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Old March 16, 2006, 09:35 AM   #1
Join Date: March 1, 2006
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Newbie Question About Brass

I've recently inherited some reloading equipment and ready to start, I think. I know brass can be reused 8-10 times(?) but how do I manage how many times I've actually used a piece of brass? Do I just keep using it until it shows signs of age? I'll be loading everything from .338 Win to .223 and 9mm &.45ACP for handgun.

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Old March 16, 2006, 09:51 AM   #2
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Shuckers, I use a simple system of dots marked on a sticker placed on the box. 1 dot, reloaded once, 2 dots, twice, etc. The sticker can be removed when necessary.
There is not a set number of times brass can be reloaded, there are just too many variables to loads, type of brass, etc. But, remember to always check brass before loading.
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Old March 16, 2006, 09:57 AM   #3
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Well, I got no idea on the .338, but my .223 (Rem 700) leaves marks on the rounds when chambered. They are long lengthwise scratches from the magazine. I can count these like rings on a tree, and stop at 6 or 8.
With .45, as long as it measures long enough, (And it will for a long time.) and you don't do anything silly like step on it, or damage the neck somehow, the .45 acp brass will load fine for a LOT longer than 10 or 20 loads.
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Old March 16, 2006, 12:00 PM   #4
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I must be a bad, bad person. I don't change my brass until it splits.

I have buckets of brass, much of it picked up at the range. Some is shot very little, others have 20+ reloads on them. I've found it's very difficult for me to manage the life of the brass to the point where I actually care. It doesn't seem to make any difference in terms of accuracy or reliability in my revo's.

As to my rifle, I just inspect each case for any signs of wear. I shoot a 350 rem mag and have exactly 217 pieces of brass. In this case, it's pretty easy to monitor the brass status.

I just don't think it's that important.
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Old March 28, 2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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Keep it simple

You can shorten the lfe of a case if you fatigue the metal by setting the die too low for spreading the mouth. I made tha mistake when I first got started. This visible signs are slight imperfections in the mouth of the case. These lead to cracks and splits.

Particularly on straight cases lke 9mm, 45ACP and 38/357.I Clean and polish my cases well. My old eyes need all the help they can get. The cleanliness seems to expose the flaws I spoke of...........
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Old March 29, 2006, 12:25 AM   #6
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About brass

I hae found that the accuracy of my rifle brass will start to degrade just before they die. I always clean and inspect my brass. if it don't look good it gets tossed. on the otherhand, I have .45ACP brass I have loaded so many times the head stamp is difficult to read. When it breaks it's gone. Usually the neck splits.
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Old March 29, 2006, 12:15 PM   #7
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So far I just load for 9mm and 44 magnum. I use my brass until it splits or has the finish wore off the brass and it looks awful (I do use a tumbler with corn cob media for at least 2-3 hours). Only split one case so far but many discolored where I can feel the roughness because of lack of finish. I even use range brass.
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Old March 30, 2006, 06:05 AM   #8
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How long is a piece of string...and so it goes with brass.

Manufacturers produce brass with different neck thickness and webbing thicknesses. Some manufactures produce brass which is softer than others and therefore stands up to firing, neck expanding or full length resizing better than harder brass.

It will also depend on how heavy your loads are. The quicker you expand the brass in the chamber the more work goes into it causing it to go brittle and fail. Heavy loads can also cause the primer pockets to expand to the point you will notice your primers falling out! Not good as noted by the grevious bodily hard!

Hence handloaders take care of their high power loaded brass which they want to reuse by: trimming; minimal resizing where possible; annealing the necks to keep them soft; measuring the expansion across the base to indicate brass expanded too far; and even using special small base dies that crunch everything back into shape tighter than the full-length die.

Some manufacturers make lighter brass which in effect gives you more room to burn more powder than others thus when you change brands you have to go back to your reducd starting loading. Other brass like the new WSSM range come with thicker webbing and necks to withstand the higher pressure loadings the cartiridges are deisgned for.

Don't forget polishing your brass in the tumbler can help identify cracks and damage unseen on brass with tarnish and powder burns (semi-autos).

Because your hanloading, and no one exactly knows what your brass is going through, the best method is to monitor case life of a particular brand checking for cracking around the necks and over expanded primer pockets. Yes mark up the boxes as you reload them each time so you don't mix your 6th reloads with your 3rd reloads. And yes some cartridge designs by nature stand up better to reloading than others.
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