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Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LloydPratt, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. LloydPratt

    LloydPratt Member

    As long as you are within the OAL of a reloaded bullet, What determines the length that you wish to adjust your dies to ? Is it just trial and error ( as long as it feeds etc...)
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Without going into a long explanation, yes, as long as it feeds and shoots where it's pointing.

    You should start out with the OAL shown in a reloading manual for the bullet you are using. Then adjust slightly if necessary for proper feeding in your gun, etc.

    Different bullet shapes & designs of the same weight (RN vs SWC vs JHP, etc) can affect OAL greatly in that they may jamb into the rifling and raise pressure, or be too short to feed right.

  3. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    The reloading manual shows the MINIMUM recommended COL.
    The reloader should determine the maximum COL that fits the gun's magazine, feeds and chambers.
    Why is the idea of COL so hard to grasp. Individual gun, individual COL.
    If you are reloading to fit any gun, then you may want to load towards the recommended minimum COL, but as a reloader, your reloads only go in your gun.
  4. LloydPratt

    LloydPratt Member

    Main reason for asking is, Myself and a friend both reload Montana Gold 185s
    for 1911. both our oal are different and we both fire each others ammo thru at least 6 different brands of 1911s . So i am asking because if they all feed and shoot , is there a better of the 2...
    Thanks Lloyd
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Find the max your barrel will accept with that bullet, and work from there.


    Often times the longer the better for feeding, but not always.

    I bet you end up somewhere between 1.220 and 1.240. Only guessing since I have never seen the bullet used.
  6. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    try this:
    With the barrel removed, drop a bullet in the barrel, followed by an as fired case(not resized, not belled).
    The case will slide over the bullet and stop when it gets to the step in the chamber.

    Carefully remove the bullet and case as an assembly, and measure the OAL, while finger pinching the bullet/case junction to limit any movement.

    That OAL measurement represents the MAXimum as the bullet was touching the rifling, and something shorter (-.020") will chamber but needs to be checked for mag function.
    Try it, and good luck.
  7. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member


    Good way of checking. :D
    never thought of doing that. :eek:
  8. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    IMHO that statement needs some further illumination. As far as auto cartridges are concerned, different manuals will show different OALs for the same bullet. For any single manual's suggested load, you should not go shorter than the OAL shown.

    If testing, per the method RC steered you to, shows that a shorter OAL is required, then you'll have to cast around for a manual with a shorter OAL, or proportion the load from the closest published OAL.

    I agree, the bullet-to-barrel fit ultimately determines the maximum OAL for any auto pistol. "Individual gun, individual COL", hits the nail on the head.
  9. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    If they all feed and shoot, generally the longer OAL will produce better accuracy as the bearing surface of the bullet will engage the rifling sooner.

    However, depending on where you are at for the particular powder's starting load to max load range, the shorter OAL may produce better powder burn/chamber pressure for more accurate shot groups. For me, tighter shot groups and ability to shoot fast consistent double taps determine my final OAL and powder charge I use.

    - If the two different OALs produce the same accuracy with comparable felt recoil, I would go with the longer OAL.
    - If the shorter OAL produces tighter shot groups and you are between starting load and max load range, I would either go with the shorter OAL or test higher powder charges at the longer OAL
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  10. Cookie45

    Cookie45 Active Member

    I assume that the data given in the reloading manual is at the OAL listed for the bullet listed. Changing the bullet [profile] or the OAL changes the data. That could be a problem if you are using MAX loads! I would back off if I needed a shorter OAL. I follow "bds"s advice when working up a load.

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