Re: 223 military brass
It is common to reload once fired military brass in 223 or 308. The brass is cheap, usually thicker than commercial brass, and requires only that the crimp be removed from the primer pocket to accept commercial rifle primers. It is said that it will not last through as many reloads as commercial brass as it is harder and will split from work hardening. I have not found this to be true but I don't have enough of it to be a good sampling.
I recently bought 1000 rounds of Lake City once fired 308 brass, mostly head stamped to the same year. I have used military brass before and have NOT had to use anything other than my standard sizing die to de-prime any of it. I have not broken any priming pins or even pushed any out of the die. But on this last set of 308 brass I did have a problem.
I bought and have used the Dillon primer pocket swage tool. It has worked on 223 and 30-06 brass before but it did not like this 308 Lake City brass. It seems there is no closely held to spec for the thickness of the case head. The Dillon tool puts an anvil inside the case and pushes a punch into the primer pocket using the anvil inside the case to push against. The case head thickness, if variable, will screw up the swage depth with the potential of ruining the case. Even though the brass appeared to all be the same it obviously was from different lots that varied substantially in head thickness, This screwed up the primer pocket swaging. I had to resort to using a cutting primer pocket crimp removal tool on this brass. I put it on my RCBS motorized case preparation tool and it all went well once I adjusted it for the correct depth of cut. Dillon's instructions with their tool warns of this exact scenario.
PS: Because the case walls are thicker the case volume is smaller. The smaller volume, if used with the same load as commercial brass, may create an excessive pressure situation so you have to download the military brass a least a grain or two. I think it better to develope the loads using the military brass from the starting loads listed in the reloading manuals, just for safety's sake.
Last edited by LDBennett; 10-17-2009 at 08:20 AM..