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Posted: 7/22/2013 8:42:47 AM EST
I'm reloading for my Auto-Ordnance 1911. I'm wondering how important oal is my reloads are 5grs of WST with a 230gr fmj and my oal is 1.272 wheres factory is 1.266. my reloads function great through my 1911.. I'm just wondering if there isn't some hidden formality I need to worry about..
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 3:16:26 PM EST
Your OAL sounds fine. There is no real magic to OAL. If it feed reliably and fits in your magazine you're good to go.

"When loading any pistol cartridge, the golden rule is: not too long, not too short. Generally speaking, the length of the loaded round should be as long as possible to enhance feeding reliability, but not so long that it jams in the magazine or in the chamber. And the bullet should not be seated so deep that it hampers reliable feeding or pushes pressure too high."


Link Posted: 7/24/2013 2:48:42 PM EST
Huber, don't you believe it. If all you want is your reloads to go bang then as long as a round will fit in the magazine it should function and shoot. However OAL makes a tremendous difference in accuracy, just as case length does. The old reloader's tale that pistols are inaccurate and the ammo doesn't matter is bunk and I have done thousands of test rounds out of a machine rest to prove it. Rifle bench rest and long range shooters go to extremes to make their ammunition as perfect as possible and to fit the gun. The same care going into handgun ammo is the difference between sub-one inch groups and eight inch or larger groups at 25 yards. So with that said, the first thing you need to do is start of with cases the proper length for a 45 ACP, that would be.895". Shorter case length and your groups will open up, longer case lengths and the same will happen; too long and the gun will jamb and pressure will increase considerably. Remember the 45 ACP headspaces on the case mouth. When cases are not uniform length then how can your bell and crimp be uniform? If you crimp is not uniform the the pressure varies and so does the velocity.

Next take one of you .895 cases and make two cuts down the center of the mouth back towards the base of the case with a Dremel cut off wheel, about 3/8" down should do it. This will allow a bullet to be pushed into the case, but still have a snug hold on the bullet. Now remove your barrel and take a bullet that you intend to load and start it into the cut case. Press the round into the chamber and once the bullet hits the throat of the chamber it will push back into the case giving you the length of bullet run out. Make sure you push the case all the way into the chamber. Now pull out the round and measure the OAL. Once you have this number, which will be different for every chamber and bullet combination, even on like model guns, you now can go for your best OAL for that particular bullet/gun combination. Usually having your OAL .005 to .010 less that your run out works well and gives good accuracy, assuming the run out is not so great that the rounds won't fit into a magazine. In that case either change bullets or load as long of an OAL as possible. If you are looking for accuracy 5.0 grains of WST is a little hot. Try backing off your load to 4.4 grains or less.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 3:03:39 PM EST
for everyday practice and plinking dont waste your time getting into that much precision reloading. 3.8gr vv n310 win 230gr fmj is all you need at 1.260 oal. if you shoot from a ransom rest you may want to do as above and I do this with my long range rifles but for pistol shooting off hand at 20 yds you wont notice the difference and the time you waste you could have been shooting.
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