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Old November 10, 2018, 04:05 PM   #1
Grey_Lion
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Evidence supporting why I won't reload Blazer

I've spoken in the past about not using Blazer pistol brass for reloads and people tended to doubt me on my claims of case failures and inferior quality brass and also pointed out SPEER was made by the same manufacturer.

When I do end up with Blazer brass it goes one of two places - the scrap bucket or the swage bucket to make JHPs out of - but an event in the workshop today again brought blazer quality to light.

One of my steps in swaging brass into JHPs is to anneal the brass to soften it ahead of the nose forming operation.

In almost 1000 annealing operations ( after tumble cleaning - so no this wasn't some flammable contamination issue I anneal the brass i.e. heat the brass to a cherry read using a propane torch ) I've never had a weak shell pretty much disintegrate in the flame of a propane torch. Had one today - Give you a guess what headstamp it was - blazer....

So - otherwise, over the course of half a decade of reloading I've come across 7 cracked shell casings fresh off the range. One was a often reloaded federal that finally gave up the ghost - no mystery there - I know it to be one of mine. One was an aguila - fresh range brass. and the other 5 were blazer once fired brass..... - 3 were .40, 2 were 9mm -

see the pic attached - from left to right -

weak blazer 9mm case that literally disintegrated in an annealing operation - for those who might ask if the torch was at some weird cutting setting etc - no -33 other cases annealed using the same torch & setting in that sitting- no problem.

3 failed once fired cracked blazer .40
2 failed once fired cracked blazer 9mm

I can't be 1000% sure on the .40 being once fired but am reasonably sure - As to the 9mm - I don't own a 9mm..... absolutely sure on those. These are fresh range pickup at a local range I frequent.

And this is why I won't reload blazer brass.
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Old November 10, 2018, 04:15 PM   #2
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interesting. The second and third cases appear to be marked all the way to the extractor groove relief angle as if there were a seam there that weakened. It could be a scratch, I suppose, but it made me wonder if they formed the cases from tubing instead of by the usual method. How does their weight compare with other brands? Neck thickness? Thickness back near the web? I don't load them, normally, so I don't have any idea how they compare on those bases.
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Old November 10, 2018, 07:20 PM   #3
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Wow, I've been using Blazer Brass for a very long time and not had the same problems, but I only use 38 Spec, 9mm, 45 ACP and mebbe a couple others I can't remember off hand. Of the Blazer Brass I've reloaded, some were purchased "once fired" and some range puck ups. No shorter life than any other manufacturer's brass...
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Old November 10, 2018, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
I anneal the brass i.e. heat the brass to a cherry read using a propane torch ) I've never had a weak shell pretty much disintegrate in the flame of a propane torch. Had one today - Give you a guess what headstamp it was - blazer....
I am going to assume you do not realize that Cherry Red has gone so far overboard as to be not annealing but merely total softening?

An orange glow is too far.

In addition, you are dealing with small cases, so rather than the top, there is a high to 100% chance you have softened the base as well.

What that does is not in my wheel house. With a bottle neck cartrige and modern pressures it can blow out the base and give you a gas release into the receiver.

Having seen the remnants of the guy with 5 teeth missing and a bloodied face, a bystander with shrapnel hitting his cheeck and a piece of the receiver deeply embedded in the wall of the shed (missing the next guy over), not one I want to find out.
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Old November 10, 2018, 08:29 PM   #5
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I haven’t had any more failures from Blazer brass than any other brand in my pistol loads. I shoot 400+ rounds almost every week, in 380, 9mm, 357. Never bothered annealing any of it, straight case pistol calibers seem like a waste of time to do that. I do anneal my necked rifle loads every third time, but check the process with tempilac to make sure I’m not getting them too hot. Cherry red is way too hot.
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Old November 10, 2018, 09:10 PM   #6
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Loaded hundreds of Blazer brass, no better no worse than all the other pistol brass. Never heard of annealing straight wall pistol brass. I use a 650F Templaq stick at the base the shoulder where it meets the body of my bottleneck rifle brass and this seems perfect. I know some guys heat till they just barely see red right at the neck, but I prefer the temp stick method to ensure that not too much heat works down the body of the casing. I agree cherry red on a tiny pistol brass is annealing to an excessively soft condition all the way through to the base of the casing. I've loaded thousands of pistol rounds, thus far i think i've culled out 3 split casings.
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Old November 10, 2018, 09:43 PM   #7
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back up guys - the only brass I anneal are cases I intend to use for my bullet swaging - i.e. the 9mm brass becomes the JHP jacket. I DO NOT anneal the brass I'm reloading for pistol - no
So yeah - the swaging brass needs to be soft as possible for when I put a lead core into it and form it into a JHP projectile that then gets loaded into a .40 S&W round.
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Old November 10, 2018, 11:26 PM   #8
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The Blazer cases are extruded (like some other FC-marked cases).
The rate of failure and manufacturing process may be linked.
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Old November 11, 2018, 02:32 AM   #9
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Blazer is owned by Vista Outdoors who also owns Federal, CCI, Estate Cartridges, Speer, Independence, along with Alliant powders among many other brands. I sort out my 9mm and usually stick to reloading WIN, FC or Blazer brass. I'm sure I have Blazer 9mm cases that have been reloaded a dozen times without issue.
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Old November 11, 2018, 08:18 AM   #10
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I've loaded Blaser cases for 9mm, 38 spec, 357 Mag, 40 S&W, 45 ACP.

