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Old January 15, 2013, 07:34 AM   #1
BoogieMan
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How many times can you use brass

I assume it varies with caliber and charge.
9x19 range level loads with 124 ball?
30-06 loaded hot with 165bt's?
Is there a general rule of thumb or do cases need to be inspected for fatigue?
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Old January 15, 2013, 07:52 AM   #2
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It matters a lot on charge level, type of cartridge, make of brass, age of brass, & I'm sure some other factors.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
cases need to be inspected for fatigue?
This.
I get between 3 & 12 loads depending on what I'm loading & how hot I load it.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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In general, the hotter the load, the shorter the case life.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:57 AM   #5
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yep... strength of load...
match of chamber to dies... often times, if you have a loose chamber, case life is shortened ( happens most on milsurp, but can happen on others )
crimp style, & extent... the brass will last longer with a light taper crimp, than with a heavy roll crimp
brand of brass / alloy... some brands of brass last longer than others, often cheaper import brass cases are more brittle

shortest case life that I reload is 5.7 X 28, the blow back action of the gun forces the shoulder forward each time it's fired, I lose maybe 1 in 10 on 1st load, 3 in 10 on 2nd load, 6 in 10 on 3rd load... most I get... I have 38 special with taper crimp, that have been loaded more than 15 times
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:58 AM   #6
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As long as your not loading hot and you anneal every couple loadings, you can get upwards of 40-50 reloads from a rifle case. I've heard of it many times.

I'm not that far yet, but I have some thats going on 20 times.
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Old January 15, 2013, 09:14 AM   #7
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I load both .44 mag. and 30-06.
I won't say case life is indefinite but most of mine have lasted through dozens or reloadings. This with charges from mild to wild.
I do inspect frequently. If several in a lot show signs of fatigue I will anneal. That is not often needed.
Military 30-06 brass lasts much longer than commercial because it is thicker.
Use and enjoy. Do inspect at every state of reloading.
I consider the case cleaner (I use a tumbler) to be one of the most important tools in a reloading shop as it allows proper inspection of the brass. That is a major safety consideration.
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Old January 15, 2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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With the current shortage and the fact that I own a fair size machine shop with cnc equipment. Is there any reason I couldnt machine my own cases. I know they are not made that way at factory because of cost. I dont see any problem making my own from a cost standpoint. I would have to run some numbers and a few trials. Has anyone tried this? What alloy? Would love to use 360 brass but I am pretty sure cartridges are made from 260.
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Old January 15, 2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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Primer pockets expanding is where I lose 99% of my brass. I know I can tighten them back up, but I use it as an indicator that it is time to remove them from service. Norma Rifle brass in pretty much any chambering I usually get 12 to 16 loadings. Wichester brass 5 or 6. I usually get about 10 loady on Nuy Brass.
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Old January 16, 2013, 06:48 AM   #10
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BOOGIE... you can make your cases from free machining steel, & even stainless ( I have a unique cartridge & gun, 22 magnum centerfire... kind of a cross between the old Velodog cartridge & the Cooper Center Fire Magnum ) I lave machined cases that are steel & some that are stainless... sorry, cant suggest an alloy of brass though
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Old January 16, 2013, 07:25 AM   #11
Bart B.
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Some folks have got many dozens of reloads per .308 Win. case. They use full length sizing dies without expander balls, don't set the fired case shoulder back nor size body diameters down more than 2 thousanths. And with max loads, no annealing and no primer pockets failing to hold primers.

