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Old 01-22-2010, 10:39 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Show Me State
Posts: 16
Min and Max OAL

I'm just setting up to reload 9mm. I'm primarily loading for target practice/plinking. I want to stay in standard pressure ranges. I won't be loading any "hot" loads.

I'd like to get recommendations on bullet seating depth. Should bullets be seated so OAL is closer to maximum or minimum?

For example, my reference books for 9mm Luger show max OAL of 1.169 inch and min OAL of 1.090 inch (for the powder and bullet I'm using). My bullet seating die is currently set so OAL comes out at 1.12 inch. Since this is between min and max is that good enough?

Any information and recommendations from experienced reloaders is greatly appreciated!

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Old 01-22-2010, 02:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Richmond, VA
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Min and Max OAL

Naturally you will control pressure by regulating the amount of powder you put behind any given bullet and don't forget that magnum primers can increase pressure as well.

OAL is very important in feeding and reliability so you need to know what your bullet requires. I generally use RN plated bullets (Ranier or Berry's) for plinking and I am generally not much concerned about OAL. I simply set my OAL by using a standard FMJ loaded cartridge and adjust my crimp to that as well.

Plinking or shooting paper with JHPs (and all of the variable designs) is expensive and sort of a waste. Some will substitute lead for the plated bullets but you have to hold your speed down to prevent leading and you need to constantly clean your dies. You will get buildup from the lubes that will effect your OAL.

You do not want to make your reloads too long or they will stick in the rifling of your pistol. I recommend the use of a case gauge and if you get any projection on the bullet end, your cartridge may be too long.

I recommend you stay as close to the max for FMJ as possible to improve feeding. But not where it catches in the lands/grooves. That can lead to issues.
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