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Old January 16, 2013, 10:34 AM   #1
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importance of sorting military brass?

How important or is it important to sort military brass, particularly LC, by year and load accordingly? If so, please give reasons why this is a good idea. My question is mainly concerning the .223/5.56 Thanks

Last edited by Eaglray; January 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Old January 16, 2013, 10:50 AM   #2
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Would like to know this myself. Subscribing to this thread for future replies.
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:25 AM   #3
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How important is it to sort Lake City brass by year?

Depends on how good of a shot you are. If you can see a difference on the target between year groups, then it is important. If you can't, it isn't.

I did an experiment with mixed years verses all 07 during load workup, and I could not see a serious difference in group size or point of impact at 25 or 100 yards. With iron sights on a service rifle the groups were completely fine (around 1.3 MOA from me shooting elbows on the bench).

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Old January 16, 2013, 11:35 AM   #4
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I don't sort LC 5.56 brass by year myself - I did at one time but I could not see any difference between them. When dealing with range pickup it's more important to me to check that it hasn't already been reloaded already - lots of commercial reloads use LC brass. I may still use it after close inspection, but I keep it in a separate batch. With my last bunch, the reloaded stuff was all LC 04 and 05, and the once fired was LC 09-11 - so I guess it kinda worked out that way but it wasn't the main point. It is nice to know in case they get mixed though....
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:56 AM   #5
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FIL used to sort them by lot & weight, but he did alot of informal bench shooting with both 223 & 17 Remington ( made from 223 cases )
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Old January 16, 2013, 12:46 PM   #6
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I have found that there is no significant difference if I sort by year or not.
I no longer sort LC brass.
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Old January 16, 2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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I would do it under two circumstances: The first is either of two conditions: A random 15 case sample of a mixture of years had more than 16% bigger standard deviation than a random 15 case sample of same-year cases. Or, if 15 case random samples of two different years had averages more than about a grain and a half different from one another.

The second is if the two case years represented brass with different load histories. A case that's been reloaded more times than another will tend to have stiffer neck brass from the additional work hardening (until it is annealed again). I want consistent bullet pull to help keep start pressure the same.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:08 PM   #8
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sorting LC brass

Thanks to all for their input on this subject. It is most helpful and will save me time in the future. Much appreciated.

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Old January 17, 2013, 11:22 AM   #9
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I keep my LC 5.56 sorted by year and by my personal lots. I want the ammo in a single group to be as identical as possible, including same number of loadings as Nick indicated. So I'll have a batch of LC77 once fired, a separate batch of LC77 twice fired, etc. I don't know how many different batches of LC I have going at the moment, probably 8 or so. Once I start loading a batch, that brass stays together in a group until it wears out.

This is for ammo loaded for service rifle competition. Iron sights up to 600 yards.

For plinking ammo, I mix and match odds and ends. Brass lots I don't have enough of to load a decent sized competition batch.
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Old January 17, 2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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“If so, please give reasons why this is a good idea”

Not my job to convince anyone it is a good ideal, I can tell you why I do ‘it’ as in sorting by head stamp and year. Tumbling, sorting cases after tumbling is made easier if the cases being tumbled have different head stamps, my fired cases always go back into the box they came from.

Then there is the old ‘wife's tale’ military is thicker because it is heavier, that story should start with ‘once upon a time’, because it is a half truth, military 30/06 cases heads are .200” thick, R-P 30/06 case heads are .260” thick, if the military case is heavier deductive reasoning would suggest the military case head is thinner with a heavier/thicker case body, again, if the military case is heavier.

Then there is safety, my opinion the .260" case head of the R-P is safer than the .200" military case head is case head crush/insipient case head separation/case head failure is a consideration. Then there is case head protrusion or unsupported case head between the bolt face and chamber. Between the Mauser and 30/06 chambers in the Springfield and Enfield M1917s the unsupported case head is from .090” and .115” protrusion, in the perfect world.

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Old January 17, 2013, 07:28 PM   #11
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For .223 I do not sort by year, or even head stamp for that matter. I did an OCW work up. I get good results no matter which head stamp of brass I use. Never mine the year on LC cases.

To each thier own.
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Old January 20, 2013, 12:53 PM   #12
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I have LC once fired military. I bought 1500 for 8 cents including shipping. It has worked very well in both a Remington 700 and a WW15. I sort by weight rather than year since weight pertains to capacity and thus I can expect pretty consistent pressure that way.
I keep 100 rd lots together so they have all been loaded the same number of times.
I do not mix manufacturer head stamps to avoid having brass of different hardness etc.
I have gotten good accuracy and velocity of + or - 25 fps using this method. Fired a 5 rd group through the chrony yesterday and had 3 duplicate velocity. That is why I have not bothered to refine my sorting any further. And if I follow the basic fundamentals of reloading the .223 is not that picky about which powder, primer etc I use. My rifles seem to do pretty well with any load I have tried. I just tweak to the best groups in can get for a powder/bullet combination and then stay with that.
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Old January 20, 2013, 04:26 PM   #13
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I have 1000's of peices of once fired brass. When I select brass to load I usually get the same brand like LC or Remington or whatever. After I full length size, trim, chamfer and deburr I sort them by weight. I dont really see a need in sorting them until they are cleaned, trimmed and ready to load.
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Old January 20, 2013, 06:49 PM   #14
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Same here, I sort by brand and thats about it. I can't see any practical reason for getting more particular unless you are shooting a match grade gun in master class at a high level match.
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Old January 20, 2013, 06:51 PM   #15
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I mix it all together, any kind of .223 brass, and expect to get 0.5moa.

That does not mean it does not need inspection.
Brass that came from 'who knows where' needs to be inspected.
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