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Old February 10, 2008, 06:41 PM   #1
Bass Man
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Do you sort pistol brass by headstamp?

Do you feel it is necessary to sort pistol brass by brand? I know it really matters for rifle accuracy but what about pistol?
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Old February 10, 2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! That's a good one! What on earth for?

Now on a serious note, I did when I first started out, but no more. No, never, never ever.
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Old February 10, 2008, 07:45 PM   #3
caz223
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Yes, and I'll tell you why. (It's prolly not what you think!)
The main reason is to keep the lengths consistant.
Case length affects lockup, inconsistant lockup=inconsistant groups.
For instance, in 9mm, the brand with the most consistant length is WIN, it's also very common.
It's much easier than sorting by case length, so I sort by headstamp.
Also, some brands of brass are thicker than others, leading to inconsistant crimps, Possibly to setback.
For the sake of consistancy, I sort by headstamp, most people don't.
I also resize twice, clean with an ultrasonic cleaner, and inspect very carefully.
Some may call it obsessive, I call it QC.
Go ahead, call me crazy. I don't care. I know I make good ammo.
If you shoot 3" groups at 15 yards and call it a good day, it's prolly not necessary.
If you shoot 3" groups at 50 yards and wonder if it was the coffee you had this morning, then sorting by headstamp may be your thing.....
I realize it's a very small part of a very big equation, but it's part of it, nonetheless.
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Last edited by caz223; February 10, 2008 at 07:58 PM. Reason: spelling, phrasing, completeness.
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Old February 10, 2008, 08:05 PM   #4
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I guess it comes down to what your motivation is when you're reloading.....
cheap blasting ammo, or the best ammo you can make....(Even if it's only to give you the confidence that the problem ISN'T in your ammo.)
If you got a recipe that you worked on for years, when you know which one of your pistols shoots best by 1/2", and which barrel it shoots best with....
or just blasting away at the range with a rental.....
If I was to load plated bullets through a progressive and shoot them rapid fire at a 7 yard target, then no way would I worry about matching the headstamps.
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Old February 10, 2008, 09:29 PM   #5
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Well, I do. The main reason is that I have them in 50 case boxes, labeled with a lot#. This way I know exactly how many times each box/lot have been fired. Also, you will get more consistent crimps if the lenght is consistent...accuracry certainly would be another reason, if that is what your looking for. I know many guys don't but I don't see any real downside except for keeping them separated when tumbling. I use mesh bags for that (you can buy them, made for that purpose).
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Old February 10, 2008, 09:39 PM   #6
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No, I don't. I used to but I one day I measured several cases in each "batch" with the same headstamps. I found that the cases varied in length by several thousandths. I then fired them over the chronograph. 10 shot strings of the same headstamp had the same standard deviation as those strings shot with mixed headstamps. These were all 9mm rounds and the groups I am able to shoot are less than 1", slow fire, at 25' and about 3" rapid fire at the same range. That's good enough for my "work".
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Old February 10, 2008, 09:54 PM   #7
Peter M. Eick
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Yes. When I tested mixed brass vs. sorted brass over the chrono and at the 15 and 25 yard lines, I could definitely see more dispersion with mixed brass even in a blind test with preloaded mags.

While it may not matter if say you are shooting a factory stock Glock/S&W/Colt/Springer/whatever run of the mill gun you want to stick here, it does matter when you get into the target guns like the Sig 210-5/210-6 etc where I was testing it in.

The only way to know if it matters to you is to try it. Prove it to yourself with your hardware and skills.
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Old February 10, 2008, 10:36 PM   #8
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my personal best example of "Why I sort" ('cause I do)

Take yer everyday range-pickup 9x19 case.
Load it.

Then take a Remington +P+ case and load it the same.

Then test.

Then you'll sort.

