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Thread: HOWA 1500 WIN .243 C.O.A.L question

  1. #1

    HOWA 1500 WIN .243 C.O.A.L question

    I'd be interested in getting some feedback from HOWA 1500 Win .243 owners on the maximum COAL measurement on their rifles. I don't have a gauge but used the methods described on the ballistics studies website Determining COAL
    Method 1. gave a result of 2.630", Method 2 gave 2.645". Using Sierra Pro Hunter 1540 bullets.

    I have a problem with my HOWA in that the chamber max COAL is less than the "min coal" as stated in the reloading manuals. I'm reloading PPU brass with Sierra Pro Hunter (1540) using H4350, (39.2grains). The recommended min coal is 2.650", If I size to this and chamber the round the bullet is pushed back and remeasures at +/-2.645", meaning the bullet is hard on the lands with the resulting concerns on pressure and safety.

    I have raised this with the supplier and am awaiting feedback.
    Last edited by Dougabdn; 17-01-2015 at 18:02.

  2. #2
    Your Howa and someone elses are not necessarily going to be the same.

    How did you some up with that powder charge if you've not loaded the bullet? You're concerned about OAL? Back the powder charge off to minimum, seat the bullet .010" deeper, and try it. ~Muir

  3. #3
    I understood the "standard" for Win .243 allowed for cartridge lengths from 2.540" to 2.710", the SAAMI standard. Which also defines the chamber dimensions. I wanted to get a feel for what other HOWA 1500 243's measured

    I did reload the bullet??? I worked up from the minimum recommended and got the best results from 39.2gr. Only discovered the OAL problem when I thought about increasing the OAL to see what effect would be on accuracy. With hindsight I should have measured the OAL at the start.

    My concern is that as the bullet is firmly on the lands that the resulting pressure is not safe. Isn't that also true with the OAL measurement, sizing to less than the recommended "minimum OAL" again adversely affects pressures.

    By my calculation backing off 10thou will still leave the bullet on the lands, I would need to seat 20 - 25 thou deeper to get off the lands. Maybe I should just throw away the loading manuals.
    Last edited by Dougabdn; 18-01-2015 at 00:09.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dougabdn View Post
    I understood the "standard" for Win .243 allowed for cartridge lengths from 2.540" to 2.710", the SAAMI standard. Which also defines the chamber dimensions. I wanted to get a feel for what other HOWA 1500 243's measured

    I did reload the bullet??? I worked up from the minimum recommended and got the best results from 39.2gr.

    My concern is that as the bullet is firmly on the lands that the resulting pressure is not safe. Isn't that also true with the OAL measurement, sizing to less than the recommended "minimum OAL" again adversely affects pressures.

    By my calculation backing off 10thou will still leave the bullet on the lands, I would need to seat 20 - 25 thou deeper to get off the lands. Maybe I should just throw away the loading manuals.
    How about you quit being silly. I'm trying to help.
    You have shot these loads then and have had no issues? I don't understand: If you have the bullet into the lands and you require 20-25 thousandths to get it off, then you are saying you believe it to be a jamb fit? Not just against the rifling? Can you chamber and extract a loaded round?

    Not all chambers are the same, unfortunately. I have one 308 that has a NATO Ball seat throat. I have another that will swallow a 200 grain Sierra. My CZ Hornet has so much free bore I can't hit the lands if I wanted. Frankly, I have a hard time imagining that there is a commercial 243 out there that won't easily handle a 100 grain bullet loaded to the lengths specified in the manual but I guess it could happen.

    My suggestion to back off to minimum and seat deeper still stands. It would cure the problem.~Muir

  5. #5
    Dougabin -
    Trust what Muir has told you - He has massive experience & in all the thousands of posts he has made over the years , I've never seen one that isn't correct & safe & the right way to proceed.

    You have done two sets of measurements & got 15 thou difference - so either one or both of these measurements is wrong.
    May I suggest that you get yourself a decent vernier caliper & a gauge that measures bullets on the ogive - not the bullet point (Hornady & Sinclair make these) & start measuring again.
    Do all measurements many times whichever method you choose to be sure that they are correct. If you measure things right you won't get variations.

