How many cases do you have on hand? Managing brass usage.


January 14, 2007, 10:06 AM
Recently started getting into reloading- mostly 9mm, 40S&W and .45 ACP. Just curious- how many cases do you guys store or have on hand? And do you cycle thru a batch of cases before using some newer cases? I'm just trying to come up with a system so I don't have my once used brass with brass that's been used 10 times. I still have been buying commercial ammo- mostly winchester, to get my own brass- seems more economical than just buying brass. My range occationally has stuff lying around but not very often. :( Thanks in advance for ideas.

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The Bushmaster
January 14, 2007, 10:22 AM
Let's see...I have more brass then most people and less then some people.
9mmX19--Over 10,000 stored and 500 in service. .38 Special--Over 6,000 stored and 500 in service. .357 magnum--Over 5,000 stored and 500 in service. .45 ACP--Over 10,000 stored and 500 in service. .30-30 Win--Over 2,500 stored and 200 in service. .30-06--Over 3,000 stored and 200 in service. Those stored are a mix of mostly once fired and a few new cases all resized/decapped, tumble cleaned, cataloged and canned or bagged. Those in service are logged in a ledger and kept track of number of loadings, number of trimings, bullet weight, powder charge, primer and range results if tested.

I reload those in service until they wear out or I judge them unsafe. Then I replace them with a set from storage. I do have some sets that have special usage set aside for special occasions.

That help?:D

January 14, 2007, 10:25 AM
Go to the dollar store. Pick up some of those rectangular plastic biins with lids they sell for a dollar or so apiece. Buy a bunch. Take them home, label half "dirty brass, caliber XX" Label the other half "clean brass, caliber XX." Stack them under a bench or on a shelf.

Simple, easy, inexpensive and works well. Or you can buy those gadjets with bins and drawers, but I find as my collection grows, the rectangular bins are the easiest item to add more storage with.

If you move, just tape the lid down with clear plastic packing tape.

Hope this helps,


January 14, 2007, 10:31 AM
Thanks guys- yeah I have a whole bunch of plastic bins. I like Bushmaster's idea of keeping a bunch of clean brass but only having 500 or so in service. I wish I had that much brass stored! I was thinking of keeping groups of brass in service (like twice fired batch, 3 times fired,etc) but that would be much too much work.

January 14, 2007, 10:35 AM
I get pickup brass now and then, and along with whatever I am shooting it goes in the tumbler when I get back. When I have enough it is worth doing I run the tumbler, and sort the clean brass into zip lock bags by caliber.

I toss any brass that has issues (splits, etc). I don't worry too much about seperating it by how many uses, brand, or anything else.

January 14, 2007, 10:44 AM
I do the same as Bushmaster, but he has me beat on quantity. I have around 3000 .223 brass with 400 or so in servive, about 4000 9mm with about 400 in service, 2000+ .40 brass with 300 or so in service, 3500 or so .45 brass with 4 or 5 hundred in service, and lesser by far amounts of .380, .38 Spl., .357, .400 corbon, .44 Spl., .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .308, and thats about it. Plus some loaded and bought ammo for hard times. :)
Mine are mostly trimmed, sized, and cleaned and with a log of what is where and what condition it is in.

January 14, 2007, 11:46 AM
Handgun Brass
45ACP is stored in ammo cans....
6K that is cleaned and ready to load.
A 5 gallon pail about 1/2 full that needs cleaning.
There is 6K loaded, and I am working on another 2K.

9mm is stored in Zip loc bags, ammo cans, and some frangible is stored in some MTM 100rd boxes
A 5 gallon pail 3/4 full of cleaned brass.
5K that needs cleaning.
2K loaded right now.

223 is stored in Zip loc bags, ammo cans, and MTM 100 rd boxes for precision ammo and load details
5 gallon pail that is perhaps 1/3 of spent brass
3500 LC once fired brass in various stages of prep 2k ready to load 1500 more to process
1000 K virgin WW brass prepped
1500 BHA once fired that needs prep work
2K of blasting ammo loaded
2K+/- of precision ammo loaded a mix of 77 and 80 gr loads OTM
2K+/- of Varmint medicine loaded with 50gr Vmax

308 is stored in MTM 50 rd boxes with details of # of loads etc.
500 Lapua brass that is loaded with either 155 Nolser CC or some 167 scenars
350 BHA that needs loading.......

January 14, 2007, 12:51 PM
pistol brass i don't really concern myself with. I only track my bottle neck cartridges.

9mm- 1-1.5 k stored, 1k loaded
40sw 1k stored 500 loaded
45acp 1.5k stored 700 loaded
38sp 500 stored, 100 loaded
357 200 stored, 0 loaded :(

223 1200 stored 500 loaded
270 50 stored 50 loaded
7mm-08 20 stored 50 loaded
22-250 160 stored 40 loaded
7.62x39 0 stored 40 loaded (need to find more reloadable brass here)

the 7.62x39 i keep loaded is nice, i use wolf for plinking. does anyone have a line on 7.62x39 brass? wolf is getting prohibitively expensive by me.