I'm looking into my shop, looking at ALL THAT BRASS I need to sort.
Man I gotta lotta cases....found a(nother) box of a few thousand once-fired 40 S&W cases under a shelf tonight. All Federal LOL.
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Old February 10, 2008, 11:38 PM   #9
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For my handgun Loads that are labeled best, this tells me that the brass is of the same batch and headstamp, and trimmed to the same length and loaded the same # of times, I can tell the difference.
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Old February 10, 2008, 11:55 PM   #10
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I do for my 44-40's because I get a lot of different brands and case thickness varies from brand to brand. 44-40 is pretty finicky to reload to start with. Everything else I only use Winchester brass
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Old February 11, 2008, 12:54 AM   #11
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all I load in pistol is 38spl and 45ACP.

nope
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Old February 11, 2008, 01:07 AM   #12
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In all the years I have shot pistol I have never trimmed a piece of brass, sorted by headstamp or really cared which case was thicker. It's all just brass to me.

Somehow with all that "not fussing" I still manage to shoot all of an 1 1/2 orange dot of a target paper at 15 yards. I just methodically work my way around clockwise and shoot off all of the orange.

Do I really care if I could consistently shoot off an inch dot? Nope!
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Old February 11, 2008, 01:34 AM   #13
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Hey folks,

I would agree with Caz and Peter. If you are just blasting ammo, it wouldn't matter. If you want the ultimate in precision loading, however, sorting, measuring, trimming, and a lot of other fussy things do matter to those few who are talented enough to take advantage of the improved quality.

Me, I'm not one of those talented enough to make the ultra high quality loads. In spite of that fact and the fact that I usually shoot mild loads, I do sort my brass by headstamp just because it seems more orderly to me.

Best wishes,
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Old February 11, 2008, 09:34 AM   #14
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Yeah, grandpa shooter, it really doesn't matter as much at 15 yards.
I learned to shoot on a farm, not at the range.
The first time I went to a pistol range I asked out loud why everybody was standing so close to the targets, I don't shoot at 25 yards unless it is to get a gun on paper after working on the sights.
I used to play a game with my friends called pig, yeah just like the basketball version, but it's at a swinger target, taking steps backwards until you miss.

Some people invariably approach me when I'm shooting and ask what the 'trick' is.
There's no trick, just try it, and after a few times, you will find yourself hitting paper plates at 50 yards.
Then it's just focus and concentration to get good groups.
When I get out to 70+ yards, I find it difficult to focus on the sights unless the sights are very good, or are micro 'dot' or 'peep' type sights.
The silhouette shooters impress me, I got no idea how they can shoot at those ranges with iron sights.

Don't get me wrong, I load on a semi-progressive (2 passes.), and I've never trimmed a piece of pistol brass, but I see a lot more stuff that I could be doing that may/may not improve the consistancy of my ammo and have not found it necessary at this point. For instance, I don't weigh charges, whatever my measure drops, it's good enough. If I don't find it consistant, I change recipes. I don't trim pistol brass. I don't uniform flash holes. (I do throw out off center flash holes.) etc, etc.
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Old February 11, 2008, 10:11 AM   #15
Peter M. Eick
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Caz is lucky. I have to shoot at a range and they won't let us (or more accurately the last time I checked) shoot on the 50 yrd with handguns. Thus 15 and 25 yrds are the best I can go.

The point is that at 15 yrds you should be able to do at least this with reasonable ammo and a semi-auto.



Each one of the flyers is a mag change. This is 15 yrd offhard 50 shot group. Sorting 9mm brass is the difference between being in one tight group and spreading them over the black. 9mm brass needs to be sorted in my opinion.

Now if you want to really get shooting, then I am much better with a revolver then an auto. Here is 50 shots per target from 15 yards with HOT 158 grn SWC's and 2400 in carefully sorted and tailored ammo.



This is shot with my 1939 Registered Magnum.

When I go to mixed brass ammo, my dispersion increases.

So why not sort them out? If you shoot better then me (most do) then you probably already know how and which rounds to sort. If you don't then maybe you should reconsider your position?

