OAL for the powders I have (Green Dot and True Blue). If I understand things correctly, I can load those up at the shorter OAL and back off the powder a bit? Start at, say, 6.2 grains instead of 6.4 and treat 7.2 grains as the maximum instead of 7.4?

Walkalong
June 18, 2013, 07:46 AM
Is the 1.622 number correct?

jwrowland77
June 18, 2013, 07:55 AM
I've just started reloading and want to make sure I've got this correct. I'm working on a .45acp load with a 230gr LRN bullet. The shortest OAL that will reliably plunk in my XDs barrel is 1.622. Both of my loading manuals suggest 1.267 to 1.270 as the minimum OAL for the powders I have (Green Dot and True Blue). If I understand things correctly, I can load those up at the shorter OAL and back off the powder a bit? Start at, say, 6.2 grains instead of 6.4 and treat 7.2 grains as the maximum instead of 7.4?

The manual is using the OAL of 1.267-1.270 at powder charges of 6.4-7.4, correct?

You're using a longer OAL, that fits your pistol, correct?

I wouldn't use a lower charge than what they say in the book or your pistol might not cycle correctly. Increasing the OAL, increases the volume it can hold inside the case. Start low at minimum charge and work up and find where the sweet spot is. Make sure of the correct OAL first though.

stavman11
June 18, 2013, 10:08 AM
wow

as always GREAT thread Guys..... learned a lot

Thanks again

mdi
June 18, 2013, 12:07 PM
The question gets asked a lot because very few new reloaders take the time to research! The first time I saw the "plunk test" illustration was mebbe 11 years ago, on line...

Excellent post Walkalong, excellent photos too...

Feanaro
June 18, 2013, 03:07 PM
It would be 1.262. Transposed a digit. S'what I get for posting after I get off a late shift.

Walkalong
June 18, 2013, 09:21 PM
Thought so. You'll be fine. The .45 ACP is a low pressure round with plenty of room in the case. That short change in OAL will not be a problem until you run up on max, and maybe not then.

Feanaro
June 19, 2013, 02:23 AM
That's what I thought but wanted to confirm before I blow'ded my hand off. I kinda like that hand. :)

Thanks for this thread by the way, one of a number of useful threads on THR that have helped me with this somewhat fiddly process.

243winxb
February 1, 2014, 08:45 AM
Bump to top

41 Mag
February 4, 2014, 06:44 PM
Vote for sticky

Maybe put it in the Library of Wisdom

Jesse Heywood
February 4, 2014, 07:49 PM
Vote for sticky

Maybe put it in the Library of Wisdom

One must not forget to engage one's brain before placing one's finger in motion. ;)

Look in the library under plunk test.

kbbailey
April 6, 2014, 08:24 AM
I am new to reloading the .45acp.
I think the info in this thread will solve my chambering issues.
thanks

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