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Old March 25, 2005, 08:53 PM   #1
novus collectus
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Dented brass usable???

I got a whole bunch of surplus Korean 30-06 and about 30% was dented. I was just wondering how dented is too dented? I've been pulling the bullets for reloads on the obviously unusable cartridges and I found that the powder wasn't always the same in all bullets. Even bullets in the same clip had different powder (some had large cylindrical grains and some had pellet shaped grains). Do you think I can reuse the powder if I use the exact same amount in my reload?

The dents in the brass that is questionable vary from a little ding halfway up the cartridge to dents in the top of the shoulder. Please take into consideration that these will not be fired in match rifles and will be fired in old milsurp rifles. What would it do to the rifle if I used a few of these dented rounds?

Is there a tool or technique to pull a live primer from brass? It seems a shame to waste those primers as well.
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Old March 25, 2005, 09:04 PM   #2
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Listen to me...very carefully....DO NOT reuse that powder from those shells.

There is no way in the world you can know what it is. Heck, the maufacturers probably couldn't tell you for certain.
I'd hate for you to blow yourself up just to save a few dollars. Same for the primers, if you've pulled the bullets, you might as well resize the cases and start from scratch.
The amount of whatever powder you use should come from a good reloading manual, preferably two manuals.

As for the dents on the shoulder, those sound oil dents, as if they have been reloaded.

If they aren't major dents, they probably won't hurt anything but your accuracy, when you fire them, they should return to normal.
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Old March 25, 2005, 09:12 PM   #3
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Thanks you probably saved me from dumping 80 rounds or so.

Guess I'll use the old powder for fireworks
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Old March 25, 2005, 09:18 PM   #4
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Sorry, I edited after you replied.

As for the old powder, Yeah, I'd just destroy it if it where me (as in burn it up).
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Old March 29, 2005, 09:54 PM   #5
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Dented brass

I've fired brass dented by having too much lube on the shoulder when FL sized--the only result is that the brass gets ironed back out to where it should be. Ditto brass that has collected various handling dents in the side of the case. Exactly how badly dented is too badly dented?? That's a good question.

Clearly, any case that you have trouble chambering is too dented. Any case where the shoulder is mostly bent in is too dented. I worry less about the case's sidewall than about the shoulder because that's where the case headspaces. My advice would be to err on the side of caution--no saved brass is worth an eye, or even worth harming your rifle.

Agree w/Capt. Razor, accuracy won't be perfect, but in a milsurp rifle that isn't the biggest consideration.

As to powder, again, err on the side of caution: ANY UNIDENTIFIED OR MIXED POWDER IS FERTILIZER. Period.

Primers can be removed from brass in a single-stage reloading press, but the brass has to fit into the die. You just resize the case as normal, but VERY slowly and carefully. Wear ear/eye/hand protection. I would not re-use the old primers--cancel 'em with a hammer; there's no quick and quiet way to make them non-explosive; primers are so cheap why take any chances.

You can resize and reload the usable cases as usual after firing. As old milsurp brass, I'd keep a close eye on it for cracked necks; discard at the first sign of a crack. You can reload the pulled bullets, using modern data for that same size/style/weight of bullet, and modern primers and powder.

To recycle the reject brass, the stuff that won't even fit into a resizing die, you will probably have to detonate the primers to get a recycler to accept them. I do this with eye/ear/hand protection, put each case in the vise, and hit the primer with a hammer and a nail-set or a small punch. Noisy, putzy, but effective. Recycle brass is worth a little $$ if you accumulate a few pounds at least.
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Old March 29, 2005, 10:14 PM   #6
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Thank you Smokey Joe (cafe?), I have already discarded the ones dented in the neck but it is reassuring to know I should be ok with the other 80 or so cases with dents in the body.
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Old March 30, 2005, 03:19 PM   #7
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I can only agree with the above re primers. I would pull the bullets, dump the powder, and fire the primers. Primers are so cheap, it is just not worth the risk of reusing them. Use hearing protection when you fire them- they are surprisingly loud.
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Old April 1, 2005, 10:21 PM   #8
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Handle

