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Old July 10, 2006, 12:59 PM   #1
castnblast
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Who's got the nicest brass?

O.k...Tried to be a little funny. Seriously, I was working up my test loads this weekend (playing w/ toys as my wife says...) and noticed the Remington Brass seemed to be much easier to clean the primer pocket than the Winchester. Granted, this was once fired factory ammo, and there may be a difference in the primer itself rather than the brass. Have any of you noticed the same? Also, I was debating buying some bulk brass and wanted some opinions on what seemed to last the longest. As some of you know I'm reloading for 22-250. I'm also going to load up some 7mm Rem Magnum. The 7mm load is a hot load, one I have used for 20 years...
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Old July 10, 2006, 01:44 PM   #2
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Lapua , makes some of the finest brass available.
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Old July 10, 2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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Lapua

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Old July 10, 2006, 02:38 PM   #4
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I've tried 4 brands of commercial brass brand-new, and some mil-surp stuff randomly.

Not impressed with the reloadability of the milsurp stuff. Too many crimped primer pockets, cases require extra force when resizing. This won't be a problem for you though, because you can't get milsurp 7mmMagnum or 22-250 cases anyways.

If money isn't an object, Nosler is very nice brass. But, it's about $30 for 50 pieces. I randomly checked half a dozen in my box, and none needed the primer pocket uniformed, none needed the flash hole deburred, all were trimmed to appropriate length and none provided any resistance to full size resizing. These can be used without any brass prep at all.

If you're like the rest of us (you don't spend > $50/100 pieces of brass), I think Remington is a better value over Winchester or Federal brass. All three will require trimming to length and primer pocket uniforming along with deburring the case mouth after trimming, but the Remington flash holes are drilled very neatly, whereas the Winchester and Federal cases are punched. One less step in brass prep, IMO. The remmies also removed less material when uniforming the primer pocket. Federal also has soft primer pockets that expand and are too loose to hold the primer after 3-4 hot firings.

As far as value is concerned in inexpensive brass, I'd rank in the following order:
1. Remington
2. Winchester
3. Nosler (not exactly inexpensive, but still tight after 3 firings / 4 loadings so far)
4. Federal
5. Mil-Surp stuff

Have yet to get my hands on any Lapua or Hornady brass. Again, that money thing. An hour of elbow grease and some judicious sorting can take 200 pieces of Remington bulk brass and turn them into 100+ pieces of uniform, dependable brass along with several dozen pieces of plinker brass. I'd rather pay $40 and put in an hour or two than pay $150 for 200 pieces of Lapua brass. Your priorities may be different.
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Old July 10, 2006, 03:01 PM   #5
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$150 for 200 Pieces of Lapua brass? For normal calibers try $80

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Old July 10, 2006, 05:01 PM   #6
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Yea it's only the fun rounds like my .338 Lapua Mags that cost $160/100 for the Lapua brass.
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Old July 10, 2006, 05:50 PM   #7
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brass values

Winchester primer pockets should be cleaned with a brush as the bottoms (as seen from the primer's view) are slightly concave.
I used to be a Lapua fan, but now I'm a Nosler fan. I'd be a Federal fan if they sold brass as components and the price was less than the Nosler. The Nosler brass I have used was near perfect out of the box, fire formed to my chambers on the first outing, and did not need to be trimmed until after the 3rd resizing. That's 4 firings. I read somewhere that Nosler claims to get 38 loadings from a case. They did not say how many times they annealed it or after how many firings.
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Old July 10, 2006, 06:52 PM   #8
azredhawk44
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Quote:
$150 for 200 Pieces of Lapua brass? For normal calibers try $80

WildwhatsyourtimeworthAlaska
You're right, I was wrong in my recollection. For .308 at Midway it's $90 plus shipping for 200 pieces of Lapua.

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Old July 11, 2006, 09:04 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. The primer pocket explains why the Remington primer pocket cleaned so easily compared to the Winchester.

Also, I have only reloaded in once fired factory rounds...ever. What tools do you need to debur a flashhole, and how do you uniform a primer pocket, & what is needed to do that?

On another note, When I shot factory stuff out of my 7mm rem mag, I only used hornady ammo. I don't know how many times that stuff has been reloaded, My guess is 5-7 times, and I have had no indication of any type of case failure. I mic them everytime, because I don't want one of them going bad on me. I'll stick to Hornady brass for the 7, given it won't get shot that much since I now own a real plinker that won't beat me so bad...
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Old July 11, 2006, 10:18 AM   #10
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Remington brass has the worst deviation in neck thickness of anything on the market, From that perspective, it it crap. It does, however, have the softest necks and it does weigh in at +/- 1 grains, and that is pretty good. If you are going to turn your necks, get Remington because it is the easiest brass to work with.

The best 22-250 brass is currently made by Nosler. Not only is it dimentionally correct (unlike anything else), all the necks are even, the weight is consistent, and the flash-holes are reamed. Shooting that brass in a factory chamber is like shooting prepped Remington brass in a tight-necked match chamber. It is well worth the money.

