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Old December 17, 2012, 05:55 PM   #1
shredder4286
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Is there an easy way to track auto-loader brass?

It's so easy to get 10 lots of 9mm brass all mixed in together, not knowing how many times a certain piece has been fired, wondering if it was even my brass to begin with- is there a method anyone has used that helps to keep your brass segregated at the range and when you get it home to reload?

I've heard some people suggest that as long as you do a thorough inspection, it won't matter, but I'd rather just keep the lots seperate. Any tips on this would help. Thanks in advance
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:01 PM   #2
schmellba99
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I don't track pistol brass. Shoot it until it either fails (pretty rare) or when you notice something about it while you are cleaning or loading that would give you pause.

9mm, .40 and .45 are relatively low pressure rounds and don't put a great deal of stress on the brass - especially .45. I have some brass for both 9mm and .45 (don't shoot .40) that have been loaded 20+ times and show absolutely no signs of wearing out.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:13 PM   #3
serf 'rett
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The only time I even attempt to keep track of pistol brass is when I'm testing reloads and want to check for pressure signs. To catch the brass I use a camera tripod and a wood slat on which I mount a mesh laundry bag with a couple of clamps.

Or you could just shoot revolvers.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:14 PM   #4
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This is gonna sound like I'm a smart @$$, but- if you don't track your brass
Quote:
I don't track pistol brass
How do you know how many times you loaded it?
Quote:
I have some brass for both 9mm and .45 (don't shoot .40) that have been loaded 20+ times and show absolutely no signs of wearing out.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:15 PM   #5
shredder4286
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Quote:
The only time I even attempt to keep track of pistol brass is when I'm testing reloads and want to check for pressure signs. To catch the brass I use a camera tripod and a wood slat on which I mount a mesh laundry bag with a couple of clamps.
Good idea.

Quote:
Or you could just shoot revolvers
From a handloader's perspective, that definitely has a lot of appeal.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:48 PM   #6
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There is no telling how many load I have on some pistol brass. I have some 45 acp brass that the head stamp has worn off.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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For auto loader brass I try to recover a few pieces of the brass I loaded if I am working up a load. I color the bottom of them with a sharpie marker, or paint them with my wife's nail polish to tell them apart from the brass of the other people that left their brass on the ground.

Other than that inspect brass with each step of reloading. I have never had a piece of auto brass that was too long, and needed trimming. I have had more than few that split at the case mouth after expanding. In that instance I toss the brass into the recycle can.

For revolver brass I paper clip test them, and load like normal. After enough times they tend to split at the case mouth. 99.9% of the time it is on the expanding step. I toss those into the recycle can as well.

Rifle brass is another animal of its own.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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ill mix the new with the old. it doesnt matter to me as they seem to last forever. just look over them when you are going to size them etc.
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Old December 17, 2012, 07:33 PM   #9
shredder4286
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Quote:
I color the bottom of them with a sharpie marker, or paint them with my wife's nail polish
That's the kinda stuff I was lookin for.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
How do you know how many times you loaded it?
I don't know or care how many times I've reloaded my handgun brass. If it ain't split I'll load it again.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
How do you know how many times you loaded it?
Tracking my semi-auto pistol cases would require that I have any idea where they came from before I picked them up the first time. The next time I buy a new case for a semi-auto pistol will be the first time.

Ok, thats a lie. I guess I have a hundred that were my own once-fired cases from a few boxes that I picked up when buying my first 1911. It was a spur of the moment buy and I didnt want to wait to shoot it.

Rifle cases I will buy. I once bought 100 .357 Mag cases for full bore loads with H110 that I didnt want to trust to range pickups. Everything else is range treasure, and glad of it. When a case starts to look bad, in the scrap bucket it goes.
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Old December 17, 2012, 11:24 PM   #12
shredder4286
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So, the consensus view (unless your testing for pressures when working up a load) is to shoot it and check for signs of wear. Meaning reloading rifle and pistol brass are two different worlds. Doesn't sound like anyone is doing any annealing of pistola brass!!!
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:27 AM   #13
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Doesn't sound like anyone is doing any annealing of pistola brass!!!
No, and the only time I anneal rifle brass is when forming .30-06 brass down to 7.7x58 and that's not often since I can now get my 7.7Jap brass from Grafs. Otherwise, I don't see the need.
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Old December 18, 2012, 01:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shredder4286
Is there an easy way to track auto-loader brass?
No.
Quote:
It's so easy to get 10 lots of 9mm brass all mixed in together, not knowing how many times a certain piece has been fired, wondering if it was even my brass to begin with- is there a method anyone has used that helps to keep your brass segregated at the range and when you get it home to reload?
Brass catcher.

