Bullet Seating Confusion - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Bullet Seating Confusion

I'm reloading for my .300 WSM using H380 behind 165 grain noslers.

I originally seated all my loads to the max OAL which is 3.860" and when I went to chamber a round it was contacting the lands so I bought a Hornady OAL gauge to get the proper seating depth.

I did it several times and came to an average of 2.917". I was under the impression that for accuracy you want your bullet to be approx .001" off the lands. Im confused since even if I back off the recommended .001" the round is still over the max OAL.

I also measured several factory rounds and got an average of 2.747" OAL.

Is there something I am doing wrong or not understanding correctly?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:28 AM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

You can seat the bullet out as far as the bullet will allow and still feed reliably. I try and keep at least one calibers worth of bullet in the neck (not counting the boattail) to help control runout.

Not all bullets will shoot the same in relation to the distance to the lands. Some like to be jammed, some like to be jumped. Only load development will tell what your particular combo likes.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:33 AM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

First, you have a typo, 2.860, not 3.860. And yeah, you must be doing something wrong if with the same bullet 2.860 puts you into the lands but 2.917 does not. I assume you are using digital calipers, were they zeroed for all the measurements?

It is common that you will be over listed OAL when you hit the lands. OAL is a suggested length that will likely chamber in all production rifles without hitting the lands. If you run into the lands there will be a pressure spike. Commercial bullets will run up to the SAAMI OAL so they chamber without issues. No guarantee that .001 will be most accurate. Some bullets like to start with a jump. In a hunting round I don't like to get that close because with case expansion from heat you may jam it into the lands.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

Thanks tundragriz, how far do you like to be off of the lands for hunting situations as this is what I am reloading for?

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 02:41 AM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

I have no single answer, some maybe even most of my rifles the magazine determines maximum length. My 700 300Ultra is my most accurate rifle (and it is very accurate), is loaded for magazine function at about .150 off the lands. A lot of my rifles I just load to -0.020 from magazine length and am still able to find loads that get .5-.8 groups.

I like to develop just one very good load for each rifle and know that I am ready to go with it for anything or anywhere it might be used. I have heard stories where guys have run the bullets out to the lands and then hunting all day in hot sun the case expands enough to jam into the lands causing hard bolt closure with bullet tips then being pulled back out of the case. I just don't want to have to worry about those kind of issues when I'm away from home and need to rely on the gun and loads.

I don't use Berger bullets but I like their recommendations on seating. From the link scroll down to the 3rd and 4th paragraph under VLD Bullet Design. I start at -.010 rather than right at the lands, again assuming the magazine will allow it.
http://www.bergerbullets.com/Informa...20Designs.html

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 09:25 AM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

Couple things I will suggest. Since you have a gauge try 3 different oal's, and see what shoots best. After you find the aol the gun really likes load 3 in the magazine, and shoot them. I had a hunting day ruined when I seated bullets out too far in a 7mm RM.

Last thing you want is to sacrifise reliablity for that last fraction of an inch of accuracy.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 10:00 AM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

OAL is more a function of what length will fit in a magazine. And not necessarily to determine the closeness to the lands.

It really does not matter what the OAL is when you are trying to determine a length to the lands. What is more important is the length from the base of the case to the ogive of the bullet. And the ogive is defined as the spot where the bullet is the same diameter of the lands, or where the lands actually contact the bullet(not the tip). The heavier the bullet, the farther out that distance normally is.

I never concern myself with the OAL of the ammo, as long as it fits in the magazine if the rifle is a repeater, and I wish to use it as such a repeater. Most of my rifles I shoot as a single shot with a follower so fitting in the magazine is irrelevant to me.

Measure your bullets to the ogive. You will get much more accurate results. Heck many polymer tipped bullets vary in actual overall bullet length, but are very precise in the length from the base of the bullet to the ogive of the bullet. And you will get varying overall lengths, yet you will get very accurate lengths to the ogive. Buy a measuring tool that measure to the ogive, and you will get more accurate ammo. Tom.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 07:45 PM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

The reason the book gives the length is so that you have a reference as to what length the finished round should be.

I would not pay much mind on the thoughts of what works best when it comes to oal. What might work best at the target range doesn't always work best in hunting conditions.

Reload it to the specifications of the reloading manual and keep one dummy round so you have something to set your die's to the next time you reload them.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 11:18 PM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

I use the Stoney Point OAL gauge. That gives me a measurement based on the ogive. I then check if that measurement will work in the magazine/clip of the rifle.

If it does, I begin load workup with the bullet seated .010" from the ogive contacting the rifling, and back it away .005" at a time when I find a bullet/charge that shoots well to see if my groups improve. It seems like most of my rifles shoot well .010" off.

It is worth mentioning that Barnes recommends seating their TSX bulets .030-.050" from the lands, and in my limited experience that works.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-19-2010, 02:37 PM
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Re: Bullet Seating Confusion

http://www.youtube.com/user/ammosmit.../0/kaA3GECbbVA

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