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Old April 20, 2012, 05:01 PM   #1
carprivershooter
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Steel cases

I have run a search here on TFL looking for information on reloading steel cases, (223). The are plenty of post to say it can't be done. and a couple of posts that say they do or have reloaded steel cases. SO if you reload them please post what is different about reloading them. what should I be looking for as possible problems. If you don't reload steel please just bypass this thread. I reload for pistol and now reloading 223. I shoot a lot and I hate to leave cases at the range. If I can't reload them I take the steel to the recycling site. Alway taught to police my brass after shooting.
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Old April 20, 2012, 05:16 PM   #2
Scharfschuetzer
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Take a look at the flash hole(s) in your steel cases. They may be Berdan primed and if so, they will have two flash holes and an integrial anvil in the primer pocket. Given that, the case will not take standard American Boxer primers and will require Berdan primers as well as a special depriming tool and possibly a different diameter seating stem for your primer tool.

I'm sure it's been done, but I don't know anyone who has loaded steel rifle cases.

In the early 70s, I did load some WWII US 45 ACP cases that were mild steel as an experiment. They were Boxer primed with the standard LP primer size and I enjoyed some success with the project. Accuracy was fine, but in the end it was just an experiment and I haven't tried it again.
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Old April 20, 2012, 06:20 PM   #3
Jim243
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I can't tell you what you should do, only what I did.

I have been running very low on 7.62x39 cases for the longest of times now. So when I found 50 beautiful cases laying on the ground at the range, I was in 7th heaven.

The problem with steel cases is that they are less forgiving than brass, so they tend to have head seperation and neck splits when used in a reload. That will not only give you a bad day, but a bad gun as well. Cases run about $35.00 per 100 while a new rifle will run $500.00 of more, in the case of an AR a lot more. So while the decession was hard to do, all those cases went into the trash. (it broke my heart to do that, but it was the only safe thing to do. They did NOT pass the magnet test)

Jim

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Old April 20, 2012, 07:33 PM   #4
David Wile
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Hey Carp,

There are folks who reload Berdan primed cases, and there are folks who reload steel cases.

While reloading Berdan primed cases can be done, it is not an easy process, and, in days past, Berdan primers were hard to find and a good bit more expensive. Most folks who reload in the USA stick with Boxer primed cases because it is much easier than Berdan stuff, but there are some real die hards who do manage the Berdans.

Both steel and aluminum cases can be reloaded, but most folks do not do them for several reasons. I suppose one might say the first reason is because they were not intended to be reloaded, but that does not tell much. As noted by others, steel cases more often than not use Berdan primers which are a pain in the neck to most reloaders in this country. There are some Boxer primed steel cases, and the reason most reloaders pass them by is because steel cases do not "work" the same way as the brass cases we normally use. When we size them in our dies which were designed to size brass cases, we find the steel cases do not come out of the die with the same dimensions as we get with brass cases. That does not mean they cannot be reloaded and shot, but they are different than brass, and different results should be expected if you intend to reload steel cases. Pressures may be a good bit different, so you need to adjust your loads accordingly. Steel cases will not hold up to as many reloadings as brass cases. Another concern with steel cases is whether they may be harder on your dies than brass cases. So, can it be done? Yes. Is it worth it? Not to most folks.

Some folks have also reloaded aluminum cases which were never intended to be reloaded. Again, they will not last as many reloadings as brass cases, and you are taking some risk considering pressure. Again, it can be done, but most folks do not consider it worth the effort and risk.

That may not be what you wanted to hear, but I hope you might find it useful in your endeavors.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
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Old April 21, 2012, 09:20 AM   #5
carprivershooter
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Thanks

Thank you gentlemen for your words of wisdom, you provided thoughtful information. I will be recycling my steel cases. I have learned if you don't know ask. I asked and learn it not worth the risk to my self or my equipment.
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