Lighter bullet, OAL, and seating depth?

Apr 9, 2011
DC area
Rifle is a 700 7mm-08, 9.25-twist, 26" SPS Varmint. It shoots great with my current load, but the issue I have, like many others, is that to load the bullet (162 ELD-M) .015 off the lands, I have to load them over magazine capacity. I'm at 2.960 right now.

My question is, if I switch to a lighter bullet, say the Bergers 150 or 150 ELD-X, won't I still have to seat them over mag length to be at the lands or even a little off? I've heard people suggest starting load workup with the bullet up against the lands to get the most case capacity, and this would make it even longer.. theoretically? I know each type of bullet has different geometries and needs to be tested individually, but even if it's a lighter and shorter bullet, won't it have to be just as long to make contact with the rifling? Or am I overthinking this?


Ham Fisted Gorilla
Feb 17, 2014
You are overthinking it. If your twist rate will stabilize it, start at mag length, then when you have found your powder charge try some shorter OALs. I have found plenty of accurate loads jumping the bullet in the .1 area and further.
Jan 6, 2012
A lighter bullet with a lower bc will likely put the ogive a little closer to the rifling. I wouldn't choose a lighter bullet because of that.

Find the oal length that will feed all 4 (assuming internal mag) with some margin. Work your load there, then reduce oal in a few increments to see if it shoots better. If you don't find an acceptable load, try another bullet. I'd rebarrel before I used a load that wouldn't mag feed, but I guess that depends on what you use the rifle for.