Novus collectus: I'm not affiliated with a cafe or any food service organization that I know of. For that I am grateful, and so should be the public. My handle has been around for 40 yrs; in college I had an embarrassing accident involving a fire hose and have been Smokey (after the fire prevention bear) Joe ever since.
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Old April 2, 2005, 10:58 AM   #9
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I was referring to the song (I think it was called Smokey Joe's cafe or maybe the name was used in the song).

One of the things I was concerned about besides safety was whether the dents, when they iron out from pressure, would cause wear on that spot (be it the sidwewall or the shoulder) on the chambersurface? I wondered if it had similar physics as the Munroe effect. The Munroe effect is when you carve your name into a flat block of explosives and place it on a flat piece of metal the result (after detonation) will be your name appear impressed into the metal (not explosives expert, I just read one book once). The exact opposite happens when you leave a raised carving of your name in the expl. block and you will get a raised name in the metal (the rest of the metal was effected more than than the surface touching the raised letters in the block of expl.). Would I get a mirror image of the dent (or at least more pressure and wear at that point) in my gun? I know that this is somewhat trivial because it may (or may) not take thousand or even millions of shots before it would even start to create these mirror images I'm talking about but I would like to see if my theory has any feasability. I also really don't know if it will cause more wear and I am somewhat concerned as well.
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Old April 2, 2005, 09:00 PM   #10
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I think you're worrying to much about it. If the dented cases will chamber, and the bolt will close all the way to battery, without forcing anything, I really don't think you have anything to worry about.
Your chamber is many times harder than the brass in the cases.

You have an interesting point though, but I know that there are some wildcat rounds out there that have to be "fire formed" in order to have brass to reload.

But in the end, it's your call, if you don't feel safe about using that brass, by all means, toss it in the trash and start over.

I have saved brass that I messed up for .243 (small oil dents on the shoulder) by refiring it and have never had any troubles.
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Old April 2, 2005, 09:14 PM   #11
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Brass is fired formed all the time. It's OK to use brass with slight dents in them just no creases.
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Old April 2, 2005, 09:21 PM   #12
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Thanks for replies.
TimRb thanks for bringing that up. Some of the ones I was saving for use look like they might be creased (or gouged).

Last edited by novus collectus; April 2, 2005 at 10:05 PM.
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Old April 3, 2005, 10:10 PM   #13
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I'll use brass that has minor dents in the side but not the shoulder. Deep dent or creases get tossed. Good rule to follow is when in doubt, toss it out.
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Old April 4, 2005, 10:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Do you think I can reuse the powder if I use the exact same amount in my reload?
If the powder was consistantly the same in each cartridge, looks the same, has roughly the same charge weight, and you had a few hundred round of ammo to make it worthwhile I would reuse it. Take the average charge weight, reduce it by 10% and work up a load that shoots well, but I wouldn't exceed the original charge wt and would use the same bullets. I've done this alot with 8x57 surplus ammo and have made some ammo with pretty decent accuracy out of what others would consider junk ammo. In your case,with the number of rounds you are looking at and especially the fact that you are seeing different types of powder, it would be neither worthwhile or safe to do.

If you end up popping of the primer in a rifle, make sure you clean your barrel with water immediately afterward followed by a regular solvent like hoppes No. 9, a lot of the korean surpus ammo has corrosive primers.
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Old April 4, 2005, 01:07 PM   #15
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The only other word of causion I could see here is you said it was military brass and if that's the case I would run the empty brass through the rifle and discharge the primer first. With the militart crimp on the primer you might have a better chance of the primer discharging before you get it out. That's just my 2 cents worth.
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Old April 4, 2005, 07:20 PM   #16
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Good on Mr. Boren!

