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#4111907 - 05/24/10 Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal  
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tresmon Offline
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Chapter 3: "Where’s my rilflings and where should I put them?"

So having prepped and primed our brass & sorted our bullets into identical lots now we need to know at what overall length we need to seat the bullet into the case. How do we figure that out?
Well there are a few ways to establish a great starting point, and after that during our load refinement the rifle will tell us what it wants- exactly what it wants.

So there are a number of ways of determining at what overall length (OAL) a loaded round’s bullet is engaging the riflings. I’m gonna cover my favorite. I feel it is the quickest and best way.


It is done by using a cleaning rod, a blunt patch jag and two rod stops. If your unfamiliar with rod stops, they are just that. Small round collars that clamp onto you rod to allow it only to go into the bore so far. This is normally used when stroking a bore with JB bore cleaner, ISSO paste, etc. so that the particular jag, brush or felt pellets your using to JB with do not pop out of the muzzle causing you to have to re-affix your JB/ISSO holder.

Rod stops at Brownells.com

There is a fine all stainless steel rig made for this purpose sold at Sinclair, but it is a good bit more expensive than simple & cheap cleaning rod stops.
Here they are...

Here's mine I'm referring to in this instructional:
[Linked Image]


Okay. First let’s wipe off the lugs on our bolt as well as the locking lugs of the action to ensure they are engaging bare metal to bare metal, without powder residue, grit or carbon pinned in between which would throw our measurement off by many thousandths. Make sure the bolt face is clean as well.

Close the bolt on an EMPTY chamber and to make this is an idiot proof operation let’s go ahead and put the trigger safety on. The following actions are easiest done by sitting the butt of the rifle on the floor with the weapon vertical. Bungee the barrel to the back of a chair or workbench (etc.) so it’s held in place. I in the past also have sat in a chair, placed the rifle butt on the floor and held the rifle vertical between my knees. Either needfully frees both hands to manipulate the rod and rod stops.

Now with the rod stops and blunt jag already on the cleaning rod go ahead and insert the cleaning rod into the muzzle end of the barrel and down the bore until the blunt jag is resting snugly against the bolt face.

Now we need to “zero out” our rod stops. We do this by holding the cleaning rod into the bore and snug against the bolt face. While holding there slide BOTH rod stops down snugly against the muzzle and tighten down the thumbscrews locking them in place. GAS GUNNER: pushing the rod against the bolt face you will feel it spring back a little then stop solidly. Make sure you have it pushed to a solid stop past the springiness.

Here's a picture of my stop's zero'd out on my rifle:
[Linked Image]



(What’s that you say? Sexy brake? Thanks I just made it this past week. It is my first ever and I thought it up, designed it and made it all while… well as i was making it! I tried it today. It works GREAT, but evidently it’s louder than the cries from hell. After I fired the first shot, everybody started backing away from the firing line! Great, they were a distraction anyway… : )

Now we need to take a resized, UNPRIMED (as in no primer) case, containing NO POWDER and seat a bullet long. Say .200” longer than book spec for the bullet you are using. Take this dummy round and gently slide it into the chamber. Bring the bolt up VERY gently behind it until you just feel the bullet touch the riflings in the bore. Now take a good rubber band and loop it over the scope and onto the back of the bolt to hold it in a forward position.

This insertion of the dummy round needs a gentle touch with both your hands, and in the holding of the bolt by the rubber band.. With the keen angle of the bullets ogive and the gentle angle of the lead-in on the rifling it is EASY to jam the bullet on deeper into the riflings and not know it.

Avoid doing this, but no need to have worrisome sweat bead up on your forehead. If you do jam it in an extra couple of thousandths it’s not the end of the world. We are only trying to find a good estimation here. We are going to refine this overall cartridge length as the LAST step in our load work-up. We just need a good start point for now.

[Linked Image]


GAS GUNNERS: your buffer spring serves as your rubber band. Point the weapon muzzle down. Drop the dummy round gently into the chamber. Now SLOWLY & GENTLY ease the bolt forward until it just touches the back of the dummy round. Gently ease your hand off the charging handle smoothly transferring the holding power to the buffer spring.

