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Reloading Berger Bullets


Newb question about min. OAL

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Unread 08-29-2013, 03:15 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Newb question about min. OAL

Hi All,

I've got what may be a stupid question regarding OAL. I recently started reloading (30-30 and 9mm up until now), and just within the last couple weeks started reloading for my Savage 110 in 30-06.

I am using Sierra 180gr Pro Hunter bullets, Varget powder (I know, not the best for the heavier projectiles in 30-06, but I have it on hand), and CCI 200 primers.

I referenced the latest Lee manual, and it lists the minimum OAL for a 180gr jacketed bullet using Varget powder at 3.300".

I loaded a couple rounds, and at that length the bolt is very hard to close, and they are "jammed" into the lands. (I can pull them back out and see marks on the bullet) So, I started backing down on seating depth, and found that about 3.280" is about my max OAL with this particular bullet that isn't touching the lands (I don't have a COAL guage unfortunately). Is this pretty typical that a particular rifle wouldn't be able to handle a 30-06 cartridge at a OAL indicated in a loading manual?

My plan is just to start at a low powder charge with a seating depth just off the lands, and work up from there, but I'm just curious if something isn't adding up because I've read that most factory rifles will accomodate an OAL as long as it will fit in the magazine (which on the savage is waaaaay bigger than 3.300"

If anyone doesn't mind sharing, I'd love to see the load data from the Sierra manual for this particular bullet in a 30-06 cartridge.

Hope this ramble makes sense. I appreciate any assistance. I've really learned a lot since finding this site.

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Unread 08-29-2013, 06:03 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mountians of SW NC, near Asheville
Posts: 1,595
Re: Newb question about min. OAL

Book OAL is what the book researchers used to develop the listed data in their rifle, if book OAL works well for you it's an accident. In 47years of reloading I haven't yet even looked at a book seating length....maybe next year. ?

Seating close to the lands increases pressure, seating jammed into the lands increases it quite a bit.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 06:15 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Re: Newb question about min. OAL

Roger that. Thanks for the reply.
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Unread 08-30-2013, 01:18 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: New germany, NS
Posts: 506
Re: Newb question about min. OAL

what I do is for every lot number of bullets I make a "dummy reference round" To do this size a dummy brass (no primer or powder), lube inside the neck then insert the bullet just enough to hold in. Then I put it in the chamber and close the bolt (always do this in a safe way of course), the dummy is now at full length to your rifleing put in the seating die with the set screw all the way up screw the set down on the dummy then screw it down 15thou.
Now put it in your mag and cycle to verify that it will cycle relably if it does then I place it in the box for seating die set up referance
Once I have come to the end of my supply of that bullet/lot number I pull the bullet and load it for the big bang, no need to size that piece of brass again just insert another bullet and make a new dummy reference round.
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