Pick-up brasss for .45 ACP and 9mm

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by fightlivefree, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    I am completely new to reloading, but because of the high prices of ammo I started collecting pick-up brass from various sources mostly shooting ranges.
    I have the latest Lyman reloading manual and it expressly forbids the reloading of any pick-up brass in so many words because you don't know the pressures it was subjected to.

    My friends shoot reloaded pick-up brasss so I am confused as what to do. The manual says to examine the cases you reload to look for signs of cracks, corrosion, over pressurization etc and these are the cases you already reloaded and have data on.

    So should I reload pick up brasss or not? Can one be sure enough to examine the cases and know it's safe to reload?
  2. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I do all of the time for both of those calibers and have never had a problem. Just make sure that you carefully check the cases for bulges, cracks and dents before loading and you should be okay.
  3. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    I have the brass cases I collected and stored in my basement which is semi damp. Some of the cases are spotted with a green discoloration and some cases have dents on them from the ejector and others have dents on the mouth from hitting the ground. I throw out the really deformed ones.

    Is it safe to reload these? How much of a dent is too much?

    Thanks for the responce.
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    That is, really, something you learn from experience. Hard to tell you. But, as a general rule, if it's a rounded dent, and it irons out easily, I let it go. If the dent is more of a crease - if it has a sharp edge in it anywhere - that is asking for a case-failure, and it goes in the scrap-brass bucket. I will accept worse dents on the mouth of the case than I will in the body. Check the case before and AFTER sizing. Sometimes a body dent that doesn't look bad, will, during sizing, get worse.

    I'd find a different place to store my brass. Damp isn't good for ammo, and corrosion (which is what the green is) shortens the life of brass.
  5. zb338

    zb338 New Member

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    Just go ahead and reload them. Don't subject them to +P
    pressures and you should be O.K. Can I gaurantee that
    nothing will happen? No I can't. I would just do nothing
    too hot on the first go-around. Or the second for that matter.
    Zeke
  6. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Re: Pick-up brass for .45 ACP and 9mm

    A good number of dents will come out in the resizing process. If after resizing and expanding there is still a dent, I would toss it. As for not knowing what pressures the case has been subjected to... It's pretty difficult to overstress a .45ACP case. I've got cases that I have no idea how many times I've reloaded them. I know some of them have heads that are battered to the point of making it difficult to read the headstamp.;)
    However, when working up a load, I always start with virgin (or nearly so) brass and I don't usually load super hot loads. I've found that, as a rule, the hot stuff doesn't shoot for beans. I'm more into accuracy than "power".

    Always clean/tumble your brass before resizing. It makes it easier to spot problems. Check again after sizing and again after seating. Problems can show up at any stage. If you start getting neck cracks it may be a sign of work hardened brass. Sometimes you can fix this by annealing the brass.
    Annealing correctly can be a bit of a pain, so it might be simpler to just scrap the brass as it starts showing cracks.
  7. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    I have a Dillion RL 550B reload so it is a progressive reloader. I haven't even set it up yet. From what I understand I wouldn't be able to examine the case until it comes out as a finished/reloaded round. So checking the case at each stage would be a problem. Unless you can use the RL 550B as a single stage reloader. I don't know if you can or not. Can somebody answer that question for me?

    Thanks for all you help. I really appreciate it.
  8. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    Some of the cases I have had sitting in my basement for 10 years. I think I should thow out anything that has the green oxidation discoloration on it. Can you answer the question about the Dillion RL 550B being used as a single stage or should I just use it as a progressive?

    Thanks!
  9. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay New Member

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    you handle brass when you pick it up at the range--look at it
    ....................................sort it at home----------............
    ....................................put it in the tumbler-----............
    ....................................store it for use----------............
    ....................................dump it next to the press............
    ....................................pick up a piece to put on the shell plate
    .......................................................................LOOK AT IT

    bases that have a 'tear' from being extracted may be touched up with a file or tossed
    mouths that feel saw toothed or 'v' shaped get tossed
    smalll dings in the body are usually ok, larger ones or tears (duh) get tossed
    45's: cull the A-Merc and bury them 12 feet deep in the neighbors yard under a full moon
    GAP's save for trading in the future or to show people what happens if you don't eat your vegetables
    NT's have small pistol primers and save till you have enough to bother reloading or for trading
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  10. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay New Member

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    the 550 is an indexing machine so if you do not manually index it-----
    it is a single stage--just think of it as 4 single stage machines really close together

    or am i missing the intent of your question
    or are you new to the machine and the manual hasn't become 'one with you' yet?

    --------------

    on re-read, that last sentance sounds a bit harsh--
    it was not ment to be.
    by way of explaination--
    the dillon manuals are perfectly written: when/if you call then they will referance the
    answer to the manual's written word. thaen the 'context' of the manuals words becomes clear.
    with time & lots of re-reads ye to shall become 'one with the manual'
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  11. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    Not a problem at all to check a case after each stage; at worst you can just manually cycle the case out with a few clicks; or just pull the placement pin and remove the case at each station. Then just put back in and cycle to the next stage.

