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Thread: opinions on brass

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    Default opinions on brass

    So just curious how many shots are most of you getting with typical hunting reloads in your rifles. I never hunt with new brass always once fires(learned from my dad and guess brass back in the day was not as good so now its just habbit). Out of my 416 wby I only use it 3 times before it becomes practice only(1st time practice and 2x hunting or more practice). Years ago I used it more but had some brass break at the shoulder so since then I am very leary about it,,,hate to have a piece of brass stuck in the gun when shootin a wounded bear,,and BTW I shoot no where near max..hate for that bolt to stick..thanks in advance for any opinions.
    Dave

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    Member AKHunterNP's Avatar
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    I'll use them average of about 5-6 reloads, depends on the brass. I had to use some nickel plated crap for my 300WSM because I didn't have any brass and could only use them twice. 338WM, 300WSM, 7mm RM is about 5-6. I get more out of 30-06, 270, 223. For my 44MAG it's about the same as my magnum rifles and for 45ACP, 45LC and 40S&W same as the non-mangum rifles. It's hard to give a good answer to this because I don't buy brass, i get it off the range. Most of it is once fired but some of it picked up off the ground who knows. Also, if I have only one rifle of a particular caliber then I will only neck size the case which will help the brass last a little longer.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Just the other day I read in a reloader manual not to reload brass more than 4 times...........for what it's worth.

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    Some of my 38special, 357, 44mag, and 30-30 brass has been around 15 or more times. 257 Weatherby gets tossed after 6 firings as it's pretty well toast by then. 06, 270, 35 Rem, 35 Whelen, 45/70, 444, and 458 goes until the primer pockets loosen. I do occasionally run a wire hook down the case wall to feel for a separation ring, if there's a low spot in the wall it gets canned.
    I have only had one separation in thousands of rounds down range, and I should have seen it coming but wanted to get one more loading out of some Whelen ammo for practice. In that case the brass had been loaded 11 times previously and the primers were seated with very little resistance that last go around, as I said should have known better.

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    I get 4 or 5 with my .300WSM, which is a pretty high pressure cartridge. By the 4th load though I've usually relegated it to a lower pressure practice round and then pitched.

    Pistol carriages like 38 and 45ACP I generally will lose before they wear out. I bet I've got 20 times on some of them.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Just the other day I read in a reloader manual not to reload brass more than 4 times...........for what it's worth.
    4 times isn't a lot for any type of brass. You can get a lot more reloads out of them but the manuals are usually a little over cautious.
    "...arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe...Horrid mischief would ensue were the good deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Good brass means more loads. Lapua brass claims 10 reloads and you pay a little more for it. I hate to put a number on it. I inspect my brass after each shot and go from there. Neck sizing only will help your brass stick around a little longer as previously mentioned and highly recommended

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKHunterNP View Post
    4 times isn't a lot for any type of brass. You can get a lot more reloads out of them but the manuals are usually a little over cautious.
    Yes.......waaaaay over cautious. We were commenting how the old manuals from say the 60-70' have hotter loads as their max loads than today. As time went by you can see when the lawyers started to get involved.......lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    Good brass means more loads. Lapua brass claims 10 reloads and you pay a little more for it. I hate to put a number on it. I inspect my brass after each shot and go from there. Neck sizing only will help your brass stick around a little longer as previously mentioned and highly recommended
    Ive gotten as many as 13 shots out of a carefully fondled piece of 6.5x55 Lapua brass.

    Now on the other hand, 32-20 and 7.62 Nagant brass sometimes dont even make the first reload, dying a horrible crumpled death in my press

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    I tend to scrap both rifle and pistol brass because it is too short from how ever many reloads. I do load inside published limits.

    I bought some "once fired" brass off Craigslist for .500SW once upon a time. Some of them were really hard to size. I started segregating the hard to size ones, and then checked for case/head separation on the hard to size ones. I ended up scrapping all the hard to size ones, and had to check all the other ones (stick a bent coat hanger down the throat and scrape the inside wall) - actually there is an RCBS tool for measuring case wall thickness - I ended up keeping about 120 out of 150 pieces.

    I don't have any magnum rifles and use Lee factory crimp dies on .338Federal and .223Remington. On these it comes down to length. Once they are trimmed so short the crimp die doesn't crimp anymore they are done.

    Same with straight wall pistol brass using jacketed bullets. I use just enough roll crimp to keep the bullets from walking (no measurable COAL change), load inside published limits, and scrap when they get too short.

    I am new to reloading cast boolits, maybe a month or so. It takes a lot more crimp (all my experience so far is in .38Spec) to keep the bullets from walking while they ride the cylidner go round. I may have to take up annealing if I start scrapping big chunks of my herds.

    I have had great experience with all of Starline, demilled Lake City, Federal, Remington and Hornady. I used to fool with the primer sealant on PMC .223 but got over it since .223 pickup brass is so plentiful at my home range. I do still pickup PMC in .38Spec, no primer sealant but some of the holes between primer pocket and case hull are visibly off center.

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    swmn: not meaning to be overly critical, just trying to understand what you mean about "Once they are trimmed so short the crimp die doesn't crimp anymore they are done." Don't you control how short they are by how much you trim?

    As to the subject: I only hate Ni brass. I had a bunch of 1X FC 223 brass that would blow primers with the first loading of a well tested standard load, so I avoid FC brass. I've had good luck with most of the rest. On my current buy list are: .223 LC (general shooting) and Win. (match loads), most "game rifles" Win., most handguns Starline.

