Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Case life for the 500SW?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NW
    Posts
    191

    Default Case life for the 500SW?

    What are you guys getting in terms of case life for your hand loaded 500SW cartridges? How many full magnum discharges (Trail Boss and other light loads not counted)?

    Besides these symptoms what else should I be looking for when it comes to end-of-life of a case:
    1. loose primer pocket
    2. split/thinning mouth edges
    3. cracks on case


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    My swag is you'll loose cases due to cracks at the case mouth. How many laodings depends on how much, or how little you bell and crimp the brass. Heavy belling and crimping will cause cases to start cracking after a few firings, minimal belling and a firm but not gorilla crimp should result in cases lasting a dozen firings, or more.

    If you get loose primer pockets, you are loading too hot.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    515

    Default

    Keeping your brass trimmed and annealed will make them last longer also. Mine last for several loadings. Load is mid weight 30 grains of h110 under cast mid weight 400 grain bullets.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Plan on scrapping some cases while you are getting started with any new caliber. Planning on scrapping many cases as you get started in your first caliber.

    I started with 500 Smith on a single stage press, but with a Dillon powder thrower and the 50ae/500smith powder funnel. I started with 100 pieces of brass, and just kept loading those over and over until I got my poop in a group. Once I had it down, I scrapped all 100 of them, they had been belled too much, crimped too hard, not tumbled enough, all the n00b mistakes.

    Running 42.5 grains of H110 +/- a couple tenths behind a Sierra 350gr JHP with LR primers, I was getting really good pull. I found that I could lower the seat crimp die (with the bullet seated) already until I had crimped all the bell back out of the case, and then lower the crimp die another one quarter turn. With this load I could run a sample round around the cylinder three times (that is fire the other four rounds in the cylinder three times), with no measurable change in the COAL of the sample round.

    This load is a grain or two below published max, I only ever scrapped .500 smith brass because of length. I found that my cases were coming out of the sizing die with oblique mouths, they needed to be squared back up with a case trimmer so the mouth would be square and I could get a uniform crimp. I had about 600 pieces of brass in my herd, but coming up with 50 at a time that could all be trimmed to the same length wasn't an ordeal so much as something I could do in my free time to take my mind off work.

    IIRC new starline brass started at either 1.625" or 1.620". I could usually get 10 or 12 reloads out of each piece before they got down to 1.610". At 1.610" I wasn't getting pressure signs yet, but I was well under the minimum length spec for the brass, still running the same charge weight and getting nervous. So I scrapped them at 1.610.

    Heavier bullets and higher velocities, I would expect fewer reloads. Lighter bullets and lower velocities, maybe more.

    In .38Special I have regulated my load to the fixed sights on my snubbie, just under +P pressures with 158gr cast bullets. On those I am only getting 6 or 7 reloads out of new starline before they are too short for my roll crimp RCBS seat/crimp die to crimp them. Working the brass in and out of the deeper crimp groove in the cast bullet works the brass more too; compared to the gentle crimp I can get away with using jacketed bullets.

    With .500 smith you do wanna keep an eye out for case/head separation too, especially near the limits. With my load as above I never found measurable case/head seperation starting with brass I had purchased new. I did (once only) buy some used brass on craigslist, I ended up scrapping about a third of it.

    I put "case head seperation" into google images and then followed this link:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=case+...r:1,s:17,i:134

    It's a pressure thing. You don't want your cases getting thin and coming apart at this point.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Here is another one that may be more clear:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=case+...9,r:6,s:0,i:94

  6. #6
    Member S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    680

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post

    I started with 500 Smith on a single stage press, but with a Dillon powder thrower and the 50ae/500smith powder funnel. I started with 100 pieces of brass, and just kept loading those over and over until I got my poop in a group. Once I had it down, I scrapped all 100
    You must be independantly wealthy? I can remember shooting IPSC and reloading .45ACPs till the primers would actually fall out of the pockets. I know they weren't 500 S&W but, had to use them as much and long as possible. I live in Illinois and you in Alaska isn't going to make 500s cheaper what with everything having to be either flown or shipped in. So, I suspect my 500 brass is cheaper than yours? I'm also a FFL.
    I think your second link to "Case head Separation" eludes to the .38 Super before the supported chambers came into being? Remember the Super Face in IPSC?
    Steve

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    You must be independantly wealthy? I can remember shooting IPSC and reloading .45ACPs till the primers would actually fall out of the pockets.
    I notice in my .38Spec brass the primer pockets start getting loose right around the same time they are getting too short to crimp anyway.

    As far as the cost of .500Smith brass, I work at Fairbanks Hospital. Scrapping 100 pieces of .500Smith brass costs less than one ER visit if all they do is give me a bandaid and a Rx for oral antibiotics. If I were to have to make multiple visits getting a more complex dressing changed over in the wound care department, or IV antibiotics or heaven forbid get actual stitches put in, well, it would take a very long time for me to actually "save" any money by reloading.