Now again with the weapon fixed in a vertical position slide the cleaning rod back down the bore until the blunt jag delicately comes to rest on the meplat of the bullet. Now loosen and slide the lower stop (the one already closest to the muzzle) down until it’s snug against the muzzle and tighten the thumb screw.

[Linked Image]

Remove the cleaning rod from the bore being careful not to bump the stops out of position. Take your calipers and measure the distance BETWEEN the rod stops.

[Linked Image]


Write down that measurement. Now repeat the whole process two more times (so long as your not getting greatly differing measurements. If your getting more than a few thousandths difference between each measurement something is wrong and you'll not end up with good data.) and average all three. VIOLIN! You have the measurement for the cartridge overall length at which that bullet is just lightly touching the rilfings. Well done!

Now this is all well & good, but there is one critical thing you need to remember that we learned from Chapter 2: not all meplats are the same! This measurement is only good for THIS ONE PARTICULAR BULLET. Because we measured from IT'S MEPLAT, and seldom do two bullets have the same meplat squareness and length (microscopically speaking.)

So what do we do? We record the measurement off the ogive, which is the same from bullet to bullet and use that figure from now on. How do we do that? Slow down- I’m getting there.

Now take the dummy round that you did the Rod/Stops work with and place it in the loading press. Thread in your seating die to the lock ring as per normal. Back your seating stem or micrometer WAY WAY out. Now raise the dummy round up into the die all the way. While holding sufficient pressure on the press handle, begin screwing down the seating stem until you feel it touch the bullet.

Now raise the press handle removing the dummy round from the die. Screw in the stem just a little and raise the dummy again & seat the bullet to that depth the stem is currently at.

Now take the dummy round out and measure it, case head to meplat.
[Linked Image]


Continue this seating the bullet in the case a little more each time until you get it to the exact length you came up with from the cleaning rod stops routine. Now we’ll get that ogive measurement your jumping up & down for.

So get out your calipers, comparator body & the proper insert you that learned about in Chapters 1 & 2. This time you’ll only need one body (holder) and one caliber appropriate insert. Now open the jaws and attach the comparator assembly to one of the jaws.
[img]http://i664.photobucket.com/albums/vv6/TresMonCeret/sniperhidech3013.jpg[/img]

Now measure the dummy round we have set up to our case-head-to-meplat over all length. The comparator however measures off the ogive instead of the meplat. We CAN use this measurement bullet to bullet to bullet for this particular bullet make, weight and style we are working with and it will maintain good consistency. (210 VLD depicted here.)
[img]http://i664.photobucket.com/albums/vv6/TresMonCeret/sniperhidech3012.jpg[/img]

[ADDENDUM: if you shoot a lot to the tune of eventually shooting out and having to replace barrels, or your won over to my camp of trying to make your handloads as perfect as you can- SAVE THIS DUMMY ROUND. Label it, and put it in a safe place ot be used later.

As you shoot your rifle, the very start edge of the rifling will be eroded back from the "blow torch effect" of the hot gases coming from the mouth of the case as well as a piece of metal, aka "bullet" slamming into them time after time. This to explain that the very beginning of your rifling slowly moves towards the muzzle as it is eroded/worn away.

If your serious about accuracy- thought you have found THE perfect load you will have to "chase the rifling" as it's called. Say you found your rifle shoots amazing with a certain load and the bullet .008" jammed into the riflings. Well after a lot of rounds in a non-barrel burner cartridge, or some in a known barrel burner, though you load the OAL of the round the same it will not be the same in the end because the riflings are actually moving on you!

Hence as the barrel wears your your .008" jam is actually now only .004. then it's only .001 months later it is actually .003 JUMP. So to maintain that original .008" jam you'll have to keep actually loading you ammo longer and longer as you "chase(the wearing away of)the riflings." Periodically come back and repeat this initial OAL test to see where the start of the rifling is NOW, and you can again maintain that perfect .008 jammed in bullet to rifling relation you found in your load development.]


