Hornady OAL Gauge is Driving me Crazy(er)!

Patriot007

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Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
301
Location
South Ga.
No offense met, but what type of calipers are you using , dial, or electronic ? Electronic calipers are dependent on how fresh is the battery.
I use the Hornady Lock n Load Anvil base on my calipers for a more constant reading.

View attachment 228269
I find that the Hornady anvil Base has a tendency to obscure my readings. That being said, this is why I say this, and I own 4 of these. In new brass you want see this as much, but in cases with 10 to 30 firings on them. "Lapua 6.5CM, SRP, annealed after every shot." It's very obvious, The base is no longer squared or it has snags from the extractor and ejector. When you place the bullet case on the perfectly flat anvil it will show a different reading verses not using it. That's in a bolt rifle,,,. Now if you really want to see some thing that will have you scratching your head. Use it on some 223/5.56 brass fired out of a AR-15 or 308 out of a AR-10, after one firing.
I loved the concept of the anvil, but, I'm doing just great with out them. Mixed readings when your OCD weighs heavy on the mind, like chasing lands. LOL:)
 

COBrad

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Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
1,453
Location
Western Colorado
As was already mentioned I too use the Sinclair Bullet Seating Depth Tool, item #59-4000. I use a fire formed case from my rifle. Gently drop a bullet down my rod guide to let it sit on the lands, then seat the same bullet to the indicated coal. I then use the bullet comparator to measure the cbto and that is my base measurement. I shoot mostly colony varmints at long ranges, frequently past 1K yards. I check and seat bullets to the new cbto every 50-100 shots. I can tell when my seating depth has changed as I start missing more. This method has worked for me for years. In my long range rifles I shoot VLD’s usually seated just touching the lands.
 

Patriot007

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Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
301
Location
South Ga.
I have questions due to the fact I was a long range target shooter back in the early 1990's and this always came up. I had the same frustrations with my 300 Win Mag back in 1,000 competition. Have you ever thought of measureint eh the individual lengths of your slugs? if not, try it and see how much they vary in your box of 100. Sierra, and yes I am going to name names on this, used to use 3 to 5 different sets of dies for their match slugs in each box. this caused varying lengths from the 0.300" diameter to the tip and to the rear. this caused all wholly hell with certain guys I knew. now if the projos in question are made like the old Sierra slugs are then I would say that your frustration is not the jig but the slugs. I have used this gauge for many years and found it to be within 0.0005 to 0.0015" each time with the same slug. I recently used 4 slugs to get an aggregate with the 500 piece box I have of HPBT Hornady slugs. they came out as I expected.. 0.022" meaning they were a mix of several different sets of swaging dies in the same box. not a big deal with hunting slugs. now I did that with some other slug brands, Barnes, Nosler, and Speer. Speer was average at 0.019" Nosler was good at 0.009" and Barnes was super at 0.004". I also measured the over all length of the slugs themselves and found about the same variation in their length as overall cartridge length. I understand the frustration but when you have gone through this and found the cause, the solution is obvious. don't worry about COAL variation, where the slugs hit the lead will be pretty consistent since the seating die uses a consistent diameter to seat the slug/projo. your lead to ogive should be within 0.005". this is coming from many years of reloading and long range target.
I agree with you some what on this issue. I measure each bullet to the ogive and group them. Then I weigh each group and break it down into ogive and weight groups. Yep, OCD... 2 weeks ago I sorted a box of 100, 6.5CM, Sierra 142gn HPBT bullets #1742 MatchKing. It broke down in to 3 ogive measurement groups, which broke down to 6 final groups after weighing them on my Sartorius scale. I'm pretty pleased with the out come of the grouping. I do it this way because the ogive group measurements make seating a breeze with the Forster Micro seating die. CONSITANT every time. I use the Sinclair bullet Sorting Stand and it's worth it's weight in gold, for this process.
Breaking them down again into weight groups keeps every thing consistent in flight to the point of impact on target.
Well, that sounds good on paper, but then kick in seating depth, and case neck seating pressure and hopefully you get the same POI. LOL I can't say anything about sierra bullets from the 1990s, but I find this bullet to be one of the best bullets for 6.5CM on the market today in 2020 That I have shot out of a factory barrel Howa 1500 26"Bull barrel, ZeroDelta 4 port Break. It's a tack driver.
One thing I have noticed over the years is this,, when I purchase bullets in bulk, "500rd boxes" from Sierra. The ogive spread and weight spread is all over the map. When I order the same bullets in 100rd boxes the ratio is a lot tighter. I know, the idea of ordering in bulk is to get every thing from the same lot number. Well consistency goes out the window in bulk. I'll take 5 boxes of 100, over 1 box of 500, in todays times. Maybe in todays times, Barnes will rub off on Sierra. Thanks for your input Sir, I find this info interesting to me.
Sinclairbulletsortingstand1127202001.jpg
 

