you're using doesn't have a cannelure or a crimping groove (item C in FIG 63), then you'll need to refer to your reloading manual for the suggested OAL. The purpose of the cannelure and crimping groove is to secure the bullet by giving the mouth of the case a place to go (without deforming the bullet) when being crimped. When the bullet is properly seated, the mouth of the cartridge case should be near the top of the cannelure/crimping groove FIG 64.
Refer to your reloading manual. Under the section specified for the caliber you're loading, you'll find a schematic of the cartridge. For example, .38 Special lists a maximum OAL of 1.55" (Lyman Reloading Handbook). If you're seating the bullet to the cannelure/crimping groove, the OAL should be well within the maximum OAL listed, however, use a set of dial calipers to check it. (Dial calipers are available from Dillon Precision). If the bullet you're using doesn't have a cannelure/crimping groove, refer to the specific type of bullet you're using in the reloading manual. For example - if you're loading a 158gr 38sp JHP and it doesn't have a cannelure/ crimping groove, use the suggested OAL of 1.480 (Lyman Reloading Handbook).
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