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Old July 18, 2005, 10:25 PM   #1
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Straight wall rifle brass life

Everyone talks about reusing pistol brass until they cant read the headstamp anymore and then some, but can straight wall rifle cases be used over and over the same way? Is it the pressure or the resetting of the shoulder that reduces normal rifle case life? Been thinking about getting a 45-70 and was curious about the life of the brass.

m0ntels is offline  
Old July 18, 2005, 11:37 PM   #2
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A straight walled case, be it pistol or rifle, will eventually split at the mouth, from the repeated crimping/firing stress put on the brass. You can prolong the life of the brass, both straight and bottlenecked, if you anneal the first 1/2 inch or less. This softens the brass, which has been work hardened from so many firing/reloading cycles.

Bottlenecked brass generally does not last as long because of two things. One is that it usually operates at far higher pressure than straight walled cases (not including belted magnums), and the brass usually has it's shoulder set back by incorrect die adjustment, which is the same as firing the brass in an overlength chamber. This overworks the brass, which splits at the mouth, shoulder, or at the web junction.

As far as people who reload pistol brass until you cannot read the headstamp, and then some, well, there is just no accounting for damn fools. Think about it, would you want a brass case to fail, when you are holding it in your hand, less than 2 feet from your face??

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Old July 19, 2005, 02:14 AM   #3
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Flute, schutzen shooters shoot a hundred round match with a single case.

You flat ain't gonna get case head failure at moderate pressure before the primer pocket or the side walls wear out. CARDBOARD will hold about 12,000 lup and you prove it when you fire a shotgun. A .38 Special or .45 ACP target load only generates about that pressure and they have a nice strong brass web. That web can loose 2/3 of its strength and still hold.

I toss bottleneck rifle cartridges the third time they need trimming. That's 6-9 shots with cases operating at 55k CUP. Straight wall cartridges operating at less than 20K, I shoot just short of forever.
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Old July 20, 2005, 08:03 AM   #4
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leftoverdj said: Straight wall cartridges operating at less than 20K, I shoot just short of forever.

I do tooooooo.

I use the .45-70 with our DC 458-430-FN-GC and a medium charge of 5744. I'm not sure how long the cases will hold water as I haven't lost one yet.
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Old July 20, 2005, 11:55 PM   #5
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I reloaded some 45-90 brass 34 times. Didn't show any real indication of being worn out. Someone I know reloaded his 60+ times before experiencing significant numbers of case failures. Both of us used smokeless powder, cast bullet non-firebreathing loads.

On bottleneck cases, however, about half the cases seem to split around the 15th reload.
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