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Thread: Proper OAL Gauge usage

  1. #1

    Default Proper OAL Gauge usage

    Questions for those who are experienced with the Hornady OAL case guage. I have reloaded many a round but just recently purchased this gauge, primarily for use in my 6.5x55mm rifles, one a mauser and one a Ruger. After using several bullets in each rifle and taking measurements I have found the guage will give various measurements for any given bullet. Measurements varied by as much as .015. This could be due to the lead tipped bullets varying in length right out of the box. But...I ensured my technique was repeatable each time taking caution not to vary the tightening of the tension on the screw on the ram, and so forth. I did not use a dowel rod, however, since I don't currently have one but will get one. I could see where this would help to "feel" the bullet touch or stick to the rifling.
    Question 1: have any of you had measurements vary by this much?
    Question 2: do you always use a dowel rod?
    Question 3: what is a good technique or way to measure bullets with lead tips which are not uniform in length?
    Question 4: Any other gouge wrt using this tool?

    Thank you in advance for your input!

  2. #2
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    I'm not familiar with Hornady's OAL tool. I've always used a comparator (a number brands out there). Sinclair's is the simplest. Comparators measure OAL off of the bullet ogive which can also vary a bit from bullet to bullet but keeps your distance off the lands consistant.

  3. #3

    Default haven't heard of it

    Thanks 300S&W, I'll check into the comparator

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I use both a comparator, and the Hornady gauge. I use the hornady oal gauge as advertised, without a dowel, just lock down the brass rod. Then, I measure with a comparator. I've found that with most bullets w/o a polymer tip, the meplats are not uniform enough to use calipers on the tip (especially Nosler custom comps). The comparator measures from the point where the ogive meets the caliber, and is what really matters when seating the bullet to a consistent "jump" to the rifling. (which is also how a seating die works, pushing on a uniform ring below the tip, related to diameter, not length).

    Without a comparator, oal's can be off by huge amounts- like .015-.020. Measuring with the comparator, I can usually get them to the nearest .001.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHAPS View Post
    Questions for those who are experienced with the Hornady OAL case guage. I have reloaded many a round but just recently purchased this gauge, primarily for use in my 6.5x55mm rifles, one a mauser and one a Ruger. After using several bullets in each rifle and taking measurements I have found the guage will give various measurements for any given bullet. Measurements varied by as much as .015. This could be due to the lead tipped bullets varying in length right out of the box. But...I ensured my technique was repeatable each time taking caution not to vary the tightening of the tension on the screw on the ram, and so forth. I did not use a dowel rod, however, since I don't currently have one but will get one. I could see where this would help to "feel" the bullet touch or stick to the rifling.
    Question 1: have any of you had measurements vary by this much?
    Question 2: do you always use a dowel rod?
    Question 3: what is a good technique or way to measure bullets with lead tips which are not uniform in length?
    Question 4: Any other gouge wrt using this tool?

    Thank you in advance for your input!
    I used that contraption when it was made my Stony Point. (They sold out to Hornady.) I had the whole system of tools.

    I had so many problems, getting consistent measurements, I actually GAVE it ALL away, and went back to traditional methods. (I didn't find a good technique.)

    The problem for me was two-fold. First getting the same length with the tool each time, and Second, getting an accurate reading of the length using the comparators, also from Stoney Point.

    For a comparator, when I need one, I use the Sinclair "Nut" looking thingy.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  7. #7

    Default use of comparator

    Thanks Smitty! I have looked at comparators on MidwayUSA but have not used it before or watched someone use it. It looks odd. I suppose after using the OAL gauge I put the comparator (nut looking thingy) on top and then take a measurement with calipers...from where to where? Duh...I just havent used it.
    thanks a bunch

  8. #8

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHAPS View Post
    Thanks Smitty! I have looked at comparators on MidwayUSA but have not used it before or watched someone use it. It looks odd. I suppose after using the OAL gauge I put the comparator (nut looking thingy) on top and then take a measurement with calipers...from where to where? Duh...I just havent used it.
    thanks a bunch
    The Sinclair Hex Style Bullet comparator has a different bore diameter hole on each of the 6 flats. You put the proper one over the ogive of the bullet, and use your caliper to measure from the opposite flat surface to the base of the case.

