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Hornady LNL OAL guage

 
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  #1  
Old 06-12-2011, 05:31 PM
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Hornady LNL OAL guage

Does anyone else think this thing sucks? I can't ever get the same reading twice and the bullet ALWAYS sticks in the barrel.

Is there anything better?
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 06:31 PM
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Location: Salmon, Idaho
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Re: Hornady LNL OAL guage

The original Stoney Point was better made. You can replace the plastic push rod piece with a metal one and that helps. If you are sticking the bullet in the lands then you are pushing too hard, you just need to touch the lands and then be careful not to over tighten the brass set screw cuz it will dimple the plastic push rod and then you will get exactly the same measurement every time. I make my own modified cases from brass fired in my chamber.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2011, 06:33 PM
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Re: Hornady LNL OAL guage

It doesn't suck too bad. But, you should be aware of a few things.

It's normal for the bullet to stick and it's easy enough to knock it back out with a cleaning rod. But, you have to use a little "feel" and avoid jamming it hard into the lands. Even though it sticks, you should still get pretty consistent results.

While measuring, you want firm pressure foreward on the outer shaft to keep the shoulder of the modified case against the shoulder in your chamber and a little less pressure on the inner shaft against the base of the bullet to have the ogive just touching the lands.

You should easily be able to get within .001-.002" consistency. The precise number you come up with isn't the point because it's only an arbitrary starting point for a load workup for a given rifle/bullet combination. You may start off wanting your bullet .010" off the lands. But, your final load workup may give you best accuracy at .140" off the lands, or .015" into the lands.

Similarly, your throat may errode over time and you may need to seat your bullets out farther to offset that.

Don't forget that you have to re-measure for every bullet make/model that you want to load because they all have different shaped ogives.

You really need to measure the OAL of the bullet in the modified case with a comparator such as the one made by Hornady in order to measure the length from the ogive rather than the meplat. Where the ogive contacts the lands is what counts in seating depth and tends to be much more consistent than the meplat.

Even if you measure consistently using the OAL gauge and a comparator and allow for exactly .010" jump according to your measurements.... you aren't necessarily a precise .010" jump from the lands because the datum line formed by the comparator insert for your caliber isn't necessarily the precise inside diameter of the lands in your bore. ...just about every rifle bore has a slightly different inside diameter and geometry of the lands and grooves.

That doesn't matter because you're only looking for a valid starting point for your load workup.

However, you do need to take into account headspace. And, here's why...

The HNL modified cases aren't exactly fireformed in your chamber. I have measured some to actually be shorter in length than SAAMI tolerances.

Suppose you have an extra short modified case for your OAL gauge and you measure from the case head to the ogive and calculate .000" jump. For illustrative purposes, let's say the modified case is .250" shorter from the shoulder to the head than your actual once-fired, neck-sized case. When you seat your bullet in the actual case with the measured OAL, you will end up with .250" jump rather than .000". This is because they are both the same length from case head to ogive. But, the modified case was .250" shorter from case head to shoulder.

As such, you also need the Hornady HNL head space comparator inserts and you should measure your modified case from the datum line on the shoulder to the case head and do the same for a fire formed case and add in the difference for your OAL.

If it sounds confusing, it's not really. But, I may not have explained it well. So, draw yourself some pictures and take some measurements and you may come to those same conclusions.

If you still aren't convinced that this is the best method, the you can simply create a dumby round with no powder or primer. Use light neck tension and seat the bullet too long. color the ogive with a sharpie and gently close it in the chamber. If it doesn't close, then seat it deeper and repeat until it just closes and doesn't leave marks on the ogive. Then measure the OAL to the ogive, and/or use the dumby round to adjust your seating die.

Sinclair and others make various tools that accomplish the same thing. They all have their drawbacks.

Hope this helps.

-- richard
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2011, 02:01 AM
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Re: Hornady LNL OAL guage

Quote:
Originally Posted by rscott5028 View Post
The HNL modified cases aren't exactly fireformed in your chamber. I have measured some to actually be shorter in length than SAAMI tolerances.
This is why I make my own. For what amounted to $13 in tooling and a sacrificed piece of brass I can make as many modified cases as I want and they exactly match the chamber of the rifle they were fired in.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:31 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 148
Re: Hornady LNL OAL guage

Thanks guys, good info. I'll keep trying. I just hate sticking the cleaning rod down the barrel to knock the bullet out.

I have some carbon poles from an old ground blind. I think I will start using one of those to knock out the bullet. They have no metal parts, so it should be less wear and tear on the barrel.
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