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Old April 16, 2010, 05:07 PM   #1
darkgael
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Hi vs. Lo brass - the myth

It's raining. I can't get to the range. So...I went and lined up some shotshells and took this picture.

The point of it and of this post is that I've heard many times about how high brass shells are for hunting and low brass shells are for target work. (I'm not talking about how hulls can be reloaded.)
Fairly recently I went into a gun shop to buy a box of shells for some grouse and pheasant hunting. "Well, you are going to need high brass for hunting."
And the fellow proceeded to sell me Remington Heavy Dove loads. That was OK with me. Those, if you don't know already, are the ones on the far right in the picture.
The two shells with the Highest brass are both target loads. The black hull is a Winchester target load. The second in from the left is a 900fps Federal subsonic load. The third one in is a Winchester "feather" load, also subsonic. The two on the far right - both hunting loads - are heavy dove from Federal and Remington. Notice the brass. The heaviest load at 3 1/4 dram eq. is the Activ "high brass" dove and target load on the far left. Kinda middle brass compared to the Winchester and the Federal subsonic.
There are a lot of hunting loads that use high brass (and I can't think of an express load that uses low brass), but not all by any means.
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Old April 16, 2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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Based on OLD methodology, low brass WAS for targets, while hi-brass was for hunting, especially waterfowl.

Most of that was based on old technology and hull making.

Some of the current Kemen target loads have brass higher than normal, making them a PITA to reload.

Would be nice to see the old ACTIV hulls make a comeback
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Old April 16, 2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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Would be nice to see the old ACTIV hulls make a comeback
Let's not forget the Wandas and Herters brassless shells.
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Old April 16, 2010, 06:23 PM   #4
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bring ACTIV hulls back ....that old steel junk .....
and Zippy wanting to make our Shotguns out of "Glock Tupperware" ....

Holy Cow ...you guys !!

Its a good thing the weekend is coming ....I need a drink ...to steady my twitch...
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Old April 16, 2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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I need a drink ...to steady my twitch...
Relax Big Guy, we aren't going to ask you to shoot a Tupperware stock or load transparent hulls.

I don't remember if they were the first 1-oz loads or some super-lights, there used to be some Double-A hulls that had low base brass that was less than 1/16" high. One look at that hull and you knew the brass wasn't contributing much. In the old days of the paper hulls, the brass was a structural part of the tube. These days it's prime function is to hold the primer in place because the metal does it better that plastic.
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:05 PM   #6
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BJP, I am 3 glasses deep in a jug of homewade mine It is a raw 2 weeks old but has a right fine finish... The finish tomorrow will be like a smoky burnout as it is "first run" and CLOUDY!!! But it is many notches above jail house "buck".
Brent
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:05 PM   #7
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The metal base also give the extractor something to hold on to. Todays plastic hulls are very good, but if the whole hull was made of the same plastic the extractors would pull through the rim.
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:24 PM   #8
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I have a book steel shot reload i do. If you load it in a high brass hull it never locks up the action on the old 870. Load the exact same load in the same hull with a low brass and about 20% lock up the gun. Some say high brass/low brass makes no difference, If that was true would the big ammo companys use high brass hulls? They would load everything in a low or mid brass hull to save $0.00000000005 per hull.
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:50 PM   #9
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baltz526, high/low brass does make a big difference when reloading. What re-loader are you using, and is the re-sizer (if present) set properly? It could be caching the high brass and missing the low. That might explain your 20% lock up problem.
Hey, I though you used a 10-bore, whatz up with the old 870?
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Old April 16, 2010, 07:55 PM   #10
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i use a mec supersizer on all reloads
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Old April 16, 2010, 11:31 PM   #11
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If your SuperSizer is like mine, there's some degree of adjustment. Have you considered tightening it up a bit on the low base brass?

Last edited by zippy13; April 17, 2010 at 04:50 AM.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:16 AM   #12
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it is not sizing that causes the issue, it is pressure. high brass just ejects better when shooting high pressure loads. that is why it is made.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:20 AM   #13
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Baltz....thats not true. Brass can stick more than the synthetic hull.
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Old April 17, 2010, 12:49 AM   #14
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brass

Oneounce:
Quote:
Based on OLD methodology, low brass WAS for targets, while hi-brass was for hunting, especially waterfowl.
When did that break between old and new occur, sorta kinda when?

