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Old October 13, 2006, 08:13 PM   #1
clayking
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A few brass questions, and 38spl ?

I've never reloaded .38's (special) but will be starting soon. I've been collecting the brass from the range (when I see someone shooting factory, I ask, I get) and my own. The questions:

1. Brass that is marked +P......I assume (always dangerous) that it can be loaded with normal loads and nothing is different from non +P brass or is it?

2. I got a bunch of once fired Speers brass today from another shooter, it looks fine, is it good brass? Any .38 brass to avoid?

3. General brass question. In all of the reload manuals that I have they say to keep brass by manufacturer and by lot and load as such. I do load by Manuf. but not necessarily by lot (only by accident). I've only mixed brands by accident and not out of habit but I see many who do load mixed brass. Are there any data, etc., that cover this subject in a definitive manner one way or the other?

Thanks.........................ck
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Old October 13, 2006, 09:50 PM   #2
Peter M. Eick
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Most +P 38 special brass is identical to normal 38 special brass. Weight it compared to the same make to be sure. I just use it normally.

Speer is fine brass. I have some from the 70's I am still loading and it has not split yet.

I sort by headstamp and then work up a load for each head stamp. I find that I get better accuracy if I sort the brass vs. just a pile of mixed brass.
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Old October 13, 2006, 11:05 PM   #3
Rimrod
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For the most part you can mix and match the brass if you are just plinking and not trying to load it to max pressures. If you scrounge brass at the range or wherever you find it there is no way you can tell the lot number. If you want to load for accuracy with the mixed lots try to sort them out by headstamps.

As for the data you mentioned I've never seen anything like it.
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Old October 14, 2006, 01:47 AM   #4
azredhawk44
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I mix headstamps on all my plinking handgun brass. My "good" brass for my 44mag comes from Starline. I shoot a little bit of 38special, but purely to pot-shot soda cans from my snubby. I only want enough "boom" to puncture 2 sides of tin or maybe kill a rabbit or rattlesnake. As such, I load my 38's super light and reload them forever.
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Old October 14, 2006, 04:37 AM   #5
mjrodney
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Like a youngster with the proverbial hand in the cookie jar, I am....

98% range pick-ups, tumbled, sized and deprimed.

Come reloading time, I reach in and grab a fist full.

Later on, they are again tumbled, sized and deprimed and returned to the bin.

It works.
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Old October 14, 2006, 05:16 AM   #6
donkee
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Stay away from any AMERC brass you find. The sample of .38 Spl brass I had from them had thin rims that wouldn't allow them to stay in a speed loader and flash holes were off center horribly. I said to myself, "self, they couldn't possibly screw up .38 spl brass, could they?". I was wrong, they did, really bad stuff.....
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Old October 14, 2006, 11:40 AM   #7
Smokey Joe
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Try it....

Clayking--You'll have to try it yrself to see if your particular pistol cares whether or not it is shooting all-one-manufacturer-brass-reloads, or separated manufacturers.

My (limited) experience is that most .38's are pretty forgiving. But check yours out specifically. If it likes the brass separated, or favors one manufacturer, feed it what it likes.

Separating brass by manufacturer is usually a much bigger deal with rifle reloaders than with reloading for the pistol. In pistol shooting so much depends on the skill and practice of the shooter that small variations in the ammunition are of much lower importance. In rifle shooting there is a lot more inherent accuracy of the weapon, so variations of ammunition--or of anything else--have a much more noticeable effect on the results.
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Old October 16, 2006, 07:56 PM   #8
JJB2
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i have always sorted .38 spl and .357 mag brass by brand...... i like ww brass the best for some reason.... most of my .357 mag brass is federal because i bought factory loads in that brand...... i do like brass that is not nickel plated better...... when reloading 9mm i'm not to worried about keeping the brass the same headstamp... seems that 9mm brass is better made than the others but that might just be my impression........


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Old October 19, 2006, 03:51 PM   #9
44 AMP
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Mixed brass

For plinking, unless your particular gun demonstrates a preference, it doesn't make any real difference. For any loads heavier, or for ammo for a serious purpose, you are better off to seperate by headstamp, and lot(if possible). For max loads, uniform cases are a must. Target shooters go so far as to weigh each case, and reject any that fall too far out side an average, as this indicates a difference in the internal volume.

More critical to the loading process is ensuring that your cases are all the same length. Cases significantly shorter than the average will not get enough belling, or crimp, and cases longer will get too much. Too much can result in a damaged and unusable round. Differing levels of crimp will also affect the accuracy of the ammo.

Loading cases of differeing length can be done, but it is more tedious. If you don't have a trimmer, you should sort the cases into batches by length, using a caliper. If you don't have a caliper, get one before you get into serious reloading. They are not all that expensive, and are indispensible for a great many things. A case length gauge is handy and useful, but it does not replace a caliper.

After you have sorted your cases by length, you can load them, adjusting the the expander and the seat/crimp dies for each different batch compensating for the differences in length.

If you are using range pick up brass, inspect it carefully. In particular, look for things like off center flash holes. These can break a decapping pin in an extreme. "Off brand" brass is notorious for this, but it can happen even with cases from major manufacturers. But not very often.
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Old October 19, 2006, 06:10 PM   #10
azredhawk44
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Quote:
Loading cases of differeing length can be done, but it is more tedious. If you don't have a trimmer, you should sort the cases into batches by length, using a caliper. If you don't have a caliper, get one before you get into serious reloading. They are not all that expensive, and are indispensible for a great many things. A case length gauge is handy and useful, but it does not replace a caliper.
I agree that a case length guage cannot fully replace a caliper, but I do feel I should add that the Lee case trimming system will accurately and rapidly uniform the lengths of fired cases to the SAAMI default for the particular caliber you buy the tool for. Midway has them for dirt cheap $. I have yet to get any for my pistol calibers, but I am very impressed with the tool's quality for my .308 and .30-30 handloads. I usually get 1-2 small tools with each midway ammo order, and these are on my "want" list for each pistol caliber.

But, my case length trimmers sit right next to my calipers.
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