    It is good practice to make up a dummy round for each individual rifle & bullet choice, that when chambered just clears the lands.
    To do this:-
    Size a case & check that it chambers easily (without a bullet seated) with no resistance on the bolt knob. i.e. the head space length of the case is shorter than the chamber. Don't fit a primer.
    Next seat a bullet in the case so that it is too long for the chamber. - when chambered it won't allow the bolt to close without resistance. - Don't jam it into the lands - feed it carefully so it doesn't get stuck.
    Remove dummy from the chamber & seat it a bit further into the case. Take a felt pen & paint the bullet on the ogive. Then retry to chamber it as before - If you feel resistance it is still too long. Remove it & you will see the witness marks where the bullet has touched the lands.
    Keep seating the bullet deeper in small increments, marking it & chambering it until the bolt just closes without resistance & the ink isn't marked.
    At this length you then have a dummy to measure against & get a COAL for your rifle with that particular bullet. Keep that dummy as a reference as the absolute maximum gauge.
    You may find that the dummy is too long to fit into your magazine, but this is unlikely unless you are loading very long (VLD) bullets.
    You are right to avoid firing ammunition that starts off with the bullet jammed into the lands for safety reasons.

    Ian

  6. #6
    Hi Muir,
    Not trying to be silly, but in my original post I might not have been clear. I have been using the rifle with my reloaded cartridges, I have not seen any over pressure indications on my cases with the load/bullet combination used up to now. I don't think I have put any factory loads through it. I religiously reload to the specification given in the manuals but (foolishly?) did not check the rifles max COAL before using.

    I am saying it is a "jamb fit", as you describe it. As I said in my post, if I chamber a round originally sized to 2.650" it comes out "resized" to +/-2.645". The action of closing the bolt and cocking the rifle pushes the bullet deeper into the cartridge.

    I too doubted that the rifle was to fault and therefore took it to a reputable gunsmith who has checked it and also feels that the chamber is short. Hence my original request for some feedback from other HOWA 1500 Win 243 owners on max COAL.

    I accept that by reducing the OAL I can get the bullet off of the lands but my point is that does not cure the problem, I believe the rifle SHOULD accomodate the "standard" COAL. I shouldn't have to compromise on safety to get the round to fit.

    My request for some feedback stands, I'd be interested to find out if HOWA 1500 243's are chambered "short" or if my one is an oddball.

  7. #7
    Hi Ian,
    Thanks for the response. I fully accept that Muir has great experience and that I am relatively inexperienced, I don't doubt his advice and don't mean to offend but I don't want to compromise safety because of a "fault" in the rifle. Hence my interest in other owners experience.

    The two measurements are different, I suspect that the true value is somewhere between the two. I made a dummy as you described but the bullet was getting stuck in the lands so I resized the neck a little tighter to ensure the bullet extracted with the case. Maybe too tight and the bullet is being pulled a little as I extract it. There is no (very light) pressure on the bullet in the second method but marking and measuring accuracy are not so good. This was the first time I had measured the max COAL and I accept I have made some mistakes but in essence the OAL measured appears to be too short to accomodate standard rounds.

    I will take your advice on good practice and repeat the exercise for each bullet I use from now on.

    Doug
    Last edited by Dougabdn; 18-01-2015 at 08:40.

  8. #8
    Doug
    It is obviously bugging you but the main questions are -
    Do you get good enough accuracy with the rifle as it is? - If so, sort out your reloads COAL to match your rifle without jamming the lands & crack on. -
    (I've seen two 243 rifles this year with bad pressure spike problems caused by folks loading too long & jamming bullets. It would be wise to avoid!!)
    Do you really like the rifle? - If so , crack on & use it. - If not you could try & sort it out with the makers/distributors - I won't hold my breath! - I don't know if Howa state that their rifles conform to SAAMI standards anyway.
    Do you want to shoot VLD style bullets? - If so you could get the chamber reamed out to suit your selected bullets if it proves to be too short.
    Happy measuring!

    Ian

  9. #9
    Doug. Slightly different angle but have a look at the thread 'Blackened Cases .243' that I started on 6th June 2014. It is a bit of a drag to read through as there are 45 posts. However it will demonstrate the unnecessary angst that I caused myself in paying attention to getting the bullet near the origin of the rifling. 'Lands-Chasing' as Muir put it.

    Once you have resolved your problem of pushing the bullet into the rifling, you can be assured, that for all practical stalking purposes, in a sporting rifle, the bullet seating depth is unlikely to make a significant amount of difference, as long as the bullet is held firmly by the case neck. Crimping with a Lee Factory Crimp die helps too.

    Once again on a slightly different tack, have your cases been trimmed to length ? Whilst case length will not affect the issue of touching the rifling, it may affect the closing of the bolt, if the case is too long. Just a thought. Good luck and do update us with the outcome.
    A pessimist is an optimist with experience.

  10. #10
    I think I understand the point you're making, it sounds like your Howa has a short throat and whilst you can easily compensate for that with handloads by seating the bullet deeper in the case, if its below saami spec, there is a slim chance that you could have pressure problems if using some types of factory ammo.

    I would have a professional gunsmith verify your findings first and then approach the importer, if it is giving you concern.

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