Once fired brass that can and cannot be reloaded....

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by jlloyd73, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 New Member

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    My brother and I have been talking about reloading for quite awhile now...so we are taking the first steps slowly to learn properly. I am a information hog, so I like to do as much research as possible before I jump into anything.

    Bob (aka American Leader) has been helping me with most all my reloading questions, but I thought I would toss this one out there for everyone. Now first, I have a couple of reloading manuals Like the ABCs and Lyman's 49th but I have this one pressing question that a few hand drawn or poor pictures in those books cannot answer.

    Reason for question...... I had a guy give me 1000+ 9mm once fired brass the other day and my brother bought 1000+ 45acp from a fella for $30. As I was separating the brass I noticed a few of the pieces we slightly dented, a few with slightly more than a slight dent ;), a bunch that had a little nick in the side from a extractor maybe...etc.

    Ok, guys........question....

    Can any of you submit pictures of different examples of brass that should not be reloaded.... that is ok to be reloaded....stuff like that. Even if it is something that my look obvious to a seasoned reloader but not to a newbie.

    I just thought it would be a great thread to start for information purposes...I am sure a few of you have a little scrap pile that you can show some great examples.

    P.S., I have not found anything on the internet with this type of information easily.
  2. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    I cant give you pictures because I throw away all my non reloadable stuff. Pretty much, as far as pistol goes, if the sizing die will straighten it up, it can be reloaded.
  3. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    If it has small little dings or the mouth is slightly bent, the resizing die will straighten out the 9mm and .45 brass. If my reloading stuff and brass recycle bin wasn't out in the back yard (out building) and it wasn't 11:00 pm, I would try to take a couple of pictures for you.

    If no one attaches any pictures by morning, I will go out there before I go to work and try to post some for you, if I can find any that I would not reload.
  4. reynolds357

    reynolds357 Former Guest

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    If they are dings and not cracks, they should be fine. You can always touch them up with a case trimmer.
  5. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    If it looks badly dinged, I won't even try it in the sizing die. If the sizing die doesn't "comfortably" start the case, then I'll toss the case. Cracks right at the case mouth can be hard to spot at first, they usually show up very evident after sizing if you didn't catch it the first time. Extractor marks will usually be taken care of by sizing. Look out for any holes, doesn't happen too often, but keep an eye on your 45's for pinholes in the side of the case. Will post up some pics when I'm able to.
  6. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Put on my jacket and grabbed a flashlight and I went out anyway and brought a few in here to take a picture. These are some that I will not try to load.

    Top row from the left

    1. Aluminium case

    2. Steel case

    3. That little ding would not come out when sized

    4. One of those NT cases with the small primer pocket

    Bottom row are some stupid little mistakes I made to ding up the brass so bad they couldn't be straightened out. Bullet turned when seating it or the brass wasn't seated right in the shell holder and dinged up on the bell mouth or powder drop die.

    Attached Files:

  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    If the sizing die takes out the major dings I reload it. But....

    Some guns I have put dings in the cases as the case exits the gun. My Colt 10mm hits the case against the slide ejection port edge so hard that the small dent is permanent. You can almost count the number of dents to determine how many times the brass has been reloaded. As I bought that brass decades ago some has upwards of ten tiny dings in it.

    I recently bought some Military Surplus once fired 308 brass. A bunch of it had the mouth of the case badly dented and nearly closed. I made a brass punch on my lathe that I inserted into the throats of these cases to open them up so that the sizing die could resize them. Almost every case came out well enough to reload. The simple act of firing the cartridge will totally reshape the case correctly assuming the chamber of the gun is correct.

    Then I have a couple of Military rifles that eject the cases out of the chamber area with such violence that the brass is totally unusable after one firing. The body is badly dented and the rim extremely misshaped. This brass is simple recycled for the price of brass. For these guns I shoot Mil Surp Berdan primed ammo and discard (recycle) the brass.

