How many times can you reload one brass?


April 24, 2003, 10:06 PM
After seeing hunters at the range fire 5 shots to sight in their rifle for hunting season, then collect the 5 shell casings for reloading, I have to wonder: How many times can one piece of brass be reloaded, be it handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Seems like the case would rupture eventually.

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April 24, 2003, 10:10 PM
This is one for the Reloading forum. In answer to your question however, it depends. Handgun brass will last longer than rifle brass, but there are too many variables to answer better than that.

April 24, 2003, 10:13 PM
As Blades said, moving this to Reloading...

Standing Wolf
April 24, 2003, 10:22 PM
Years ago, when I tracked these things, I reloaded some .357 magnum cartridge cases at least 30 times.

April 24, 2003, 10:24 PM
I have some .38 special cases I use for light target loads that I have been reloading over and over since 1986.

Every so often I see a cracked case and throw it out.

April 24, 2003, 10:45 PM
I reckon you've pretty much got the answers already .... but, just to add my experiences.

I used to shoot a lot of compo stuff .. mostly .38 spl target homeloads ....... for gen purpose i know I got well over 20 reloads .... but did find nickel plated cases lasted better.

.357 mag I find less long lasting .. mainly due to the length of resize travel and so ultimately I seem to get a ''band'' near base which eventually stops chambering . mind you .... I load em hot!!

Rifle is way different ..... mainly cos with higher pressures and bottle necks . there is always case stretch .. and even with judicious trimming to length, and even annealing eventually ..... I find the practical number of reloads to be way less than handgun brass. I reload 223 .. maybe 5 -7 times or so .. .308 probably about same. if I did much bench rest then I suspect I'd be much less liable to go farther than say three reloads ......... maybe I'm fussy!

Steve in PA
April 24, 2003, 11:12 PM
I've reload .44mag brass.......geez......I dunno.........20+ times????

.45 and 9mm are right up there too...........

My .30/06 rifle brass will last several times I guess........

Pistol brass will always outlast rifle brass, of course there are exceptions.

April 24, 2003, 11:58 PM
I load pistol brass until it splits or I lose it.

Rifle brass is different. I size and load new brass, then trim and neck size after the first firing (and fix primer pockets and flash holes). After each firing I measure and trim when needed. I pitch the brass when it needs its third trimming or if I notice any flaws. Generally, this is after 5-7 loads. Brass is cheap, rifles and body parts aren't.

April 25, 2003, 09:20 AM
A lot depends on the load you are putting in it. Lighter loads will last longer than the heavier loads. With rifle brass, it depends on how much the brass is "worked". Full length resized brass will not last as long as neck sized. Quantrill

April 25, 2003, 12:07 PM
You can shoot .45ACP brass until you can't read the headstamp. Or until you lose it...

With bolt action rifles, and a careful setup of your sizing die, you can get a LOT of rounds out of brass. Set to die to just barely bump the shoulder back (a thou or so), and the brass won't stretch appreciably... I run about 65,000psi in my 6PPC, and I rarely need to trim brass, and I get 20-30 firings out of a set of cases - My problem with 'em is that the primer pockets start to get loose.

happy old sailor
April 27, 2003, 02:39 AM
depends on a lot of things, thats for sure.

my comment is that when i toss a piece of brass, i take the pliers to it so it will not end up, somehow, in another reloaders hands. he could hot load a piece of worn out brass and have some consequences. if it is not useable to you, it is not useable to anyone else. squish it.

April 27, 2003, 04:44 AM
It's not wether it from rifle or pistol, it's wether it's a bottleneck or straightwall, how much pressure you are loading it to, and how you are resizing it. 45-70 will last a good long while, but I've seen 357 sig split after only a couple loadings. I've lost count of how many times my 38 spl has been loaded, and I can't tell it from once fired.

April 27, 2003, 11:52 AM
I lose about 20% to 30% of my pistol autoloader brass per outing. Make up practice brass with once fired hot loaded new Starline brass. I can sort of tell the time in service by the fading headstamp and the patina it has acquired (I don't tumble). I guess on average I get 5-6 cycles before I lose it. I have some .44M brass that has been with me a dozen years in mid range loadings. Primer pockets get loose and case mouths split from seating goofs. Skinny .357 case mouths split more often than 10MM or .44M brass.