If your cases' primer pockets open up too much to hold primers before 20 to 30 reloads, you're probably putting too much powder in them. And the peak pressure's probably over SAAMI specs. Most cartridge brass starts extruding/expanding at about 65K to 70K cup. That's why SAAMI max average pressure specs are in the 50K to 58K cup range.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
BOOGIE... you can make your cases from free machining steel, & even stainless ( I have a unique cartridge & gun, 22 magnum centerfire... kind of a cross between the old Velodog cartridge & the Cooper Center Fire Magnum ) I lave machined cases that are steel & some that are stainless... sorry, cant suggest an alloy of brass though
Stainless cartridges would be very cool. Only thing is that machine time and SS are on the pricy side in that case. In an instance like you have the cost isnt an issue. Post a pick if you have a chance.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:47 AM   #13
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we used stainless rod ( I don't remember the alloy, but it's listed in the thread ) but it wasn't that bad... I had my retired buddy make the cases, & the labor is what cost the most... I wish I had the equipment ( & the time ) to do it myself... even though I don't mind giving my fixed income friend some extra $$$ for his fun projects... here is a thread on the build... a couple pics there...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=484623
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:50 AM   #14
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Brass is fairly elastic... would steel or SS cases be reloadable? I don't see much point if you only get to use them one time, and I don't hear about anyone reloading commercial steel cases.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:54 AM   #15
Magnum Wheel Man
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the chamber is the limiting factor to the brass... the elasticity of both the steels are within the limits of the chamber dimensions... I'm sure if you were trying to do a roll crimp, or super hot loads & your chambers were bigger than the brass ( out of tollorance ) you would have issues, but I expect my 250 or so cases to last me a life time, at my use...

BTW... it may take a bit more torque to resize if they are stretched much, but mine don't seem to stretch at all, with the pressures I'm running...
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:02 AM   #16
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... so the reason we don't reload steel is the fact that most/all steel cases are Berdan primed and not that steel is difficult to resize/expand/crimp?
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:07 AM   #17
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This same retired tool & die guy has been reloading steel cases for years, by redrilling the berdan primed pockets... with too many holes, he uses lower pressure loads...

I wonder if the Hornady steel match ammo is boxer primed ???
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:41 PM   #18
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Brass is fairly elastic... would steel or SS cases be reloadable? I don't see much point if you only get to use them one time, and I don't hear about anyone reloading commercial steel cases.
It all depends on alloy. 300 series SS is very soft and elastic. 360 Brass (machining grade) is very brittle. Steels are very vast in the alloys with low carbon steels generaly not brittle. Boring berden primed brass cases would probably be the safest or at least most predicatable way to go.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:59 PM   #19
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Magnum wheel man I checked a case I picked up of .223 Hornady Steel Cased Match looked in with a flash light. It is boxer primed. Good to know that it will not break a decapping pin if I miss it. Though I police my range pick up rifle brass with a magnet. It did stick to the magnet.


Ok now as far as 9mm Luger goes. If you can pick it up enough times it will eventualy split at the case mouth.

30-06 Paper clip test to make sure there is no cut ring inside the case. Check trim length. If you are shooting a semi auto it is a wise practice to shoot 5 times. Then scrap. If bolt action then load till the primer pocket gets loose, or the case mouth cracks.
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Old January 17, 2013, 09:39 AM   #20
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In my reloads, I generally load lighter than max loads and neck size every reload and don't anneal necks. I clean primer pockets before reloading.

I found that when a few of the cases in a batch wouldn't hold a consistent neck size and there was a noticable difference while seating bullets, the accuracy got worse. That is when I dump the batch and replace them.
Neck size problems began to appear after I got at least 15 reloads out of every case with Remington and Winchester brass.

Recently, I switched to Lapua and Nosler brass as my standard and the necks seem to hold up better. Both have the case necks annealed at the factory. I am around 15 reloads per case and have not seen any neck size issues yet. Overall group size accuracy with the Lapua and Nosler brass has been slightly better possibly because the neck tension is better maintained from case to case.

I load for 5 rifle calibers and I have had only one case split (.22-250 neck) or any problems with primer pockets in more than 15,000 reloads over the last 2.5 years.
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Old January 17, 2013, 12:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
I assume it varies with caliber and charge.
Is there a general rule of thumb or do cases need to be inspected for fatigue?
Yeah, it depends.

After the third trimming.

(For .45, until you loose it. For .38, until the case splits. )
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