couple easy reloading questions.

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by socalfamous87, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. socalfamous87

    socalfamous87 New Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    so im reloading some 9mm with 124gr fmj bullets. and in my lyman book it shows a 124 gr jacketed hp with the oal of 1.075" and the book shows 147 gr fmj with the oal of 1.115" question is which oal do i use? does it matter if in the book the example is a hp or fmj ect? or do i use the oal of the type of bullet im using? also!!! what would be safe to be off by? .100"?.050?.005"? how much do i have to play with?
  2. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

    May 27, 2011
    Just to grab a quick example, Hornady shows a 124 FMJ at 1.150 OAL. Its always good to refer to more than one manual when working up a load.

    I almost always load 124/5 FMJ and JHP to 1.11-1.12. The manual OAL is going to vary depending on the manual used that the bullet used in their load data. Generally, (as long as it functions in your gun) going longer isn't going to be a problem (it will require more powder to hit the same velocity, though). Just go to the start load or slightly above, then you can slowly work up your powder charge-paying close attention to pressure signs-to get the performance you want. Be vary cautious about going with shorter OAL than specified, even a little bit can be a problem, especially if you are loading at or near max.

  3. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    The difference in OAL is due to the different lengths of bullets of the same weight. These lengths vary because of the shape.
    A 124 grain FMJ may be shorter than a 124 grain JHP (the "hollow" in the JHP means that the bullet will have to be longer to contain the same 124 grains of material). But there are so many different JHPs and FMJs from so many companies, and there are so many variances in shapes of those, that you really can't be certain how any one will compare to any other.

    It's a bit confusing because we use overall length as our measurement, but we really don't care about the overall length of the round. What we really care about is the amount of space (volume) inside the case between the bullet and the case head. This amount of space plays a large role in the development of pressure as the powder ignites. If you make that space smaller, the pressure goes up, which can cause serious damage to you and/or your gun.

    But once you place a bullet in the case, there really isn't a way to directly measure that space inside. So what we have to do is take the lengths we know in order to calculate what we need inside.

    We know the length of the case (the "trim to" length).
    We know the length of the bullet (based on weight and shape).
    We know the length of the case head (if you bothered to measure it).

    WARNING: Made up numbers; do not use this as data!
    If the case is .754 inches long, the case head is .394 long, the bullet is .500 long, and the OAL is 1.115, then we know that the bullet extends .139 inside the case. That leaves .221 between the head and the bullet. This is the number needed to calculate pressure.
    But since we're not actually calculating pressure, just making sure that we don't end up with too much of it, all we need to do is stay at or longer than the listed OAL. That's why the OAL is listed in your reloading manual.

    Note: a 124 grain FMJ from Hornady may not be the same length as a 124 grain FMJ from Remington. This is why your loading manual gives exactly the components used in testing. Varying the components, especially near maximum loads, can cause dangerous excess pressure.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2012
  4. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    most HP's have a shorter nose and a center of mass nearer the base of the bullet. With your example, you'll be closer to the 1.115" with your 124gn fmj's. There should be some data available for the 124fmj's. What bullet are you using?

    In regards to .100, .050 etc, a little bit can be a huge difference, especially if you're near max loads. It also makes a difference in how the round is going to feed and .050 can be huge.
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