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OAL for my rifles

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  • OAL for my rifles

    The reason I started reloading is not to save money but the challenge and fun of development of loads for my rifles. I know the OAL in the manuals I have is that of the manufacture testing, what are some simple and easy way to determine the OAL for my .223 T/C Compass, .270 Winchester 70, 30-06 Remington 700 ADL and 30-30 Marlin 336.

  • #2
    if you have a magazine-fed rifle don't get involved in trying to chase the lands unless you want no magazine feeding and you want a single shot.
    Rifle cartridge and chamber designs are such that normally a maximum length cartridge will be a safe distance away from the end of the rifling so as to not cause pressure issues and also not cause accuracy problems.
    Last edited by Damannoyed; 08-07-2019, 16:32. Reason: Voice text doubled words


    • #3
      If your rifles are from a regular rifle manufacturer depending on which brand you have you might be able to or not be able to a load a round where you are close to the lands.
      Your rifle will tell what OAL it prefers. Some rifles like the bullet touching the lands, jammed into the lands or some distance from the lands. You will only know by experimenting with various OALs to find the one your rifle like.
      This is the method I like and use, simplest one for me. There are other methods, maybe some else will share.
      There are other videos on how to determine OAL on this youtube page.
      The following is an article at Berger Bullets on how to find the best OAL for your rifle. The article is mainly for VLD bullets. I haven't tried it with other style bullets.
      On rifles where I cannot get close to the lands, I start with published OAL for that bullet and experiment from there making sure I can fit the round in the magazine.
      "The United States Marine Corps is a drug and I am a recovering addict."

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      • #4
        Marlin 366, tube magazine married you to flat-tipped bullets roll crimped into a cannelure, oal is whatever it is, over long causes jams, too short CAN also be a trouble feeder. Bullets designed for 30-30/30WCF should be problem free, use them.


        • #5
          Start with the factory settings , then it's trial and error , seat some a little longer and test . Seat some a little shorter and test .
          Every gun is a law unto itself and you just have to keep experimenting with OAL and components untill you find that one magical load the gun likes . Bullet , seating , case , powder and primers can all make a difference .
          I been looking for the perfect 38 special load since 1967 and just recently stumbled upon it ...Lyman #358432 and the the NOE equivalent design .. a 160 grain wadcutter that is now discontinued by Lyman !
          mould NOE 360-160-WC PB (358432) those bullets were the magic part of the equation I had been looking for.
          Last edited by gwpercle; 08-07-2019, 17:30.


          • #6
            As DA noted, you likely will not be able to load close to the lands. Some mag feeds will allow you to modify the magazine to take longer ammo, and a few mags (MDT for example) accommodate a longer round. I have to modify pmags for rounds that [barely] fit in the MDT's.

            Plenty of options for finding the lands throughout the forum. I recently switched to this method and am very happy with the results. Seems to be the most repeatable. Removing the firing pin and ejector are essential, as is bottoming out the die to get max squish on the shoulder - the bolt should drop after getting past the cam. I also found that when you have no idea where to start, having minimal yet sufficient neck tension (seating pressure around 15) allows the bullet to seat further on the first try without getting the bullet stuck, from there adjust your seating depth as per the video. My actions are different than what the video shows so my clicks (if I get one) are not the same, but the method is transferable. Having an in-line seater or at least a micrometer seating die also makes things easier.
            Friends don't let friends shoot factory ammo.

            Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
            -Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Thanks gents, all part of the challenge and fun of this hobby for me. golong very interesting video and DM I like that tool, quite easy to use indeed.


              • #8
                You can approach each rifle by first determining if you can reach the lands. I've rarely had a rifle that wouldn't allow me to reach the lands, guess I've just been lucky? Those that I couldn't have often been a .308 win chambering.

                I typically start mine touching the lands and then back away in .005" increments until Iocate best accuracy. I begin by performing the charge work up with the bullet touching, that way pressures aren't going to spike higher as I back away, rather than developing at a distance off the lands and working closer would result in possible pressure spikes.