Lastly- one final note and word of caution. Now that we know at what measurement OFF THE OGIVE our bullet –touches- the riflings, we will start our load development .010” jammed into the riflings. That is .010” LONGER than the dimension we figured up through this described process. That number was just touching the riflings. Most rifles like to be about .010” in (“Jammed”) This is the OAL we will start our powder make & charge test’s with. (Next chapter.)

However it is IMPERATIVE you understand the following. On occasion the rifle will prefer a different bullet/rifling relation. Perhaps it be .015” jammed, or .030” out of the rifling totally or .030” “jump.” But START ALL LOAD WORK JAMMED! This is because in the next chapter we are going to learn what actual MAX load for this rifle is with a given powder and this bullet. Being jammed into the riflings increases pressure! So as long as we learn our max powder charge while jammed, we are okay. HOWEVER, if we were to (think we) learn(ed) what max charge was without our bullet jammed and then jam it into the riflings, coupled with a max powder charge in search of a most accurate bullet setting we could blow up our rifle, loose both our eyes, our hearing a good portion of our face and destroy the rifle- that is if we come out of it alive. That all sounds scary, which is a good thing.

But so long as you START JAMMED and work towards JUMP your safe as can be. NEVER start jumping and move towards jammed when near or at MAX loads, no,no, no.

Well that covers determining where the bullet is in relation to the rifling and getting a good .010” jammed starting point. Next chapter is on experimenting with powders and charges.


-Tres
NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes available.. Please inquire

John 14:6
AIH 300 L
 
#4112401 - 05/24/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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HawkI Offline
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Thanks for the pictures, and the original write-up. Thieves abound at times.

What are your feelings on having a false-barrel made (basically the shoulder, the neck and throat), then seating the bullet in a fired case to find the jam?

My gunsmith makes one cut to match and it seems to work very well.


" 'Hey look at me!' Who gives a schit about YOU. There's ten other guys out there".
Dick Butkus

#4112444 - 05/24/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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woods Offline
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Hey tm

There is a commercial product that does the same as your cleaning rod with stops

[Linked Image]

it has a detachable brass tip

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

and 2 well made collets with metal allen head screws

[Linked Image]

makes for accurate measurements between the metal surfaces

[Linked Image]

Best $25.00 I ever spent.


"The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it" - Thomas Jefferson

Criminals prefer unarmed victims and dictators prefer unarmed citizens
#4113655 - 05/25/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: woods]  
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tresmon Offline
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Woods,
Yeah, thats a nice set up. I have a link where to buy a set up like yours just above the first pic in the article.

Good times,
Tres


-Tres
NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes available.. Please inquire

John 14:6
#4115138 - 05/25/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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woods Offline
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Not exactly, the Sinclair you put up a link to is different. They don't show in the picture but in the description they allude to a delrin body

Quote
The Sinclair Seating Depth Tool will work with most bolt action, single shot and AR type rifles. The tool includes a Delrin action guide for most bolt-action rifles (Remingtons, Savages, Winchesters, and Rugers), a stainless steel measuring shaft, two stainless steel stop collars and complete illustrated instructions.


which looks like this

[Linked Image]

you insert it through the rear of the receiver. Better be good at math. The little plastic knurl nuts wouldn't tighten enough to stay in place (notice the crude attempt at making a slot in the top for a screwdriver frown ), it fit very few of my rifles and was a total PITA. And $33.00!

Last edited by woods; 05/25/10.

"The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it" - Thomas Jefferson

Criminals prefer unarmed victims and dictators prefer unarmed citizens
#4118594 - 05/27/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: woods]  
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selmer Offline
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woods, I have that set up and I'm curious what's different between yours and mine. Mine tightens down fine, works well on all of my bolt-action rifles, which are M70, M77, M700, M788, and M110. Granted, they aren't oddball bolt actions, but in using Sinclair's product and can't see how it wouldn't work well.


Selmer

"Daddy, can you sometime maybe please go shoot a water buffalo so we can have that for supper? Please? And can I come along? Does it taste like deer?"
- my 3-year old daughter smile
#4120805 - 05/27/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: selmer]  
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woods Offline
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Hey Selmer, most of the guns I used it on were Sakos, Steyr, Sauer, Matos with the occasional Remington, Browning or Winchester. If it works for you, that is great and I did get it to work on a few but I maintain that it was much more a PITA than the method I'm using now.

