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How do you when to stop using your brass?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by 9mm guy, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    When do you stop using your handgun brass? Do you keep firing the handgun brass until you see a crack or damage on the brass during your inspection? Or do you experienced reloaders as a general rule, just stop using brass after 8 or 10 or some subjective number of times you've fired the brass?

    I'm asking so that I also know how closely to keep track of my brass. Once I fire my reloaded rounds, I am collecting the brass into an "twice fired" or "fired three times" labeled containers. Is this unnecessary?

    Thanks in advance for all your answers. You guys have been lifesavers for a beginner like me. And sorry, I'm missing the word "know" in the title. This website won't let me edit the title and so I apologize for the grammar sin. Thanks again to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
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  2. ChiefStealth

    ChiefStealth Graham, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    I keep track of "times fired" only with rifle brass. I replace 30-30 brass at about 12 times fired. I don't have a bunch of 30-30 cases. Maybe 70 total. I rotate the cases pretty evenly, so keeping them separated is not a big pain. I don't have but two, or three different containers. Usually zip-lock bags.
    With .223 Rem, I replace the "precision" cases at 12 times fired. The range/plinking stuff, I don't count. I just inspect necks more carefully.
    I stopped counting with pistol brass a long time ago. I have some .45 ACP cases that I bought in 1995 that are well over 20 times fired, that are still going strong. I suppose I would keep track of magnum pistol, though.
     
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  3. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    I shoot them till they crack. I only keep track of once fired, trim once when I feel like it

    I treat match rounds much different but I still shoot them till they crack
     
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  4. gundog10

    gundog10 Member

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    Years ago I counted brass and kept them separate but no longer do so. What I have found was that in almost every case when I threw away a case it was because the primmer pocket had finally loosened up to the point that there was little resistance when seating the primmer. Have I had cracked necks, yes, but they are few and far between. However, I do not load maximum loads and my cases last a long time. Inspect each case, trim as needed and keep your brass.
     
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  5. Fordcragar

    Fordcragar Renton, Washington Active Member

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    This is a timely topic for me, as I'm just getting started in reloading. I had been wondering this issue for a while and was going to separate my brass according to how many times that they were fired; which it doesn't seem necessary now. I'll be loading 9mm and won't be using maximum loads.
     
  6. gundog10

    gundog10 Member

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    As a new reloader, over time you will develop your own rules and style. Every response here I have read is correct. If I was new, I would keep track and just see and watch and learn how your empties look prior to reloading them. Over time you may find like I did (for me) that the primmer pocket gave out first or you may find that "10" is your magic number. It is fun so I would find your way by keeping track for a while. Have fun, relax and enjoy.
     
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  7. Roop

    Roop La Grande Active Member

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    With pistol brass, I'm not even sure I got my own back, so there is no way I would know how many times it gets fired.

    For rifle brass, that depends. Plinking stuff, or stuff from 3gun matches gets treated the same as pistol brass, however, I do pay attention to how easy it is to resize and how easily the primers come out. On a few occasions I have stopped, and tried to seat a spent primer to see how bad the pocket was. If they are loose I discard them, If they have cracked necks, I discard them. Sometimes I will find a crack in the neck after I have finished loading the rounds, If that happens I check for neck tension and discard if I can move the bullet by hand.

    Match type loads get counted an the whole lot will get tossed when they start to show loose pockets or cracks. I would say around 10 reloads in .308, but that will vary depending on what kind of brass it is.
     
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  8. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    Holy cow, I didn't know you can fire brass up to 20 times!! That's remarkable. Maybe I will keep track just to see how long I can keep firing them. Thanks again for all the answers.
     
  9. David J

    David J hillsboro Member

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    I know a few bull's-eye shooters that reload 45acp target loads and have some brass from the 50s. I have been reloading the same brass for 20 years. Just keep reloading until they split.
     
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  10. Capn Jack

    Capn Jack Wet-Stern Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm with "Roop.:)
    I'm not into mass production, so I handle each case several times when reloading. :eek:
    I look for neck and base cracks, shoulder burn outs, and loose primer pockets.:oops:
    Other than that, I shoot them until I loose them.:D
     
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  11. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply. By the way, how do you know when the primer pockets are too loose? After you seat the primer, does the primer just fall out completely? Or does the primer just hang out of the primer pocket and not sit flush? I'll have to inspect carefully one by one; and thank God I'm doing wet tumbling so that inspection will be easier. Thanks again.
     
  12. gundog10

    gundog10 Member

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    9mm guy, When you are priming the case their should/needs to be some resistance. The cases I throw away are ones that slide right in as if there was no case. I hand prime all my cases. If in doubt get rid of it.
     
  13. ageingstudent

    ageingstudent NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    22-250 yes I keep track. Autos not really except that I have a lot of 100 from each caliber I load that I keep separate as a science experiment. I haven't had a cracked case in those yet and over 15 loadings in .40S&W and 45acp.

    I do keep track of my .357 and .38, but those go right back in the box after firing so it's easy.

    I also wet tumble so I knock out primers before tumbling. If you aren't sizing while depriming you can detect loose primer pockets when you punch the primers out. When decapping range brass I run across loose primer pockets once in awhile and just recycle the case at that point. When the pocket is getting loose the primers almost fall out when the pin touches them. You'll end up with less live primed cases that you have to deprime if you pay attention to the feel on the depriming end.

    I also find that some loose pockets in small pistol will take a CCI primer or S&B. They seem to run a bit bigger in my experience.
     
  14. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    Only track the rifle cases (308 & 30.06). The 30.06's run out of a Garand I only use for 5 reloads and bolt rifles 10 times max...and I check all of my rifle cases carefully each time including running a paperclip edge inside the case to check for web separation.

    For pistol, when they crack or the primer pockets get too loose. I just finished reloading about 2,000 9's (all range pickups) and had 1 cracked case and 3 where the rims were so beat-up that they had a lot of resistance moving through the press so were tossed.
     
  15. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Josephine County Active Member

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    I shoot them until I see a defect.
     
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  16. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Pistol: they crack

    Rifle: until the neck splits (I don't anneal) and only neck size so no head separation.
     
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  17. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    When shooting bottleneck cases I don't go by how many times I have shot the cartridge but rather how many times I trim it. My personal limit is four. If I must trim the case a 5th time I discard it.
     
  18. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I have a batch of 200 new (were) Winchester Super Speed brass from the 1950's in .243 Ackley Improved. The brass was purchased and then annealed, fire formed for AI.
    That same set of brass has been reloaded 40 plus times. Each time inspected for cracks in the neck, and loose primer pockets, and trimmed for OAL. Out of that batch of 200 I think we are down to about 125 now. That brass has gone thru several barrels, on that same rifle!

    Pistol brass, I just look for defects when reloading. Never keep track.
    Magnum rifle brass, look for defects, loose pockets, neck splits etc, the ring that forms just forward of the belt..thinning, is a sure sign the case is going to separate soon.
    Standard rifle, 308, 30-06, just trim, look for cracks, and loose pockets. reload, reload, reload they last a very long time!
     
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