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Old March 20, 2000, 04:45 AM   #1
BigPig
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Join Date: July 2, 1999
Posts: 93
Hi folks, I have a few important questions about brass...

1- Looking in reloading maunals, I see that a certain brand of brass is used. My question is, can I use a different brand with no ill effects? For example, the listed brand is Remington, but I want to use Winchester.

2- I noticed, after looking at all of my spent brass tonight (shot in an AR15), that all of them had a noticable "ring" near the case head. It was not bright and visible ring, but you could tell it was there. Also, the brass in front of it seemed to be different in its "grain". I know that brass stretches when its fired, so Im wondering is that what I saw, or is it something serious? All ammo was factory.

3- Last question is about primers. Again, different brands than listed in manuals. Lets say that the lised *brand* of primer is Federal, but I want to use Winchester. Is this bad?

I am just a plinker for now, so match grade accuracy is not important to me (yet). Thanks for any and all help!
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Old March 20, 2000, 07:16 AM   #2
Bud Helms
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Join Date: December 31, 1999
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 13,003
BigPig,

As a rule, mix'n'match of components doesn't affect the basic function of the ammo you make.

But, the type of thing you need to be cautious of is ... one brand of brass may be heavier that another brand and since they all pretty much abide by SAAMI dimensions on the exterior, that would mean some differences on the interior. Like thicker walls and web. It may mean a several percent reduction in powder capacity. That would have quite a few possible impacts.

The best thing to do for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is your piece of mind, would be to stay with a basic "recipe" and only vary one thing at a time as you progress into reloading.

Start with a brand of brass, primer and bullet of choice. Then choose the powder(s) you want to experiment with and don't change anything in your load but the powder. Once you decide on a powder you prefer for a given cartridge, you're set. If you decide a year or month later to use a different brand of primer, for example, you're back into the experimenting mode.

Good Luck.
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Old March 20, 2000, 08:58 PM   #3
Ala Dan
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Join Date: August 13, 1999
Location: In The HOT, Humid, and Mu
Posts: 6,116
Greetings BigPig, And welcome aboard to the
"Handloading" world!!! My input consist of
the use of military brass; some of this
stuff is harder for a beginner tyo reload,
than say some commerical brass.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
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Old March 20, 2000, 09:22 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,517
Take one case from each brand of brass you have. Fill each with whatever powder you are using, and tap the case-head gently a couple of times on your bench. Weigh out each charge. Write this down, as to full-case capacity and brand.

Arbitrary numbers; I've not loaded for a .223: If case #1 holds 30.0 gr, and #2 holds 29.5 grains, I would consider a max load in #2 to be 0.5 grains less than for #1.

This way you will know which brass can use, say, a book max load without over-presure: The one which holds the most powder.

Until you get your own "pet loads" all worked out, start at least 5% under maximum and work up while watching for pressure signs such as flattening of the primer. There is no engraving in steel which says you absolutely must shoot maximum loads, in your general practice/plinking ammo, is there?

By and large, I have never had any difference in pressure signs or accuracy among the different brands of primer. I'll take luck over skill, any day. Some guns are picky, however, and a change in brand of primer can sometimes improve accuracy.

The marking on the case is typical. Don't worry about it. Firing a cartridge is a torture test of the case; they've been enduring it for over a century, now.

Hope all this BS helps, Art

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