    You can determine seating depth, without an OAL tool. Just seat the bullet (a little bit) long, and chamber it, and you have the distance with the bullet seated hard into the lands. Then measure the OAL of THAT round, then seat deeper, checking, until it is .030, or whatever, shorter than it was originally. Now, the seating die is set.

    You can check the length with the Comparator, and record it, for the next batch of loads, OR, just use a previously loaded round, or a dummy round, to adjust the seating die.

    For a bullet with an long taper, that might not seem satisfactory. In such a case, I do the same-O with a Fired Case, that has the neck very slightly sized, so the bullet is not so tight it won't move easily, but still tight enough to stay put, when the cartridge is removed, for measuring and/or adjusting the seating die, and do it a time or two for caution.

    Of course, there are other simple ways that I've not tried, myself.

    As for that OAL tool, I suggest you use it for a ramrod on a Single Shot Muzzleloading pistol, then forget to take it out, when you shoot. THAT, should take care of THAT. And, it will have served some useful purpose, however slight.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  10. #10

    Default ram rod idea

    Smitty,
    I have used the method you described for many years. It has proven to be acceptable. I was hoping to improve accuracy with this OAL gauge, but it has its limitations also.

    Appreciate the input and advice!
    Blessings,
    CHAPS

  11. #11

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    As already mentioned, many bullets ogive vary a little from bullet to bullet. I found this out simply by measuring COAL's from loaded round to loaded round. So you will naturally get different measurements if using an AOL gauge tool that uses the bullet to measure.

    I have tried measuring a few different ways with varying success.

    Take a sharpie and blacken the ogive of the bullet where it will meet the lands. Seat it on the long side and chamber it. if it doesn't chamber with a slight amount of force, then seat a little deeper until it does chamber. and touch up any marks from the lands you might find before the last chambering until you see no more marks from the lands. This has usully worked fairly well for me except most recently with my Rem Sendero. it would not leave marks fron the lands that I could detect.

    For it, I took a neck sized case and seated a bullet all the wy to the ogive and then used a kinteic puller to remove it. I repeated this process until the nack had stretched enough where the bullet could be seated into the neck by hand with a little resistance. Then I chamberd the the round and allowed the lands to push the bullet into the neck. This gave me the COAL of the bullet seated to the lands.

    There's a youtube video showing a similar process with a guy using a Lee Collet Neck Sizing Die to make an AOL gauge.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaA3G...eature=related

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHAPS View Post
    Smitty,
    I have used the method you described for many years. It has proven to be acceptable. I was hoping to improve accuracy with this OAL gauge, but it has its limitations also.

    Appreciate the input and advice!
    Blessings,
    CHAPS
    OK, I understand.

    The tool is spose to allow you to closely control seating depth, in relationship to the lands, right down to the .001.

    If you have a lotta patience, maybe, you can make it work for you.?? It sure didnít work for me. I know that using gauges is something that has to be practiced, and learned, but this tool had too many strikes against it.

    I was unable to get the bullet against the lands with the same tension each time. (A real problem when using bullets with a long ogive), (VLD type) and that caused some variations.

    Also, I had trouble holding everything, the Tool, Case, Bullet, Comparator, etc. in alignment trying to get the measurement. I would write it down and each time I went through the process, it varied several K, at least.

    There was a difference with the Modified cases, I got for the tool, compared to the fired cases, I sent to them for Modification. Also, there was some play in the bullet inside the neck.

    I concluded that if I was loading for say, .030 off the lands, it would work fine because, .025, or .035, for example, wouldnít stick a bullet, but then I didnít need the OAL tool for that. If I couldnít get very close CONSISTENTLY, and KNOW, it was of no use to me.

    Please excuse my longwind.

    Good Luck
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  13. #13

    Default

    Hold the gun pointing down than it is as easy as slowly lowering the rod part of the gage untill it stops on the bullet or the case depending on which is in the chamber. Then tighten the ring down by the screw.

    I get the same measurements as uses a spent case with just enough neck tension to hold a bullet in place as it is chambered and the bolt is closed.

    You still need a comparitor and the hex type is the simplest. I bought a stoney point because the sinclare did not have 358 which I needed.

  14. #14
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    I get good results with a stick, a bullet and a pencil:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=45683

    Split cartridge idea sounds neat though.

    Dave

  15. #15

    Default good info

    Daveintheburbs,

    Thanks, wish I had read this before purchasing the OAL guage. Thanks

    CHAPS

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