30-06 C.O.A.L.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by younggunslearner, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Ok, so continuing on the road of learning reloading, I have come to another point where I am confused.

    I have a variety of 165 grain Bullets from different manufactures, and I have recently been using the new speer book to determine the C.O.A.L of the particular bullet that I am using.

    I just picked up a "complete reloading manual for the 30-06" which lists all the different bullets from the manufactures and loads for them. Upon scanning through that, I noticed that for a Hornady 165gr. BTSP, the C.O.A.L. is 3.230"

    And for a very similar bullet that I also have, the Sierra 165gr. BSP is 3.330"

    Another very similar bullet to those two that I also have is the Speer 165gr. BTSP at 3.250".

    Since I have been using the Speer book to load these variety of manufactured bullets at the 3.250", am I looking at any potential issues??

    Also, should I in the future refer to what the particular manufacture says, or is it ok to just go off of the Speer Book for that general bullet?

    I also recently bought 2000 Military 168gr. Match BTHP bullets and each company (Speer, Sierra, Hornady) have their own C.O.A.L. for that particular one, which length should I use?

    After reading through another book of mine, it discussed increasing the accuracy of your reloads by having the bullet seated just outside of the lands of the barrel and it discussed the procedure, but after running through it several times, I never came to the point of contact of the lands no matter how far out the bullet was seated. What did I do wrong?

    Thanks for all your time and efforts.
  2. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    3.330 is the standard MILITARY chamber size.

    Take all the guess work out.

    Buy an overall length gauge and special case

    Measure you rifle 10 times, average the number.

    Subtract .010 and you have the OAL for YOUR rifle.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    If Speer said they load their 165 bullet to 3.23, while Sierra loads their 165 to 3.33, it could be either that the Sierra bullet is a little longer than the Speer, and if loaded to the OAL of the Speer would be further into the case than the Speer is, reducing powder capacity slightly and increasing pressures.

    Or it could be that the Sierra manual is loading more powder than Speer recommends, and needs the bullet set out farther so as to have more powder capacity.

    Or it could just be that the guy making up the loads at Sierra thought the finished round looked better at that length.

    I, personally, don't let it bother me. I make my cartridges short enough to work through the magazine. If they fit the magazine and are not over Max OAL, I load 'em to what looks good. If I was having good luck with Speers at 3.23, and I bought a box of Sierra, I'd most likely load them to 3.23 also.
  4. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Ditto, what Alpo said. Just as long as they are not longer than the Max OAL!!
  5. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    ditto again, and just make sure you follow protocol, start low and work your way up...
  6. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Another ditto. Just follow the directions for that particular bullet, and have fun!
  7. Thanks guys for the information. It makes sense with the manufacture adjusting the bullet length to possibly accommodate for the powder charge. It looks like after measuring the 3, they are all within .015" of each other in length.

    I reviewed what the different manufactures have listed for their min/max charges for the particular bullet and it varies some.


    Hornady: 48-56gr.
    Sierra: 48-56gr
    Speer: 54-58gr.

    Since I have been using the Speer book I have been loading 56grains which is in the middle of Speers data, but MAX for the other two. They seem to be shooting fine with no real signs of excessive pressure.

    I will keep where I am at unless someone says different.

    I don't have a problem the the OAL for my magazine, there is like 4 inches of space in there. Remington 700.

    So if I was to buy one of those gauges for checking the OAL of my gun, and say it comes out to 3.320", should I load all of my bullets to that length, no matter the style of bullet or still stick with the manufacture says?

    I guess my original question didn't get answered too, as to for the future of reloading any cartridges, it is ok to stick to just my new Speer book for data, or should I invest in a book for each of the manufactures that I have bullets for??

    Thanks for your time and efforts, someday I will get this figured out.
  8. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    When you buy the tool and case, you put the bullet your going to load into the case.

    If you use a different bullet, you measure again with that bullet.

    Not all ogives on bullets are the same.

    This way you are measuring THAT bullet to YOUR barrel.

    When you get your measurement, you back it off .005 to .015 to give a little jump distance.

    Sharpshooters will use the exsact measurement. this is called parking the ogive on the lands. It makes for an exsact fit, but it is very tight fitting, gives not room for gunk, and can be harder to close the bolt.

    .005 should be the minimun back off distance, and .015 the max. You can make 5 rounds of each, and watch the shot pattern for the smallest.

    With my bolt gun, I only use three bullets. 178gr A-Max is the main stay, 208 A-Max for extended range, and 110gr Barnes for fun.

    None of them ogives the same, so i have three different OALs, but my cast off is always .005. The

    The average OAL is 3.024 +/- .015

    For the M1 Garand, and every one fo my friends military 06es, its 3.033 - 3.034

    You try and stuff those into my bolt gun and the bolt wont close. The bullet will compress the powder and stop going into the neck.

    You want to avoid this :eek:


    Your reloading books build rounds to eh SAAMI standard.

    If you measure the OAL and chamber sizes, you can built tighter bullets for your rifle only.

    The tighter they are to your rifle, the better they shoot.

    I hit dimes at 200 yards for fun.

    This is why some of us reload
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  9. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Rocket means "ogives", not "ogloves".
  10. I started out with the Lee manual and loadinng what it said. I then decided to fit the length to my Ruger M77 06 and went through a process to determine when the bullet I was using hit the lands and then backed off about .010 I think. I'd have to look at my log book to be sure of the final length but I think it is 3.020". I haven't tried them yet bacause of the rain but I think they should work well. You will probably be fine with what your manual says but part of the fun is customizing each load to your rifle.
  11. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Yeah what he said, and its SAAMI not SAMMI standard.

    Musta been tired that night :D

    Flannelman, I have a custom short chamber that is at 3.0245.

    I cant concieve your chamber is at the SAAMI inside standard @ 3.020
  12. I'm probably mis-remembering the exact number. Well in the middle of posting this I just had to go look. My loads were 3.300" and the rifling was touching the bullet when loaded at 3.320". Does that sound better. Man I was way off going by just memory alone :D.
  13. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
  14. That's interesting, because I can seat the bullet in about .050" and chamber it and it still doesn't hit the lands. The OAL then is at about 3.5" WTF!!!!!.

    I think I will go buy one of those OAL gauges and see what I get.
  15. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Jan 27, 2006
    COAL is rifle specific and NOT manual or SAAMI specific. SAAMI max OAL is for Ammo Manufactures and not the handloader. The handloader can load to whatever COAL he wants as long as it is Safe in his rifle.

    From Accurate Powder.

    It is important to note that the SAAMI “COL” values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must
    be seen as a guideline only.
    The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
    This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as 1) magazine length (space), 2) freebore-lead dimensions of
    the barrel, 3) ogive or profile of the projectile and 4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.
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