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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see mention of once fired brass, read an article about loading Aluminum cases, it mentioned they could be loaded a couple times, even heard of cases being loaded 80 times.

So do you keep track how many times you reload your brass? I did at first but than some I shot and reloaded again, some are still on the first reload, some I reloaded a few more times, and lost track.

I examine my cases before I load them and if there are any signs I should discard them I haven't seen one yet ( straight wall pistol ), so what is your take? are rifle cartridges different?
 

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I load mine until they can't be loaded any longer. I have never counted how many times I have loaded a piece of brass. Some of my brass has been loaded so many times you can no longer read the head stamp.

Well, that not counting part is not exactly true, when I first started loading 5.7X28, I took two pieces of brass and loaded them 11 times before I got tired of it, those two pieces of brass are still somewhere in my 5.7X28 reloads.
 

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Straight wall brass can be reloaded MANY times, some of which I've had for 20 years. Now I don't shootnas often as many but I'd say they have been reloaded 40-50 times. Like you, my practice is to inspect them all after they come out of the vibratory cleaner and toss those that have issues.
 

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Straight walled pistol brass will last a long time.
Bottle necked brass not so long in my experience if you full lenght size. I inspect both after shooting before reloading again.
Bottle neck brass will last longer if when sizing you don't set the shoulder back any farther than you must. In fact I would only neck size my 257 Roberts brass. If it will chamber don't size any more than you need. Each time brass is stretched it is weakened.
Another thing. I had two 357 hand guns a Ruger and a Smith. I kept the ammo separate for each because their chambers were not the same. I know the brass lasted longer because of this. Same with my two 22 Hornets, their chambers were not the same either, they were also kept separate.
I hope this helps and it just depends how much trouble you want to go to. I also had two die sets for these guns too. That way I didn't have to change die settings each time. For the Hornet the OAL was different for each of the guns. The throats were not the same length, not much but different. I spent a lot of time seating bullets in my rifles just short of the rifling. I felt this helped my accuracy. For many this is not worth the time. We all have different goals and needs. To each his own. None is right or wrong.
 

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I found it depends on many factors, but cases stretch is the biggest as far as case life.
*Brass hardness.(Norma brass cases I have found have the greatest life/number of reloading, but have had good luck with Federal and Winchester.)
*How the case is resized. Is it just neck sized or neck plus shoulder bumped or full length sized or small base sized for auto loading rifles.
*With bottle neck are they annealed to keep the neck from splitting. Resizing work hardens the brass. The neck sizing button when pulled through the case neck will stretch the neck.(Lubing the inside of the case neck can help mitigate that.)
*The powder charge. SAAMI spec or +P.
*Chamber size. Lager then SAAMI spec chamber causes the brass to expand more so when the case is resized the brass is worked more.(Back to the work hardening.)
*The profile of the case;
1, Straight walled cases I found have the longest case life.
2, Bottle neck cases depending on body tapper and shoulder angle. The more tapper to the body and steeper the shoulder, the more the brass can flow when the cartridge is fired.(I.E., The Ackley Improved 40 degree,30-06, decreases the body tapper by 2 degrees and increases the shoulder by 22.5 degrees to the stander 30-06. This is to mitigate brass flow.)
3, Belted cases can suffer case head separation because of the belts extra thickness causes a weak point ahead belt body junction.(Belted cases are an archaic case design slowly being replaced with more modern belt less magnum cartridges.)

I think I got points covered. It was a long hard day working out in the cold again.

As far Aluminium cases, I have no experience trying to reload.
 

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I've loaded 30-06 and 30-30 cases over 100 times I'm working on the AK cases, and are up to around 70 shots so far. Pistol ammo I don't keep track of, because I don't anneal them. With bottle neck casea, I'll anneal every 7 shots, so I must keep track.

I also neck-size only, and cases that grow over time, whereas I need to full size them to fit in the chamber perfectly; I reduce their load to the next precision node down. Which isn't totally necessary, one of the 30-30 batches I use that had over 100 were needed to be full sized every 10 or so loadings.

None of my loads are "mouse fart" loads, they all are hunting or self defense loads.


When I get a split neck, or head space separation issue, I'll retire the case. I don't polish my cases, so it is easy to tell when case head separation is becoming an issue.
 

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I let the brass tell me when enough is enough. If anyone of the lot shows signs of case head separation or neck burn through then the whole lot of brass gets replaced.

I have some pistol brass that gets dented by the ejection port edge as it leaves the gun. Some old cases have so many dents (dents on dents) it is impossible to count them all. Most of that brass is from the 1980's.

I have no inclination to anneal brass because a mistake doing it could cause the brass to split during firing and damage the gun and me.

