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Old October 6, 2012, 01:40 PM   #1
p loader
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Lyman #49 question (Once fired brass)

On another recent thread it seemed generally accepted that reloading manuals are a guide. Prior to getting into reloading (I just got started) quite a few recommendations poured in with respect to the accuracy of and "must own" qualities of the Lyman manual.

I've been reading my manual today and one thing stuck out which was referenced twice.

CHPT 3:
Quote:
*CAUTION* Never load cases from an unknown source, i.e. cases picked up at the range or sold as once fired brass.
CHPT 5:
Quote:
*CAUTION* Load only cases which you have obtained as new unfired brass or which you have on hand as the result of firing new factory ammo in the firearm for which you wish to reload. A few pennies saved on bargain so called "once-fired" brass makes little sense when one considers the cost of a firearm and/or medical treatment, or wose....
What's with the hate towards once fired brass, or picking up brass at the range? Isn't that why you quality control check your brass (no matter where it came from) prior to reloading anyways? Following that line of thought why should I (a hobbyist) even get into reloading in the first place, I'd better just stick to buying factory ammo versus trying to load my own bullets. After all the savings or so called bargain makes little sense when you consider the cost of a firearm or medical treatment etc etc...

Just wondering.
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Old October 6, 2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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If you ever pick up my brass and reload it, you will incur the cost of your firearm, medical treatment, and worse. So leave my brass the heck alone if you're shooting beside me!
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Old October 6, 2012, 03:42 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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It's a guide, not a Bible.

Lots of things in the manuals are overly cautious or "lawyered up". That's one of them.

The trick comes in sorting out the "absolutes" from the "suggestion".
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:03 PM   #4
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The reason is that you do not know how many times range picked up brass has been reloaded. The other reason is that if you neck size only it may not work in you rifle.
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone
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Old October 6, 2012, 04:10 PM   #6
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I would only leave my brass behind for one reason. It has reached the end of its usefull life.

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Old October 6, 2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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Yes just be careful with range pick-up brass. It might be premium once fired left by a non reloader. Or it could be multi-fired and at the end of it's useful life and not worth picking up again by the original owner-loader. Always very very carefully inspect range pick-ups and scrap any that is questionable. Range brass has always been one source of reloading brass for me. I really like when some non-reloading friends shoot a few hundred rounds and I get the brass. With the high cost of brass it's worth sorting through range found brass. When buying 1000 round lots of military once fired brass I usually find 5-10 cases with stretch marks inside or cracks so careful inspection is necessary even with once fired from a reputable source. Even new commercial cases you normally buy in 100 round bags can show defects.
Your own cases need close inspection every loading but unknown brass needs a little more checking.

Last edited by rg1; October 6, 2012 at 07:13 PM.
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Old October 6, 2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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I pick up every single piece on centerfire brass I find. Once I get it home I inspect all of it and toss any bad stuff in the scrap can. Scrap brings about $2.50 a pound. All good brass goes in the reloadable can
As for the manual, remember they also sell brass.
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Old October 7, 2012, 07:42 AM   #9
m&p45acp10+1
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Follow the directions for inspecting brass. The only problem I have had from bad brass happened a couple of weeks ago using new ammo. I had incipient case head seperation with new store bought ammo. The last round in the box. I inspected all of the other brass, and it was fine. Had the rifle checked over by a smith whom gave the rifle a clean bill of health. He thinks it was the rare happening of that one that got by QC.

To avoid bashing I will not name the maker.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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Ever hear of Lawyers?

Lyman is only protecting their behind.

I do full length resize all brass picked up that I intend to reload before storage. From that point on it may be only neck sized or full length sized as needed.
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Last edited by jcwit; October 7, 2012 at 09:24 AM.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
I pick up every single piece on centerfire brass I find. Once I get it home I inspect all of it and toss any bad stuff in the scrap can. Scrap brings about $2.50 a pound. All good brass goes in the reloadable can
As for the manual, remember they also sell brass.
Good advice except that Lyman does not sell brass.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:30 AM   #12
dahermit
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Quote:
CHPT 3:

Quote:
*CAUTION* Never load cases from an unknown source, i.e. cases picked up at the range or sold as once fired brass.