April 28, 2003, 08:06 PM
I never kept a log on how many times I could reload a case, but I have some 38, 357, and 45 casings that have been loaded so many times I can't read the headstamp and they still cycle through my weapons, so I keep on loading them until they split.

Rifle brass only seems to last 3 or 4 reloadings before they no longer function through my rifles.

As long as the rounds are for practice, load em till they break.

David Wile
April 29, 2003, 02:30 AM
Hey folks,

Light loads make a truly significant difference in both straight wall and bottlenecked cases. I use pretty mild loads in my shooting, and I have been reloading the same cases in 243, 30-40 Krag, 30-06, and 7.62X39 for many years. When I started with new brass, I would guess that I have loaded those calibers a lot more than a hundred times over the years. If loaded hot, those same cases may only last a few reloadings.

As far as shotshells go, I used to be able to reload the average shotshell a dozen times with a MEC single stage press. When I switched to a progressive press, the new press simply did not function well with cases that were not nearly perfect. Accordingly, I probably average five or six reloadings with my shotshells on the progressives.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

May 5, 2003, 08:14 AM
Depends generally on the quality of the case, whether you are talking "Starline" or "Norma". On the subject of different brands, I have some 9mm nickle Speer that I picked up at the range, and using a carbide die, the cases invariably pull the rim off when I try to extract them from the die. Does anyone make a shell holder that gets more grip on the case? I would like to use the cases, but I refuse to lube unless it is a have-to situation, which is why I use carbide dies exclusively on straight wall stuff.

Desert Dog
May 5, 2003, 09:59 AM
A lot of factors determine case life.

How hot the load is.

How oversize is the chamber of the weapon you are loading for.

How much you "work" the case mouth when prepping the brass. Too much belling and crimping will shorten the life of the brass.

Quality of the brass. I use Starline brass exclusively if it is available for the caliber I am loading for...

My best friend has some old Super Vel .357 brass that has shed most of its nickel plating, but is still viable for target loadings in his revolvers and Marlin levergun.

That said, I had a couple of Winchester .454 Casull factory loads that split the case upon their first firing...


May 5, 2003, 08:34 PM
I loaded a .38 spl Speer to Plus-P and got 18 loads B-4 the case showed a 1/32" split. The next load split it out to about 3/32" and I quit there. I notice some say they like the Starline stuff. Is it good quality? I have had some problems, not much, and some of my buddies seem to think it is a little less than adequate.

May 6, 2003, 01:56 PM
Fred Huntington of RCBS did a test comparing partial sizing against full length sizing. I can't remember how many more loads he was able to get before the case showed fatigue from partial sizing but is was something like 60 reloads. Sometimes the die and the rifle chamber all have an effect on case life.

May 6, 2003, 02:41 PM
I have had the same 300 pieces of remington .41 mag brass since '93.
Just retired them, and went to starline, and got 1000 pieces of their brass.
I can't imagine that I didn't shoot that gun 1000 times a year, ten years that's 10000/300 pieces.
That's 33.3 times, more or less.
None of them split or anything, I just felt like retiring them to light loads.
I'll prolly load them 20 more times (Light loads), then keep them for backups.
They were loaded to approximate factory hunting loads, 210 grains at 1300 FPS out of a 4 5/8" barrel.

May 7, 2003, 12:42 AM
My wildcat 458 HE with moderate loads, last from 50 to
100 reloads.Left one in picture was loaded a hundred times
with light load and 350 gr bullet.Ed.

May 8, 2003, 07:54 AM
Good looking cartridge, Ed. What are the specs on the cartridge and what is the recipe? Pardon me if I'm asking for information that you don't want to give.

May 8, 2003, 09:23 AM
Winwun-Thanks for asking.Base is .527 ahead of belt and
belt is .543 dia. Rim is .532. Belt headspace is .235.

That light load for 350 grain bullet is 120 gr of WW-748 or
BLC-2. Gives a little over 3000fps,Can go up to 3500.

Will get 500 gr bullets to 2800.We are getting folks together
to make a run of factory brass.Perfect case for Ruger #1's.Ed.

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