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Total length of the bullet?

60DWLb460DWLb4 Member Posts: 20 ✭✭
I have never set up a die by myself. My father in-law helped me set up a die for a 300 Savage and 25-06. He used a factory round to do it.
I'm setting up a 30-06 die when it comes in. I measured a military FMJ bullet it is 3.333". A Remington core-lokt is 3.285". The Lyman reloading handbook is 3.34".what length should I use? How critical is the length and what does it affect if it is too short? I will be reloading for an M1 Garand.
Thank You


  • geeguygeeguy Member Posts: 1,047
    edited November -1
    There are instruments you can purchase to d this better then the system I use, but I'll tell you mine:
    1. Determine the bullet you are going to use.
    2. Take an empty sized case, and lube the ID.
    3. Gently put the bullet just into the case mouth.
    4. Gently close the round into the chamber.
    5. Carefully remove the round and measure OAL.
    6. Repeat #3-5 at least 5 times and record.
    7. Take the average and deduct .02" for OAL.

    I'm quite sure you will get a better response for an M1 since there are many experts on this board, but if all else fails you can use my system.

    Hawk is quite right that you cannot be more then OAL on an Auto, and when you get further in your reloading experience the case shoulder and length is very important. However, your question was in regard to the OAL with different bullets and the above takes into account the specific type bullet used (see #1). Using max. COL and my method (taking into consideration max.OAL)has always worked for me on Auto's, but I'm open to any better or newer methods.

    Once you start and record your results you can always refine one thing at a time. Best of luck.
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What bullet are you going to use?
    OAL will differ depending on the exact shape, up to magazine length.
    I would not think geeguy's ritual to load 020" off the lands would be suitable for an M1 or other automatic.
  • 60DWLb460DWLb4 Member Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    165 GR Nosler Partition
  • 60DWLb460DWLb4 Member Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The bullet is 1.175"
  • 243winxb243winxb Member Posts: 264 ✭✭
    edited November -1 To long a OAL may keep the action from closing. This can be very dangerous if there is an out of battery firing in the M1 Garand. Same as to long head to datum length. IMR 4895 is a great powder to use. See M14 here >
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  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Make a dummy round with the bullet set out to the max OAL. Use a candle to soot the bullet. Chamber the dummy, extract and look closely for marks of the rifling in the soot. If marks are present set the bullet a little deeper, repeat until no marks are present and then go just a little deeper (perhaps 1/10 of a turn on the seating stem adjustment).

    Bullet seating depth likely not a critical variable in a worn autoloading battle rifle due to throat erosion. Me sure the bullet has room to move at the start and not jammed in the rifling.

    When seating bullets for ammo be sure and seat half way, lower the ram, spin the case 180 degrees, then finish seating the bullet. Mark and save the dummy for resetting the die if you change it for other bullets.
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,734 ✭✭
    edited November -1

    A bullet is the part that leaves the front of the barrel. A case holds the powder, primer and bullet. The assembly is called a Cartridge.

    What OAL (total length of the cartridge) does your manual state with that bullet?
    Set the OAL by using a caliper to measure it between die adjustments.

    Most dies use a 20 thread per inch adjustment screw. A full turn (360deg) of the adjusting screw will set the bullet .050" deeper into the case. 1/2 turn .025, etc.
  • 60DWLb460DWLb4 Member Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't have a manual for the rifle. The Lyman reloading Manual and Nosler website has 3.34 as the total length.
  • Tailgunner1954Tailgunner1954 Member Posts: 7,734 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Than using your caliper, set the OAL to 3.34
    Due to bullet production tolerances, it will vary somewhat. If your shortest OAL is 3.33 and longest is 3.34 you'll be OK
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,662 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Tailgunner1954
    Than using your caliper, set the OAL to 3.34
    Due to bullet production tolerances, it will vary somewhat. If your shortest OAL is 3.33 and longest is 3.34 you'll be OK

    This members advice is correct. Load it to 3.340 and don't worry about minor oal variances from round to round. There are reasons for a differing OAL but that is a different discussion.

    Of greater concern is the powder used. It should be of the medium burn rate to give proper port pressure for correct operation and prevent operating rod damage. 46 grains of IMR 4895 loaded with 150-180 grain bullets accomplishes this.
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Don't load a whole lot until you have had a chance to shoot the first clip or two.
    It is a sad thing to read "I have loaded 500 of these and they don't work."
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    As others have said, the bullet is the projectile.

    The whole shebang is the cartridge.

    The brass is the case.

    Now to your question: welcome to handloading. Factory and military ammo are made so they will work in every gun. You don't have to worry about that any longer. You can custom load ammo to fit to YOUR gun.

    Factory OAL is a good place to start. Most load manuals will assume that. Once you have your mind wrapped around the process though, you can start to tinker.

    Geeguy gave a good explanation of what to do; however you do have to make sure that the bullet has enough support in the case, and that the loaded round will function through the clip and magazine properly. Given you were asking about an M1, that's key. What you do NOT want to do with a semi auto in particular is have the bullet slam against the lands in the breech and not fully chamber. That can lead to an out of battery detonation. Not fun.

    In practicality, for any FMJ or HPBT bullet I've encountered in the Garand's happy zone (namely under 180 grains), I have yet to find one where I could seat the bullet out far enough to touch the lands, then back off .02", and still be SHORT enough to cycle through the enbloc clip. Even guns with good throats seem to be cut kind of deeply, and on a combat gun, that's not surprising. So that may well be your max OAL right there, what works in the clip. But don't just assume that, verify it.
  • MG1890MG1890 Member Posts: 4,649
    edited November -1
    Loading for a M1, load to the same length as military ball ammo.

    Watch the powder burning rate when loading for an M1. You want to mimic the pressure curve on ball ammo to prevent a bent operating rod.

    DO NOT try to seat to the throat as some have suggested.
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