I have been reloading since the 1970's and always tailored cartridge overall length to the gun that I was loading for. That's the way Ole Butch taught me to do it.
Gunbugs made a comment on this forum a while back...least wise I think it was him so he gets the credit. It was in regards to 22 lr ammo prices and what it cost him per round to shoot his .223.
I inventoried my reloading supplies a short time ago and discovered a sack of a thousand rounds of 223/.556 brass and 2 boxes of 500 ea Hornady 50 grain VMax bullets. I bought a heap of stuff for a lump sum a couple of years ago when an area gunshop closed. There were a few tubs of stuff that I hadn't gone through yet.
I decided that since I also had 3 cans of IMR 4198 that I had enough stuff on hand to load enough light loads to last me until I become a turd in the woods. 3 cans of powder is 21,000 grains or 21 grains/round. Since loading a thousand rounds without any spilleage ain't possible I'm going with 20.5 grains per load. This still going to give me 3150-3200 FPS.....hardley a light load but it is compared to the 3500 FPS that I get with the same bullet and "my" charge of CFE 223.
There is always a chance that I could become that turd in the woods before I get all my ammo shot up. I am not one for just shooting up ammo to hear a bang...no machine gun Joe stuff for me. That brings us to the cartridge overall length delima. I have 3 rifles that shoot 223 ammo and there are 4 more amungst the kids. I want this ammo to be a go for any one of the 7 rifles. Hornady's manual calls for a COL of 2.20" for this load/bullet. My 3 rifles and both of my son's 223s can chamber my test rounds without contacting the rifling with the bullet seated so that the COL is 2.270 a couple of them don't touch lands until they are 2.280 or more.
I had to know how much .05" difference made in accuracy so I fired 5 rounds with the bullet seated to 2.20" and 5 rounds seated at 2.27" in both my Remington 783 and Weatherby Vanguard. The Remington 783 shot a 2" group with the short load and a 1.25" group with 2.27" round. The Vanguard shot a 2.25 " group with the 2.20 round and a .75 group with the 2.27" round. Part of the reason that I keep these 2 rifles is because their chambers are cut about identically and I can load the same for both rifles and interchange ammo between the two without a hitch. 2.27" has this 50 grain VMAX just a thousandth or two off the lands in both of these rifles and they shoot all ammo best loaded such.
Can any of you 223 guys tell me the COL of your handloads when the round is "kissing"(BB' terminology and a good one) the rifling.
Have any of you ever found a handload more accurate when jumping the bullet 5/100ths to a tenth of an inch to get to the rifling. I have never found it to be true.
So why then would a bullet manufacturing giant suggest seating the bullet so deep. Heck when loaded at 2.20" they even look oddly short. The bullet makers sales depend on accuracy as a top factor in considering their product and then suggest that you load them to less than optimum specs. I can't think that I have ever loaded any ammo to the load manuals suggested COL as I was always tayloring the load to a particular rifle. This time I had numerous rifles that I wanted the ammo to function in so I had to find a happy medium. My findings put that happy medium well beyond the factories happy medium. Do the lawyers have them running that scared? Are there enough boneheads with loading presses that makes the manufacturer think that they have to build a large margin off error into the COLs?
What are your thoughts on the matter?