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Old October 26, 2012, 07:59 PM   #1
WWWJD
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Lapua Brass; it really does work better. :)

I put three of these 15 rd groups down today; this one being the best. The worst was 0.72 moa. Pretty nice. Remington 700 SPS 20" with extra goodies.

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Old October 27, 2012, 11:05 AM   #2
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Lapua Brass; it really does work better.
Quality and consistency in... quality and consistency out.
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Old October 27, 2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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Mark,

It would be informative if you could fire the same load in other commercial brass with case water overflow capacity similar to Lapua's, just to show the performance difference. Remington and Federal shouldn't be too different. That way you get a control group for your rifle. This would address a discussion in another thread as well.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:29 AM   #4
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I can only report that in what limited amounts I have used it, it was a 50-50 deal.

In my 25-06 AI, I used 30-06 necked down and FF'ed just the same as I did for Rem and Win. The Lapua I have found to be only about equal to the Win with regard to accuracy with the same loads, where as the Win has actually held up better with less split necks or loose primers. All of the results were after loading 30 cases, 10 of each the identical number of times with the identical loads. During my initial load work up testing I loaded 5 each of them pre formed from new cases, to the same point where I got just the slightest extractor mark on the case head, then I backed off 2 full grains as a max load. Using the actual load which is down another 1.3 grains from my max is where I finished up testing with the above mentioned 30 cases. SInce then I have mainly used the Win and Lapua interchangeably both recording excellent accuracy out to 400yds and not being able to tell a lick of difference between the two if fired in a blind test.

With the 6.5x55 I haven't loaded them enough to tell one way or the other, but they DO actually chamber and fit better. Overall the accuracy has been about par for this rifle.

I strongly believe that with a standard factory chamber most folks would never note much if any benefit using Lapua cases over most others depending on the actual rifle, however in a custom cut chamber, match barrel, and trued action, one could possibly quite easily distinguish the differences depending on the caliber and loads being used. Of course the shooter and their discipline also have to be considered as well. For the more experienced handloader or shooter the question in my mind is does it warrant the added cost per case or not? For me it hasn't shown it's worth the added cost, but I am shooting hunting rounds through a custom rifle and not competition, but I DO strive for the utmost accuracy which as I mentioned is a wash between the Lapua and Win. As such I have settled on using the Win once I work through my supply of Lapua.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:45 AM   #5
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Mike, is that Win brass "out of the bag" or is it sorted by weight and otherwise prepped?

I haven't used Lapua brass but I do use Norma. I'm sure Lapua is about the same. While my accuracy has been excellent, the real advantage I find, worth the price alone for me, is consistency and lack of prep needed. They all start the same length, already sized, very close in weight.

I bought a bag of Win brass for 270WSM and found I'd need extensive prep and weight sorting just to get 10 or 15 cases within a good weight distribution out of the 50 that would match the Norma.

Based on the number of cases with a consistent weight, divided by the price, the Win cases cost about the same as Norma.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:54 AM   #6
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I've used new brass from Win, Rem, Hornady, Norma, and Nosler, and have developed a preference for the Norma and Nosler. It is all about the prep and the weights. Once I've weight sorted and prepped the Win and Rem, I get fine accuracy, but with the Nosler there's no prepping to do. I do run the Norma through a FL die, but I don't even do that with the Nosler. I will, if I just feel like I have to do something, turn the necks a tiny bit on the Norma and Nosler.
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Old October 28, 2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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Mike, is that Win brass "out of the bag" or is it sorted by weight and otherwise prepped?

I haven't used Lapua brass but I do use Norma. I'm sure Lapua is about the same. While my accuracy has been excellent, the real advantage I find, worth the price alone for me, is consistency and lack of prep needed. They all start the same length, already sized, very close in weight.

I bought a bag of Win brass for 270WSM and found I'd need extensive prep and weight sorting just to get 10 or 15 cases within a good weight distribution out of the 50 that would match the Norma.

Based on the number of cases with a consistent weight, divided by the price, the Win cases cost about the same as Norma.
I don't buy Norma brass, unless I get a smokin' deal on loaded ammo. (It's good stuff, in good brass.) I just don't like how soft their brass is. I've never had good case life with Norma.
I have used a fair amount of Norma brass, and I do buy Lapua brass. (just placed an order for 200 more cases, in fact)

My experience is pretty much the same....
Out-of-the-box, Norma and Lapua are very consistent and require essentially zero case prep.

