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Old June 7, 2007, 11:56 AM   #1
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Reloading casing limits

Other than visual casing defects such as cracks, is there a limitation as to how many times to reload a casing. Do the high caliber handgun casings have a shorter useful lifespan? I would assume loading start loads vs max loads would have a direct bearing on lifespan? Does the condition and quality of the handgun enter into this?
How many times, do most of you get as an average?
Sorry for all the questions.
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Old June 7, 2007, 01:21 PM   #2
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Hot loads will certainly shorten loading life of brass, also some brass is better than other brass. Chamber condition is also a factor, as is type of action.

In one particular BOLT ACTION rifle I once had, starting with new Winchester cases, unfired cases, I cycled them 35 times, admittedly with a lighter load for 200 and 300 yard target shoting.

With a Garand, 30-06, using range pickup Match bras, I used to get about 20reloads. Respecting handgun loading, in semi-automatics, 9mm Luger and 45 ACP, hard to say, due to the amount of brass I have. Suffice it to say that brass usually gets lost before it fails.

Of course, what you "lost" was likely picked up by someone else and vice-versa. 45 ACP brass seems to run "forever".
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Old June 22, 2007, 09:51 AM   #3
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Mostly, it depends on a caliber. Low-pressure calibers don't work the brass much, and you can get 10+ reloads from 45ACP, 45 Colt or 38 Spec.

9mm brass seems to last 3-4 reloads before the primer pockets get loose. Same for 357.

Good quality brass lasts longer - major commercial makers all anneal the brass properly. Military brass does not last as long.

Expensive rifle brass in unusual calibers can be re-annealed with a gas torch, to get a few extra cycles out of it.
My favorites - Starline, Norma and RWS, they seem to last longer than other makes.
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Old June 22, 2007, 10:59 AM   #4
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I load mostly 9mm and I load them until they crack unless another problem happens to them. I have talked to people that have loaded 45 brass between 40 and 50 times.
I don't ever remember being absent minded.
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Old June 22, 2007, 03:43 PM   #5
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Primer Pockets Get Loose

Didn't realize this, you stated that this is more of a problem with 9mm?
Granted, when I decap and prime, some go in much easier than others.
So, being fairly new to reloading, exactly what is the best indicator to you that the pocket is getting loose.
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Old June 22, 2007, 07:12 PM   #6
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I shoot my handguns at an indoor range primarily - so I pick up some of my brass and a lot of stray stuff. Is there a limit to how many times - yes, but if it isn't a hot load I would not be afraid to load even a 9mm case 8-10 times. A heavy case like a .45ACP can be loaded a lot longer than that - maybe 30 or more times.

Honestly I don't really fuss with how many times I've loaded a case - but I do run every finished round thru a "case gague" before I box them up. If there is any dent or deformed spot on the case that was not removed by resizing, or if there is a real fine crack - then that round will probably not drop in and out cleanly in a case gague. Any round that doesn't drop in and out cleanly - I pull the bullet, reclaim the powder, and scrap the case. When I sort cases - prior to cleaning - if something looks beat up I just dump it. After I clean them - if a few of them are still black - I dump them.

Loose primers - I have not had a problem with any - in any caliber. Unless a primer fell out of a finished case I don't know how you'd know it wasn't in there tight. As I box my reloads - I also label them - date, powder, bullet weight, etc - so if I do have a problem with some rounds in a couple of boxes, I can identify when I made up those boxes and make a decision about pulling some bullets and doing some testing or dump the whole lot (pull the bullets on the lot ).

We get a lot of cops shooting at my range - and a lot of ammo run thru Glocks - and with Glocks not having a fully supported chamber ( round near the bottom is not supported ) I do get some rounds that even though they are resized, there is a little bulge near the bottom of the case, that's a Glock mark, and it won't pass thru the case gague, I pull the bullet. So, yes, in my opinion, most Glocks will shorten the case life - or any gun that does not have a fully supported chamber.
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Old June 22, 2007, 08:01 PM   #7
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Case Life

Straight walled cases last a lot longer than bottlenecked ones. My 8mm Mauser cases were half gone, splits in the neck mostly, by the 10th reloading. That is a short case life. My 43 Beaumont cases, a bottlenecked case, were half gone by the 15th reloading. That's about average.

My straighwalled 45-90 cases lasted to 35 reloading without any appreciable losses. Sold the gun. A friend, however, said that he was up to 65 reloads on his 45-70's.
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Old June 23, 2007, 06:04 AM   #8
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I don't have a good answer to telling when the primer pockets are too loose.
The easiest way is to shoot the brass in batches, one of my friends marks his brass with magic markers and keeps track of how many times it's been reloaded. This works for the bullseye folks who can police their own brass, but not for action shooters where everyone's brass winds up in a single pile.

As you noticed, some brass feels easier in seating primers than other. Perhaps you can mark those with a marker, and discard them after shooting.

Anyone else have a suggestion on when to discard the brass, even though it looks fine?
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Old June 23, 2007, 03:01 PM   #9
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I load alot of 45acp , sounds like I'll be able to load them for alot longer that I thought
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