Robert M. has his head on--I don't, today! You DID say milsurp rounds, and I didn't think of the d**n crimp! Yes, fire them in a rifle, don't press them out first; I agree, you'll fire them in the press doing it, and that would be more of a nuisance than cleaning the rifle afterwards. And, you'll then have to press or ream the crimp. When I was much younger I did it with a common pocket knife, and it worked. Now I'd use one of the primer pocket swaging devices, but have no experience with them so cannot reccommend which to use.

(Sigh.) There's always one more detail.
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Old April 4, 2005, 07:46 PM   #17
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Ah, the primer pocket swagger, well, I have an RCBS model, it works just fine, fairly simple device, not much to it, therefore, I can't imagine why they cost so much!
I don't know about the other makes out there, never tried them, I would imagine they all work about the same way.

Good catch Robert, I read the post and didn't even think about the crimp ring.
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Old April 4, 2005, 09:07 PM   #18
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Primer pocket swagger? Is it possible to jerry rig this unknown to me device? Pocket knife sounds a little too hard on the carpal tunnel. Bad enough using that tiny little piece piece of steel wool to clean out the pocket of used brass. Man!!! I need to come up off of some cash and buy a dillon or something.
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Old April 4, 2005, 10:52 PM   #19
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On decapping live crimped primers...I had a buddy give me a long belt of 7.62 milsurp blanks recently. All matching LC 69 brass and I figured on salvaging it and reform it to 45acp shotloads (similar to CCI's). I had occassion to deprime about 150 rounds of it so far and I admit, I was leery at first of decapping it. This stuff has a prominent (sp) crimp. I got my safety glasses and muffs on and gave it a try...slow & steady, not much more than an uncrimped primer in force. Not one bang, not one broken decapping pin. just be careful and ease the pin onto the primer real slow and it wont go off, A slow steady pressure pops em right out, even crimped. You never know though so do wear safety glasses & muffs just in case!

One of those round knurled chamfering tools will slice the crimp right out. Thee lee type chamfering tool ($5.?) is better for this than the Wilson type chamfering/deburring tool b/c its sharper.
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Old April 5, 2005, 02:51 PM   #20
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The voice of experience

Well, Edward, there's nothing like experience. I'd not have imagined it to be possible, primers are so unstable. Glad it worked for you. I agree, the basic hand/ear/eye protection is mandatory.

Re: dealing with the primer pocket crimp: There are 2 ways to go at it: Cut it off or moosh it back to original primer pocket specs. The Am. Rifleman carried an article I read back when (sorry, can't cite number nor year) that indicated either method worked fine, but the swaging was just slightly preferable. I don't remember why. There are several little reamer-tools, of varying complexity, that will cut it off. In my mis-spent youth I used a jackknife and the cases were quite reloadable when I was done. Years ago I quit using mil-brass, and the swaging devices have come along since, AFAIK. The RCBS model mentioned by Capt. Razor is probably built like the rest of the RCBS line, i.e, like a Sherman tank, and works accordingly.
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Old April 5, 2005, 07:01 PM   #21
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Oh I have a RCBS primer pocket swager kit. I keep bending the rods! I'm a little frustrated with it. Had no clue at first and just went at some mixed headstamp brass and it bent within 10 rounds. Come to find out that one should sort by headstamp, which I did. I then got about 60 or 80 done and it bent again. Better sort by year also (LC brass), so a third go and same thing. Maybe LC had different lots in the same year, I don't know. I'm kinda discouraged with it at this point and have been using a chamfering tool.

If there's something I'm missing here, please clue me in! As I understand it, varying web thicknesses of different lots of brass is what causes it to bend. Adjust it for one on the thinner side and then when you run into a thicker one, there goes the rod. I've tried not going so deep (crimp not gone, hard to seat primers) and going barely deep enough so that the primers seat fine. Then she bends within a short while. Doing it with a chamf. tool works good but is time consuming.
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