I might pull it out and take some pics if I get a chance and go through the instructions. I remember you have to get the bullet ot the lands and hold it there while you lower the rod down to the base of the bullet, which meant holding the gun muzzle down while taking measurments. Is that correct?


"The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it" - Thomas Jefferson

Criminals prefer unarmed victims and dictators prefer unarmed citizens
#4121560 - 05/28/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: woods]  
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selmer Offline
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That's why I listed what I used it in, I wondered if it would work on European actions or was more fit for the generic Remchestavages that many of Sinclair's customers are shooting, particularly high-grade M700 style actions. As for the muzzle down, yep, that's part of the deal, but I never thought it was a big problem. If I didn't own the Sinclair product I'd be adapting tresmon's method.


Selmer

"Daddy, can you sometime maybe please go shoot a water buffalo so we can have that for supper? Please? And can I come along? Does it taste like deer?"
- my 3-year old daughter smile
#4121564 - 05/28/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: woods]  
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selmer Offline
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That's why I listed what I used it in, I wondered if it would work on European actions or was more fit for the generic Remchestavages that many of Sinclair's customers are shooting, particularly high-grade M700 style actions. As for the muzzle down, yep, that's part of the deal, but I never thought it was a big problem. If I didn't own the Sinclair product I'd be adapting tresmon's method.


Selmer

"Daddy, can you sometime maybe please go shoot a water buffalo so we can have that for supper? Please? And can I come along? Does it taste like deer?"
- my 3-year old daughter smile
#4126777 - 05/30/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: selmer]  
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Originally Posted by selmer
That's why I listed what I used it in, I wondered if it would work on European actions or was more fit for the generic Remchestavages that many of Sinclair's customers are shooting, particularly high-grade M700 style actions. As for the muzzle down, yep, that's part of the deal, but I never thought it was a big problem. If I didn't own the Sinclair product I'd be adapting tresmon's method.


I have and use the Sinclair tool and like it a lot. I used tresmon's method for years using a 1/4" oak dowel and a sharp pencil. Either way works. The key to any measuring is consistency and a common datum point. In the case of the Sinclair tool, the datum point is the aft end of the delrin bushing.


#4155427 - 06/09/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: HawkI]  
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Originally Posted by HawkI
What are your feelings on having a false-barrel made (basically the shoulder, the neck and throat), then seating the bullet in a fired case to find the jam?

My gunsmith makes one cut to match and it seems to work very well.


" 'Hey look at me!' Who gives a schit about YOU. There's ten other guys out there".
Dick Butkus

#4170926 - 06/15/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: HawkI]  
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Marcus Offline
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Hey, I like all the pictures! Four or five years I got bored and bought all the fancy measuring devices from the Sinclair cataloge. I think the OL gauges are Davison. I bought from .224 to .458 and used them for about a year. Then I went back to my old trial and error method with a "Magic Marker" on the bullet that has served me well for about forty years. I can do it a whole lot faster! Occasionally I shoot on out past a thousand yards and nail what I am shooting at. So, I guess that ought to be long enough range for me. Keep posting all the nice pics!, I like 'em!
Good shooting,
Marcus.

#4460662 - 09/30/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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Not all magazines allow you to start "jammed". Tikka's and Sako's come to mind right away. You must start in the "jumped" mode. Not unless you feed it one at a time which isn't the purpose of a magazine fed rifle.


The best remedy for "fake news" is your "clicker".
#4473065 - 10/04/10 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: bigwhoop]  
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WGM Offline
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Originally Posted by bigwhoop
Not all magazines allow you to start "jammed". Tikka's and Sako's come to mind right away. You must start in the "jumped" mode. Not unless you feed it one at a time which isn't the purpose of a magazine fed rifle.


It never ceases to amaze me that some rifles are engineered without taking the entire system into consideration. As far as I'm concerned, there should never be an excuse for a production rifle to have a magazine that doesn't allow cartridges with bullets seated at least slightly into the lands to easily fit & cycle thru the magazine.

