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seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

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Unread 07-31-2005, 06:37 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Yakima, Washington
Posts: 3,775
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?


Sometimes a picture makes things easier to understand. This is a picture of the Stoney point guage and a case that has been modified to work on the end of the guage.

This is the info from their web site as to the thread specs. etc.
Q: What is the thread size for the OAL Gauge? I am an experienced machinist and would like to modify my own brass. Can you provide the proper drill bit and tap?
A: The thread size is 5/16" x 36. This is a special size drill and tap that we can provide to experienced machinists. Contact us for details.

What I do with mine is to use the case on the end of the guage and then I insert a long 1/4" dowell from the muzzle. This, done carefully and consistently, gives you a better feel for the contact of the bullet and the lands. With a little practice it's easy to hold the guage and case in the chamber, use the same hand to move the bullet up to the lands, against the slight pressure you have on the dowell with your other hand. You will develope a feel that will be very consistent. Do this several times, checking the length each time for an average. Also this way there is never a time when you need to get a bullet out of the lands that won't come out by gravity alone.
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Unread 08-01-2005, 06:35 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northamptonshire England
Posts: 676
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

I should have explained that the same bullet used for the measuring is used in making up the dummy round. a comparator reading is taken from the base of the case to the ogive and recorded for reference.
As most bullet seaters seat against the bullet ogive, the variation in bullet length will have no affect on where the ogive contacts the rifling. Even though the actual overall length of each loaded round may be will be different because of this variation, the distance from the base of the case to where the ogive contacts the rifling will always be the same.

This method has never failed me and is the most accurate way of obtaining OAL to the lands, it also allows you to seat any bullet any amount into the lands initially without having to use modified or fireformed cases. All my buddies have adopted this method and have remarked on how much more accurate it is over the current bunch of overall gauges.


"I mean't to shoot the pike but the duck got in the way"
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Unread 08-01-2005, 07:54 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,787
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

I have used about every method known.

1. Jam seating long bullet "jams" the bullet about .030-040 into the lands. Not best way.

2. Stoney point is expensive with specific modified cartridges for each you reload and tool breaks so easy.
Got two stoney points will sell cheap.

3. Best (most accurate) method and tool is the sinclair bullet seating depth tool ($28.95) from Sinclair int. www.sinclairintl.com. No extra $5.95 special cartidges to buy and nothing to break. Measures off the ogive and right at "touching the lands". This is the tool used by most 1k BR guys. One person can easily and accurately measure exactly where lands are and track throat erosion.


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Unread 08-02-2005, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southwestern Montana
Posts: 294
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

ss7mm - Thanks a picture is worth a thousand words.

CP - Thanks, now I'm on the same page as you.

BH - Thanks for the info and links. I might have to get one of those.
If you're gonna be dumb you better be tough.
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Unread 08-03-2005, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 198
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

i use the sinclair,it gets you real close.
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Unread 11-01-2005, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Mouth of Hobble Crk Canyon, Utah
Posts: 630
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

Just want to make sure I am doing this correctly. My Rem 700 in 30-06 has such a long magazine well and leade that I never felt I could load against the lands. I typically load so that .308" or more of the bullet is in the neck. My most accurate load is either the Nosler 180 Accbond or Ballistic tip in front of 57.6 gr of H4350, Win case and lg rifle primer. My barrel is turned down to a toothpick (.550" at the muzzle) so I'm very happy when I can reach MOA or better. This load gives me that or just above with the OAL at 3.395". The past few days, I've experimented with a "range rod" technique. I take my Dewey cleaning rod with no tip on and carefully insert into the muzzle until it touches the "cocked" face of the bolt. I carefully wrap some masking tape around the rod at the muzzle. Now, I remove the bolt, insert a 180 gr Nosler BT into the leade and lightly hold it there with a shorter section of cleaning rod in my left hand. With my right hand, I reinsert the Dewey rod into the muzzle again, until it touches the tip of the bullet. The rifle is laying on its side, muzzle to the right and breech to the left. With this setup I can move the bullet into and out of the leade fractions of an inch at a time. This allows me to get the right feel of the bullet set against the lands. When I feel it is right, I again place masking tape around the rod at the muzzle. Once I remove the rod, I can measure with my calipers, the distance of the leading edges of the tape. I come up with 3.556" with a clean barrel. If I seat a bullet to 3.555" that should give me a safe margin with a dirty barrel, which I prefer to hunt with. Now, If I seat that far out, I figure I have about .200" of the bullet seated into the neck. I've read somewhere here on LRH.com that as long as you have 1/2 or .154" seated into the neck, I should be ok. I'll probably back off my powder charge 1 full grain and go to the range with a bunch of prepped cases and my Harrell's Premium powder measure and start playing around with seating depth, working deeper into the case.

Any opinions or concerns?

Big Al
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Unread 11-02-2005, 06:39 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northamptonshire England
Posts: 676
Re: seating depth by oal guage or chamber method?

What you are doing is basically sound, but you are leaving yourself open to inaccurate results by using masking tape as a datum.

It is quite possible for you to place your tape .005"-.010" from the rifles muzzel, alternatively you could butt it up against the muzzel by the same amount.
When taking your reading with your vernier calipre you could depress your tape datum by a few thousandths or even by shy of your tape by a few thousandths.

Do this twice and you effectively double your error and in the extreme you could end up .030" or more away the true dimension.

This is why you must use a solid adjustable collars that can be locked onto the rod.
Precise measurements can then be taken between the collars giving you a much more accurate and true reading.
Check out this link:


"I meant to shoot the pike but the duck got in the way"
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