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Old Today, 10:45 AM   #1
RussellC
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Join Date: May 26, 2013
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.223 OAL and varying bullet length

I am fairly new to reloading and even newer to .223 reloading. Thus far have had good results, the only bullets I have used so far were some Hornady fmj from Natchez. Those bullets measured in length from .734 to .739, at least in spot checks taken from them.

Fast forward to one of the last gun shows I went to with pistol powder, the seller requireing you to buy 1000 bullets if you wanted more than one pound. Well, I did and bought 1000 of his .223 FMJ type bullets (maybe copper coated?).
They looked just like the Hornady, with a cannelure just like the Hornadys. What was NOT just like the Hornadys was the length of these bullets. the shortest so far is .734. From there it varies widely, measuring High .740s, high .750s and even one at .761.

I dont find the variance of the Hornadys to be that big a deal, a little variation in the third digit after the decimal point. These other however, show large differences in even the second digit after the decimal point.

Question 1: Isnt this a large enough difference it should be taken into account on the final OAL of the bullet? If the hornadys, averaging 2.20 OAl, and suddenly you switch in a bullet that is .760, shouldnt the OAL be adjusted to the longer bullets size? I.E., The oal around 2.20 for hornady, up to 2.246 or so to have the same seating depth?

Question 2: I indeed see load data that has .223 rounds as long as 2.260. Will this function through the average AR platform .223? I guess a better question is "What is the maximum OAL that will typically function through an AR platform gun?" Thanks for any help, I have every thing keyed up from loading the Hornady bullets and am staring at the press wondering. In the mean time I have fished out a few that fall in the average length of the Hornadys...

Thanks in advance,

Russellc
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Old Today, 11:08 AM   #2
Walkalong
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Load cheap 55 Gr FMJ bullets for casual plinking and don't expect great accuracy, especially from many of the no name ones, although the Hornady 55 Gr FMJ does pretty well.

As posted here many times it is the ogive that needs to be consistent, not the length, so don't worry about that, and since FMJ is not going to give stellar accuracy anyway, really don't worry about it.

Load them so the cannalure is at the case mouth, and make sure the longest OAL's they give are short enough to fit the mag, which it most likely will be.

Quit worrying, load them up, go shoot, have fun.
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Old Today, 11:23 AM   #3
RussellC
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Thanks Walkalong, I feel confident with 9mm but the .223 is new. I remember being told, and this was concerning 9mm, to be wary of these differences at the second decimal point as it could raise pressure dramtically. I see what you are saying now, seated to the cannelure, the seating difference will be nill, although the bullet length will vary, and I need to make sure they will cycle through the gun. I will try not to OCD about a "Slam-fire" occurring! lol. Press is back in action. I didnt think these were steear bullets, but I havd to buy them in order to get the powder I wanted.

Thanks again,

Russellc
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Old Today, 11:27 AM   #4
RussellC
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Thanks. Still a little wary of .223 loading. Was told concerning 9mm that variations at ther second decimal point could cause pressure spikes. I see what you are saying, seat to the caanelure and the seating differences will be nil, but the overall length of the bullet will vary. As long as it functions though the gun, all is well. Press back in action!

Russellc
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Old Today, 02:02 PM   #5
Walkalong
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Slight variances in bullet seating depth in .223 do not make near the difference as it does in 9MM. Just thing about the percentage of reduced case capacity in relationship to the difference in seating depth and it will make sense.
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Old Today, 02:23 PM   #6
RussellC
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Again, thanks for clearing this up for me, I feel a lot better and am now done with a batch of .223. I had rather appear a little slow and ask than post back proving it no doubt with a damaged gun or worse. Thanks again!

Russellc
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Old Today, 04:52 PM   #7
BYJO4
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Generally a max OAL of 2.250 inorder for rounds to fit mag and function properly. You can find loads for 2.260 but these need to be manually chambered. When buying bullets of unkown make, the quality or consistency of the bullets can be an issue.
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Old Today, 06:26 PM   #8
Walkalong
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Yep, it's always better to ask that guess even a little. No sense having all of THR at your fingertips and not use it. Smart it is.
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