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    I started annealing my bottle neck cases, both standard and belted, a few years ago. Annealing is not difficult and as long as you do not loosen up the primer pockets, the case life is almost unlimited. I only neck size most of the time. The annealing process is time consuming more because the cases have to dry after being quenched but the process is very straight forward. The price of brass has gone up markedly around here and I shoot enough that it is worth the extra effort for the cost savings. JMO. J.

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    No worries, the Lee factory die operates from the upcoming ram pushing agaisnt the bottom of the die. Thus the crimp provided by the die is a fixed difference from the shellholder on top of the ram. Once that dimension is too short I am done.

    With roll crimp made by the seating die, I will run pistol brass a bit shorter than whatever "trim to" dimension I can find, especially in lower pressure plinking loads. For field use during hunting season, I only take brass with me that is in spec.

    I do like that Ni brass tumbles clean in a hurry, but it does seem to work harden more rapidly than plain brass. I don't buy it, but I will pick it up when it is free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonardC View Post
    Don't you control how short they are by how much you trim?
    Too late to edit. I trim just enough to square the case mouths back up.

    For the OP, I have lost count. Always loading inside published limits I have .500 SW brass that has been around the cycle a dozen times easily, though I am going to have to replace those soon because they are getting short. I have .38Special brass that has been reloaded a dozen times easily with jacketed bullets that is still going strong. I can often reload .38Spec without trimming, just chamfering. My .500 brass almost always needs the mouths squared back up, I load 42.5 of H-110 under 350gr Sierras for that.

    In .338Federal (.308Win necked up 030) I square the mouths as part of brass prep and expect 8-10 reloads before scrap. The same story about buying a sporting rifle based on a military cartridge, bulk 7.62 brass is even cheaper than bulk StarLine .308.

    I can honestly say I have never yet found case/ head separation in any piece of brass I purchased new.

    EDIT- on time this time - I did stop picking up FC .223 brass. I personalyl never had a problem with it, but I have read about other people having trouble with it. In .223 I pick up R-P and Winchester. I used to pickup LC .556, but the primer pockets weren't worth the trouble for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldRgr View Post
    I started annealing my bottle neck cases, both standard and belted, a few years ago. Annealing is not difficult and as long as you do not loosen up the primer pockets, the case life is almost unlimited. I only neck size most of the time. The annealing process is time consuming more because the cases have to dry after being quenched but the process is very straight forward. The price of brass has gone up markedly around here and I shoot enough that it is worth the extra effort for the cost savings. JMO. J.
    OldRgr on the subject of annealing,I have started reading about it but have yet to do it. I have read somewhere that you put the cases in a pan of water and only heat up the necks is that how you do it or do you have a different process.thanks
    Dave

    thanks for all the input from everyone as always..

    ps gotta start shootin a different gun price today at gng for 416 wby brass was 82$ ouch...

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I would worry about excessive pressure or throat damage? It's just a theory..............

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I would worry about excessive pressure or throat damage? It's just a theory..............

    oops, I apologize folks, this post I made was intended for the other thread about seating bullets backwards. I had two different tabs opened, and replied to the wrong one! disregard........carry on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    OldRgr on the subject of annealing,I have started reading about it but have yet to do it. I have read somewhere that you put the cases in a pan of water and only heat up the necks is that how you do it or do you have a different process.thanks
    Dave

    thanks for all the input from everyone as always..

    ps gotta start shootin a different gun price today at gng for 416 wby brass was 82$ ouch...
    That’s one of the many ways, the easiest and most common way. Cooky sheet with about 3/8 to ˝” of water, enough to cover the brass when you knock it over. Heat with a plumbers torch, knock it over and start heating the next one. Trick is getting the heat right, there are markers you can use when learning to read the color under the flame or just trial and error . . . ether way it doesn’t take long to get an eye for when to tip it.
    Andy
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    When I was starting out, (not that long ago, couple yrs, 3000rds or so) I searched out a lot on the Forums,...
    to learn from the heavily Experienced guys
    and found several threads on the subject (mentioned just to suggest searching thru the archives here, massive good info available)

    and read several of the old timers mention as many as 18 loads or so for a batch of brass,...no joke
    (pretty sure they we're Neck sizing, but even Full length sizing, trimming, etc. you should get quite a bit more than 2-3x

    There are several factors involved (maybe your large Magnum loading would be one different from my experience ?)
    I also Neck Size almost exclusively, which really extends brass life for sure
    but I've been workin .270wsm for a while, and always get over 10 loads for a batch,
    I keep tight records, seperating out into batchs of twenty, was really watching # of trims, etc. at first
    Have done some Annealing, just as Andy describes it, worked fine, may have made a lot of difference (?)
    I also don't see any reason to load over Book Max, so am not pushing any envelopes at all

    usually get up around 14 or 15 reloads before I find a split neck, which is where I retire the batch,
    load the rest of that batch up for hunting loads, have killed quite a few critters with 12th time thru brass, etc.

    I started out using once-fired Factory brass, Remington mostly, and that was the stuff that lasted less than 14-15 launchs
    Now, I'm using either Nosler or Norma stuff, and it just lasts really well, haven't even found a split neck yet in that hi-end stuff
    haven't been working it long enough yet,...( haven't done any Annealing on these yet either, working on 10th load with one batch)

    All that to say, I think you're being Pretty Conservative, so it's just up to your economics I guess,
    if you want to retire brass that early

    Of Course, this is "The Internet,..." so I'll end that whole bit with,..."Be CAREful,....tho"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    thanks to all...some very good info for sure I will switch to neck sizing only and read up a little more on annealing...

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