But... "lesser" brands can be brought up to the same standards, if you have the time and motivation. You may have to declare some of the cases "unsatisfactory", though.

As I've discussed many times in the past, I very much dislike the current trash coming out of the Olin plant(s). I haven't bought Winchester brass for a long time, because it is so incredibly inconsistent and so frequently has uneven neck thickness, crooked case necks, and crooked case mouths. But, I do buy R-P brass in bulk. The drawback is that I have to figure on at least 25-35% of the cases being "unsatisfactory" for loads with high quality standards.

If I want 100 R-P cases prepped to "Lapua standards", I buy 150 or 200 cases to start with.
As I neck size for uniformity, I'll find abnormalities.
As I trim to a consistent length, I'll find thick or thin rims and cases that are unusually short.
As I chamfer and deburr, I sometimes find neck splits (or folds*) that I missed while neck sizing.
As I deburr flash holes, I might find a defect in the primer pocket, a shallow primer pocket, or indications of a thin web.
If I find the neck walls to be uneven, I may even neck-turn the cases for consistency (.243 Win only - for now).
While weight-sorting, I usually find 2 distinct clusters with their own "bell curves", that will make up the "good" brass.
Once the that is done, I'll check some of the previous rejects for weight, and they're almost always in the "extreme weights" category - very light, or very heavy, compared to the primary clusters.
By then, at least 25-30% of the cases have been culled as complete trash (cracks/folds in the neck, etc), or fall into the "extreme weights" category.
(I may take the brass after its first firing and further sort the "good" brass by volume, but not very often. If I do, another 5-10% gets pushed into the "extreme weights" category.)

By the time I'm done with 200 cases, I'll have about 120-140 pieces of "good" brass that will keep right up with Lapua and Norma, about 40-60 pieces of "extreme weights" (good enough to shoot, but not for load development or loads with high standards), and the remainder go in the recycle bin or "What the...?" bin.

Even then, it's still cheaper than buying premium brass, to start with. It's just a matter of time and motivation. (I know most reloaders don't have either... at least when it comes to brass prep. )

The only real exception to the 'rule': .243 Winchester.
For some reason, R-P .243 brass is far more consistent than most other cases they draw. I almost never get folds in the neck, thick or thin rims, and the weights are much more consistent. I just prepped and sorted some on Wednesday or Thursday, and had: 2% culls (cracks, thin web, primer pocket defect). 16% extreme weights. 82% "good". I actually had to pull some "good" brass and put it in the extreme weights category, to even out the numbers for packaging (20 round boxes).





*Brass folded over before forming the neck on bottleneck cartridges is an issue I have only had to deal with on R-P brass. I've never found a different brand of brass with that particular issue. It's quite annoying, but (sadly) I still consider R-P rifle brass to be "the best of the cheap".

Damn me and my long posts....
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Old October 28, 2012, 11:11 PM   #8
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I use Winchester "out of the bag" for 308 with excellent results. However subsequent reloading of the same brass usually opens up groups slightly, don't have records handy to show exactly. Still under a minute with the reloads, just that virgin brass seems to shoot a tad tighter than full length resized reloads.

I've used Federal in 30-06 for feeding my Garand, but I haven't got enough experience to say whether it is good for 30-06 or not, but it didn't need any extra prep from the bag either to hit my accuracy goal at 25 meters for initial sight in (had my summer taken away by training at Fort Sill, so it may be a bit before the Garand gets a range trip).

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Old October 29, 2012, 04:39 AM   #9
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Yes on the out of the bag brass, but it is from a big batch I purchased years ago. Just from what I can tell reading in the forums it is better than what is out there now.

That said, I really do not do much of anything to it. I pull out a handful, do a quick inspection of the case mouth, usually while I am measuring 10 or 20 of them for the shortest one. If there are any with dented mouths, I will run them all through the sizer just to round the neck but nothing more. I then set my trimmer and trim them all to a length that just squares the shortest ones mouth.

After that, I simply throw them in a bag and head to the country to work up a load if needed, or load the to an already known accurate load. They might not all shoot into a bug hole group at 300yds, but they are usually plenty accurate for hunting out to 200 or more. Most of the loads I shoot are VERY stable year round and I work more on that generally than anything. Most any box of loaded rounds for any caliber I shoot is usually comprised of Win, and Rem, and sometimes one or more Fed, and Hornady.

