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I am reloading for my Remington 700 in a .223. I've posted questions before and everyone has been super helpful however I am running into an issue with figuring out my OAL. So I sized my brass then trimmed it the desired case length and then I seated a bullet and coloured it black with a sharpie and then put it into my rifle and closed the bolt but when I take it out I can't see any markings where the bullet is touching the lands, am I doing something wrong or is there another way of determining without needing extra equipment? I feel like the bullet needs to be seated deeper because the bolt doesn't close smoothly. Thank you in advance.
 

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The Shadow
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I seated a bullet and coloured it black with a sharpie and then put it into my rifle and closed the bolt but when I take it out I can't see any markings where the bullet is touching the lands, am I doing something wrong or is there another way of determining without needing extra equipment?
What bullet, and how deeply did you seat it?
Assuming it's not a short 50gr bullet, which likely would never hit the lands, then do this. JUST barely get the bullet started into the case, do your coloring if you wish, place it part way into the chamber, and ram the bolt home and lock it. Then slowly and carefully begin to open/extract the cartridge. Don't let it drop to the ground, then measure it.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Yeah, don't seat it as deep. It clearly is already deeper than what it will take to reach the lands.

But don't get frustrated. Seating bullets STRAIGHT in the case is more important than some exact seating depth or 'jump' to the lands, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What bullet, and how deeply did you seat it?
Assuming it's not a short 50gr bullet, which likely would never hit the lands, then do this. JUST barely get the bullet started into the case, do your coloring if you wish, place it part way into the chamber, and ram the bolt home and lock it. Then slowly and carefully begin to open/extract the cartridge. Don't let it drop to the ground, then measure it.
I'm using a plated 55gr bullet. I bought loose bullets of different types (like 12 of each) at my local gun store to try. And I currently have it set to what the book (Sierra 223 reloading data) says which is to have it as 2.260'' as the max since i was going to then find where to go from there. I reset it to be set to 2.260'' and try and go from there. I took out the bullet from the casing and don't recall what length it was before.
 

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Yeah, don't seat it as deep. It clearly is already deeper than what it will take to reach the lands.

But don't get frustrated. Seating bullets STRAIGHT in the case is more important than some exact seating depth or 'jump' to the lands, in my experience.
So should I set my depth to be 2.260"? I was also told to take store bought ammo and put a bullet in the press and then adjust the seating depth until it touches. And as for making it straight, I was also told to seat the bullet, then rotate it in the shell holder and re-press it so it'll straighten it. Is that the correct method?
 

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Your rifle will take a cartridge considerably longer than will fit in the magazine and still not touch the lands.

Best way to determine true over-all length with any bullet is let the rifle seat the bullet.
Check the fit of your choice of bullet in an unsized case neck. Deburr well. If the bullet is too loose in the neck, bend the mouth enough to get some resistance.
Smear a little 5 min epoxy INSIDE the unsized case neck, barely start the bullet in the case and carefully load it fully into the chamber and turn the bolt down for half hour or so.

The end of the throat is NOT a step, it is a long taper. Different bullet's ogives fit that taper better than others and there will be a slight difference of OAL between bullets.

Use that dummy in the sizing die. Back the die body off and the seater plug out and run your dummy into the die. Now, run the seater plug down until it stops on the bullet. THAT IS ZERO OFF THE LANDS.
Take the dummy out for future reference and turn the seater plug down as far off the lands you want to try. The threads are 32 pitch so each full turn is APPROX .030" Half turn is .015 and quarter turn is roughly .008 (actual pitch is .03125")
 
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MAXIMUM LOA. Length overall includes the length a primer that is not fully seated and LOA at MAXIMUM is when the ogive of the bullet touches the rifling in the leade of the chamber. Any longer causes chambering problems and pressure danger. You only need a reliable caliper and a flat ended rod that will fit in your bore and a pencil to determine MAXIMUM LOA for any specific bullet in your rifle.

You don't need any special tools to figure your MAXIMUM LOA for any particular bullet/rifle combo. Find the MAX LOA then shorten the LOA .005-.020" from MAX and check magazine function with a dummy round made to the length range. You may need shorter for magazine fit, function and feed.