The only time i've had cases that looked like yours was 40 S&W, with Blue Dot. I accidentally grabbed the box of 180gr bullets, instead of the 160 gr bullets.
Leading to the obvious over pressure issue.
Needless to say it only happened to 1 round!
And i could not tell you whose manufacture of brass it was.

And i have since sold my 40.
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Old November 11, 2018, 10:48 AM   #11
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Blazer brass always seems to work as well as any other brass I've used.

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Old November 11, 2018, 11:48 AM   #12
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b
Quote:
ack up guys - the only brass I anneal are cases I intend to use for my bullet swaging - i.e. the 9mm brass becomes the JHP jacket. I DO NOT anneal the brass I'm reloading for pistol - no
So yeah - the swaging brass needs to be soft as possible for when I put a lead core into it and form it into a JHP projectile that then gets loaded into a .40 S&W round.
I am getting that part now but you heat a case up to cherry hot and then think its a brass issue when it fails?

As you are taking brass from on function (a case) for a JHP, you have to ponder that the brass is fully satisfactory for what its intended (a one time firing) and its not intended for reloading.

Its an interesting area and are mfgs overdoing it to be safe and someday they will figure out to make it safe once but we have to buy special brass to reload with?

And in your case a totally different function. I am not a metallurgist, but the more you take a metal from its intended function, it seems that some interesting things can happen including significant changes. Cherry red on a brass case is tantamount to melting it down to scrap and maybe exasperating the metals as well.

Low orange gets it soft beyond recovery to a firing state.
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Old November 11, 2018, 04:51 PM   #13
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RC20 - I might agree with you if I hadn't literally done the exact same annealing function successfully literally 1000+ times before with narry a piece of brass disintegrating at a point like this one piece of blazer did.

As for swaging rounds out of spent brass, this is nothing new, but has a long tradition in history before factory ammunition was widely available. Historically it was most often done for rifle projectiles, not pistol, but the theory is the same.

As for metallurgy, the difference between a copper jacket and an annealed brass jacket is quite minimal. Soft nonferrous metal jacket with a lead core to prevent the melting of the lead upon the ignition of the powder charge which contributes to barrel leading and excess smoke discharge.

Instead of a copper cup becoming the jacket, I'm using an annealed brass cup to do the same job. As I come across a LOT of 9mm range brass which I have no use for except to trade or make JHP's out of, I'm using the resource I have on hand. So - I make no copper sheet, and no copper jacket purchases.

As to my characterization of cherry red in the annealing, could be argued how good the light is in the room would cause some to call it orange. I don't measure the temp of the casing. I make it glow briefly with a butane torch and let it air cool. This is my annealing.

But to the point of this thread, I've seen more incidences of catastrophic brass failures in Blazer than any other brass I have experience with.

Who knows - maybe it's just their 9mm and .40 brass that does this, and all their other calibers are better than what I'm seeing.

And, as you mention, ammunition manufacturers do not make their brass with any intention of reloading.

But if you read my notes, you'll have noticed with the exception of the annealed brass, the other 5 Blazer rounds are most likely once fired range brass, meaning they failed on first use as factory rounds.......

At the end of the day, it is a safety choice in my reloading I have made for myself and I have evidence to support my choice.

It's 6 pieces of blazer brass out of maybe 2000 pieces of blazer brass I have handled. 6 too many.....
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Old November 11, 2018, 07:09 PM   #14
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The good experience of the others with this product makes me wonder if you got some bad brass. May a lot made on contract out of the country (a common practice in the industry, though not always a bad one as there have been Remington cases actually made by Norma at one time).

I wasn't sure if it was clear the RC20 that you were annealing for bullet jacket making and not for loading when he made that comment. You probably want the brass as soft as you can get without becoming too weak to work.
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Old November 12, 2018, 04:46 PM   #15
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I have been reloading the same 9mm Blazer Brass for the last four years. The cases have been reloaded several dozen times and I have never had an issue with the brass. Not sure why you are having such bad luck with it, but I will take all I can get. If I had your issues I also would not reload it.
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Old November 12, 2018, 06:03 PM   #16
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I've used quite a bit of the Blazer 9mm brass, as well. It's no different than the extruded FC cases, in my opinion.

I see more failed WIN cases on the range, than anything else. ...But it's also the dominant brand.
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Old November 12, 2018, 06:51 PM   #17
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Sorry, I didn’t understand what you were doing. This is very interesting. I’d like to see your operation creating jacketed bullets with used brass.
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Old November 12, 2018, 07:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
I wasn't sure if it was clear the RC20 that you were annealing for bullet jacket making and not for loading when he made that comment. You probably want the brass as soft as you can get without becoming too weak to work.
I got it the second time around, who says you can't teach old dogs something new?

Certainly new to me, but I suppose if they asked me to build a new heat seeking missile I would have a lot to learn as well.

I can see the need for it to be soft. When I read cherry red, that sets off alarms.

Nothing for or against blazer, just seems a pretty small sample with others good with it.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 PM   #19
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Like mikld and other posters have reported, I've loaded a lot of 9mm Blazer brass (I don't shoot .40) and have had no more problems with it than I have with any other headstamp.
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