I own one magnum rifle cartridge (7mm MAG) and I wish I didn't. I get very few reloads out of it as I get head separations. It is not just my gun but typical of magnum guns. Seems the brass is over worked because the chamber headspace on the belt, not the shoulder, and the chamber is longer than the case. So each firing blows the case body to fill the chamber then the reloading pushes the shoulder back to SAMMI specs. About three reloadings and the head separates. I took to partial sizing so as to not push the shoulder back. Some rimmed cases like 30-30 can have the same problem. The Enfield and its 303 cartridge are the worst for that. The Brits made the chamber loose so it would NEVER EVER be hard to get a cartridge into it. Soldier don't pickup fired brass or reload it so that works for military usage but not me.

Some of my bolt guns get the same partial sizing but it is not done by feel but with the aid of an RCBS Case Gauge (RCBS Precision Mic) like this example:

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/574297/rcbs-precision-mic-308-winchester


The adjustment of the sizing die is iterative so do it in very small increments as the act of sizing, even partially, effects this shoulder to base dimension. I would not attempt this partial sizing procedure without using this tooling.

LDBennett
 

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Depends on the cartridge, load and firearm. Most of my 45 Colt brass is from the late 60's-early 70's. Over 100 times wouldn't surprise me as I used to shoot that cartridge a LOT, LOT, LOT!!! 300-500 rounds a week wasn't uncommon back then. The vast majority of that was in a couple Colt clones and later a 3rd Gen. Colt and a Ruger BH. Consequently most loads were fairly mild, 8 grs. of Unique except for the Ruger I shot at long range and it was still held around 1000 fps. Later still I added a Freedom Arms Mod. 97 and bought 100 Federal cases for use in it only. They were pretty warm as we lived in grizzly country and I fly fished the "high, lonesome" quite a bit but, they were not fired but once or twice with that load and they're still good.

When I sold my last 45-70 about 15 years ago my brass for it was of the same era as the Colt. Nearly all loads fired in that brass were at Trapdoor pressures with smokeless then after the early 80's they never saw smokeless again, just BP. I wouldn't speculate how many times they've been loaded. The guy I sold the rifle to is probably still loading them.

I never had the problems with any of the 3 or 4, 300 Win. Mags I've owned that LD mentions, near case head separations, but I do agree with him. Most of the brass failures I had in those rifles was neck or shoulder splits then, as LD said, the whole batch went. I want to remember 5 to 6 reloads was all they were really good for even sizing carefully.

These days I don't much worry about it. Nearly everything I enjoy shooting I load at the lowest level I can and still get the performance I want or need. It does not take 3200 fps and a $4.00 bullet to kill any game. I size minimally because a lot of the brass takes a bit to form and some a long time at the lathe for this less than knowledgeable lathe operator. I enjoy doing it but taking an entire day to make 20 pieces of brass becomes a little tedious for me. What brass I have in the shop will more than likely last the rest of my life.
 

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If you are looking at purchasing "once fired brass", forget the once fired designation and substitute "used". About the only way you would know, for sure, if a case has been reloaded once is if it's military brass and still has the primer crimp.

Like most of the above fellers, I have a very faint (no?) idea of how many times I've reloaded my hand gun brass (but I have some Federal nickel plated .44 Magnum brass I have kept for my T-Rex Killer loads, and I'm approaching 9 full Magnum loads with it), but my Garand and 308 bolt gun cases are counted and noted on the load label, and in my log...
 

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I don't really keep track. I load them until they start to show signs of primer pocket enlarging, case head separation or mouth splits.
I'm about the same. Neck splits for me came from champhering the mouth to much after trimming, haven't had that happen in years. Head split's come from either over sizing a case in a bit loose chamber to FL sizing belted cases and rimmed case's on those you would find that because of where they head space, belt or rim, the chamber can be sloppy and the cartridge will still be in line with head space. I tend to load hotter loads, up to ma, and normally my first indication is loose primer pocket's. When I get them I fire once more and get rid of them. How often? I'm not for sure but I'd guess six or seven time's. I also tend to throw case's away sooner if I just don't like the look of them and I never anneal case's. Case's, even new, are just not that expensive! Winchester 308 brass from Midway is $21.99 per 50. Once fired stuff is even less expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
glad to have cleared that up, I have loaded some straight wall pistol cases a few times and so far I did not notice anything out of the ordinary, made me wonder if I am missing something, speaking of which how about some pics, next time you throw out a case, snap a pic first and post it, would come in handy to a newb at some point, or maybe we should start an " abused case showcase " thread.

sounds like it will be a while before I get to post a pic, I only have 223 in my reloading, and so far I only have 18 cases, I have to find some time to go shoot some more to get a batch going
 
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