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COAL not consistent - why?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AussieInUtah, Feb 2, 2012.

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  1. AussieInUtah

    AussieInUtah Member

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    I don't understand what is going on: I've full-length sized and trimmed my cases, and set the seating die on my press. When I mic the loaded cases, the COAL varies by a few 1000th's of an inch. How can that be? I thought that the seating die was supposed to give you a consistent COAL.
     
  2. A-FIXER

    A-FIXER Member

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    It is because of deformed projectiles you will need to get the Hornady compartator this along with the Hornady COL gauge with metered brass will give you " depend how exact you want to be'' The true measurement from the rifling/off the lands, because you will measure the o-give instead of bullet tip.
     
  3. AussieInUtah

    AussieInUtah Member

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    So are you saying that my Sierra Matchking projectiles aren't consistent length? I don't understand why people even bother to record COAL if you can't load to a consistent length...
     
  4. oldandslow

    oldandslow Member

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    AIU, 2/3/12

    When first working up my loads for my Rem 700 .270 Winchester I was very careful but still had significant differences in COAL with my cartridges. I finally measured a number of bullets and found the following differences in bullet length.

    1. Speer 130 grain Spitzer Point BT- 1.085" plus or minus 0.003"
    2. Nosler 130 grain Partition- 1.127" plus or minus 0.003"
    3. Sierra 130 grain Spitzer Point BT- 1.104- 1.141", or a 0.027" spread in lengths.

    Thus there was a diffenence in COAL's, especially with the Sierra's. I finally bought a device from Sinclair International so I could measure the distance from the case base to the bullet ogive and then could adjust the distance the ogive sits off the lands of the barrel. I'm sure others will chime in with additional info. I guess this is what makes reloading lots of fun.

    best wishes- oldandslow
     
  5. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    It will at least get you in the ballpark. The meplat of pretty much every bullet made is slightly different. If getting them to all measure exactly the same matters to you, buy a meplat trimmer, but realize that in some cases, the BC of the bullet suffers.

    For the most part, as long as your seater isn't drifting, the difference in the meplat isn't going to matter. The distance from the ogive to the lands is what matters and that is going to be consistent since the ogive is what the seater references on.
     
  6. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Yes, even Sierra MatchKing's ogives will vary by as much as 0.010". The bullet seating die seats by bearing against the bullet ogive, not the meplat.

    Probably because they don't have a bullet comparator tool. Also, it is useful to ensure that the OAL is not too long for the magazine.

    Don
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep...
     
  8. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Member

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    Another issue can be neck tension. If one brass case has greater tension than another, the bullet may not seat as easily or as deeply, and give you significant variations (> a few thousandths). I find this to be more likely if using a collet neck sizing die due to my inconsistency in the pressure I place on the press handle.

    +1 for what everyone else said above
     
  9. James2

    James2 Member

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    What everyone said, just let me add, nothing to worry about!
     
  10. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    If your ammo COAL is within .003" you are doing better than most of us.
    None of the components are identical even within the same batch #, so everything ends up with a + or -.

    After awhile reloading you will learn what aspects to keep to close tolerances, and where is does not really matter. Hunting ammo need not be made with the same exacting meticulous attention to small details that goes into benchrest ammo.
     
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    It's either one of two elements of the bullets, or someting with the press of die.
    The most common cause of inconsistent OAL's is because we A. Measure from tip of the bullet to the head, should be the same every time right? Wrong, first of all the tip of a bullet, even the ballistic poly carbon tips will vary by .001" on a good day, they get flatten or deformed slightly during shipping and dayto day handling. And then if it's a lead tipped bullet, the number's your going to get are going vary by quite a bit, lead obviously gets very easily flatten or deformed just while getting made and packaged, not to mention shipping, handling, and while in the hands of the retail store you now have clerks and customers handling them.

    And another for sure element that effects OAL is, inconsistencies of olgive location. your seating does not seat off of the tip but off of the tappered area of the bullet. So with that onconsistency being nearly impossiible to avoid, it becomes extremely frustrating. A bullet comparator will eliminate much of the problem, but the unavoidable issue of deformed bullets is just something we are forced to accept.

