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Old July 15, 2011, 10:25 AM   #1
Fish_Scientist
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Sorting .45 acp brass and headstamps

I'm a new reloader and bought a bunch of mixed brass at a recent show. I've sorted most of it by manufacturer (i.e., REM-UMC, WCC xx, and "mixed"). Having read a bunch of threads on sorting brass here on the reloading forums, I've decided that categorizing further (especially after I have a few hundred each of REM-UMC and WCC xx) wouldn't give me that much of a benefit, especially since (at this point) I'm not reloading for competition. Mainly, I sort so that when I look into the box, all of the cases are by the same manufacturer.

I do have a question about the WCC cases I have. On this post I saw that the "xx" after the WCC implies year of manufacture. If this is the case, I've got a boatload of cases from 1952-55, the late 60s, and 1971 and 1977. Are the two numbers after the WCC on these cases truly the year or just a random lot number assigned during the manufacture process? If the value is the year and there are no visible issue with the cases (e.g., splits, cracks, etc.), is it still good to reload?

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Old July 15, 2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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I don't sort .45 ACP brass, past small primer and large primer. Some manufacturers these days are putting small pistol primers in .45 brass, particularly the non-toxic (NT) varieties and from reports, some Federal budget ammo.

So, I'm starting to collect a growing pile of small-primer brass in that caliber. When the pile gets big enough I'll reload them.

Quote:
If the value is the year and there are no visible issue with the cases (e.g., splits, cracks, etc.), is it still good to reload?
Yes, it's all good to reload, as long as there aren't any visible issue.
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:03 AM   #3
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Yes, that is the year made.
Yes, it is fine to load.
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Old July 15, 2011, 11:06 AM   #4
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WOW!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
Yes, that is the year made.
Color me impressed. I'm surprised they still look so good after such a long time.

Thanks -

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Old July 15, 2011, 11:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
is it still good to reload
Yes.

If I may add, I don't believe there is any reason to sort 45 brass, even if you're heavy into competition. The exception is if you earn your master card in Bullseye, you might pick up a few more X's on the 50 yard slow fire target.

I've address this while coaching pistol shooting. My answer was to load some sorted brass, and load some mixed loads. Load them the same except for the brass.

Now shoot a 900 with each lot. (900 being 30 rounds slow fire, 30 rounds timed fire, and 30 rounds rapid fire. 50 yards for slow fire, 25 for timed and rapid fire)

Compare your scores and targets. If you can see a noticeable difference sort brass, if not its not worth the effort.
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Old July 15, 2011, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
If I may add, I don't believe there is any reason to sort 45 brass, even if you're heavy into competition.
I will have to respectfully disagree... especially if you load single stage where you have a lot of "feel" with each stroke of the press.

In a progressive machine where 3-6 things are happening with each lever throw, not so much. In a single stage, I can feel the difference -- quite a lot of difference, in both the flaring and bullet seat/crimp steps when using brass of different headstamps.

I can feel a BIG difference, and for that, it's well worth it to separate them out a bit.
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Old July 15, 2011, 01:42 PM   #7
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Unless you are shooting bullseye at a high level sorting is not going to do much for you.

Mil .45 ACP cases may have a different capacity then commercial depending on age, along with crimped primers.

Weigh a few and see if they are close to the commercial cases.
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Old July 15, 2011, 02:14 PM   #8
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Sorting mixed range brass is a waste of time for handguns. You have no way of knowing if the brass is truly once fired, or if it has been cleaned with ammonia, or if manufacture changes took place over the years, and so on and so on. If you need to keep your brass in lots (most hand gunners never will) you need to start with the same lots, and the only way to do so is to use new or once fired from factory loaded. To do otherwise is a guessing game.
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Old July 15, 2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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As far as I am concerned, they are all the same. I belive the consistence of the powder load is the more important factor.

Yes, I can feel the difference when reloading of the amount of adjustment to the case size and the amount of energy it takes to push out some primers and reprime. Once, the round is reloaded I see no difference in actual round performance. They are then properly reloaded to fit the chamber. If you are having problems with feeding or ejecting, then I suggest it is a problem with the weapon or the reloading device. The visual observation of a particular casing is important. If the case does not look right after reloading the round, then discard the round. (later remove the bullet, power, primer and discard the casing)

I just reload to shoot and my personal level of accuracy is more based upon how well I am shooting.

