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lowdog
Junior Member

45 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  15:59:52  Show Profile Send lowdog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I want to find the optimum cartridge OAL for my Savage 111 (.30-06)

Is there a flaw in this method -

I take a full-length resized case with no primer. Using the bullet-seating die, I start a bullet into the case mouth purposely leaving the bullet extending well out of the case. I take this “round” and insert it into the rifle’s chamber, and close the bolt.

Of course, the first time I close the bolt, it closes hard because (I think) the bullet is being forced back into the case mouth by the lands in the barrel. On subsequent tries, the bolt closes with normal force because the bullet is no longer touching the lands, or just barely touching.

I open the bolt and remove the “round.” Using a caliper, I measure the OAL. I then seat the bullet 0.010” deeper into the case, and now I’m 0.010” short of the lands . . . correct?

Then I can begin trying different seating depths until I find the one my rifle shoots best.

Now I know there are various gadgets and gismos available to measure OAL – what I want to know is whether the method I described above will work or get me hurt.

SMACK
Senior Member

USA
368 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  16:42:47  Show Profile  Visit SMACK's Homepage Send SMACK a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Simple low cost way if you don't have the right "gadget"... Take a already fired case, slightly tap the edge of the case mouth on the edge of a work bench or such so there is a slight dent that will cause the case mouth to hold your bullet in place if you were to push it into the neck by hand. Then take a permanent marker and color your bullet all the way around. Now slightly seat the bullet into the case neck by hand so it is seated long, chamber the round then slowly open the bolt and remove the cartridge. Remember some time the lands will hold the bullet in place and only the case will eject this is OK just tap the bullet out with a cleaning rod.
If the case with the bullet ejects together you just inspect the bullet and see where the slight scrape mark caused by the case neck ends on the permanent marker, this will be the depth where you are touching your lands. The reason for coloring the bullet is in case upon ejection of the bullet cartridge combo the lands slightly pull the bullet a bit out of the case before it releases but still comes out together you can then push the bullet back into the case to where the mark ends then measure your OAL.

If the bullet stays in the lands upon ejection of the brass just tap the bullet out with a cleaning rod then inspect where the end of the scrape mark is on the permanent marker then hand seat it to that point and measure your OAL.

A government large enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.




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lowdog
Junior Member

45 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  17:12:12  Show Profile Send lowdog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Excellent!

It never occured to me the bullet may be wedged into the lands and pulled out from the case a bit as the case / bullet combo is extracted.

Thank you.

Bruce
NRA Life Member
McFarland, WI.

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you, and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case, you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves." - Winston Churchill
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woods
Advanced Member

USA
2023 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  17:36:12  Show Profile Send woods a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The bullet can wedge quite a way into the lands. Repeat the procedure several times and see how consistant a measurement you can get.

Consistancy is the advantage a OAL gauge has over most measurement methods.

Another way is to insert a cleaning rod into the muzzle against the bolt (make sure it is cocked) and mark it at the muzzle (masking tape). Insert a bullet lightly to the lands and hold it with a pencil or dowel. Insert the cleaning rod back into the muzzle down to the bullet tip and mark it. Measure between the marks.

Or buy a gauge. You will use it for years and much more often because of ease of use.


When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

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Wrass
Senior Member



USA
393 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  17:59:38  Show Profile Send Wrass a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Get a stoney point aol gauge


Persistence pays
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lowdog
Junior Member

45 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2009 :  20:11:58  Show Profile Send lowdog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was thinking about the Stony Point OAL gauge. I checked Midway's website and read the reviews about the gauge. A lot of people said the gauge was . . . oh how can I put this nicely . . . that the gauge could be made better :-), but then too, a lot of people said the gauge was great.

Tonight I have been trying the "marked up bullet" method getting mixed results. I am using a Hornady 150 gr BTSP #3033, and often getting different results - as much as 0.020" - I don't understand how the lengths can vary so much. I've tried the same bullet with different cases, and different bullets (all Hornady #3033) with the same case. One length does come up often though.

I'll try the cleaning rod method. I'll tape over the female end of the cleaning rod so the bullet point does not enter.

Bruce
NRA Life Member
McFarland, WI.

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you, and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case, you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves." - Winston Churchill
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Ol_FlatTop
Junior Member



USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2009 :  01:12:56  Show Profile Send Ol_FlatTop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In my humble opinion, the method you described isn't going to be good enough to measure bullet-to-land separation down to 1/1000" resolution. Your method is very similar to the RCBS Precision MIC tool, which I used to own. It had two problems.
1) As mentioned above, the bullet can stick into the lands and doesn't release right away when the bolt is pulled back, giving you a long measurement error
2) it can be hard to close the bolt slowly enough to prevent the bullet from "jumping" or "skipping" farther into the case neck than it should, giving you a short measurement error.

I use the Hornady LNL tool and have not had any problems. Make sure you clean the rifle's throat area, or you'll get an incorrect measurement. Use a soft wooden dowel inserted down the muzzle (in one hand) and the plastic rod in the LNL tool (in the other and) to "squeeze" the bullet. Moving it left and right, you'll be able to "feel" where the bullet is with respect to the lands. Take a few measurements until they home in on the same number, and you're done. Also, as your barrel gets used more and more, the lands will move forward. Re-measure.
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F. Guffey
Advanced Member

USA
690 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2009 :  09:37:58  Show Profile  Visit F. Guffey's Homepage Send F. Guffey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lowdog, drill the flash hole/primer pocket in 5 cases for testing, the hole should be large enough to accommodate a cleaning rod or small wood dowel, size the cases and seat a bullet in one of them and chamber the test case, remove the bolt and insert a cleaning rod into the case through the drilled out primer pocket, push the cleaning rod in until it contacts the bullet, with care push the bullet out of the case until it stops against the lands, remove the cleaning rod, remove the test case, the case when removed gives you the maximum overall length that can be chambered in you rifle (Less head space).



