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#5658975 - 03/19/15 03:39 PM New Handloader Question about OAL
Gone to Texas Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
Loc: Hurst
I have been handloading for about a year and finding COAL seems to be my biggest problem.

My brother just bought a brand new Savage model 10 in 6.5 Creedmoor. I have all the reloading supplies for my soon to be finished 6.5 CM so I told him I would load some rounds to get him started.

I grabbed my Hornady lock and load OAL gauge and got to work. I am using 140 gr AMX bullet. Measuring off the Ogive, I was getting some pretty low numbers, about 2.065 range, sometimes down to 2.050. The OAL was about 2.7, I know the max OAL is 2.8 based on the Hornady manual and I have read of people making rounds as long as 2.84.

Am I doing something wrong here? Maybe I am not running the tool correctly, or are all firearms different and each one will have long or short OAL?
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#5658995 - 03/19/15 03:45 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9433
Loc: Lewisville, TX
You're doing it fine. The "book" COAL is what is recommended. By seating it out longer, you will gain case capacity and get the bullet closer to the lands, which will help it shoot better. Since you are loading for a bolt gun, you have a lot of room to play with seating depth. If you were shooting an AR-10, you would have to keep it to 2.800" or less. I like to know where the bullet makes contact to my lands, for each bullet I shoot. Figure this out, seat it a little deeper than that, and make sure it still fits in the magazine, and then work up a load. I was loading a Berger 140 Hybrid yesterday, and the COAL was 2.775". This bullet I like to keep the bottom of the ogive of the bullet above the case neck/shoulder junction line. This will reduce your bullet run out due to donuts and such.
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#5659033 - 03/19/15 03:59 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
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Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
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Thanks for the reply Chad, lot of good info. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something stupid before I start loading rounds. I will probably back it off .02 from the Ogive measurement I got and start rolling.
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#5659041 - 03/19/15 04:03 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
Cleric Offline
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Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
Are you intentionally setting different seating depths? Or are you getting that much variation through the same set up?

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#5659049 - 03/19/15 04:07 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Cleric]
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Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
Loc: Hurst
Originally Posted By: Cleric
Are you intentionally setting different seating depths? Or are you getting that much variation through the same set up?


I am getting different variation. At first I was getting Ogive readings of 2.115. I think it was because I was jamming the bullet into the barrel. I then watched a youtube video on how to properly do it and started to stop once I felt the bullet contact the rifling. That is when I started getting more consistent readings in the 2.06 range.
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#5659068 - 03/19/15 04:19 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
Cleric Offline
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Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 2579
I thought you were talking ammo you have loaded.


With that being said there will be differences in chambers. A production rifle will generally have a bigger chamber to more accommodating to ammo than say a match chamber

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#5659335 - 03/19/15 07:39 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
FiremanJG Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
The only reason to speak of a "Max" O.A.L. is for SAAMI specs. We, as handloaders are not bound by SAAMI specs. We can load our ammo to fit our rifle's chamber and rifling. I now NEVER look at book max O.A.L. I don't care what it is. The only thing that binds my max length is will it, or will it not fit in the magazine. If it does fit in the mag, then I decide where I want the bullet to sit in a chambered round in relation to the rifling.
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#5659624 - 03/19/15 10:51 PM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: FiremanJG]
Gone to Texas Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
Loc: Hurst
Originally Posted By: FiremanJG
The only reason to speak of a "Max" O.A.L. is for SAAMI specs. We, as handloaders are not bound by SAAMI specs. We can load our ammo to fit our rifle's chamber and rifling. I now NEVER look at book max O.A.L. I don't care what it is. The only thing that binds my max length is will it, or will it not fit in the magazine. If it does fit in the mag, then I decide where I want the bullet to sit in a chambered round in relation to the rifling.


Thanks for the advice. At first I was thinking I will just load some a 2.8 and see what happens because I must be screwing up. However, if my tools are saying the chamber is short, then the chamber is short. I am going to load .01 off the Ogive and head to the range with my brother to see how they shoot.
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#5659672 - 03/20/15 12:27 AM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
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Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
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Couldn't sleep, thinking about the OAL was keeping me up. I scrolled through some old posts and saw people on here use dummy rounds to find COAL. So I got up and tried it.

This is exactly what I needed to do. I load a dummy round to 2.82, bolt wouldn't close. Then 2.81, bolt closed but stiff. 2.8 it closed but when I tried to extract the round I could feel the bullet sticking. I want to load .02 off for hunting loads, so I set one at 2.78 and its perfect, closes and no sticking. I measured the ogive which I can't remember right now and I am good to go.

Thanks for all the help!
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#5659913 - 03/20/15 08:44 AM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: Gone to Texas]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9433
Loc: Lewisville, TX
^^^^ That is basically how I find the lands when I am loading. .020" can be a big jump, so I normally make smaller adjustments. If you look on the ogive of the bullet after chambering, you can watch for the scratch marks from the rifling to help find the lands. You can seat the bullet where you do not feel the pressure from closing the bolt and the bullet still barely touch the rifling.
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#5660231 - 03/20/15 11:32 AM Re: New Handloader Question about OAL [Re: ChadTRG42]
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Registered: 07/05/13
Posts: 2362
Loc: Hurst
Originally Posted By: ChadTRG42
^^^^ That is basically how I find the lands when I am loading. .020" can be a big jump, so I normally make smaller adjustments. If you look on the ogive of the bullet after chambering, you can watch for the scratch marks from the rifling to help find the lands. You can seat the bullet where you do not feel the pressure from closing the bolt and the bullet still barely touch the rifling.


Thanks for the tip. I'll try loading a little closer. I've always been a little intimidated to do it because of the pressure build up. As long as I get it right it should be good I guess.
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