January 14, 2007, 01:51 PM
I don't count mine, but there are about thirty .50 caliber ammo cans in my garage full of reloaded ammunition in 27 different calibers, plus about 30,000 rounds of .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 357 Sig, 9x21, 9x23, .40 S&W and .45 ACP in Berry's plastic 100 round boxes on shelves. Then there are about 1,000 .41 Magnum and another 1,000 .44 Magnum rounds in factory ammunition boxes that I've scrounged over the years.

As for brass, it's all over the place in Rubbermaid plastic bins, all polished and sorted.

I'm going to sell about 100 pounds of once fired .40 S&W brass here shortly, but it's not polished.

I won't live long enough to count all my brass, but hope to live long enough to shoot all I've got loaded.

Hope this helps.


January 14, 2007, 01:59 PM
Right now I have about 25% of my brass in active use for 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP but I'd like to get that down to 10% or so. E-bay is a great place to purchase once used fired I purchase same head stamp and inspect it upon arrival and have yet to have a problem.

If you have cats another cheap way to store brass is to buy the litter that comes in the heavy plastic containers, then just clean the container and fill it with brass. The containers are stackable and large enough to hold over 8,000 pieces of 40 S&W brass.

January 14, 2007, 04:55 PM
Probably 15-20K in brass.

Depends on what your goals are. Are you trying to find out how long brand X brass lasts? Or...working up accuracy with different brass.

I try to shoot the brass that I have quantities of 500 in groups of 100. Shoot 100, clean, size/deprime, uniform pockets, trim, inside/outside chamfer, etc...then I put these on the bottom. Date the case. I pick up EVERY piece of foam and plastic shell box at the range - these are my storage containers.

January 14, 2007, 05:21 PM
I keep my dirty brass in the garage, and clean brass in the shed.

I have 4 rifles in 260 Remington. I'm still trying to work-out how I keep the brass separated.

I also ran into an issue with my 9mm, in that I have a couple thousand pieces in the shed that I don't remember if its been roll-sized or not.

January 14, 2007, 05:24 PM
If you have cats another cheap way to store brass is to buy the litter that comes in the heavy plastic containers, then just clean the container and fill it with brass.

That's what I use.


January 14, 2007, 06:03 PM
9x19mm ~1000
40 ~1000
45acp ~1000

January 14, 2007, 06:46 PM
I have my cleaned brass in some big red toolboxes Menards had on sale. I think they were like $2 each. About 10X10X24. I regard to admit I have but five of these for brass storage. One is mostly full of .38 spl, another mostly full of 9mm. Another is perhaps 2/3 full of 30-06 (but a lot in boxes that takes up a fair amount of the room in the tool box). Another stores assorted rifle and the last assorted pistol cases.

I seem to be a piker in regard to the number of cases available to me, at least compared with some.

January 14, 2007, 06:56 PM
I'm small potatoes but here's my current inventory

2500 rounds .45acp - all in rotation
500 rounds .45 colt - all in rotation
200 rounds .45-70 - all in rotation
1000 rounds .223 - 400 in rotation, 600 in storage
2000 rounds .223 - factory loads
200 rounds .50 S&W - all in rotation
60 rounds .454 casull - all in rotation
300 rounds .308 - in rotation, 800 rounds in storage.

January 14, 2007, 07:05 PM
I’m very compulsive when it comes to my reloading. I challenge myself not to horde brass or over supply my hobby. I keep my brass very simple and very organized.

I have one container for spent casings. It holds about 450 more or less. When it gets full I dump it in the tumbler and let it run overnight. Then, I divide my brass into 50 round shell holders where under a magnifying glass I examine the rims for damage. I then flip the holder over and examine the ends for splits and nasty bulges. I don't count the number of times brass is reloaded, I trust my instincts on when to throw out the odd looking or damaged.

I divide the brass into the containers shown, in units of 50. Each container holds a different amount, 150, 100 and 50, and I tend to reload in units of 100. I have 4 containers of each size on the shelf, so I suppose that means I have 1200 ready to go at a time.

I shoot about 300 to 400 rounds a week, split over two days, Wednesday and Sunday. A lot of the time when I go to the range I pick up a few extras, and sometimes I loose a few. I work in a box of factory rounds about once a month, so I keep fresh brass circulating into my supply. As you can see by my pix, I also use a Vistainer to catch primers. My system is portable and all goes into a closet in my shop, it never gets dusty.

Any brass that overflows my system gets dumped into an oatmeal container. When a container gets full, I dump it out at the range. The container that holds the primers I take to the recycler, and I get about $25 for a full oatmeal box.

I only reload one caliber (.45 ACP) so my system is easy to manage. I tend to shoot 4 different bullet types and brands, and I keep about 1000 of each on hand. I’m a Bullseye enthusiast and my approach is very Zen.

i.e.; 50 ft., 10 shots, 1 hole, 1 hand. It happens very rarely, but it’s a joy when it does.

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