To find your MAX LOA:

Empty rifle and close bolt, be sure the firing pin is in the cocked, retracted position and not protruding.

Insert a flat ended rod in from muzzle till it touches the bolt face. Rotate the rod against the bolt face and mark the muzzle end of the rod flush with the muzzle while rotating, use an extra fine sharpie or razor to mark the rod.

Remove the rod and rifle bolt. Drop your bullet of choice nose first into the chamber with the muzzle pointed down and slap the receiver a few times firmly with your hand to settle the bullet ogive in contact with the taper of the rifling lands starting in the chamber leade.

Place a pencil or short dowel in from the chamber and hold the pencil with about 1-2 pounds pressure (no more) against the base of the bullet. A helper is good for this while you do the next step.

With the bullet held in place, return the longer rod in from the muzzle and rotate it against the bullet tip while marking the rod flush at the muzzle again. Push the bullet out after marking the rod.

The distance between the 2 marks is the MAXIMUM LOA for that bullet in your rifle with the bullet touching the leade. Use a good dial caliper and measure the distance between the marks on the rod. Record the measurement and make a dummy load with the bullet to an LOA .005-.020" shorter.

Check magazine function, feed.

Best accuracy with jacketed bullets is usually .005-.020" shorter than the MAXIMUM LOA you have found.

Book LOA numbers are from the authors rifles and are just a recommendation. However do locate book data that indicates MINIMUM LOA and do not seat your bullet shorter than MINIMUM LOA recommendation as that will increase ballistic pressures of your loads significantly.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MAXIMUM LOA. Length overall includes....will increase ballistic pressures of your loads significantly.

Gary
I shortened up this quote, but wow, this is super helpful/explained. I will have to try this then. It seems much easier than adjusting and colouring and seeing where it hits. Especially since you can do this for different bullets as you've said. Thank you.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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All you have to do is BARELY seat the bullet in the neck of the case. Then use the gun to seat the bullet. That will be MAX for YOUR gun.

Don't seat reloads into the lands, unless you really know what you are doing. Get at least 0.020" deeper. You might even have to be deeper than that, to function through the magazine.

If you are a novice to reloading, then by far the simplest thing to do is use the 'book' over all length, and work your loads up with that number.

And, FMJ bullets are not known for accuracy. Don't be too disappointed if your first reloads with FMJs aren't that great. A 'regular' soft point or match bullet will likely be MUCH more accurate.

Get a few reloads under your belt, then we can help you fine-tune the process. Seating depth 'fiddling' is probably one of the LAST things to mess with.
 

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The Shadow
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So should I set my depth to be 2.260"? I was also told to take store bought ammo and put a bullet in the press and then adjust the seating depth until it touches.
The book OAL is for the bullet stated in the manual, so that it will safely chamber IN ANY widely known chamber spec. Not specific to what your rifles throat is, and not specific to the bullet you are using.

As far as the depth/pressure comment, don't worry about that in the 223 with regular powders. In order to get to the point where case capacity is decreased such that burning rates accelerate that quickly; you couldn't get there with a 50-55gr bullet.
Seating deeper will effectively lower pressures, because the gas will bleed-off around the bullet, before it can engrave into the lands.
 

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If you meant Onondaga's warning, it was for pressure rise from touching the lands. That's usually on the order of 20%. It doesn't just jump up to that number when contact occurs. Dr. Lloyd Brownell showed back in the 1960's that it actually starts increasing before then as the escape path for bypass gas is cut off by it narrowing the annular opening between the bullet and throat. I figure around -0.020" to -0.030" from the throat usually eliminates it with most pointed bullets. Brownell showed the pressure minimus for a round nose bullet didn't occur until the bullet was a whole quarter inch back from the lands (see plot below).

