Sorting Brass


April 15, 2007, 09:45 PM
ABC's says you should sort your brass not merely by type but by brand. It doesn't specify the reason and I am wondering if its worth it and why it says to do so (of course Im not done with the book yet, either). Do you?

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April 15, 2007, 09:55 PM
Well for pistol brass I haven't in the past, but I'm thinking about it now.

I find that different brass gives me a different feel when inserting the primers into the pockets. Some primers go in easy (CCI and Federal brass) and some snug (Winchster) and some is just a PITA- like S&B! Not sure of other reasons.

Art Eatman
April 15, 2007, 09:59 PM
For bottleneck rifle cartridges, some brands have different wall thickness than others. That affects the combustion pressure of a maximum charge. For instance, for a .30-'06, GI brass holds about three grains weight less powder than either Winchester or Remington.

Since I've never found any difference between those two commercial brands, I don't worry about them.

For .45ACP, I've never found that it makes any difference for my common loadings which are less than maximum. Carry loads are usually commercial stuff.


April 15, 2007, 10:49 PM
I do for rifle and magnum handgun.

Sometimes I sort empty autoloading pistol cases by headstamp, and sometimes after they're loaded.;)

April 15, 2007, 11:09 PM
I sort my .45 ACP and .38 Special cases by brand so I can find them when I'm shooting Bullseye matches. There are differences in manufacturing as well and I'm sure some of the guys will give you their reasons based on that.

Navy Vet.

April 15, 2007, 11:43 PM
I did quite a few tests with matched weight brass vs widely varying weights. All brass was Federal but I sorted it by 0.3 grain increments.
The tests were so close that it was really hard to tell what was caused by case variations. After about 100 rounds of matched and 100 rounds of varying weight in 20 groups of 5 shots each the final figures were :
0.90 MOA shooting wildly varying wts.
0.85 MOA shooting matched wts.

Like I said, I don't know if it's worth doing unless you're shooting compitition.

P.S. Don't get me wrong, sorting by mfg. is definately worth the effort and I do that 100% of the time.

April 15, 2007, 11:48 PM
cdrt: I have run across slight differences in case wall thickness with autoloading pistol cases.;)

Paul "Fitz" Jones
April 16, 2007, 01:07 AM
The history tv channel program on ammunition should be a must for anyone wanting to compete half as well as the top marine sharpshooters. It showed all the steps in making Marine shooting teams ammunition.

They are exceptionally tough to compete against because of the effort that goes into selection and accurising their weapons and the care taken in their ammunition manufacture even when I was a teenager. Plus they spent years in practice.

As a High school student I was invited to join my State National Guard and after a couple of attended matches I was told the Guard Commanding General would give his hat to have anyone help his Guard team beat any Marine team for the first time ever in the State Guard history. Hmmm, shortly afterwards I was issued a jeep, Garand and ammo, gas credit card, given orders to get me out of high school to attend military matches around the state for a year to prepare for the yearly State civilian and military big bore rifle match.

I still have the hat.

Do as the marines do as much as possible. For police pistol competitors who were my main customers of my reloading and bulletcasting tools, I recommended buy as many identical lots of powder, identical lots of Federal or Winchester primers, an identical lot of Starline brass, cast your own bullets from identical hardness bullet alloy metal and load as much as you can afford at the same time in identical temperature and humidity conditions even a years supply if possible and store in identical conditions until used. Then practice, practice and then practice some more. The History channel program said some top competitors can shoot as much as 100,000 rounds of ammo a year. WOW I never realized that much but practice as much as possible.

April 16, 2007, 08:23 AM
Yep, that's why I use WW cases in the .38 Special exclusively with a HBWC bullet rather than a cast DEWC. Just ordered a taper crimp die for my Star press in .38 Special from C-H. And I use either WCC military cases for the .45 or WWs.
All the other stuff I either clean and sell on eBay or if not reloadable, I take to the scrap yard.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
April 16, 2007, 08:54 PM
I was the C-H distributor who sold out to their Die manufacturer 4D Co in the 80s's becoming CH4D but I would like to know if they do make Star size dies for the benefit of My Star reloader list site members and I am the last Star Dealer alive as long as my parts last which are going fast.

April 17, 2007, 07:30 PM
I'm probably not as picky about the various brands of brass, as some are. In .45 ACP, I probably use 6 or 7 different brands of brass, mostly Win. and Rem. I also like S&B and FIOCCHI very much. I got away from using WCC when I started noticing inconsistent flash hole diameters. Some very large in comparison to cases of the same brand. I sort by headstamp, but as I noted earlier, sometimes with empties and sometimes after I've loaded everything with various brands of cases I use regularly.;)

April 17, 2007, 11:26 PM
Hey Paul

thanks thats some good reading. if i had half the knowledge of reloading you have mmmm

April 18, 2007, 02:41 AM
You really only need to separate milsurp brass from commercial. Milsurp rifle brass is a bit thicker, so you shouldn't use the same load in it as in commercial. Other than that, if you're not shooting bench rest or formal target matches, just load.
Loading for bench rest shooting use techniques most of us don't bother with. Like weighing every case and only using cases that are the same weight, etc.
Using the same brass all the time in the same rifle can give you more consistent loads for formal rifle target shooting. It doesn't matter too much for handgun target shooting.

April 18, 2007, 03:59 AM

Unless you loads are pushing the safety envelope, which a good reloader wouldn't do in the first place, or you're a bench rest shooter who buys match bullets and weighing them then it is doubtful you will notice any difference in your loads. I have run mixed head stamp with military along with commercial in my 30-06 and .223 and have never noticed any accuracy difference. Both weapons can produce a dime size group at 100 yards which is more accurate then I can shoot offhand or from a makeshift rest. If you have done your homework correctly and located the load where the highest velocity and tightest group intersect for your rifle then you producing ammunition better then what you can buy IMO. However, I wouldn't fault anyone who did sort their brass because they are taking their hobby to the next level. I just wonder how many people that sort brass don't clean the primer pockets?

April 18, 2007, 04:47 AM
Here is the deal.
For rifle you want to know the you did the most you can. This entails a couple. #1 Sort by head stamp for sure as each brand has varying weights. These are identified by Lot #1 so to aid in recording data.
#2 A prudent reloader keeps track of the number of firings of each lot of brass. #3 Sizing practices and if the brass has been annealled, trimming, and other prep work done and for which gun it is for.

I would never lump rifle brass together ever! Load development in mixed brass would be fruitless. Of course when you get say 223 OFB that is military
I sort the lot out and cull the largest # for one lot for say precision rounds and detailing. The other stuff I just lop together for blasting ammo.

For handgun brass, ie 9mm and 45ACP.... I sort the 45ACP only. I use two brands for loads in the 625's (ie Fed and WW) and all else is relagated to use in the USP's. The 9mm just gets lumped together for my purposes.

I cull out all AMERC brass. I cull out the 45ACP NT brass (comes with small primer pockets). Otherwise for these round I just reload till lost or the case splits. Now, when I load for 357 and 44 Mag I keep the brass lots seperated.

April 20, 2007, 07:51 PM
If you shoot pistol for fun I wouldn't worry about sorting. Rifle though, I would sort into different containers, that's what I do.

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