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Old May 2, 2006, 10:49 PM   #1
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Does brass "un-bell" itself?

Maybe this is just in my mind, but I swear my pistol brass unbells itself after sitting in the tub for awhile. I tend to do reloading in two major passes. Brass preparation (tumble, size, prime, bell). And then charging, crimping. So I often have my brass sitting around for awhile (sometimes a few months when I'm busy).

It seems that every time this happens, I find my previously belled brass not happily accepting bullet seating. Not completely reset, but it definitely doesn't pass the "bullet sits happily there on it's own" test.

What's the deal? Perceived effect or real?
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Old May 2, 2006, 10:51 PM   #2
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Old May 3, 2006, 03:26 AM   #3
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That's another reason to load on a progressive or a turret.
And have extra toolheads.
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Old May 3, 2006, 07:43 AM   #4
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No, but when stored for a while before the final reloading it has a tendancy to get mix....
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Old May 3, 2006, 10:32 AM   #5
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if you dont trim all your cases to the same length, you might not be belling them enough to start with, I do not trim my 38 and 357 cases but check each case individually as I bell them to be sure.
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Old May 3, 2006, 03:48 PM   #6
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I too have seen brass shrink back enough to not accept a bullet, had to re-expand. That was back in the single stage, batch reloading, days. Now I just mass produce sized, primed brass, waiting for more bullets to show up, so I can fire up the turret press
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Old May 4, 2006, 11:08 AM   #7
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The same flexibility and "memory" of brass cases that we rely on for firing doesn't go away. Just as the case "springs" back away from the chamber walls to allow extraction, it could be "unbelling", over time. I have never had it happen to me, or heard of it, but it is theoretically possible.

It sounds like you are using an absolute minimum amount of inside expansion/belling, and if the brass "springs back" you might not have enought flare left to easily start your bullets. Possible, I guess.

Is it all your brass, or just one brand, or one lot? Does it happen every time, if enough time goes by?, or just once in a while?

Try adding just a little more bell to your case mouths (1/8th turn of the expander, or so) and see if the problem reoccurs. I doubt a slight increase in the bell of the case mouth will noticably shorten your case life.
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