    This is one of the reasons I prefer to seat my bullets to where they chamber nicely, but most or all of the bullets are seated right up to contact with the lands. As a matter of fact I just finished seating 20 Speer 110 gr. TNT's and the OALs varied by as much as .015" on the extreme end, from the tip. And average was probably .007"-.008" variance from the tip. Fortunately for me though I wasn't realizing any of this variance at the olgive. The variance at the olgive was only about .003" and I seriously doubt that a variance .015" OAL from the tip is going to effect my accuracy enough, to degrade my recent worst 5 shot group with these TNT's of .620".
     
  12. RVenick

    RVenick Member

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    Measure some factory rounds and you will see much worse variance.
     
  13. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    a handloader might drive himself crazy without a good understanding of tolerances
     
  14. AussieInUtah

    AussieInUtah Member

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    Guys,

    Thanks for all of those comments. I'm handloading for a Savage Model 10LE .308 (i.e. bull-barrel). Going to go out tomorrow and put a few rounds through it with different charges of Varget behind a SMK 175 gr HPBT. I guess the question I have now is whether this rifle can be made appreciably more accurate by messing around with the Hornady COL gauge and bullet comparator. Is this piece of kit the sort of thing you go out and buy when you have a benchrest rifle? Also, I note that RCBS makes a gauge for measuring the chamber, so which product is going to do a better job for the kind of rifle I'm shooting?

    Thanks again

    Dave
     
  15. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    some rifles are particular about seating depth. some rifles don't seem to care. you don't have to be a benchrest competitor or have a high dollar benchrest rifle to play around with seating depth and possibly see benefits from experimenting with it.

    you can use the candle soot on the bullet method if you don't want to spend the money for the tools. i did that for a while, but the hornady COAL gauge makes it so much easier and quicker. i think bullet comparators are kind of a must-have if you're serious about accuracy. you'll go crazy chasing meplats around. neither of these tools will break the bank.
     
  16. 5thSFGroup

    5thSFGroup Member

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    Another factor is "consistantly doing the same thing each time." If you catch your load being shorter from time to time, you may notice that you pulled your press a bit harder on that set.
     
  17. A-FIXER

    A-FIXER Member

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    As my fellow reloaders we all have been where you are at and now we all choose to get the best out of or firearms and our money spent, time and experience will drive you to levels beyond of novice starters and as other may not agree with EVERYTHING entailed to reloading we each do more than maybe required with repeatabilty knowing when we go to the range and have an off day it more than likely us but when we go to the range and have those oooooh and aaaah TARGETS makes it all worth it.....
     
  18. 918v

    918v Member

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    OAL variance does not matter.

    If you want low variance, get some hand made benchrest bullets and some sorted cases with identical neck tension. This will involve sorting through a hundred cases and firing them several times just to be sure.
     
  19. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    that's a very bold statement.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Well, it doesn't. That is not what is important. :)
     
  21. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    it matters to me

    well, i measure off the ogive, so OAL doesn't really matter to me, but seating depth certainly does matter to me.
     
  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Which will be consistent with a seater plug that fits the bullet well.

    You can mangle bullet tips and still shoot great groups.
     
  23. 918v

    918v Member

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    I am 918v
     
  24. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    Beyond fitting in a magazine COL is completely irrelevant to me.

    I use a Forster nut style comparator that measures from the full bore ogive terminus on the bullet. I base all my records off this measurement which is far far more consistent AND can carry over to different projectiles.

    I use the simple magic marker dented case mouth technique to determine where the rifle's "comparator to casehead" point is.

    posted via tapatalk using android.
     
  25. One78Shovel

    One78Shovel Member

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    +.010 is right. I'm loading some 30-06 Sierra MK 175 grain FMJ-BT to OAL 3.340 for my Garand. The majority of them come in at 3.340 but others will vary +.005 or +.010. Even at these variations the ebloc loads and rounds chamber fine.

    I don't notice such variations with my pistol loads however.

    -178S
     
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