Please tell me where the difference of any significance could be otherwise. What is your thinking a pressure difference between the cavity size of each casing? This is the only possible cause I can think of, and to me it is insignificant. The resizing while reloading should shrink most of the difference unless it is a matter of case thickness. How much pressure difference could this make. I maintain not much.
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Old July 15, 2011, 03:49 PM   #10
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Well FS, as you can see you'll get all kinds of answers. Not everybody loads for accuracy and you might find it surprising but some load so they have something that goes bang and doesn't cost a lot. Everything else is irrelevant. I sort my brass for my personal use. I do it as I shoot various bullets and bullet weights. The headstamp indicates to me what the load is. In regards to the date, I much prefer the older brass and frankly, I look for the older brass. I have far, far fewer issues with it versus the new crap that the primer holes aren't in the middle of the pocket or the flashole isn't punched all the way thru or it looks like they cut the brass to length with a chainsaw. Like I say, the old stuff is far better. But if it concerns you, we can talk trade-new once fired for yer old beat up crap.
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Old July 15, 2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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Thanks for the responses. Like Loader9 said, there's all kinds of answers here. While sorting may not make much of a difference, I have a bit of OCD (my wife would say I have more than a bit of OCD) and the categorization of the brass into (at least) different manufacturers satisfies my need for proper organization. Besides, my own personal brand of OCD, biologists tend to prefer things categorized and organized.

As I said before, I'm thoroughly impressed that those WCC cases that I have marked 53 have been around for so damn long.

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Old July 15, 2011, 04:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
The headstamp indicates to me what the load is
Now that's a good idea, Loader9.

I sort pistol brass. I would think the age of the brass is of less importance than its condition, with the one exception being brass which may have had mercury contamination.
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Old July 15, 2011, 04:52 PM   #13
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I'll admit to sorting handgun brass. As others have said, different cases feel different in the press, so if you're only doing one brand, they should all feel the same. You know if something feels different, there may be a problem so stop and check.
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Old July 16, 2011, 01:09 AM   #14
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I don't usually sort 45 brass, but I did sort some recently because there were a lot of old military.

There were some as old as 1918. What am I going to do with them? Make sure the ones with crimped primers are swaged, load them and shoot them.

I have had great success with older brass also.

Loren
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Old July 16, 2011, 06:52 AM   #15
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WCC 52

If you have any that are stamped WCC52, you should consider discarding them. They were loaded with corrosive primers. The switch to non-corrosive primers in WCC cases was 53.
I shoot competitively. I do not sort my brass. There are too many other more important things to be dealt with.
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Old July 16, 2011, 03:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
If you have any that are stamped WCC52, you should consider discarding them. They were loaded with corrosive primers. The switch to non-corrosive primers in WCC cases was 53.
I wouldn't worry about that unless the case is green inside. The "corrosive" part refers to salts that were deposited in the barrel and attracted moisture. The moisture and salt is very corrosive to steel. Not so much with brass. Bronze and brass are often used in marine environments because they are resistant to this type of corrosion.
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Old July 16, 2011, 05:06 PM   #17
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OK, I have had some of the other Forum members criticize me and others as just shooters and not one to be concerned about accuracy.

I welcome any of them to explain to me how there is a differnce in accuracy by using different head stamped rounds when reloading.

I understand logic, so prove it to me. I don't want to hear a bunch of williy nilly stuff about being pretty or meeting your psycholocical needs.

I want some factual proof vs. crirtical comments about it.

If you load the rounds the same, I don't think it is going to matter.

So, this is the challenge. I am not from Missouri but Show Me. I am from Alabama and believe in the outcome. (We do hold the National Championship two years in a row and it will soon be three year with different headstamps - Auburn & Alabama) It is the reloading vs. the headstamp.

So, I challenge any of you dang expert to reload and show me where any individul spent cartridge case is going to matter one way or not once it passes your reloading bench.

I want to hear from you only after you have factual data. Otherwise, keep your psychological needs and opinions to yourself.

You have no right to criticize my reloading bench without proof.
Tell me which ones pass and which ones are more accurate just because of the head stamp. I dare you. If you can prove this to me then I will discard the inaccurate head stamps. You supposedly experts will not meet my challenge.
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Old July 16, 2011, 06:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
OK, I have had some of the other Forum members criticize me and others as just shooters and not one to be concerned about accuracy.

I welcome any of them to explain to me how there is a differnce in accuracy by using different head stamped rounds when reloading.

I understand logic, so prove it to me. I don't want to hear a bunch of williy nilly stuff about being pretty or meeting your psycholocical needs.

