Where Has The Quality Brass Gone
I have read countless posts and replies on this and other forums about poor quality brass. Too soft and too hard are seen most often. Sometimes there is reference to defective brass, flaws other than too soft or too hard.
Read the following about a friend of mine that had a problem with some Federal brass along with some of my thoughts on the subject.
A friend of mine purchased (500) rounds of FC ( Federal) brass in the 243 WSSM caliber from Graf. Upon examination of the brass, he sorted out close to 30% as having visible defects that may cause splits or rupture of the shell casing in the neck and shoulder area.
He contacted Graf and they were more than willing to make things right, everything from a full refund with postage paided both ways to replacement of the defective brass.
My friend then emailed Federal on 11/8/07 asking them about the brass and sent pictures of the defects he had found. Below is the reply he got on 1/23/08 from Federal although the persons use of English appears to be that of someone that answers the phone in India.
Quote from Federal
ďI did not even know we sold it.
This was some cases we bought from another company (Olin) with our headstamp.
We then decided not to load this caliber.
Cases were then sold inexpensively.
I would start with GrafĒ
End of quote
Now it looks like Olin (Winchester) is passing off their factory seconds to Federal and Federal not wanting to load the stuff to sell as their factory loads, offered the brass to Graf at a hefty discount. I am thinking for us reloaders, buying new manufactured brass shell casings is nothing more than a crap shoot. We have no way of knowing who actually produced the brass or if the quality is any good. It could be manufactured by a U.S. manufacturer for another manufacturer or manufactured overseas with a multitude of head stamps. Many of the U.S. manufacturers are having many of their loading components manufactured overseas. Why? Cost is one consideration and product liability is another. The U.S. has more attorneys ready to sue manufacturers for defective products than any other country. But, to sue the ammunition retailer for defective brass will result in the statement, ďI didnít produce the brass, so sue the manufacturer of the brassĒ. You try that and you get another answer, ďI didnít produce the brass, Bubba Inc. in Australia did, Sue them. Try going after a manufacturer outside the country. That will cost more than you can receive. End of story.
There are a few cartridge case manufacturers here in the U.S. and overseas that will produce shell casings with any head stamp you want as long as it fits on the case head and you are willing to purchase enough of it to pay.
The safest choice is to buy the best of the best or be willing to pursue whatever corrective action the seller may offer.
I find it a bit sad that the quality of our loading components has suffered in an attempt to hold prices down or to avoid lawsuits. It is sad that the retailers we buy from are willing to sell poor quality components knowing most buyers will not pursue corrective action at the cost of the seller. I guess they donít care what we think and donít care if they lose our business and they donít care if this junk could blow up in our face. We get what we pay for.