Philward

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Joined
Oct 17, 2015
Messages
434
I use a similar method that has proven accurate and repeatable. I learned this from Kevin Rayhill when he trued my Savage action. Its easier with 2 people, one to hold the bullet in the chamber and the other manipulating the rod but can be done with one person. Frankford Arsenal makes a replacement for the drill stops I use but I think tight fitting drills stops are more accurate.
  • Put 2 tight fitting drill stops on a cleaning rod
  • Tighten a jag with the tip removed on the rod, the jag should have a flat face, not a point
  • Slide the rod into the barrel from the muzzle until it touches the bolt face
  • Slide both stops against the muzzle and tighten the rear stop
  • Remove the rod
  • Remove the bolt
  • Drop a bullet into the chamber
  • Take a short rod or dowel and push the bullet to the lands from rear of the receiver and hold it there
  • Slide the rod from the muzzle into the barrel until it touches the bullet tip
  • Slide the front stop against the muzzle and tighten the front stop
  • Measure the distance between the front and rear stops to establish cartridge overall length (COAL)
  • Load the bullet into a case to the established COAL. Save this dummy round
  • Measure cartridge base to ogive (CBTO) using a comparator
This is exactly how I do it, my father as well, and have for many years.
 

DDWing

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Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
219
Location
Florence Alabama
I spent a couple hours today trying to get consistent CBTO readings on my Ruger Hawkeye 270 and some Nosler ABLR bullets. The readings are all over the place. I've had more consistent results with some other bullets. I try to be consistent, firm but not too firm, give it a couple taps. I got a few clumps of measurements, but the SD on 30 measurements was .02, if I remember right, and the ES was 67 thousandths! I didn't try burning incense or chanting mantras, but what's the frigging secret for getting repeatable readings with this thing? It must work or people wouldn't have used it all these years. I'm ready to put it away and try Erik Cortina's "Jam Method".
I use the Hornady OAL guage on all of my rifles, and virtually every measurement I take is consistent on each rifle. You more or less have to develop a feel for the guage on when the bullet touches the lands in order to get consistent measurements.
 

Buzzsaw

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Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
1,019
Location
Frisco, Texas
This is going to sound crazy but it works buy a wood dowel small enough to go down you barrel with the bolt closed push dowell to face of bolt mark it with a marker /pen mark at top of the barrel then what ever bullet your using push the bullet in the chamber take the wood dowel down the barrel till the dowel touch’s the bullet the hold your finger on the bulletise the dowel to push the bullet the push bullet back into lands mark the dowel again this will give you your oal remover to seat your bullet at least 0.20 lower from the tip or once you get your oal get bullet comparater and that will tell you where the ogive is and seat your bullet accourdingly
THIS
 

wildbill 2020

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Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Messages
32
Location
grantsville,utah
Two issues with Alex Wheelers method:
1) I don't want to punch out the roll pin and remove my ejector everytime I work up a load.

