Question on OAL and 223


March 30, 2012, 11:23 AM
Well I'm getting ready to order everything I need for 223 on a 550 and had a question in regards to OAL and 223. Since mag legnth is 2.260 and that the furthest I could load with a mag would the Hornady OAL and Modified case be a wasted purchase? From everything I've read I should just get the Hornady Comparator and insert and not worry about the lands because of mag legnth restrictions. This will be my first for rifle reloading as I have only loaded 9mm so far. Thanks

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March 30, 2012, 11:33 AM
Yes it would be a wasted purchase.

About the only thing you really need for a semi-auto is a L.E. Wilson .223 case gage.

Comparators & such are pretty useless if you can't seat to the rifling.
And you can't.

Anyway, I've survived nicely for 50 years using nothing but a .25 cent candle to smoke bullets to determine how far it is to the rifling.


March 30, 2012, 12:39 PM
RC, unless I'm not understanding this correctly wouldn't a comparator help with determining the OAL. Or should I say an easier method to measure and determine OAL, by determine or measure I mean to be be able to get a correct OAL. Hard to put into words what I'm tryin to say. I thought the comparator and insert was a better way to measure instead of going of the tip of the bullet.

March 30, 2012, 12:45 PM
I supose a camparator could make for a little more accurate setup after changing out dies, but the limiting factor is the OAL (to tip) because of mag opening.

March 30, 2012, 12:54 PM

If all your shooting is going to be short distance like 100-200yds I think it's a waste, just load to 2.260 or less with little bullets like 40grs.

I got the tool to load some 80gr Amax bullets which will not fit in the magazine. You have to single load them. I plan to shoot these on my 600yd range.


March 30, 2012, 02:36 PM
If you already have a dial or digital caliper, this right here is all the comparator you need if you just gotta spend some money on one.

Seat to an average of 2.247" like GI ammo for relable magazines.


March 30, 2012, 02:48 PM

unless your seater plug contacts the bullet at the same place as your comparator, you are wasting your money on the comparator. most seating plugs contact the tip of the bullet.

a caliper, as stated above, will do just fine.


March 30, 2012, 02:50 PM
You don't need the Hornady gizmo if you are loading magazine-length.

You need to measure base-to-tip, not base-to-ogive anyway.

Your seating die will work off the ogive, so it will be impossible to achieve exact consistent OAL.
Match bullets vary in OAL.
You have to account for that variance by erring on the short side.

If you load to a 2.260 average OAL you will have rounds hanging up in the magazine.
I aim for 0.010" less than that on the average.

Most seating dies for pointy-tip bullets do NOT bear against the tip of the bullet.
Rather, they contact somewhere between the tip and the "major-diameter" ogive.
You'd have mashed tips galore with match bullets if the seater plug bore against the tip of the bullet during the seating operation.

March 30, 2012, 02:52 PM
most seating plugs contact the tip of the bullet. I hate to disagree.

But I know of no rifle seating dies that contact the tip of the bullet.

All I am aware of contact the bullet somewhere on the ogive to center the bullet and prevent damaged tips.

A comparator like the one I linked allows you to measure length off the ogive with a caliper too.

Measuring a cartridge base to tip gives a lot of variation because of differences between bullet tips from the same box. Every bullet in a box doesn't come out of the same forming die.


March 30, 2012, 03:25 PM
wrong word (tip), i guess. was giving another reason against using a comparator.


March 30, 2012, 03:52 PM
Rounds will be loaded for two different AR's, one just for plinking and one for more accuracy (18" SPR). I get seating them a little under 2.260 so there are no feeding issues. IF OAL is derived from base to ogive wouldn't the comparator help in the measurement department? I also have calipers and will be using some Forster micro dies to be switch back in forth for the different loads but it sounds like they will be both seated to the same legnth.

March 30, 2012, 03:57 PM
:) Well I an kinda cheap and wanted to be able to measure OAL to make sure it stayed the same. I first found out what OAL I wanted for the bullet I was using by making a test cartridge with no powder or primer. This way I can go back to that OAL anytime. I then got another empty brass and chamfered the inside of the case mouth. I then put this shell over a loaded round till it rest on the bullet and take a measurement. I then do the same to my test bullet and see if they measure the same or very very close. There you have it on the cheap. I will admit it is awkward to get the shells lined up to take the measurement but it does work. Comments!!!! Don

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