    As far as range brass goes; if it's shiny, I'll pick it up and inspect it. Never had a problem; usually will find the boxes sitting on top of the waste can, so if the headstamp matches the box; can most likely assume that it's once fired. I always inspect though. If i see glock smiles or any sign of overpressure on case or primer, I'll just toss into my pile of scrap brass. Most of that is .40's from LE that use the range for practice.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  12. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    No problem. I bought it when I was working 1. 5 years ago and now that I am laid off, I am just starting to look at the machine. So I am not familiar with it at all. I have reloaded shotgun shells with MEC reloader, that's about it.

    I will read the Dillion manual and try to be "one with the machine".

    Thanks for the info.
  13. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    Gentlemen, thanks again for all your replies and helpful advice.
  14. reloader4

    reloader4 New Member

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    fightlivefree.. It is a simple matter to remove and look at the brass on every stage of a Dillion RL550 reloading press. You simply left out a pin-button and slide the case out. You will see as soon as you assemble the press. Be sure to put the button back in.
  15. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    It helps to 'log' in your brass, even the range brass, as doing so will help you keep track of the number of reloads you're subjecting the brass. During the exam process, take at look at the primer; if it's fused flat with the base, it's probably been subjected to excessive pressures. Something else that helps me: After de-priming, I examine the prime-hole. If it's enlarged, I toss the hull.
  16. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Several point here that need a response:

    Dillon RL550B:

    The best thing about the Dillon RL550B is that it is manually indexed from station to station. As such, it can be easily be used as a single stage press, a turret press, or fully progressive. Cases can be removed from any station by removing the small pin that holds the rim into the press.

    Pickup brass:

    In general it is not a good idea to use pickup brass from the ground at the range. To save money find a source of "once-fired" brass. It is offered as picked up from police or military ranges and is indeed once fired. It is also offered as cleaned and processed (to various degrees). Google it to see your options. There is much to be saved by using once fired brass.

    If you insist on using range pickup brass discard any that is not one of the name brands like Winchester, Remington, or Federal and discard any that is steel or aluminum cases. Avoid true military brass as it has crimped in primers that add extra work to use. If you buy a large quantity of once fired brass (like 1000 cases) you will get decades of use out of it. I regularly reload my old 9mm brass bought new in 1987. A shooting friend, un-knowing to me, picked up a bunch of range pickup brass and mixed it into my supply. I had him go through all of it and discard the no-name brass (He and I reload together). It loads fine and shoots fine but I would not recommend anyone else do this. Also even with all my old brass I rarely have to discard any pistol brass that I reload to reasonable power levels (no +P reloads!).

    Dents:

    My Colt Delta Elite 10mm, even with a lower and sculptured ejection port, even dents the brass at reduced load levels (matching 40S&W levels). You can almost count the number of times the cases have been reloaded by the remnants of dents from the ejection process. Some have maybe 10 or more tiny dents and dents on the dents. These dents have not caused one problem in over 20 years of reloading for this gun.

    LDBennett
  17. Bruce FLinch

    Bruce FLinch New Member

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    Please dont throw away old brass cases! They can be recycled for CASH!

    Note, Beware of Glock fired cases. The firing pin mark is unmistakable. Not a simple dimple on the primer. Kind of a rectangular mark w/ a dimple. Glocks have a extra large chamber. The brass will have a bulge, not always noticeable by eye. You can have feeding problems w/ this brass if not roll sized or prepped w/ a U die or push thru resizer die.
  18. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    Just dropped in to ask one more question. What kind of .45 ACP loads can I use with a 230 grain HAP Hornady bullet? I bought a bunch on sale. I called up Hornady and they said they had a load with it, but I had to buy the reloading book and it didn't match the powder I bought - Hodgon's Tightgroup and Hodgon's Clays.

    Can anybody tell me what loads I can use with HAP and the two powders I purchased? My pistol is sighted in for 850 ft/sec so I would like something similar that is safe and tested.

    Just FYI, I didn't have any problem getting rid of my bad brass casings. I received .70/lb which wasn't much and I had about 40 pounds. I dropped it off at a local scrap yard. They were happy to take it and no questions asked.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  19. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Active Member

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    I find that Titegroup and Clays don't perform quite as well as W231,BlueDot or Bullseye for the 230grs. There are published loads out there for both of your powders though. I don't have access to manuals at the moment, but I will reference which manuals have load data for you when I get back home. Clays is excellent for the 185gr plinking loads that I shoot.

    You can also go to Hodgdon web data :

    http://data.hodgdon.com/cartridge_load.asp
  20. fightlivefree

    fightlivefree Former Guest

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    Woolyworm, I already looked at Hodgon’s website that you provided and I found 230 GR. HDY FMJ FP/Hodgdon/Titegroup/.451"/1.200"/4.4/744/15,000 CUP/4.8/818/16,700 CUPi.

    I don't think that the HAP is the same as HDY FMJ FP so I don't know if I can use it as a replacement. It might have different pressure with a longer or shorter bullet. I'm not knowledgable enough to know.

    I am reloading to shoot for IDPA. I almost never get my shells back once the match starts - no time to pick them up. So isn't Tightgroup supposed to be, well a tight group or accurate load? I usually shoot production .45 ACP ammo, but the expense is too high now that I am unemployed.

    I talked to Hodgon rep and he said that I could use Clays, but that Tightgroup would be better.
    Some of the people say that Clays is too snappy a load to use for a .45 ACP. It was supposed to be used for shotgun originally. Meaning that in a shotgun shell you have the plastic hull to get rid of excessive pressure buildup whereas in a .45 there is no give to prevent rapid pressure buildup.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
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