Newbie question on brass

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by springerbuster, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. I have just started reloading and have a question on mixing brass. I have saved most of my brass over the years thinking that some day I would get into reloading. Now that I have, it seems as though I have all these different brands of brass. My question is, how much difference is there in accuracy between the different brands? Does anybody go to the trouble of separating each brand? Also, what about separating them for the number of times that they have been loaded? Do I just throw all of my brass together and then check for wore out cases or does everybody keep track of how many times each one has been loaded? I will add that right now I am just loading 223 Rem, but soon to be loading 9mm and 40 S&W. Thanks for any advice.
  2. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Welcome to TFF, happy to have another new face around here!

    Brass is different between manufacturers. Most are slight though, the biggest difference IMO with brass comes when dealing with military vs commercial. Military being thicker and most importantly crimped primer pockets which have to be dealt with.

    With straight walled pistol; I don't seperate or count number of reloads for plinking/fun loads. I do find that S&B cases are a tiny bit harder to decap and prime, but not a big deal. For target practice and purpose specific loads, I do prefer winchester brass and federal nickel cases. I keep a general running tally of case loads on these, but it's not exact and I have yet to find any that have reached the end of their useful life.

    Rifle brass is a whole other ball game, these I keep seperated by headstamp and keep exact load count. Useful case life will depend HIGHLY upon a variety of factors, most significant would be the % of max charge of the load. Cases reloaded at max loads consistently will not last nearly as long. Cases at min loads will last much longer. Neck sizing vs full lenght resizing will factor in also, with typically more reloads coming from neck sizing. ALOT of factors here, so I'll let others chime in and continue with their perspectives.

    Which reloading manuals do you have available to you and what presses do you use? Also, what purposes will you be loading for, plinking, IPSC, bullseye, benchrest, etc.

    Good luck to you in your endeavors, be safe and keep'em in the 10 ring!

    Semper Fi,


  3. Thanks for the reply Woolley. My press is a Hornady Lock N Load Progressive. For manuals I have the Hornady handbook of cartridge reloading and a book called the abc's of reloading. I have also been using Accurate's web site for some info. As far as what the loads are for, mainly I am just plinking but at the same time I am trying to work up as accurate of loads as I can.
  4. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    If you want consistent accuracy in 223, then IMO, the first steps are uniformity in case length and seating depth of the bullet. You may very well find that some brass will need trimmed every time and others every other time; so you don't want to mix headstamps in a case like this. You could trim each and every time, but then you end up removing more brass on some than others; so if you're going for the most accuracy that you possibly can, go ahead seperate headstamps and keep count of reloads.

    I have a sizeable bound record book for my reloads in which i can take notes and range data. I also have an excel file for backup; this allows me to compare different loads easily.
  5. fprefect

    fprefect New Member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Branson, MO
    Depends a great deal on your plans for their use. If "benchrest accuracy" is not required sorting will probably not be necessary. But to achieve the highest level of accuracy I would separate the cases, with case volume (easily measured with some small diameter ball powder) being the criteria. Cases with a considerable difference in volume will lead to pressure variations, and with it, a decrease in accuracy.

    As to the number of times a case can be fired, will be dependant upon the case itself, but most importantly the type loads that have typically been fired in any given case. I have some 22 PPC cases with well over 100 firings that have yet to even required a trimming, but the majority of loads fired were what I would call moderate. Very high pressure loads will of course tend to reduce the number of firings a case can be safely used.

    F. Prefect
  6. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    I've been reloading for 30+ years. With handgun ammo I don't separate by brand and don't count the number of times reloaded. With rifle ammo I check the OAL every few reloads and trim if necessary.
  7. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

    Aug 23, 2003
    For the 40 S&W I inspect them, clean them all together then deprime and seperate. R-P brass works best for me with Win a close second. I inspect during each step of the reloading process but for everything except competition I have not seen any difference in performance between different brands.
    I have some brass that has been reloaded at least 10 times and it is still good. Depends on how hot you run them.
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