Pete
Also - to hijack my own thread - I shot my first round of skeet last Wednesday. Great fun. This shotgun stuff....I've gotta watch out. It could be catching.
P
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Old April 17, 2010, 05:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkgael
I shot my first round of skeet last Wednesday.
Congratulations! You gotta admit, you were thinking to yourself, "I should have done this a long time ago."
Quote:
Great fun. This shotgun stuff....I've gotta watch out. It could be catching.
Yep, Skeetitis is extremely contagious, but it's a chance ya just gotta take
In the shooting sports, it don't mean a thing if you ain't gotta swing.
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Old April 17, 2010, 09:36 AM   #16
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It is not the plastic that causes the stuck hull, it is the brass washed steel base. A taller brass washed steel base spreads this pressure caused expansion out over a larger area. High brass causes more reliable extraction on high pressure hunting loads.
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Old April 17, 2010, 07:34 PM   #17
darkgael
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again

Quote:
You gotta admit, you were thinking to yourself, "I should have done this a long time ago."
Mostly, I was thinking "I gotta do this again!". Very similar to the reaction that I had to my first rounds of Trap and Sporting Clays a few weeks ago.
Pete
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Old April 17, 2010, 09:23 PM   #18
.45 COLT
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High Base/Low Brass & Low Base/High Brass was from the early days with paper hulls and Black Powder. If the top of the baseewad and the top of the brass were the same point, sometimes hull burn-through happened. The Low Base hulls had more room (heavy loads) and used High Brass. That's cerried through to today, even though there isn't any rationale for it any longer (except the perception that High Brass = High Power).

DC
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Old April 17, 2010, 10:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Oneounceload commented:
Based on OLD methodology, low brass WAS for targets, while hi-brass was for hunting, especially waterfowl.

Darkgael asked:
When did that break between old and new occur, sorta kinda when?
It's a holdover from the days of brass reinforced paper hulls. The present generation has grown-up with plastic hulls. Like having the "Dram Equivalent" on a shell box (in addition to the load weight and velocity), having different high and low brass (or simulated brass) bases is an unnecessary link to the past.

Quote:
baltz526 remarked:
It is not the plastic that causes the stuck hull, it is the brass washed steel base. A taller brass washed steel base spreads this pressure caused expansion out over a larger area.
You're missing something.
With expanding gases, the tendency is to distribute the increasing force equally in all directions. Consider a toy balloon, and draw two squares on it: One twice the area of the other. The larger square will resist twice the total load as the small one, but they are both at the same pressure (unit stress). Change the balloon's pressure and the change in radius will the same for both squares.

Think of the hull as a balloon and the high and low brass as the squares. No matter how high the brass, the unit stress will be the same. There is no "a taller brass washed steel base spreads this pressure over a larger area" -- the load is already equally distributed. Since deflection/expansion is proportional to unit stress, not the total load, high brass or low brass will experience the same deflection at a given pressure.
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Old April 17, 2010, 10:51 PM   #20
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Go load some 11,600psi loads in a low brass federal top gun paper base hull and in some federal high brass paper base hunting hulls. Then explain to us all how high brass hulls do not cause better extraction. Reality is high brass works exactly like i posted above, Simple physics.
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Old April 18, 2010, 01:26 AM   #21
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The physics aren't simple when your observations aren't consistent with the anticipated results. I suspect there's something more complicated involved.

Likening the physics of a balloon to a shotshell, I assumed an all plastic hull without a separate base wad. Since you're using hulls with significant paper base wads, you've complicated a simple example.

Do the hulls you're using have the same height base wads? Obviously the base wads complicate the loading of the metal bases. If they aren't uniformly loaded, then different deflections may be anticipated. This explains what you're experiencing within the bounds of simple physics. (Remembering my undergraduate days, calculating deflections was a pain in the rear. Simple mechanics didn't seem so simple.)

Baltz526, have you tried unibody type plastic hulls? Perhaps you wouldn't experience the extractions problems if you eliminate the paper base wad hulls.

Over the years, I've gone through a king's ransom in shot shell components reloading for practice and competition. I've always looked for low pressure loads to reduce the wear and tear on the guns and my shoulder. From my perspective, a 11,600 psi 12-ga load is on the high side. I looked at some of my loading guides and didn't see any loads that high. Your guide may have loads that are 11,600 psi in their test barrels; but, that doesn't mean it's the same in your 870. Could some of your extraction problems be related to over-pressure? And, 870 Expresses have been the continuous subject of extraction difficulties.

Last edited by zippy13; April 18, 2010 at 01:46 PM.
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Old April 18, 2010, 12:48 PM   #22
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Why would you need 11,600 psi loads? 6-7000 psi loads will do the job with less stress on the gun and your body as Zippy mentioned above.
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Old April 18, 2010, 02:39 PM   #23
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Weren't there some all brass shells back around early 1900's? Seems I read that somewhere. Or did I dream it?
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Old April 18, 2010, 02:46 PM   #24
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All brass shotshells still exist and can be found from a variety of vendors. CAS folks like them
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Old April 18, 2010, 02:47 PM   #25
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Quote:
Weren't there some all brass shells back around early 1900's? Seems I read that somewhere. Or did I dream it?
They're still making them. Check this and the reloading forum's archives.
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