I want some factual proof vs. crirtical comments about it.

If you load the rounds the same, I don't think it is going to matter.

So, this is the challenge. I am not from Missouri but Show Me. I am from Alabama and believe in the outcome. (We do hold the National Championship two years in a row and it will soon be three year with different headstamps - Auburn & Alabama) It is the reloading vs. the headstamp.

So, I challenge any of you dang expert to reload and show me where any individul spent cartridge case is going to matter one way or not once it passes your reloading bench.

I want to hear from you only after you have factual data. Otherwise, keep your psychological needs and opinions to yourself.

You have no right to criticize my reloading bench without proof.
Tell me which ones pass and which ones are more accurate just because of the head stamp. I dare you. If you can prove this to me then I will discard the inaccurate head stamps. You supposedly experts will not meet my challenge.
I am relatively new to reloading and shooting myself.
I have been reloading for less than 6 months now and in this short amount of time I've reloaded nearly 4,000 rounds of .45 ACP and 800 rounds of .223 since those are the only caliber of firearms I currently own.

A little over a month ago I was at the club when someone brought out a chronograph to chrono his rounds.
I then asked him if he could chronograph my rounds which he did.
I had loaded 100 rounds of 5.2 grains of Vihtavuori N320 using 230gr Cam-pro plated bullets in Winchester brass with WLP primers at an OAL of 1.260".
According to Vihtavuori this load is supposed to give me 850fps.


According to his chronograph I got an average of 700fps with a standard deviation of 6 feet per second and an extreme spread of 24 feet per second.
The reason for my lower velocity was that I was using a flat point rather than a more conventional bullet profile.

2 weeks ago I was in a hurry to go back to the range and didn't have any rounds ready to use so I threw some mixed brass in the hopper of my Hornady LnL AP Progressive press and used the exact same load as last time except that I reduced the OAL by 10 thou to 1.250.
I ran into the same person again who was once again chronographing some of his ammo.
He once again offered to chronograph mine. This time the results were quite different. My average velocity was up to 735fps but my standard deviation was up to 40 feet per second and my extreme spread was over 100 feet per second.

The only difference other than the shorter OAL was that I was using mixed brass.
His explanation was that different brands of brass have different case thicknesses which in turn give different case volumes.
He also said that different brass thicknesses result in different amounts of neck tension and since I don't crimp my bullets this may be another factor.

This is in no way scientific but just my experience.

When I returned home I separated my brass and made several hundred more rounds using the sorted brass. I will try to get these chronographed to see if there is a difference using sorted brass.
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Old July 16, 2011, 08:03 PM   #19
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Who does not crimp their bullet loads? We are talking about .45 ACP ammo here.

I do.

I mentioned before the only possible difference could be case thickness with an extremely small difference in pressure. It just does not make common sense to me.

You are using the same primer, the same grains of powder to one tenth, and the same bullet. Please tell me in your test which brass consistently made a difference. I will then start believing. Tell me which brass is better and which is not so.

No one has stated the specific difference between brass yet. Which is better S&B or Winchester. Tell me. (this is just an example)

I maintain there could be a bigger difference between bullet weight than case manufacturer.

I bet differences in manufactured bullet weight makes more of a difference.

So Gentlemen, show me the scientific proof. Weight each bullet. I have found some minor errors in this parameter. I used to go thru a box of Hornady rifle rounds and could sort a tenth to two tenths difference between rounds. We are not talking about match rounds. I do not think it is worth the cost for such costly expenditures in every day rounds.

I bet OAL makes a bigger difference. Did you check that to one hundrednths of a measurement? Why should any of us in their right mind check to this degree. We would never accomplish getting ten rounds reloaded. How close do you think factory loads are?

What do you think makes a bigger difference?

I suggest we are getting a bit silly here.

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Old July 16, 2011, 09:04 PM   #20
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I don't think I've seen anyone state that different headstamps are any less accurate. What I think is being said is, when you mix headstamps you may get different results because of case spec difference.

For instance:
Take 100 lbs of powder and put in a semi trailer. Ignite watch it blow.
Then take 100 lbs of powder and put in a concrete walled warehouse same size as trailer watch it blow.
Then put 100 lbs of powder in a warehouse with a interior capacity that is 10% bigger then the other 2 examples. Watch it blow.

My guess is that the warehouse with stronger walls (thicker case) will explode more violently and the trailer will be the weakest of the three situations.

