FINDING THE 12FV’S LANDS (THE WRONG WAY) Back when I started reloading the ammo I used in early 2016 I was specifically interested in getting the 69gr SMKs to 0.20” off the lands. Much of the reloading advice that I found online and in manuals suggested this was a good starting point for handloads. In order to get 0.020” off the lands however, I needed to know where the lands were in the chamber (DUH!). Rather than spending money and purchasing a gauge, I figured I’d cheap out and make my own. I bought a $0.99 wooden dowel rod, and cut a slot in one of my spent cases (you can see the slot in the case below) and drilled out the primer pocket of the case to fit the dowel. I figured I won’t be measuring the lands very often, so spending $45 on a tool (and required case) didn’t make a lot of sense. My solution works okay from a mechanical perspective, but the brass is a little tight around the bullet which makes it hard to find the lands by touch. Making matters worse, the tension on my homemade case was sufficiently high that it gave enough force to the bullet against the lands to bind- at least to bind enough to pull the bullet from the neck of the case. At that point I’d have to push my wooden dowel through the muzzle to dislodge the bullet, and then repeat the process all over with no reading (since I was relying on the neck to hold the bullet for the reading). I also tried two different ways to measure things with this setup (and the next one): Seat the bullet (it was hand tight) really long, and chamber the blank-round using the bolt to compress the bullet into the neck on the lands. Basically I’d push nice and slow into the lands and (hopefully) let the bullet seat deeper. Do that enough times and you should find a point where the bullet is never longer than X (the point where the lands are in theory). The second approach was to seat the bullet way short and push the bullet forward using the dowel until it hit the lands. This is the method I alluded to above. The problem was the neck tension on the bullet was high enough that pushing the bullet forward with the dowel from behind was hard- when the bullet did contact the lands it was usually INTO the lands and got pulled from the case (i.e. start over). Of the two methods closing the bolt down and compressing the bullet back tended to work a little more often. NOTE: I DO NOT recommend using a homemade tool to measure the lands! This method turned out to be VERY inaccurate, and dangerous.