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Old June 10, 2013, 06:55 PM   #1
1Victor30
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Sorting Brass

In the process of getting set up to do my own 9mm reloading. Have been told by friends who reload that I should sort my brass by manufacturer and also that it isn't necessary. Don't want to spend a lot of time doing this if not needed. Thoughts? Opinions?

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Old June 10, 2013, 07:08 PM   #2
jonathon1289
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Yes sort it by head stamp. Some brass is weaker and doesn't hold up as well, and since you should be visually inspecting all cases for damage it is an easy step to sort at the same time.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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You will also find that each manufacturer creates a different sized case (length not diameter). It wreaks havoc on consistency when you are aiming for the proper OAL.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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It really depends on what you want in your reloads. I sort my brass by head stamps when I'm loading what I consider to be good bullets. Hornady, Sierra, Speer ect. Sometimes I find bulk 250 packs of fmj and when I do I just load them up in mixed brass and go play.
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Old June 10, 2013, 07:36 PM   #5
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I find it better to sort brass by head stamp for a variety of reasons. The biggest are consistency and safety.
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Old June 10, 2013, 08:06 PM   #6
jwrowland77
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Sorting Brass

I sort all my brass pistol and rifle. Biggest thing is each manufacture has different thickness in their brass.
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Old June 10, 2013, 09:47 PM   #7
Colorado Redneck
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What then?

After brass is sorted by headstamp, then what? Do you work up a different load for each brand based on some criteria?

For 38 Special I don't fool with sorting brass. The pressures I load to are below max. For rifle brass I have experimented with loading different brands and found that even though velocity may vary, accuracy differences are not radical. I have wondered about sorting and how that might be viewed by experienced shooters.
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Old June 10, 2013, 09:54 PM   #8
David Bachelder
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I don't sort brass, other than by caliber. I don't shoot for extreme accuracy or compete so it seems like a waste of time to me.

I also sort brass before it goes into the tumbler. I don't like it when the 38 special get stuck in the 40 S&W or any other of the possibilities.

Everything gets stuck in 45 colt.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:06 PM   #9
wyobohunter
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Sorting Brass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gster View Post
It really depends on what you want in your reloads. I sort my brass by head stamps when I'm loading what I consider to be good bullets. Hornady, Sierra, Speer ect. Sometimes I find bulk 250 packs of fmj and when I do I just load them up in mixed brass and go play.
What he said... Mostly, if you are looking for bulk ammo reloading just for fun and aren't overly concerned with tiny groups a safe way to accomplish using mixed brass:

1-Clean all brass.
2-Size all brass.
3-Inspect and measure all brass and cull the bad ones.
4-Trim them all to uniform length.
5-carefully work up a load that is a bit beyond mid-power (say 2/10 grain).
6-Do your bulk loading at the mid power level, this provides room for error.
7- measure all fired brass. Different head stamps will not stretch uniformly. I keep the ones that are "close enough" and cull those that stretch noticeably more than the average.
8- repeat (you can skip trimming until brass it close to max length).

Note: step 6 doesn't mean you don't have to check your powder throws every so often. It just gives a margin for error.

Keep in mind that this is the system I use when I'm shooting several hundred rounds in a session and I don't expect tiny groups.

Last edited by wyobohunter; June 10, 2013 at 10:27 PM.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:21 PM   #10
j357
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Brass like this I would sort in the 'range pick up' pile. Load and go for plinking. You can sort it by head stamp but you will be chasing your tail to get lots of 100+ worth your while.

Visual inspection for defects is more important with this type of lot. Load it up and lose it in the 9mm variation.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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I do not work up different loads for different brass, But I have more bad neck tension with R-P and PMC brass than other brands to where I do look out for it and don't prime a bunch without testing the neck tension first.
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Old June 10, 2013, 10:51 PM   #12
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When I started reloading 9mm two years ago I decided to sort by headstamp to reduce the variables should I have any problems. I'm glad I did. I found that different headstamps behave differently in my press. Some work near perfectly while others give me problems with one or more of 1)bullet falling off just before seating, 2) primers not removed all the way, 3) not fitting into headspace guage, 4) primers seated a little high, and 5) OAL variation. There are one or two HS's that give me little or no problem, while one in particular I keep picking the bullets off the floor.

So "good" HS's get used where I can always pick them up and "bad" ones I use outside where I can lose them. I can't tell if one shoots better than others; that's an exercise for another day.

The first time you sort takes quite a while, but once sorted just use one HS at a time. I recommend cleaning before sorting.
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:04 PM   #13
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I sort only to weed out the military crimp crap. I sort WIN, RP, and everything else. I am saving the RP for lead loads. Tomorrow I will load a slew of "mixed others" and will report on how it turns out.

I have no problems using mixed brass in 38 special and .45acp so far.

