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Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

OAL vs. Feeding Reliability Question


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Can I get some feedback on how the OAL of a round (38 Super in my case) affects feeding reliability. I fully understand that the simple answer is "whatever works in your gun".

I want to know if, generally speaking, shorter is better and, if so, why? I have been loading my 38 Super at 1.255 but have been told by some that they will feed better if OAL is reduced to 1.240. Why would this be?

My gun is an STI Open gun and I use STI mags that have been tuned if that makes a difference. I appreciate your information and am learning all the time from the folks here. Many thanks.

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Take a look at Jeff Maass for reloading data. Most guys are loading between 1.40" and 1.65". Alot of guys feel that longer loads will feed more reliably, others don't. If you shorten the length of your load, then you will likely need to back off on the powder charge as the pressure will go up for the same load in a shorter case. I'd try going longer first and see what happens.

Edited by .40AET
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i use both sti & svi mags. in my 9mm my oal is 1.170" and in my supercomp the oal is 1.225". i use the same bullet in both cartridges, 125gr zero hollow point. both rounds feed perfectly as long as the magazines are tuned properly. i do not use any spacers in my 9mm magazines, if you are using spacers you may have to load shorter. my 9mm will actually feed short factory ammo just a reliably and without magazine spacers. the reliability issue has more to do with whether or not the magazine lips are shaped properly so as the round is being stripped it approaches the barrel ramp at the proper angle and doesn't nose dive. i would not load any longer than 1.250" in sti or svi mags. the 1.225" length i load supercomp to is with a hollow point, if it was a full profile bullet (round nose) the oal should be somewhere around 1.240"-1.250". you also must take into consideration the height that your magazine is when it's in the gun, that is controlled by the mag catch. if the magazine is too low or too high, that can also cause problems.

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