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Would you load this brass?

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OK, this is actually a bit of an experiment due to boredom, so let me rephrase the question:

Could you load this brass? And what kind of results would you expect?

My son and I pick up brass at the range from time to time, and normally I do NOT load stuff like this. It usually goes straight into the scrap bucket, because common caliber brass is cheap and plentiful. This little project is just to see what happens, and illustrate that brass is more resilient than often thought.

For the sake of discussion, let's say I couldn't find any other brass, and really needed to load these. The book answer is "Thou shalt not load them. They are damaged and as such they are dangerous. Your gun will blow up and you will die!"
I expect some to echo this statement, and maybe a few others to say "Go ahead, they're fine!"

A caveat to avoid contention in this thread: I'm not going to advocate doing anything dangerous. If in doubt, throw them out. This is just a little experiment for fun.

IMG_9041[1].jpg
 

Ownerus

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IF you can iron it out enough to load, you could fire form with a mild load. THEN inspect it. Actually, I suspect you could load most of them.... if they were a hard to find cartridge. Since they appear to be .223, why bother? Walk around most any shooting area and get replacements.
 

DizzyJ

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To me it almost looks like the ends were crimped shut on purpose. I can't imagine any kind of extraction causing that much damage.

Obviously they're not right in front of me to inspect, but I've seen brass that's been run over look better than that.

If it was crimped closed on purpose, one has to ask why. Responsible reloaders will do this after a certain amount of firings or if they start to notice separation.

COULD you reload them? Possibly.

SHOULD you try is another issue altogether.
 
OP
CLT65
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Like I said, normally stuff like this just goes into the scrap bucket, but I've tinkered with brass enough over the last 30 years to have a pretty good idea what is safe and what isn't. Brass that is compromised at the head can be really bad, and anything that changes headspace is not good. Dents and even cracks up towards the neck and shoulder area are just not as dangerous. Definitely best avoided of course, but not catastrophic.

Here is the same brass, sized, annealed, and loaded:

IMG_9043[1].jpg
 
OP
CLT65
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Here is the 5-shot group they made at the range today:
IMG_9045[1].jpg

And here they are, all ready to load again:
IMG_9047[1].jpg

The brass is 2 pieces of FC, one LC10, one LC18, and one PSD13. 4 out of 5 were 1/2" center to center @100 yards. Not bad, really. They looked like they had been run over in the gravel by a vehicle.
 
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I would have put them in the recycle bucket because I have a lot that look much better...
If they were the only ones I had I might have got as far as you did.
 

gmerkt

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The voids that you cannot iron out decrease the case capacity. Which could increase pressure. Something that you wouldn't be able to measure as you shoot them. After resizing, the voids we could see weren't extreme. I'd want to check primers to see how they responded. Obviously, you didn't blow yourself up. I've loaded slightly dented cases before with no problems. But as stated above, .223 is so common, why bother? Some other loadings might not have been as forgiving. The second firing made them all look okay. There is a school of thought that when brass is bent like that, it can weaken via minute cracking. So they might look nice now but may be prone to premature failure down the road. I don't expect real long life out of .223 anyway; the rate at which they grow in length suggests they thin out pretty fast. For my work, they are good for about four reloadings at moderate levels, then they go into the scrap. Loading them at the top end wears them out more quickly, primer pockets start to stretch. .223 isn't the most robust case in the line-up.
 

DizzyJ

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Better you did the experiment than me. I've reused dented cases before no problem.

However, looking at the before photos and not knowing the history of that brass would still make it a no go for me.
 

po18guy

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Recycling material for the brass bucket. Curled or dented handgun brass can be straightened, but high pressure rifles rounds are not worth the effort and risk. Not exactly the same, but I had a case head let go in an HK91 decades ago. Blew the magazine floorplate, follower, spring and rounds into my thigh. No blood. But, it warped the receiver sides out and it had to be massaged back into shape.
 

Certaindeaf

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  • Woke Up Like This
On TWD, they only had one piece of old skanky brass on the planet so they reloaded it so yea, its been scientifically proven that it's possible according to that fine documentary.
 

po18guy

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"If" I were to use such, I would employ a mild "fire forming" load, such as used to blow shoulders out to Ackley Improved specs, then FL resize and go for it. Would definitely check the mouth and neck for incipient cracks each reload.
 

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