Case volume and case thickness can make a difference in pressure and therefore can change velocity.
Velocity can effect the point of aim due to bullet (boolit) dropping faster with a slower vel.
So if you load mixed headstamps, you can get an accuracy issue if some are hitting dead on and some are a little higher or lower due to vel changes.

Granted at 7-10' this wouldn't be a problem but when you get to 25 yds you make get a difference that is unacceptable to the shooter.

This is all just my opinion and experiences.
something to chew on,
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Old July 16, 2011, 09:17 PM   #21
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I found that brass sorted by headstamp yielded more accurate ammo. Most of the time, it is not worth the trouble, but if you're shooting bullseye, it might be.
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Old July 16, 2011, 09:21 PM   #22
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"...truly the year..." Yep. Only milsurp brass will be stamped with the maker and year. Commercial brass just has the maker and the cartridge name.
Milsurp handgun brass usually has no daft primer crimp or thickness issues.
All U.S. made ammo changed to non-corrosive primers after 1952.
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Old July 16, 2011, 10:06 PM   #23
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Quote:
I want to hear from you only after you have factual data. Otherwise, keep your psychological needs and opinions to yourself.
Don't be a clown. I never saw anything in this thread where you were criticized. Your methods are perfectly fine and seem to serve you well -- just like mine or the next guy or the next guy.

Nobody here or anywhere else cares what you demand or require. This is an open forum, here for discussion. For certain, you will not get to decide what gets posted here.

To your satisfaction or otherwise, this discussion shall continue. Do whatever you wish at your bench, we all will as well, and the civil conversation amongst the rest of us will go on as it always has... before you arrived to throw down the gauntlet and call everyone out.

Your ammo works? Party on. Mine works, too. Sounds like we don't use precisely the same methods. Whoa... Seems like it works both ways.

Who knew?!
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Old July 17, 2011, 11:24 AM   #24
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Here's what I do and why. I sort my brass by mfr and my mil-surp also by date. I store brass in those plastic coffee containers lined with a 1 gallon size freezer bag. Most calibers I can get 500 pieces in the container. I have several Dillon presses and rarely load less than 1000 at a time. I have less problems with the press if I sort this way and fewer adjustments are required. That's the only reason I sort. I pick up lots of range brass, and sorting goes hand in hand with inspecting for cracks and other bad things. I already have the recipe that I am happy with which cycles the weapon reliably and I can hit (usually) what I shoot at. My pistol range in the back yard is inside an old 53 foot semi trailer that I lined with steel and an 8 foot tall and wide bullet trap that recycles my cast boolits. Since the farthest I can get away from the target is about 45 feet, I don't worry about accuracy beyond that. I can (usually) hit the 6 inch steel plates hung on hinges and I'm happy.
An easy way to keep from having problems with corrosive primed brass, is to wash it the FIRST time in soapy water. You only have to do it once (like removing primer crimps) and you are good to go. I've got lots of LC and RA .45 ACP brass from the 1940's that still shoots fine.
I have not yet figured out the system used to determine what brass gets crimped and what does not. As an example, I have some WCC-94 that about half had crimps and the other half not. None were Match which they usually don't crimp.
Lastly, I have been loading and shooting since I came home from Vietnam in 1969....I have only had a computer for little over a year. The internet is a great tool and source of information. I have had people bark at me because of something I wrote....but they took it a completely different way than I meant. Sometimes it's hard to focus on a point without stepping on some toes. Mostly, I gotta keep reminding myself that it's mostly opinions. What I consider a criticism may be someone elses way of a helpful suggestion, and I can't type good enough to argue. Of course this is all...only my opinion.
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Old July 17, 2011, 01:01 PM   #25
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Only reason I sort 45acp brass these days is to cull out the sp stuff. Mixed brass loads will wring every bit of accuracy I'm able to get out of my little Colt Defender or even my old Guvmint Model.
I sorted by headstamp and kept separate lots (to count times loaded) when I shot PPC years ago, similar to bullseye in accuracy requirements. I'm pretty sure it made a difference and I was more confident in my ammo. When scoring involves paper targets and rounds touching a scoring ring receive the higher value any tiny bit of increase in accuracy is welcome. A light uniform crimp is what I was looking for and a consistent case length and case wall thickness are crucial in achieving that. My loads were capable of 1.5" @ fifty yards, more accuracy than I was able to fully utilize. I was almost never able to blame a poor match on my ammo.
But for plinking or general use? Most anything works for me these days.
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