CHPT 5:

Quote:
*CAUTION* Load only cases which you have obtained as new unfired brass or which you have on hand as the result of firing new factory ammo in the firearm for which you wish to reload. A few pennies saved on bargain so called "once-fired" brass makes little sense when one considers the cost of a firearm and/or medical treatment, or wose....
Considering how many hand loaders have bought and used such brass with no problems reported, the warnings not to do so, fit the category of: It sounds like good advice, but statistics indicate otherwise. Just because the author wrote it, does not make it true.

Consider handgun brass that has been hand loaded many times...It usually cracks at the mouth and the hand loader then discards it. I hand load my brass over and over until the individual piece fails and then I discard it...just that piece. A catastrophic failure is not imminent just because a piece of brass has been hand loaded before, or many times before.

With rifle cases, an incipient head separation can be detected before it happens. Although I would not pickup range brass (or buy it), because with a rifle, I want to start with new, unfired brass from the same lot, for accuracy purposes.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:32 AM   #13
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Every batch of "unknown" brass I aquire weither purchased or pick up goes thru a very stringent inspection ! maybe even splitting a case down the middle to look at the possible incipient head seperation or sawing a suspected hardened neck (I can tell the difference how hardened brass cuts comrared to soft) then annealing a bit before using.

So while the precautions do have merit , we as handloaders have to develop steps in case prep ,just as in reloading steps to insure to the best of our ablitys our own safety !!!

If you ask for specific steps in brass prep or reloading procedures you`ll probably get as many different answers as responses ,but as long as the end results are clean/safe components our goal is reached.

I`ll add this also, my inspection process is very different for rifle & straight walled revolver brass !!
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Old October 7, 2012, 04:47 PM   #14
Gerry
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It's very rare that I find pistol range brass with cracked mouths or anything like that - like perhaps 2 for every 5,000 pieces I've picked up, if even that. I don't bother carefully inspecting my 9mm brass but rifle of course would be another story. The very rare times I discover cracked cases has usually been when the case comes around in my Dillon 650 for placing the bullet. I check the powder charge (even with the powder check) and inspect the case mouth at the same time.

I shoot with IPSC guys which means my "new" brass has likely been reloaded many times each by many, many shooters. I'd hate to even think how many times. It's probably in the many dozens. Heck, I even pick up the badly tarnished ones lost from years past when a good rain the day before exposes them in the sand at the range. They clean up like new in my Thumlers Tumbler.

In my experience, the main problem that signals the end of a pistol round's life is loose primer pockets. Some brands are worse that others. When I don't feel that "squishy" resistance feeling during primer seating on my Dillon, the round is marked with a sharpy and put in a different container to be used once for Bill Drills or something like that. Then the spent cases are put into a bag before placing it in the garbage so that it doesn't get put back into circulation. (Even it someone else picks it up, I might eventually end up with it again!) The worse that can happen with worn cases like this is that the primer may fall out after loading, making a "trickler". Very annoying, but far from life-threatening. It's still rare that I find one with loose primer pockets even. I may mark one in 100 to 300 loaded rounds.
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Old October 8, 2012, 01:34 AM   #15
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One example:
The world of action pistol is now shooting "9mm Major."
This is 9x19 loaded to VERY high pressure (to take a 145 max power factor round to 165+ power factor).
So high, that the shooter uses "once fired" brass (who really KNOWS how many times it has been fired unless from military or police use?) that is cheap and LEAVES it on the ground from what I read.
You pick it up and you are using brass that has been ABUSED. I first saw "abused" 9x19 cases about 3 years ago. They passed my eyeball inspection for bulges, but they produced a raised ridge of brass near the extractor groove (see the Lee Bulge Buster ad and picture/drawing) than prevented the rounds from chambering. Since this just started 3 years ago, and I have found the occasional case since, and have not seen it before in about 37 years of reloading 9x19 previously, I "assume" it some new cause.
If the loader used a proper slow powder, the case is not too badly abused (I know that a top load of 3N37 and a 124gn jacketed bullet in Lapua manual will get you to 154 power factor and I assume that it meets at least European pressure standards--which are still, I have told, above SAAMI pressure). If the loader used a common and cheaper fast-to-medium speed powder, you could be using a case that has seen 50-65ksi.
Thus, if you pick up brass, you need to inspect it carefully (since any cartridge can be abused) and use it at your own risk. NOBODY can tell you it is OK to use. Everybody has to warn you or else they could find themselves liable for any damages.
This is all parts of living in the modern world. Haven't you run into this any where else?
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