2) Finding your exact "touch" point is irrelevant. It is just one particular datum point to start from. It is no more useful than any other datum point. The precision comes from any subsequent adjustments from that datum point.
 

wildbill 2020

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Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Messages
32
Location
grantsville,utah
THIS, that’s why you start out with 0.20 you can feel the pressure putting the round in, just like tightening your group move your billet to you proper length of the lands,this is the way I’ve done it on 8 of my rifles 2 of my grandsons,and 4 of my sons and they are very accurate shooter every one has there ways , I’m. It doughting anyone ways I was just saying this worked for me on 3 of my Ruger’s,300 wm7mm,and (2)270s thanks for letting me comment on this sounds like a lot of people have there ways mine worked for me

This was just my idea sorry if it offends you I had a gun smith show me several ways,yes the bullets in the lands
 

wildbill 2020

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Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Messages
32
Location
grantsville,utah
It's common sense. Unless you want to load exactly at touch for some reason, it doesn't matter what any other length is referred to.

If the accurate length is .010 (actual) into the lands, what does it matter if it is referred to as .005 or .015? The name you call it is irrelevant. Same with any measure off the lands, if your .020 off is actually .010 off, what does it matter? The precision comes in consistency you apply in adjusting from whatever length you started from.
It's common sense. Unless you want to load exactly at touch for some reason, it doesn't matter what any other length is referred to.

If the accurate length is .010 (actual) into the lands, what does it matter if it is referred to as .005 or .015? The name you call it is irrelevant. Same with any measure off the lands, if your .020 off is actually .010 off, what does it matter? The precision comes in consistency you apply in adjusting from whatever length you started from.
True I agree helps with accuracy and pressures thank you good point
 

wildbill 2020

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Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Messages
32
Location
grantsville,utah
I use a similar method that has proven accurate and repeatable. I learned this from Kevin Rayhill when he trued my Savage action. Its easier with 2 people, one to hold the bullet in the chamber and the other manipulating the rod but can be done with one person. Frankford Arsenal makes a replacement for the drill stops I use but I think tight fitting drills stops are more accurate.
  • Put 2 tight fitting drill stops on a cleaning rod
  • Tighten a jag with the tip removed on the rod, the jag should have a flat face, not a point
  • Slide the rod into the barrel from the muzzle until it touches the bolt face
  • Slide both stops against the muzzle and tighten the rear stop
  • Remove the rod
  • Remove the bolt
  • Drop a bullet into the chamber
  • Take a short rod or dowel and push the bullet to the lands from rear of the receiver and hold it there
  • Slide the rod from the muzzle into the barrel until it touches the bullet tip
  • Slide the front stop against the muzzle and tighten the front stop
  • Measure the distance between the front and rear stops to establish cartridge overall length (COAL)
  • Load the bullet into a case to the established COAL. Save this dummy round
  • Measure cartridge base to ogive (CBTO) using a comparator
Thank you you done it step by step at you a strike good job man and again it works thanks I’m glad there is others doing as I do
 

wildbill 2020

Active Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2020
Messages
32
Location
grantsville,utah
I have used the wood dowel method for sixty years. If you are sub 1 MOA at 100 yds it has proven to be adequate for a one shot kill more times than I can count. Just keep in mind when you use this method the ammo often becomes rifle specific. The COL ammo mfg use is so there cartridges will chamber in the majority of rifles.
As another comment I have been amazed over the years how important this measurement is on various rifles. It stands to reason the more balanced the projectile is leaving the barrel the longer it will hold its intended path.
Thank you
 

jdyoung

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LRH Team Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2020
Messages
545
Location
Ironman Country
I find that the Hornady anvil Base has a tendency to obscure my readings. That being said, this is why I say this, and I own 4 of these. In new brass you want see this as much, but in cases with 10 to 30 firings on them. "Lapua 6.5CM, SRP, annealed after every shot." It's very obvious, The base is no longer squared or it has snags from the extractor and ejector. When you place the bullet case on the perfectly flat anvil it will show a different reading verses not using it. That's in a bolt rifle,,,. Now if you really want to see some thing that will have you scratching your head. Use it on some 223/5.56 brass fired out of a AR-15 or 308 out of a AR-10, after one firing.
I loved the concept of the anvil, but, I'm doing just great with out them. Mixed readings when your OCD weighs heavy on the mind, like chasing lands. LOL:)
The rifles I shoot and reload the most for are CRF (Controlled Round Fed) . More consistent contact with the bolt face .
 
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