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Old April 17, 2000, 08:24 PM   #1
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I have been reloading for about a year now, but only recently began reloading for my .308 (M1A).

I'm just wondering how many times can I trim these cases?

Is there a way to tell when the brass has had enough, or is there some number (like 5 times) that is standard operating procedure?

Reloading for handguns is so much easier, but strangely, less satisfying.

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Old April 17, 2000, 10:47 PM   #2
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Std. op.proceedure might work, but then it might, in this case, lead you to pitch brass still useable.

What you want to look out for is "wiredrawing" which can cause case failure through head spearation. Try this method of checking.

Take a paper clip, and straighten out enough of it so that the straight part is longer than the cartridge case. Bend a short "l" at one end.

When this "tool" has been made, use it as follows. Insert it into the fired case so that the "hook" is down against the inside of case head. Move the clip so that the hook contacts the case wall. Slowly, pull the clip out. If you feel like the hook simply comes out through the case neck, the case is alright. If however, the hook feels like it "falls into a ditch", then climbs out, your have found a stretched spot, where head separation will likely take place. Trash any such cases.

You can extend the life of cases by not setting the shoulder back any more than is necessary for easy chambering of a loaded round. With a bolt rifle, you can lean on the bolt handle, however you do not want to try this with a self-loader such as the M1-A, no bolt handle.

You can check this by removing the operating rod and spring, and moving the bolt by hand, slowly and carefully. Adjust your sizing die so that the bolt will close, when moved by hand, on a sized case, then lock your sizing die. You should only have to do this once.

With the rifle you are using, you might be better off using military cases, than commercial brass, due to the rather violent extraction cycle of the rifle. The military cases are heavier, thicker walled, and therefore a little tougher.

Hope the foregoing helps.
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Old April 18, 2000, 05:14 AM   #3
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I talked to a local High Power rifle guru. He loads his rifle brass ten times each then retires it after that.
This reduces the risk of a case splitting from weakened brass. Apparently, a case splitting in the chamber of a high power rifle is similar to taking a blow torch to it, as the pressures are much higher than in pistol.
I decided to follow his advice, as brass is cheaper than a new barrel.

A slow hit beats a fast miss.
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Old April 18, 2000, 07:50 PM   #4
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One addition to Alan's fine post: I have found that if you take a hammer flatten the tip of your paper clip tool and then file it to a point you will really have an excellent tool for feeling for case seperation. If I have a lot of 200 or so semi auto rifle brass and find a few getting this way it is time to retire it by using it as "fire and forget" brass in the SAR8 or field plinking situations.
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Old April 18, 2000, 11:06 PM   #5
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I knew I forgot to mention filing a point on the paper clip.


Was your guru shooting a bolt gun or semi-auto, makes a big difference re case life, especially if one adjusts dies properly, not setting the shoulder back any more than necessary.

Of course, one can throw brass away at any point in time, howewever it seems questionable to junk brass prematurely.

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