I have to report that I have found crimped Winchester brass too. What next....
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:07 PM   #14
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I only sort .45 ACP brass to separate the large primer holes from the small.
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:10 PM   #15
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Miata Mike, was it Winchester headstamp or WCC that was crimped?


I sort mine, probably more than I need to, but if I want to put together hunting loads or accurate loads, I don't have to sort again. I have a bunch of the $1.97 sterilite containers from Wal-Mart that are all marked and stacked on a shelf with caliber, headstamp, and # of times fired.

An added bonus is that I don't get mad at small primer .45acp brass.. I just put it into a different little container. As it happens I can't seem to find large pistol primers regularly here, but I'm finding small pistol primers all the time and have some stocked up.. so I'll be shooting up the small stuff for now
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:18 PM   #16
Miata Mike
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Unfortunately it was indeed WIN headstamp. I too sort out small pistol primer .45acp for special occasions where I think I may have to leave the brass.
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Old June 11, 2013, 12:53 AM   #17
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Do you want your reloads to be better than the cheap factory ammo ? Then you must pay attention and keep your components consistent.
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Old June 11, 2013, 01:28 AM   #18
Fire_Moose
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Re: Sorting Brass

I sorted all my 9mm when I started loading. Had a case+ of SandB, crap load of DC, and win win NT and wcc was another pile. Small groups of the others. I crushed about 7 primers this first round, all wcc. Now a bunch of wcc primed fine but I toss new ones now.

/shrug

Went thru the wins and DC now on to the s and b. Ill let Cha know if any of the wins crush primers during seating.
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Old June 11, 2013, 01:29 AM   #19
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Re: Sorting Brass

FC***
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Do you want your reloads to be better than the cheap factory ammo ? Then you must pay attention and keep your components consistent.
I agree on this for rifle, not for pistol. You do need to keep the steel cases out of your mix, but I do this with a magnet.

Your time would be better spent, making sure your powder charge is consistent from case to case than what head stamp it has.

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Old June 11, 2013, 10:08 AM   #21
serf 'rett
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1Victor30

Welcome to the forum!

If you are interested in accuracy, then you will sort your brass. While consistency has been mentioned, no one has explained the mechanics. There can be differences in the length of the cases from different headstamps. While this will have no effect on the 9mm overall length, a case length difference will result in variations in the final crimp. Ideally, the taper crimp die, for the 9mm round, will remove the case mouth expansion and perhaps apply about 0.001” crimp. If you set your crimp die up on a long case, then a shorter case may not be crimped enough. If the die is set up on a short case, then longer cases could be over crimped.

The second mechanic has to do with case capacity. Thicker brass will result in less case capacity and increased pressure and vice versa. Pressure changes velocity, velocity changes groups.

Sorting cases makes sense even if you are just interested in plinking ammo.
By sorting, you will save yourself some primers because you will separate out the WWC, FC and other mil crimped brass. Trying to seat a primer in mil crimped pockets often results in losing the primer. The mil crimped brass must have the crimp removed to facilitate reloading it.
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:24 AM   #22
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I've reloaded over 5K rounds of 9mm and have never sorted brass. Seems like a waste of time for range ammo. Minor differences in brass length won't matter and IMHO are more related to how many times the brass has been used, not the manufacturer.
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:36 AM   #23
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Welcome to TFL, 1Victor30!

The only ones I would be on the lookout for would be the NATO brass, which has crimped primers. I sort by headstamp, and weed out the NATO stuff so I can run it through my Dillon swager before putting them on the press.

I always use same headstamp when developing and testing new loads, that way the ammo comes out pretty much the same. There will be slight variances, but not as much as using different headstamps.

Good luck with the loading, and enjoy!

-BB
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:37 AM   #24
1Victor30
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While sorting brass, I did a few case measurements and found that the length varied from .742 to .747. The average was about .745. Is that a variance that would cause reloading issues? Since I only have an XD-9, I plan on getting a Dillon Special B press set up for 9mm. I guess the best way to do this is to just start reloading and learn as I go which brass works and which doesn't. A friend gave me about 2100 mixed headstamp cases that are divided into 24 different brands. I know some are by the same manufacturer under a different name, like GFL is Fiocci. I have cases marked both ways. Trial and error will set me free!!

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Old June 11, 2013, 10:57 AM   #25
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I sort brass...

mostly for accuracy in rifle loads... but in cases like semi auto 9mm, I've seen extreme differences in flash hole diameters... right or wrong, if I'm mixing my brass, I uniform the flash hole size, so that I get consistent accuracy, & pressure curves... each factory ammo may function fine, in my gun, but they use different powders, & primers... some extreme big or small may not function reliably in my gun, with my chosen powder & primer, so I uniform as much as possible & find a load that functions & shoots well, with sorted brass or uniformed primer pockets & trimmed to uniform case lengths, I can count on my loads
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