You can ALWAYS choose to not seat out into the lands, but to have to turn your repeater into a single-shot in order to do it is simply absurd.


-WGM-
#5298990 - 06/03/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: WGM]  
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Unable to determine due to vel...
Not sure if this question will get picked up since this is a sticky. If you load develope jammed and begin to see pressure signs at a given charge what do you then do? Do you then seat for a jump or back off the load or both?


Wanted: Vintage Remington or Winchester hats, patches, shirts. PM me if you have something.

#5642453 - 09/22/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: woods]  
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Originally Posted by woods
Hey tm

There is a commercial product that does the same as your cleaning rod with stops

[Linked Image]

it has a detachable brass tip

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

and 2 well made collets with metal allen head screws

[Linked Image]

makes for accurate measurements between the metal surfaces

[Linked Image]

Best $25.00 I ever spent.


Who makes the tool you are referencing here? I see the Hornady tool also but I assume your talking about the one withe the SS stops and used with a cleaning rod for $25?

Little help here....................

#5714635 - 10/15/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: Lawdwaz]  
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vapodog Offline
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where is rcamuglia when you need him?

#5714757 - 10/15/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: vapodog]  
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Ta Daaaaa!

Hey Vapo! I've read tresmon's and woods' method for finding the MCOAL with a particular bullet, and it's pretty much what I do as well. Tresmon's instructional threads are great. They are also "stickys" at snipershide.com.

My variation is that I don't seat the bullet into a dummy case or perform the measurement with the barrel vertical.

I use my Harris bipod or put the barrel in my bench vise so that the rifle is horizontal, set the rod stops as described, then simply drop a bullet into the chamber and let it "find" the rifling. I then insert a ball point pen backwards into the chamber till it meets the bullet base and hold it in with my left hand. I push against it pretty hard. At the same time, I run the cleaning rod with the bolt stops on it slowly down into the barrel till the blunt jag touches the bullet tip, set the innermost rod stop, then measure.

It's then easy to loosen the stops and push the bullet out of the lands and start the process again for a couple of more "confirmation" measurements.

I then use that bullet seated in the first case I actually load seated to the OAL I measured. When that is done, I take a measurement off of the ogive of that specific cartridge and record it.

It has worked well for me!


Originally Posted by Bristoe
The people wringing their hands over Trump's rhetoric don't know what time it is in America.
#5714765 - 10/15/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: rcamuglia]  
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rcamuglia Offline
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To answer lawdwaz's question, my method and tools are cheaper. The rod stops were about 3$ each at brownells!


Originally Posted by Bristoe
The people wringing their hands over Trump's rhetoric don't know what time it is in America.
#5716558 - 10/15/11 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: rcamuglia]  
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vapodog Offline
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You mean you use fewer "thingys"?

#6566974 - 06/04/12 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tominboise]  
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Ramzi Offline
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shooting range?

#9015532 - 07/11/14 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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RaceTire Offline
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Tres,
I like your recommendations/instructions and appreciate the time you have taken to share them with all of us. Question about finding the seating depth of a particular combination. What do you think about using the bullet and a fired brass with the neck dinged down to hold tension on the bullet as it slides back into the brass when cycled into the chamber and then carefully backing it out and measuring with a comparator?

Thanks
Dave

#9180912 - 09/15/14 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: RaceTire]  
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willflow Offline
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New reloader here. Why not close the bolt all the way? Are you not getting a true measurement by measuring in between the stops? What am I missing here? Sorry for the noob ?s . I am trying to work up loads for my 300 rum right now and I am loving all this info. Thanks.


If you don't have anything nice to say, you must be talking about Hilary Clinton.

When it's time to bury your guns it's time to dig em up.
#9183314 - 09/16/14 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: willflow]  
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2 rod stops. Got it.


If you don't have anything nice to say, you must be talking about Hilary Clinton.

When it's time to bury your guns it's time to dig em up.
#9722819 - 03/29/15 Re: Hand Loading for Long Range 3: Finding Start Oal [Re: tresmon]  
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MachoKing Offline
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The rod stops are on backorder...ugh.

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