The easy way to find out is go to the 15/25 yard range, put up a target and put 50 rnds in a row (none of these so called 5 shot "groups") with mixed and non-mixed brass on target. If you don't see a difference it don't matter to you does it?
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Old February 11, 2008, 10:52 AM   #16
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I was talking about plinking ammo. I'm not too worried about groups in my pistol because I enjoy shooting at my steel spinners. For my personal defense loads and if I took one hunting I would sort them. I have been sorting all of them but it is getting to be a pain that I wondered if it was necessary or just me being anal.
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Old February 11, 2008, 10:59 AM   #17
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pssst

I sort alot, but I don't sort all.
I don't sort much (just some) 45 ACP.
I sort 10mm, 9x21, 9x19, 40 S&W, and maybe some others.
Just not all.

I gotta lotta brass.
Even new LOL.
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Old February 11, 2008, 12:07 PM   #18
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Since 21 ft (7) yards is accepted as the legally defensible range for armed encounters, I don't worry about 25 yards or beyond. Could I hit a human torso at a longer range than 21 feet? Yup I can!

I don't hunt so I am not looking to kill anything that far away. If something is shooting at me at that range, I'm looking for something big and thick to hide behind.
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Old February 11, 2008, 01:06 PM   #19
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Peter,

Good shooting. Glad you're a fellow Texan. (grin)

There's another good shooter down your way who loaded up some of Mike at Mastercastbullets.com's new 45 caliber 185 SWC "button-nose" bullets. He sent Mike a couple of pictures of his targets after he got his loads down pat. Very impressive.

I sort all of my serious target-shooting/handgun hunting load brass. The rest goes into "general population" sorted by caliber only.

Here is the results of a brand new 44 special load combined with new bullets from Mike that I'd never tried before. This was shot at 50' handheld with my Model 29. Everything in the rounds were exact--same brass headstamp, powder, bullet, etc. Tried to make them as consistent as I could.



I'm always striving for tighter and tigher groups when I reload.

Jeff
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Old February 11, 2008, 01:15 PM   #20
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Even if you have no intention of shooting at long ranges, you owe it to yourself to give it a try if you can.
After you start hitting the plates at 50 yards, and you go back to 15 you hit those big targets much more accurately and with more confidence.
It's like you can reach out and touch them they're so close. You'll find yourself saying 'jeez, which part of the target should I hit.'
It's a training tool, like el presidente', countdown, presentation, and dry fire. They all help.
Like the man said 'Know thyself'.
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Old February 11, 2008, 03:19 PM   #21
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If you plan on shooting bullseye competition, maybe. Otherwise, no reason to bother.

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Old February 11, 2008, 03:36 PM   #22
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No, I don't.

I'm not a bullseye shooter - so maybe I would consider it then. Mostly I practice defensive skills with a handgun.
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Old February 11, 2008, 05:02 PM   #23
Peter M. Eick
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Jeff,

Nice group! Those are the ones I strive for all of the time. You sort your brass, you weight your bullets and charges, you test everything and then you head to the range and see how you do. Lots of fun! Keep up the great work!
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Old February 11, 2008, 06:29 PM   #24
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45acp/9mm - heck no. They don't tend to stretch, and I lose them long before they wear out anyways.

44mag - you betcha. I keep my cartridges in lots of 50 or 100 in MTM cases, well documented with the loads and number of times shot, when the last case length trim was done, etc. Headstamps, and then even I won't mix a headstamp once I have established a 50-case group. If I lose one, then it's forever a 49 case group. I treat it like my autoloading rifle brass in .308 and am pretty meticulous with it.
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Old February 11, 2008, 08:32 PM   #25
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I do with 44 SP. & Mag but haven't sorted 45acp brass until recently. I've always had excellant results without sorting the 45's and the chrono confirmed it when I finally got one of them. I was amazed at how consistent they were!

So now I just gotta know, can they get better by sorting? I sorted all my 45 brass recently (10k+). I was bored. I guess we'll see now. I'll post my results when I finally put some over the chrony. I don't expect a significant difference because the mixed brass loads were so good to start with.

I sort all rifle brass.
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