The amount of the lands for best accuracy depends on the chamber and bullet. For longer nose VLD bullets, Berger found some guns needed as much as 0.150" jump for best accuracy. For shorter ogives, it is generally less. Numbers like Onondaga gave if 0,005" to 0.020" are commonly mentioned, but you should explore well outside that. Writing in the 1995 Precision Shooting Reloading Guide, the late Dan Hackett, a competitive benchrest shooter, described a 220 Swift rifle that would not group tighter than about 0.5" at 100 yards on average (5-shot groups that ranged from 0.375" to 0.700"). He always loaded bullets to jump 0.020" to the throat. Then one day he accidentally turned his micrometer seating die the wrong way for a bullet change and wound up with 20 rounds loaded to jump 0.050" before he noticed the error. He considered pulling them and reseating them, but decided to save time and just shoot them for practice, not expecting much accuracy. To his astonishment, those 20 rounds gave him two 0.25" groups and two true bugholes in the 1's (what benchresters call groups over 0.100" and under 0.200"). So, you don't really know what will be most accurate until you try.

Rotating the cartridge as you load it to keep the bullet straight is a technique that has been around for a long time. However, I never got it to work very well. It helped a little, but not enough. Two more effective approaches:

One is to use a Lyman M die to put a seating step in the case mouth to set the bullet in so it is straight up and down when it first contacts the seater. When they start in straight they tend to stay straight. Depending on the dimensions of your chamber, you may or may not need to iron the step out with the crimp shoulder of the seating die, but if you don't need to, just leave it to act as a spacer to help center the neck in the chamber.

The other is to use a high-end seating die that will tend to minimize and even correct straight seating error. The Redding Competition Seating Die is the best one I've found so far. My results with it echo German Salazar's findings.
 

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I think it's Hornady that make's a tool for measuring that length. Sounds like a good tool to me but I don't use it. The length I think your talking about is from the bolt face to the tip of the loaded round. I use a cleaning rod to measure that length. Close the bolt and slide the cleaning rod down the barrel, plug the end of the rod. When it reach's the face of the closed bolt, make a mark on the cleaning rod. Next remove the bolt and drop a bullet into the chamber, hold it to the lands with a pencil. Run the cleaning rod down again, it will stop at the tip of the bullet, mark the rod and measure between the marks. That is the overall loaded length, OLL. One catch here, that will be the length with the bullet touching the land. Load a dummy that length and chamber it. Around the ogive you should see small mark's around the bullet. Do that till your not seeing the land marks on the bullet anymore. At that point you'll be just off the lands.

I just had a rifle I did that with for a friend cause a problem. I think the problem is the bullet. It's a Hornady EXL-D in a 7mm mag, Rem 700. Worked fine till I tried to feed from the magazine. The bullet with the plastic tip esily fit in the magazine but when I tried t feed it, the tip appeared to be hitting the top of the action inside and failed to chamber. Took the seating depth down to recommended in the Hornady manual and the same thing still happened. started working the bullet down more until it fed properly. I've never seen that happen before! But then I seldom use bullet's with the plastic tip, only the 75gr V-Max in a 243 and it doesn't happn ther. The 243 is also a 700 Rem.
 

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The Shadow
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.... However do locate book data that indicates MINIMUM LOA and do not seat your bullet shorter than MINIMUM LOA recommendation as that will increase ballistic pressures of your loads significantly.

Gary
If you meant Onondaga's warning, it was for pressure rise from touching the lands.
I remember Brownell's work on seating deeper, and at the end of his post, this quote is what had me confused. Unless he goes REALLY deeply, I don't think he's going to raise pressures.
 
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There is a BIG difference between OAL (Over all Length) and Seating Depth.

OAL is nothing but telling you how SHORT it has to be to fit the shortest of magazines. It means nothing else.

Make a dummy by letting the gun seat the bullet as described above.

Picture 1-- Dummy on the left was made in Sako Rhiimaki .222 Rem. Loaded round on the right barely fits in the Rhiimaki magazine.

Picture 2--OVER ALL LENGTH

Picture 3-- ZERO clearance on the lands...that is as long as the cartridge can get and there is no jump (with that bullet).

Picture 4-- Read 'how far off the lands' directly from the calipers. This .222 fits a Sako Rhiimaki magazine.

Make a dummy for every bullet you shoot and it tells you exactly (within .001) where the throat stops the bullet on THAT day. After a thousand rounds, make another dummy and compare to get throat advancement wear.

There are no 'tools' needed but digital calipers and a seating guage and all measurements are direct. No marking and measuring with a yardstick. :)

BTW-- Holding the parts together and photography at the same time is a job for an octopus. ;)
 

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