Where Has The Quality Brass Gone

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by The Bolt Man, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    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

    “I 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 Graf”

    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, “I didn’t produce the brass, so sue the manufacturer of the brass”. You try that and you get another answer, “I didn’t 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 don’t care what we think and don’t care if they lose our business and they don’t care if this junk could blow up in our face. We get what we pay for.
  2. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,636
    It's doubtful that Federal even bought it from Winchester.

    The folks at Prvi Partizan have been making brass in multiple calibers and are more than happy to headstamp them to whatever you choose. They may very well have been the source of the mystery brass.
  3. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,759
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Remember the old saying, "You get what you pay for". Even though Win and Fed brass is not inexpensive it is still "Cheap". If you want quality brass then you need to look at Lapua. It is by far the best brass you will ever find. I find that it lasts much longer than the cheap ass junk Win, Rem and Fed are passing off as brass. If I can't get Lapua in a particular cartridge I will go with the next best thing and that's Norma. I use Norma in my 300 WSM. I am on my 9th firing with this lot of brass. Win brass would only last about 3-4 before the necks split. If you want good brass you gotta spend the $.
  4. The Bolt Man

    The Bolt Man New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Southern Minnesota
    JohnK3,

    You must have missed the fact that it is part of a quote from a person at Federal to my friend in which he stated Federal had purchased the brass from Olin with their head stamp with the intent they would load it for sale as their factory ammo in the 243 WSSM caliber and decided not to.

    I am not ready to call the messenger a liar myself.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,563
    Location:
    Hesperia, CA
    I reload for over 30 different cartridges and have brass from many manufacturers. I now buy Winchester and Remington brass in bulk quantites and have never had a problem with any of it or with any other particular brand of brass.

    Brass leads a tough life. Rifle brass get subjected to pressures in excess of 50,000 PSI. When manufacturers produce brass they expect it to be used once and discarded (or recycled back to bulk brass metal). The fact that we can get several reloads out of it is amazing to me. For most Standard cartridges five reloads is just about it. Magnum cartridges are lucky to get more than about three reloads unless you change how the headspace works (headspace the brass on the shoulder of the case for the gun it will go into, not on the belt). Yes, there is better brass out there but the prices are exptremely high and you can get a couple of cases for what one of the "better" foreign brands cost. Without testing it who knows if the expensive stuff will actually last longer than run of the mill Win or Rem brass.

    Excessive reloading of brass and not replacing it with new regularly is a bad idea. Brass gets work hardened from the constant working of the brass during firing and sizing. Eventually the neck will get too hard and not grip the bullet correctly or split. To keep a case working for many reloadings the case necks should be annealed after some number of reloads. It takes a lot of patience to spend hours and hours over a flame and a bucket of water annealing case necks, just to save a piece of brass for a couple of more reloads. Then regardless of the annealing, the primer pockets get loose and will not hold the primers correctly.

    My position is if you get five reloads out of a bunch of brass you won. Buy another batch and start over. Its easier and safer.


    LDBennett
  6. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Messages:
    1,636
    Yes, I did miss that. oops!
  7. Altrisk

    Altrisk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Sunny, godless, screwed-up South Africa

    Listen to Steve, his advice is the best. My sister lives in Florida. Everytime she comes to South Africa she brings along a 100 Norma cases for my 30-06.
    Lapua and Norma, nothing better!
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Help... Advice on where to start? Feb 3, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Where do you... Dec 8, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Where to find 12 Ga. "Blanks" May 16, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Powder? Anyone? Anywhere? Mar 18, 2013
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Where do you sit when using the Dillon 550B? Mar 12, 2013

Share This Page