Unfortunately, the only one that I have been able to get to work well with a variety of handguns has not been able to be built yet.

The best I have been able to come up with is to get a large cardboard box (the size refrigerators come in), cut two windows on opposite sides of the box, stick your gun hand in one window and shoot out the other one. The brass falls into the bottom of the box.

Some people have had good fortune with home-made brass catchers or commercially made ones, but I haven't. Some of my guns throw brass straight up. Some to the rear. Some in front of the firing line, some to the right and some can't decide where.

Quote:
I've heard some people suggest that as long as you do a thorough inspection, it won't matter, but I'd rather just keep the lots seperate. Any tips on this would help. Thanks in advance
I used to think that way. Eventually, I discovered that I never wore out any brass. I lose about 5-10% every range session and figure I lose them faster than wear them out. It became not worth it to try to keep track.

Sorry I can't be more encouraging. But I hope my post gives you permission to abandon your quest with no guilt should you decide in that direction.

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Old December 18, 2012, 03:09 AM   #15
shredder4286
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Quote:
The best I have been able to come up with is to get a large cardboard box (the size refrigerators come in), cut two windows on opposite sides of the box, stick your gun hand in one window and shoot out the other one. The brass falls into the bottom of the box.
I move around way too much to be able to have that work for me. (different firing positions, stations)

Quote:
Sorry I can't be more encouraging.
I'm fine with realism. That's the only thing about auto loaders- they throw your dang brass all over kingdom come!!

I guess I'll just have to create a solid division in my mind between rifle and pistol brass. Starting with rifle reloading, I got in that mindset of knowing how many times each lot has been reloaded, trimmed, etc.

Thanks for the advice all. Happy shooting and Merry Christmas
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:14 AM   #16
schmellba99
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Quote:
This is gonna sound like I'm a smart @$$, but- if you don't track your brass

How do you know how many times you loaded it?
Nahh, not smart a$$ - it's really just one of those things that I kind of know in the back of my head. Some is probably more, some is quite a bit less.

If I were shooting matches where range and accuracy mattered, I might keep track of pistol brass, but any other scenario it would be beyond overwhelming to do so. Pistol brass is pistol brass to me - either it is good to load, or it is not.
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:04 AM   #17
serf 'rett
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The best I have been able to come up with is to get a large cardboard box (the size refrigerators come in), cut two windows on opposite sides of the box, stick your gun hand in one window and shoot out the other one. The brass falls into the bottom of the box.
I do love this forum. Learn something new almost every visit. Should be able to build a simple mesh covered frame/box to use while bench testing reload strings. Setup would be quicker than the camera tripod and laundry bag.
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:31 PM   #18
jmorris
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Doesn't sound like anyone is doing any annealing of pistola brass!!!
I do but not "normal" pistol rounds, just the stuff for the bolt action/single shot pistols.
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:14 PM   #19
89blazin
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Use an indelible ink marker and put a dot on the case each time it's been reloaded. Maybe the marks will survive tumbling...?
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Old December 20, 2012, 12:26 PM   #20
schmellba99
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Sharpie marker will not survive tumbling. I usually write the load data on the brass case of my rifle rounds (especially if developing a load or doing a ladder test). A couple of hours of tumbling will take Sharpie off without much effort.

There really is little need to track pistol brass.
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Old December 20, 2012, 01:22 PM   #21
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Mark the face of the brass with some small lettering/numbering dies or even a vibrator type engraver.
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Old December 20, 2012, 03:41 PM   #22
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I load pistol brass till either the primers fall out, case cracks or I lose it which is usually the first to occur
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Old December 20, 2012, 05:29 PM   #23
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Yes,you can track the number times the brass has been fired with pistol brass.Just buy an EMP and it will mark the brass so you can keep up with the number of times its been fired.My EMP 9mm marks the brass on the head really hard from the slide,showing you to how hard the slide has to feed a round into the chamber.The only time you want be able to see a second or third mark is that it hits the same spot twice.I have brass with 5 firings on them and I can count all five hits.I hope this doesn't one day cause the head to want to break off from this hard hit around the head.Time and the number of hits will only tell the answer.
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Old December 20, 2012, 09:03 PM   #24
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one guy I shoot with magic markers his primers.
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Old December 20, 2012, 10:03 PM   #25
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reloading

Rifle brass will stretch because of the shoulder so it is constantly being resized. Trimmed for length etc. So it gets tired an wears out. Pistol brass is straight walled so it expands but really does'nt stretch, after many,many,many reloads it will simply split or crack and if you pick up a few and rattle them around in your hand the sound will tell you that you have a bad one.
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