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Thread: O.A.L Gauge

  1. #1
    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    Default O.A.L Gauge

    Is it normal to run .050 over the suggested COAL in a reloading manual? I used the gauge just like the manual suggested (hornaday lock and load straight gauge), subtracted .020 and I am still running .050-.055 past the COAL in the barnes reloading manual. FWIW, I am shooting a Browning A Bolt 300wsm with 180gr tipped TSX bullets.

    Thanks for any info.

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    Next problem... At 2.900 the cartirdges wont fit into the magazine. From what I can tell 2.850 is about the max for that. What do you guys recommend, loading the 2.900 first then load the magazine with 2.850 or load them all at 2.850 and hope for the best?

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    From what I understand the COAL in reloading manuals is there to make sure their recommendation fits the majority of rifle chambers and magazines that is why they suggest you adjust it to your own chamber and magazine with the gauge.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronster View Post
    Next problem... At 2.900 the cartirdges wont fit into the magazine. From what I can tell 2.850 is about the max for that. What do you guys recommend, loading the 2.900 first then load the magazine with 2.850 or load them all at 2.850 and hope for the best?
    The only problem I see with your suggestion is that your walking around with a loaded chamber. Some may not see it as a problem and some will. Make sure your rifle wont fire when dropped on safety.

    An other question would be, does your rifle really preform that much better at 2.900 than it does at 2.850?

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    I don’t mean to tell you something you know already. I hope I haven't misunderstood your question, and I hope I can get this right.

    Factory loads are short enough to work in every rifle that is within specs.

    When you handload, COAL is what you make it, and that is one of the benefits of handloading. It depends on where in relationship to the lands you choose. I like .030 off the lands. The distance to the lands varies with the rifle, and different design bullets contact the lands in a different place, as relates to the Ogive. (curvature of the bullet tip) ) Measure the OAL to where the bullet contacts the lands, and set it for some thousandths less.

    HOWEVER, if your magazine length restricts you, you can't go longer than that, if you want to feed. It wouldn't be a good idea to chamber one length cartridge and use different length ones in the magazine. You want all of them to be the same, because consistency relates to accuracy, and safety.

    The COAL you find in a loading manual is strictly for information purposes for the load. It may, or may not, work in your rifle, and if it works, it may not be the best.

    For example, in the Hodgdon manual, they gave loads with an OAL that is the published Maximum OAL for a particular cartridge, but if I had actually used that, it would have been too long for my rifle's throat. When I chambered a round of that length, the bullet would have been pushed back into the case, and the bullet would have been touching the lands rather hard.

    Both conditions could make for higher pressure on firing, and possibly, even be unsafe.

    Reportedly, magazine length varies with the manufacturer, and rifle action.

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    What Smitty said.

    I guess in your case it boils down to; do you want a repeater or a single shot? Rarely ever do the throat length and magazine length come together. With some bullet ogives, the magazine length and the seated length for the throat may be much closer than others. Just the luck of the draw in rifles and bullets.
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