With the newest rifle being a full custom built job, it is a bit tighter than anything else I have. Even so, with the Win, Rem, and Lapau cases, they are all FF initially using a mid charged load and shooting the Hornady 120gr HP. Then they are cleaned, trimmed to a standard length, and loaded using the same procedure mentioned above. The only difference is, that the Rem cases, in this particular rifle, DO show a marked difference in POI at ranges exceeding 200yds, where the Win and Lapua, as mentioned group right there together out to 350 or more.
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Old October 29, 2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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I still have some tight neck rifles so brass prep is no big deal to me.

I must admit the 220 Laupa brass is better that the 220 Russian Sako brass I used in the 6ppc for BR.

I've got some Laupa for the 243AI,30-06,284 and 220 Laupa for the 6ppc.

I guess I was lucky that in BR with those Sako brass cases we had to fireform then select after testing firing which ones we use for a match. I might take 100 case then get 25 for match and those would only be for match and hopeful those cases last for match season or two

Now you ask what you do with those other 75 cases. Since I load at the range and I can do it off the bench I shoot at I'd reload one case and work on a group off that one case in practice.

We put 50 small dot on a blank target to correspond to the case in a 50rd cartridge box then fire the 50rd out of those 50 you get some cases print about same spot. those would be the match cases and I could play with seating depth/neck tension/powder they pretty much be the same that they work for a match.

I've shot lot of small groups with rem/win brass with noting done to them but I'm not shooting factory barrel rifles either and if you think Laupa is best brass can't argue with that.
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Old October 30, 2012, 10:17 PM   #11
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By the time I'm done with 200 cases, I'll have about 120-140 pieces of "good" brass that will keep right up with Lapua and Norma, about 40-60 pieces of "extreme weights" (good enough to shoot, but not for load development or loads with high standards), and the remainder go in the recycle bin or "What the...?" bin. Copied from post #7--Frankenmauser.

Why not send those 40-60 cases back to where they came from and ask for replacements and tell em why??
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Old October 31, 2012, 01:42 AM   #12
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Why not send those 40-60 cases back to where they came from and ask for replacements and tell em why??
...Because they still meet Remington's standards. They just don't meet my standards.


Even when I did have 2 lots of .35 Whelen brass that was bad enough for them to do something about it, they still screwed up the resolution, too.
Sending Remington the photos in the first thread of this post, "Why does Remington mock me?" along with a full description of the damage, resulted in a phone call and:
Quote:
Remington told me their brass sometimes gets damaged during shipment. (Really? Who'd have known? ) They are supposed to be mailing me a coupon, or certificate, or something. I don't like the response, but the person I talked to was quite friendly.
What they sent me was a $5 rebate form, to be validated by the retailer, for the purchase of one box of Remington ammunition.
Five dollars toward ammunition? Huh? I bought $60 worth of brass, you idiots!!


Anyway....
Remington has low standards.
I have high standards.
Some of their brass just doesn't make the cut.
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Old October 31, 2012, 11:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Frankenmauser
By the time I'm done with 200 cases, I'll have about 120-140 pieces of "good" brass that will keep right up with Lapua and Norma, about 40-60 pieces of "extreme weights" (good enough to shoot, but not for load development or loads with high standards), and the remainder go in the recycle bin or "What the...?" bin.
Well...

I can buy 200 Lapua .308Win cases from Powder Valley for $137.82. 200 Remington cases cost $20.01 per 50, so if I want 200 usable, based on your numbers (140 usable per 200), I have to buy (at least) 267 cases. Assuming I could actually do that, the cost is 40 cents each. 267x.40 is $106.66. If the 120 usable is true, I'd have to buy 333 cases and the price difference is $133.33, only $4.49 cheaper.

So, they're cheaper, yeah, but it's only $31.16 on 200 cases. I'm not knocking it, $31 is worth saving, if the "costs" associated with saving it aren't too radical. The $4, no way. I'd MUCH sooner pay for Lapua.

I would have three considerations. First, is doing the work something I enjoy. If it is, I don't count the time as a cost. It's a hobby. If it isn't (and in my case it isn't), the second is that I want to know how much NOT doing it is going to cost me on an a reasonable scale, like $$ per hour. For me, if all that work you describe takes me over an hour, I'm not interested. Third, those 200 cases will probably be fired at least 2,000 times. That means I'm paying an extra 1.5 cents per shot. I could make up that difference by using a different powder if I wanted. If I fired them 4,000 times (which would take me most of the rest of my life), I pay less than 3/4 of a penny each shot.

It's all a matter of preference.
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Old October 31, 2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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The last time I bought Winchester .308 I had four bell curve peaks, indicating it was made on four different sets of tooling and mixed afterward. The histogram I made by stacking the cases above their weight on a graph paper chart is illustrated below. I didn't include the outliers which were two 153.5 grain cases and a 159.5 grain case. So the actual weight span was 6 grains. I got just one case that seemed to be absolutely perfectly uniform around its axis and at the other extreme had just one case where the neck wall total indicated runout was a whopping 0.008". Neck wall runout averaged 0.002", IIRC (I'd have to check that to be sure I remember correctly). Only about 20% of it was as dimensionally tight on runout as as either the Lapua or Norma brass I've bought, which seldom exceed a TIR of 0.001". All the Winchester brass had flash hole burrs, while the Lapua and Norma I've gotten have none.

Below that chart is a histogram for a 30 case sample from from some Lapua brass I bought, which has two peaks for two sets of tooling. The two sets are actually not quite as close together as any two adjacent sets of Winchester tooling were, but note how much narrower and more distinctly separated the peaks are, which makes it easy to sort into two groups that I kept separate. Probably not worth doing, but so easy to do it got the "why not" from me, and I put them in separate boxes.



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Old October 31, 2012, 06:20 PM   #15
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It's all a matter of preference.
Indeed.

But.... Some cartridges are more worthwhile than others, and you're ignoring the "extreme weights" cases. I don't throw those away. They still serve a purpose.
If you want to calculate the cost of only the cases that meet "Lapua standards", then your calculation is fairly appropriate (and "Just buy Lapua to begin with" makes more sense).
But, when you include the other cases, you have to look at it from a different point of view, and the numbers change.
What those other cases are worth to an individual reloader may differ, but they're just as valuable as any off-the-shelf or once-fired R-P brass, to me.

Using your numbers -
200 R-P cases would cost me $80.04
I'll have about 130 cases that meet "Lapua standards".
I'll have about 50 cases that meet Remington standards. ('extreme weights')
About 5% ends up in the recycling bin, and about 5% ends up in the "What the ....?" bin. (To be used for various things including dummy rounds, powder funnels, sectioning, etc.)
180 usable cases cost me $80.04, or $0.44 each.

But... the 130 cases that meet my higher standards also only cost $0.44 each, while actual Lapua brass would have been $0.69 each. For 130 cases, that's $89.57 for Lapua or $57.81 for R-P; for a difference of $31.76, or 35% of the cost of Lapua.

That's for .308 Winchester, though - one of the most popular cartridges for Lapua. Lapua brass for other cartridges, like .243 Win, can be more expensive.

Powder Valley prices, again:
Lapua .243 Win, $92.05 per 100 ($0.92 each)
R-P .243 Win, $21.33 per 50 ($0.42 each, or $0.47 each, adjusted for only 90% usable)
Per 130 cases: R-P - $61.10; Lapua - $119.60.
49% savings, not counting the fact that .243 Win seems to be some of the most consistent brass from R-P.
Using my latest batch of processed R-P .243 Win, the numbers are:
196 total usable cases. 164 "Lapua standards" cases. 4 trash.
Adjusted cost of 196 cases: R-P - $0.41 each
Per 164 cases: R-P - $66.97; Lapua - $150.96; for a difference of $83.99.
That's a savings of 56%.


Personal preference and perspective.
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Old October 31, 2012, 06:24 PM   #16
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That histogram really illustrates the spread, Unclenick.
I have my data from the last .243 batch plugged into Excel, already. I may try to reformat it a bit, to see if a similar visual representation of my data is worth posting.
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:01 AM   #17
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I just ordered up 100 Lapua 243 cases.

If they are anything like the 308 Laupa I bought 4 or 5 years ago, it should be a good purchase. To me, there is more to quality maybe than simple weight consistency as it applies to accuracy. If my rifles are good enough to notice an accuracy difference in the weight spread of the Lapua 308 brass, I am not an accomplished enough shooter to notice.