    I am not sure at what power/velocity/pressure level reloaders should start watching for case/head seperation, but I am personally glad I checked all the use brass I bought before I put it into service. .500Smith loaders loaders should be familiar with it I think, and be especially wary of "once fired" brass.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    NW
    Posts
    191

    Default

    So far, I have been shooting 350gr jacketed/plated, may be a few hundreds. Will soon move on to heavier cast lead bullets (440gr) from the various recommended vendors. The cases I now have are the first 100 cases are from the factory loads I bought to test the gun and about 500 or so new Starline brass. Let's see how long these would last.

  9. #9
    Member S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    680

    Default

    swmn, how do you get your brass to shrink, mine always grows?
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/941...ss-500-s-and-w
    Please notice this is only 50:
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/655...gnum-box-of-50
    50 Winchesters:
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/139...um-box-of-1000
    More than I pay for other calibers I reload.
    Steve

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    515

    Default

    S.B. I was wondering the same thing about the shrinking brass.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    swmn, how do you get your brass to shrink, mine always grows?
    What I found was my crimps were coming out uneven. So instead of just measuring for length, I started turning the cases 90 degrees and measuring for length again.

    Once I settled in on 42.5gr of H-110 behind the Sierra 350gr JHP, I was finding .001 to .002 "obliqueness" in the case mouths. Having found my load, I was loading 50 at a time since bullets came 50 to a box, and later moved to 100 at a time since primers come 100 to a tray and that was the same as two boxes of bullets.

    So I got a trimmer, sorted my brass by length and trimmed off just enough to come up with 50-100 pieces of brass all the same. For me it was worth it because I got a more even crimp and more consistent ignition.

    In .38Special loaded with cast to just under +P I have to trim after five or six trips to the range. In .45LC I have cases coming up on 8-10 reloads that haven't been trimmed yet.

  12. #12
    Member S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    680

    Default

    Were your bullets jumping their crimp? Was accuracy better after sorting cases?
    Steve

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    515

    Default

    I do things a bit different. I have an RCBS trim die and after resizing/decamping I run each case into the trim die and just run a file over them all, de-burr and load. Then all my cases are always the same length, always crimp the same and are never uneven. Once the die is set you always get the same trim length from batch to batch, year after year. No measuring or sorting necessary.

    I also anneal my brass. On this I simply consult my crystal ball and it tells me I have reloaded these quite a few times and should anneal. I really don't anneal after any certain amount of loadings. I don't keep count.

  14. #14
    Member S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    680

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by redale View Post
    I do things a bit different. I have an RCBS trim die and after resizing/decamping I run each case into the trim die and just run a file over them all, de-burr and load. Then all my cases are always the same length, always crimp the same and are never uneven. Once the die is set you always get the same trim length from batch to batch, year after year. No measuring or sorting necessary.

    I also anneal my brass. On this I simply consult my crystal ball and it tells me I have reloaded these quite a few times and should anneal. I really don't anneal after any certain amount of loadings. I don't keep count.
    I use SWAG (sientific wild ***** guess), hehehe
    Steve

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    466

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    Were your bullets jumping their crimp? Was accuracy better after sorting cases?
    Steve
    Nope, not jumping crimp. Accuracy change was not significant. What I was seeing before I started trimming was varying amounts of unburnt powder/ burnt powder residue in the bore. After I started trimming I could see the crimp was more even by looking at the loaded rounds, and I could see ignition was more consistent by looking at my bore.

    I decided .500S&W deserved my "A" game as a reloader.

  16. #16
    Member S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    680

    Default

    I've learned from experience, what I thought was unburned powder is actually burned powder residue("ash"word of powder manufacturer).
    Steve

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bakerton, WV
    Posts
    467

    Default

    I have no idea how long the .500 S&W brass will last but I bet it is for many, many years. Brass is strong and the .500 is not running at a super high pressure.
    Sized brass WILL get shorter as it expands to the chambers but eventually it will need trimmed. Just keep them the same length.
    Do not anneal revolver brass unless you shoot super light loads.

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wasilla
    Posts
    515

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bfrshooter View Post
    I have no idea how long the .500 S&W brass will last but I bet it is for many, many years. Brass is strong and the .500 is not running at a super high pressure.
    Sized brass WILL get shorter as it expands to the chambers but eventually it will need trimmed. Just keep them the same length.
    Do not anneal revolver brass unless you shoot super light loads.
    My brass has never gotten shorter from shooting, only longer. I see no reason behind your assertion not to anneal unless I shoot super light loads. Work hardened brass is work hardened no matter. If the brass is hardened it will crack. There goes your brass. Maybe your experience is different but mine says anneal before the brass splits.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •