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OAL issue

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by mgrych, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. mgrych

    mgrych New Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Well im loading some .223 and max OAL is supposed to be 2.26 When i do the test to see what my savage likes it keeps coming back with 2.40.. is this normal?

    BTW the test is where you close the bolt and put a cleaning rod down the barrel touching the bolt face and mark it, then do the same with just a bullet in the chamber pushing on it from behind to keep it in place, marking the cleaning rod again as this time it is touching the bullet in the chamber.
  2. fguffey

    fguffey Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    mgrych, I would suggest drilling the flash hole and primer pocket large enough to insert a cleaning rod through the case from the breach (bolt) end, first drill the flash hole, then size the case and seat a bullet into the test case, remove the bolt and insert the test case into the chamber then use a cleaning rod to push the bullet out until it contacts the lands, then remove the test case, the test case (when measured) will indicate the Maximum Overall Length of the chamber (less head space),

    You can make a test OAL case for each bullet you load, once the gage is removed you can use it to set up your seating die, every time and get the same reading,

    Some must split the neck of the case with a hack saw to lesson bullet hold (neck tension) to make it easy to push the bullet out of the case, I did not say this method was for everyone so before you cut the necks, try pushing them out first, if for no other reason but to determine the amount of bullet hold (neck tension) the case has.

    F. Guffey
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    2.26" is the maximum OAL to go in an AR magazine and is used in book loads for that reason and no other.

    If I understand you, 2.40" is what it takes for YOUR bullet to touch the rifling in YOUR barrel.

    There is a third OAL of interest... the one that SHOOTS the most accurately. Might not be what goes in the magazine or what hits the rifling.
  4. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Senior Member

    Feb 25, 2004
  5. Larry E

    Larry E Member

    Mar 15, 2005
    Billings, MT
    The only rifles I worry about OAL for are the ones that need the ammunition to feed from the magazine. Otherwise I seat the bullets where the rifle likes, usually fairly close to the rifling, but not always.

    Split the neck of a case with a cutoff wheel in a Dremel and pinch the neck so that it'll hold a bullet. Then seat the bullet you're interested in as long as you can, carefully chamber this dummy round, close the bolt, then carefully open the bolt and remove the dummy round. Measure the OAL or use a comparator to measure from the head of the case to a point on the ogive about where the rifling will contact the bullet. You will likely have to repeat this a few times to get a consistent measurement, but it gives you the maximum length you can seat that bullet to. If you start there you can seat the bullet deeper with no problems IN A RIFLE cartridge.

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