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Recommended OAL using 230gn Projectiles and WST

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Recommended OAL using 230gn Projectiles and WST, started Googling and jeez there's a whole lot of differing opinions.

For the popular and soft shooting WB load of 230gn pill and 3.8 - 4.0 load of WST what's your recommended OAL?

1.260 and loaded rounds ejected on my SR1911 hang up and get caught, 1.250 load and fire OK but Hogdon say 1.200 below.

If you load (and this is something I don't understand and would appreciate and explanation) at OAL of 1.200 and your rifling starts at say 1.250 what happens

when the pill jumps across that .50"???



I know I'm asking a few questions lately and appreciate the replies all.  

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There are different recommendations for OAL in the .45 auto, because there are BUNCHES of different mold designs.  The designs with a longer ogive have a skinny nose, and can be seated farther out.

Short, blunt, fat noses will start sticking in the very short throat of factory and similar short-throated 1911 barrels if you load them to a long OAL length.

OAL "requirements" for the .45 auto cartridge are the place where OAL becomes kinda stupid and just about useless.  IGNORE OAL when loading, because you are not going to be loading Wild Bunch ammo up at MAXIMUM LOAD pressures, where the amount of bullet that is pushed into the case walls matters.  If it really matters in these loads, they would tell you exactly what bullet mold design they were using.

What you NEED to do, is make sure ALL the cylindrical section of the bullet is inside the case.   Just the nose part sticks out.  Nose being any part of the curve or conical part (for a truncated cone) at the front of the bullet.


So, you look at your bullet, and find where the cylinder shape of the bands on the bullet shank "turns the corner" and becomes the curved part (or conical part) of the nose.  Mark that spot with a knife cut or a Sharpie.   Then set your seater die to put that mark just even with the case mouth.   This puts the cylinder (shank) of the bullet in the case and the nose outside the case.  

No one knows WHICH of the various molds for 230 grain round nose that Hornady technicians selected to load and run the pressure tests on.   So their "exactly 1.200 inches" OAL label on the load is what THEIR bullet probably needed.  But won't be what you need.


You found by trial that 1.260" OAL would stick the nose of YOUR slug into the rifling of YOUR barrel.  And 1.250" would not.  Which means you are not making much of a jump at all with the bullet - maximum jump gap would be 1.260 - 1.250 or 10 thousandths.   That is nothing. 

Even if you had a gap to jump of 50 thousandths, it would not make a lot of difference with a pistol bullet.   The techs are mostly trying to prevent folks from seating a bullet so far into the case that it raises pressures due to smaller volume for combustion at "bullet start".   The deeper the bullet is seated in the case, the more combustion space the bullet takes up, leaving less space for combustion.  IF they were trying to give you an OAL for best possible accuracy, they would be putting the bullet nose out closer to the rifling, which for your bullet might be 1.255"     Your 1.250" is just about perfect for best accuracy, and not so long that you stick a bullet solidly enough into the rifling to have the problems of too long a load:

* provide too much resistance to getting the bullet started down the barrel, raising chamber pressure wildly, or

* stripping the bullet out of the case if you have to open the slide with a live round (which leaves a slug stuck in the barrel), or

* if really long, then slide fails to go into battery because the bullet has hit the rifling and the case does not get 100% of the way into the chamber (the firing pin won't fall).


So, to review, the recommended OAL in .45 auto loading data FOR CAST BULLETS is usually wrong because you don't have the same bullet that the techs used.

The important part is to load so the curved nose section of the slug is all that is forward of the case mouth

Crimp is just a taper that straightens out the expansion bell you put on to make bullet seating easy, and to return the OD of the loaded round at the mouth to about 0.471 or 0.472"

And, make sure your OAL is short enough to let you shuck out an unfired round without having the bullet stick in chamber or refuse to come out the ejection port.


For comparison, I shoot a truncated cone bullet, which has a longer nose compared to the typical Round Nose of a lot of .45 auto case bullets. My OAL is 1.180".    Bullet still feeds fine, I don't get higher pressures than the loading books show, I have no failures to go to battery or stuck bullets when ejecting a live round.

Both my loads and your loads need to share only one "measurement" - that the case mouth gets put where the cylinder of the bullet shank starts to curve at the beginning of the nose.  Those OALs are vastly different.  Both are safe and effective because they keep the fattest diameter of the slug back behind where the rifling starts.

good luck, GJ


Edited by Garrison Joe
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Oh, and if you are shooting a SemiWadcutter design slug, then the right spot to seat it is still where the "rebate" of the nose makes it's 90 degree shoulder.  Get all the fat shank in the case, and VERY little above the crimp.....maybe 5 to 10 thousandths of an inch max.

Although I have shot a lot of 200 grain semiwadcutters in Wild Bunch quite successfully, that is with a target-tuned feed ramp and chamber.  A lot of guns are not properly throated to feed the semiwadcutter design and it's usual short OAL well. So, I don't recommend folks use a SWC bullet for Wild Bunch.

good luck, GJ




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Measured the two pills that I have and also their length so fully understand now how the reloading manuals OAL's are meaningless if they don't tell you the pill.











Got the crimp good now.




Loaded round are going in easy and dropping straight out of the case gauge and pistol barrel and I can turn them with my fingers in the barrel.



Did put some Hornady locking rings on the Dillon dies, made things easier for me.



Its all fun.......just hot in the shed in the middle of Summer!!!




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8 hours ago, Buckshot Bear said:

Hope all is well mate with Ellie, been sending kind thoughts your ways.

Thank you Bear. We got Ellie home last night. All good , the surgery went great and she is now all back together! Ellie's feeling great and so happy to be back to normal. Just a bit of healing for a couple weeks! Thank you so much for your and Jenarado's thoughts and prayers.🤠

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