    LDBennett
  8. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    Most folks don't bother with Amerc brass. Also be aware that military brass usually, not always, has crimped primers. The crimp needs to be cut away or swaged out before repriming. It's common in 9mm brass and somewhat less so in 45 brass. Commercial brass is usually not crimped.


    Note the recessed ring right around the primer. That crimps the primer in so it doesn't pop out in a combat situation or in a machine gun. You can't insert a new primer until that crimp is removed.

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  9. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman New Member

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    Great example I have always never quite understood but that picture explains it all.
  10. DixieLandMan

    DixieLandMan Member

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    Thank you for the picture. I've noticed that on some of my GI brass but was not sure how to remove it. I just try to scrape it out but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
  11. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    To remove the crimp there are hand tools made by RCBS and others. I have found those tools to not do a very good job. A better option is to use a common counter sink and remove just enough of the edge of the primer pocket to remove the crimp. I find it necessary to push a correctly sized plug gage into the relieved primer pocket to be sure all of the crimp is removed Failure to get it all results in the primer catching on the remaining crimp and getting crushed as that primer tries to enter the pocket cocked.

    LDBennett
  12. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 New Member

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    This is great information guys. I have also wondered about the crimping on primers. I have a bunch of 5.56 that I need to check for that.
  13. Regular Joe

    Regular Joe New Member

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    Keep in mind that with .45 and 9mm, you'll be "belling" the case mouth in preparation for loading, so that will work out any dents that go inward toward the center. You'll also be crimpimg the bullets, so there's one more operation that will straighten things out.
  14. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    For years, I used one of the little LEE chamfer tools to get the military crimp out of the brass. I also used this tool to chamfer and deburr after trimming rifle brass. It takes a lot of work to get the crimp out with this hand tool (left picture).

    For Christmas, I bought my self one of the LYMAN case prep centers which makes removing the crimp so much easier. Even though I have only done a couple of the crimp removals, just to try it out, it takes a tremendously less amount of time.

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  15. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

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    Case prep centers are almost a necessity......
    wow, what help they give, right there, right now,
    right in front of you.
    Once used, you can not do without !
  16. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 New Member

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    Are these OK to re-use? The first two have been cleaned, but they still look like antique brass to me. They were run through for about 8 hours. They feel smooth, so I took them out of the tumbler. None are split or cracked.

    The second set are some 9mm that I cleaned, but they still have whatever that is on them (it comes off with steel wood and it does not feel like what I would call corrosion "not pitted"). They are smooth and brighter than the 45 because I ran these boys through the tumbler for about 15 hours trying to get whatever it is off. None are split or cracked.

    I am using crushed walnut and I have only used the media to clean about 1000 9mm, it is a little darker than when I first used it, but not to the point I would think it needs to be replaced. I am using cut up dryer sheets.....but I have not used "NU-FINISH" or anything like that as polish.

    There are a bunch of 45 acp like this...........should I just run them through the tumbler longer, or not reuse them?

    There are maybe 50 of the 9mm like this. Should I just clean them with steel wool to get the rest of that mess off or can they be reused like this?

    (I have had a few guys tell me they don't even clean there handgun brass every time)

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  17. norahc

    norahc Active Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't reload any case that shows any signs of corrosion. If it doesn't look brand new after cleaning, it goes in the trash.
  18. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    smart move
  19. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    I agree... If the brass is not perfect it gets discarded. The ones shown in the picture would not get a second look on their way to the trash bin!

    I don't like range pickup brass (if that is what this is) or brass that I know little about (free brass from others). I usually buy a couple hundred pieces of new brass, use it, recover it, and know its history. For handguns I can get decades of use out of it.

    The brass cartridge case is the gasket that seals the gun and you from pressures in the 10,000 to 40,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) for hand guns and up to 65,000 PSI for rifle cartridges. It must be perfect or you pay.

    LDBennett
  20. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member

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    Why run the risk? Properly cared for brass will last through many reloadings with out worries. Pitch any questionable stuff and sleep good.
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