The case mouths are perfect. The chamfer, perfect. The length is perfect. The flash holes are perfect. Primer pockets, perfect.

Then there is the whole issue of durability. These cases just don't quit.

My shooting has tapered off here a bit lately, but unless it is a shell shucker (semi auto) that I'm loading for, I use Lapua exclusively in rifle calibers. I have to save my $ a bit longer, but I don't spend them as often either.
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Old November 1, 2012, 09:40 PM   #18
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Another thing to keep in mind is that case variability will matter more in some guns than others. In general, tight chambers with narrow necks and throat tolerances will be able to do more to straighten a bullet's entry into the lands out, making imperfections in cases and bullet and neck straightness have less significant effects. Also, if you use a tool like the Redding Competition Seating Die, that tends to keep bullets lined up straight even if the neck is slightly off, then perfection of the cases also becomes less significant.

But if you have a bad chamber and middling seating setup, straight, perfect cases come to matter more.

A good example of the above was Harold Vaughn's experiment with a super tight 6 mm BR built into a machine rest. 0.004" of bullet tilt only opened his groups from bugholes to about .2 moa. A.A. Abbatiello's experience with the same amount of bullet tilt in a .30-06 match rifle (accurized '03 or similar) found it opening groups up a full moa.

That said, even if your gun can work around poor brass like Harold Vaughn's could, having perfect brass can't make it worse. I'm a firm believer in making the most perfect possible ammunition to establish what the best load in a gun is, then letting the variables loose one at a time to learn what it really does or doesn't care about.


FrankenMauser,

If you haven't done so already, go to Excel Add-ins in the Options menu and check to load the Analysis Toolpack add-in. The histogram function is then in the Data tab under Data Analysis Tools menu. In 2007 and later, that's in the Developer tools tab.
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Old November 2, 2012, 12:05 AM   #19
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Thanks.
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:11 AM   #20
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You're welcome. You can do a lot in Excel. The only thing it lacks that I keep Mathcad around for is automatic unit tracking and conversions. In Excel you have to handle those tasks for yourself.


Stubbicat,

I think you'll find the actual weight of the case is almost always the least significant factor. It is helping identify tooling that I use it for. A good rule of thumb is that, if the outside dimensions are identical (a necessary condition for weight to reflect internal capacity proportionally), then a 1 grain difference in case weight will correspond to a charge weight error of between 0.06 and 0.07 grains of powder charge. A good load should be able to go at least ±0.3 grains of powder without changing POI (and many stick powder loads will go a good deal wider), so that would correspond to 4.3 to 5.0 grains of brass weight if the external dimensions are matched.

That said, if you start actually measuring internal case capacity, you often find it varies less than weight among a range of cases. That's because of the multiple tooling and brass slug runs. No two setups seem to produce exactly identical dimensions. So, by sorting by tooling you usually do have a fairly identical set of outside dimensions and difference in weight is then more reflective of capacity. Notice, however, that even for Winchester, one set of tooling doesn't typically produce much difference in weight. Somewhere around a grain to a grain and a half. Usually less than 0.1 grains powder charge equivalent.
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Old November 2, 2012, 01:13 PM   #21
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So if you full prep and weigh and sort your brass...

I bet it will work just as well

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Old November 2, 2012, 03:27 PM   #22
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It depends on whether his chamber is sensitive to uneven wall thickness in the brass below the chamber; what Roger Johnston and Merrill Martin referred to as banana shaped cases. That is one condition you can't prep your way out of. If he sorts for wall runout, that will fix it, but I only got 20% of my Winchester .308 brass comparable to all my Lapua when I last did that.
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Old November 2, 2012, 04:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
I bought a bag of Win brass for 270WSM and found I'd need extensive prep and weight sorting just to get 10 or 15 cases within a good weight distribution out of the 50 that would match the Norma.
We got some Winchester 30-6 brass a while back and its been bad.

Poor quality, split cases, early separation and these are very mild target loads (above minimums though).

I would not buy Winchester brass again.

I have some Super X stuff from years back and its great, but the new stuff is gone cheap. The other non 06 stuff looks the same. Finish is a sub part polish as well and does not clean up in the tumbler.
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