I have used this method on rifles that allowed the bullet to be pushed out of the case before the bullet contacted the rifling.



If you change bullets make another test case.



Using the test case as a transfer, place the test case into the shell holder and raise the ram, raise the seater plug to avoid contact with bullet, install the seater die until it contacts (lightly) the crimp portion of the die then raise (back off, .017 thousands) the seater die 1/4 turn and secure, then lower the seater plug until it contacts the bullet (lightly) then secure the seater plug nut, at this point the seater die is adjusted for that case, that bullet for your chamber (less head space). If you keep records and have confidence in your equipment take a height gage and measure the length of the seater stem above the die, this will allow you to make repeatable adjustments to the the seater plug, this method allows you to match the seater die adjustment to the max OAL, and if you have a drill and bit, the method is affordable.



Remember, if you change bullets, make another test case, this is the reason for drilling the primer pocket/flash hole in more than one case.

F. Guffey
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Ol_FlatTop
Junior Member



USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2009 :  11:36:26  Show Profile Send Ol_FlatTop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A Hornady LNL OAL Gage for bolt action costs only $25 at Midway. A modified case costs around $5.
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woods
Advanced Member

USA
2023 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2009 :  19:05:05  Show Profile Send woods a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey lowdog

I reload for over 40 rifles and IMHO the R-P tool is the best tool for OAL measurement (shown here with a Hornady)



It is a stainless rod with a screw on brass tip




and 2 lockable collets on the other end



You just insert it in the muzzle down to the bolt face (make sure the firing pin is retracted) and lock the rear collet



then remove the bolt and insert the bullet to the lands and hold lightly in place with a dowel, pencil or the Hornady tool and insert the rod tip to the tip of the bullet and lock the front collet



measure between the collets



It is foolproof and always exact. With the Hornady you have to figure out how much difference in length there is between where your bolt head will hold a chambered case's head and where the Hornady tool is placing the case in your chamber without being held by the bolt.

The R-P tool cost me $25.00 and can be had by contacting Randy Reeves at 318-424-7867 or at r_reeves61@bellsouth.net . That is with an underscore between the r and reeves. He sent me mine without payment and said if I didn't like it I didn't have to pay for it. I paid and I would pay more now that I have used it. I get the same measurement everytime without having to allow for headspace.


When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

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Ol_FlatTop
Junior Member



USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  01:26:01  Show Profile Send Ol_FlatTop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Woods. Please correct me if I've missed something. To measure true OAL shouldn't your measurement be the distance between the collets PLUS the width of the second collet?

You have reminded me that the measurement I'm interested in isn't true OAL but the distance from the case head to where the lands begin in my rifle. Is there a term for this measurement? I use this measurement and the same LNL comparator tool to seat my bullets to whatever distance I want their ogive to be from the lands in my chamber. And since I use a case that's been fire-formed to my chameber, then drilled and tapped for the LNL tool, I don't need to know the distance from the case head to the bolt face.

You can't use the true OAL to determine how far the bullet is seated from the lands, only whether or not the cartridge will fit in any rifle's magazine.
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Ol_FlatTop
Junior Member



USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  03:07:26  Show Profile Send Ol_FlatTop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Woods, I just figured out the answer to my previous question. Sorry, I should have thought more before asking...

Here's a different question: Since the distances between bullet ogive and bullet tip can vary in any box of bullets, but especially in a box of soft points, what do you use true OAL for?
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dmsbandit
Advanced Member



USA
1788 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  07:00:38  Show Profile  Send dmsbandit a Yahoo! Message Send dmsbandit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gee, and all I do is seat the bullet so that the base is at the neck/shoulder junction. No muss, no fuss, and I shoot lots of tiny little groups with hunting rifles that don't cost over $500. I don't know why people make things complicated when you're reloading for a HUNTING rifle. If it's a benchrest rifle or a match rifle that would be different. I personally want 1000% reliability in a hunting gun and don't want to be worrying about pressure spikes and ammo problems in the field.

I don't drink or smoke, I spend my money on gunpowder and gasoline.
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F. Guffey
Advanced Member

USA
690 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  08:37:36  Show Profile  Visit F. Guffey's Homepage Send F. Guffey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lowdog, to determine MAXIMUM COL, drill the flash hole, seat THE bullet you want to load, chamber (remove the bolt), then push the bullet out until it contacts the rifling, as I said before 'PLUS HEAD SPACE', Head space gages, for most, come in 3 sizes, GO, NO and BEYOND, sort of useless because head space in my opinion is variable and can be an exact science and expressed in .001 (thousands), 'Important', 'nice to know' or 'usless information'? Make your own tools, 'purchase new tools'? all are choices, I had rather not help you spend your money if I can help you save money.

F. Guffey
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3006Savage
Senior Member

267 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  09:34:21  Show Profile Send 3006Savage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Low dog I do basically the same thing but I also color the sides of the bullet with a Sharpie prior to chambering the cartridge. As the bullet is pushed back in the case it scrapes away the ink leaving the exact OAL. If the bullet is pulled back out slightly because it sticks in the lands you will know exactly how far back it was pushed. I then set back .010 and verify that the OAL will fit in the magazine.

PS: I make the mouth of the neck a slight oval to pinch the bullet and ensure the mouth contacts the bullet.
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Ol_FlatTop
Junior Member



USA
46 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2009 :  09:38:36  Show Profile Send Ol_FlatTop a Private Message  Reply with Quote
dmsbandit,

You are absolutely right. I too don't know why everybody doesn't just do what you think is proper. It's a good thing they are just wasting their own time and not yours, by finding interest in things that are really just muss and fuss.

Ol_Flatop
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