Lapua and Norma are beautiful, but dimenitionally incorrect. Lapua does not even make 22-250. Norma 22-250 necks are .003" thinner than Remington. The are nice and even, but they could be made thicker. Nosler is better and cheaper too.
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Old July 11, 2006, 12:02 PM   #11
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brass

A variation in neck thickness can be an indication that the whole case is that way. I've no use for Remington brass; it's not consistent enough in any dimension.
Lyman makes a good universal flash hole reamer. RCBS makes some primer pocket uniformers that they advertize for use with their case prep station, but if you just buy the uniformers, you can use them in the RCBS handle for primer pocket/neck brushes and save some money.
I think a lot of people who reload are missing out on extending their brass life and improving the necks' grip on the bullet by not annealing their brass. There seems to be a reluctance to use this valuable process. I'm not sure why; fear of fire? You might want to look into it. I anneal mine after 5 firings. If you've gone 7, chances are the neck is not gripping the bullet properly and it may be pretty nonconcentric.
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Old July 11, 2006, 12:12 PM   #12
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Contact this guy:

BIll Hoff at Souther Brass & Reloading

z56panhead@bellsouth.net

I get once-fired and cleaned .38 Spl brass from him and for the .38 I don't find which brand is very important. And it's cheap, $6/250. He might be able to help you out.
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Old July 11, 2006, 02:21 PM   #13
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O.K. I'm admitting ignorance here...what is annealing, I know it is something done to the neck, but what and how, and what is needed. Seems pretty important, and something I have not been exposed to.
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Old July 11, 2006, 03:48 PM   #14
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Annealing is a process that softens a metal by heating it to a critical temperature and letting it cool. Can also relieve a lot of the stress in the case neck, reducing the incidence of cracking.

I never anneal my brass. I use Winchester brass, trim to length, turn the necks, and neck size only. Before I can see any signs of cracking, the metal has already been damaged. For the cost, it is safer to just throw the brass in the scrap box and get out some new brass.

If you decide to anneal your case necks, do not also anneal the case head, as this will weaken the cartridge head. Put the brass to be annealed in a pan of water or a box of sand about 1" above the case heads.
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Old July 11, 2006, 03:56 PM   #15
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annealing

As concerns cleanrifle brass, annealing is the process of heating the neck and shoulder to a temperature of 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This restores the malleability of the metal, thereby increasing the useful life of the case and the neck's grip on the bullet. It's not really a complicated process, but is greatly neglected for some reason. There is short essay and some links to discussions of the subject in the archives at www.reloadbench.com. or http://yarchive.net/gun/ammo/case_annealing.html
A lot of people think it is too much trouble or only for wildcatters, but for a small investment you could get three times the life out of your brass and keep pet loads from mysteriously deteriorating as the brass becomes brittle on later reloads. Literally, all you really need is a cheap propane torch and a bucket of water and some time.
One hint that I've not seen in any annealing discussion: if you anneal small bore cases with the spent primers still in the case, be sure to shake them out thoroughly when you get them out of the water.
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Old July 11, 2006, 03:59 PM   #16
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bad advice

Put the brass to be annealed in a pan of water or a box of sand about 1" above the case heads <~~~ do NOT do this--IT DOES NOT WORK
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Old July 11, 2006, 05:34 PM   #17
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Is Winchester brass still available, as brass?
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Old July 11, 2006, 06:11 PM   #18
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"Nicest"............Hmmm

I used to use Remington primed brass, but only for pistol. I LOVE Laupa, but not the PRICE

For rifle brass nicest would definately be Lake City or Frankford Arsenal Match brass = have several bins of 30-06 & .308 that I reload 'as-is or reform into .243 or 25-06... The stuff lasts a LONG time
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Old July 11, 2006, 07:37 PM   #19
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Wincheste has the largest capasity and longest life. Rem is second and Federal has a dismal life span from what I have heard. I havent used it. If you check with fired brass dealers, everybody wants win in all cal. People buy rem if their is no win. I have bought some rem brass and it is ok, but it is not win. From now on I will only buy Win cases. As for the high dollar stuff, it is probably less prep,but I doubt it is any better than fully preped win.

yes I am a fan of win brass.
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Old July 12, 2006, 04:35 AM   #20
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Lapua and Norma.

Quote:
Annealing is a process that softens a metal by heating it to a critical temperature and letting it cool.
'Just a reminder that this is the process for steel, not brass. Brass is annealed by quenching from a heated condition. Slow cooling will harden brass.
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Old July 12, 2006, 10:28 AM   #21
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Thanks guys. Need one more suggestion. Should I immediately submerse the head once it hits critical temp? Also, is the temp. the point where the metal suddenly turns in color?

This is great stuff. Learned tons. Thanks for replying all!!!
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Old July 12, 2006, 05:34 PM   #22
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castnblast,

Let's get the nomenclature correct. The head is that portion of the case that contains the primer pocket and chambers toward the rear of the rifle. The part you may need to anneal is the neck. It is normal for the annealing to include some of the shoulder, and I have annealed down past the shoulder about 1/8 -1/4 inch and I it did not cause a problem. If you anneal the other end of the case, the head, you may destroy the primer pocket and never get a primer to hold again. If the head is annealed the primers can actually fall out when you extract after firing, because the brass has lost it's springiness due to annealment. The area around the head of the case needs to stay hard. Don't anneal it.

But, yes, once the neck is hot, submerse it immediately. If you try to do too many at the same time, they can cool slowly and that will harden the necks and you could see neck splits. That's why reloaders that do this and don't have an automated process, do one or two at a time and just tip them into a waiting pan of water.
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Old July 12, 2006, 10:21 PM   #23
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Thanks bud. since this thread took the turn to annealing, I thought I better start another thread. I was clear on what needed to be annealed, but I know there are some folks out there who are new to this and I'm glad you clarified head vs. neck. It can be easily confused. I think we all need to be aware of this and take the time to clarify from time to time. Thanks!
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