Brass at the range ;)


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yhtomit
May 16, 2007, 12:50 PM
Drove out to my most frequently visited tax-dollars-at-play range today (in Cumberland, PA), and was happy to discover that I was the only one there (so no one has to be Range Officer, or hurt their bellies by laughing at my groups). After I set up cases on the shooting bench, I noticed a few cases on the ground -- unusual, at that range; usually it's picked pretty dry. I thought it might be Wolf or some such which just caught the light oddly and gleamed more than usual, but no, it was gen-yew-eye-n brass. And then I noticed some more. And some more. In all, I found more than 50 shells behind the firing line, in 9mm and .40 mostly. I went to toss some of the Wolf ammo that I'd found in the process into the trash barrels, and as I tossed it on top of some ammo boxes that were in the barrels, they clinked funny -- ha! Someone had carefully collected a bunch of brass ("No littering," after all) and tossed the collection into the trash bin. Another ammo box had the original plastic inner box full of the spent cases, .40 cal, so bright they hardly looked fired at all (but they had been). Between the boxes, and a few loose shells scattered in there, I got more than hundred more cases.

There were just a few .45s (very clean looking) and some .380, too -- never having fired .380 before, I was surprised by how close it is in size to 9mm. From across a crowded room, I suspect I couldn't tell the difference by glancing at it ;)

So, after quite a time happily stalking the ground for brass, I finally set up my targets; the area in front of the firing line, it turns out, is also a "target rich environment" for brass. It looks like a few people (or one very enthusiastic person) had been practicing close combat drills, or perhaps just couldn't read the well-posted rules, and had been shooting all over the range. The gleam of brass was everywhere -- picked up something near another hundred cases, and this is all before I get back to the bench to shoot the targets I'd just put up!

There's something satisfying about stalking / finding brass -- I must admit, I spent nearly as much time today sweeping the area with my feet and eyes as I did shooting. I know why old men with metal detectors wander the nation's beaches scaring children. All in all, something more than 200, less than 300 cases were my loot. I realize that once-fired brass (cleaned, even) is so far something still easily found on eBay at reasonable prices and much larger quantities, but it's so satisfying to find it growing wild ;)

However, later that day, near the time I was going to pack up and go home, one of the regular brass collectors comes by (Rex, age 89 as of last Tuesday) and we discussed the day's pickings. I told him I'd found some that day, and squirreled it away for eventual reloading, but gave him some .22 that I'd scooped up (visual distraction, that tempting glint of un-reloadable brass), and he told me that earlier that day he'd been by after some fellows had been shooting with great abandon and gotten more than 600 cases. Probably what I'd found was just their lesser leftovers ;) Would be nice to get there *right* after they stopped!

I'm sure that there are far greater hauls at any gathering of gun-types, so I'm sure some of you are chuckling at my joy in finding just a few handfuls, but this is so far my biggest unexpected windfall of brass, which goes with the rest of it into the stockpile for "When I start reloading, Real Soon Now." The .40 I hope will one day feed my brother's CZ, the 9mm my Browning, and the .45 will probably end up on moonclips that get to enjoy the inside of a S&W 625. The lone 357 mag case will wait at the end of the line until I am rich and have a 636 or similar ;) Found no .357 sig cases (unsurprising), nothing used typically only in revolvers (equally unsurprising), and only one real outlier (a .223 case, split at the neck) at this pistol-only range. (Well, except for many shotgun casings -- vandals love to chop down the target posts with shotguns.) Found also several .22LR that were evidently duds, and in the 70 or 80 rounds of very old .22 I shot hit one dud myself -- these went in the trashcan; anything smarter I should have done with them? Also, one .380 that looked unfired, primer undented. I wonder if it just got dropped unnoticed.

(If anyone wants 25 or perhaps slightly more rounds of .380 brass in the mail, make me an offer of something equally trivial in trade, and the first one that strikes my fancy gets the tiny loot ;) I dunno about the brass, but the cost of the new stuff is eye-raising for .380 -- can't they give a low-power discount? :) I have to say, the .380 rounds look like they came out of a gun with a pretty enthusiastic ejector! If I get un-lazy, I'll edit to attach a picture. Don't worry, I won't send the unfired one.)

Once I was in raid-the-trashcan mode, I must admit I also took some shotgun shells that were there -- Winchester AAs, along with the box they came in -- but with little understanding of how shotgun shells are reloaded -- only the vague idea that they can be. Last night (while this forum was down), found what seems like an excellent introduction to reloading shotshells at http://www.chuckhawks.com/reloading_shotshell.htm and it makes me want to gather some more. I hope my 870 gets some good use this summer.

A fun range trip -- only downside, I forgot my targets after carefully labeling them with the gun, distance, date, circumstances (weakhand, both, SA v. DA, etc.) for later reference.

timothy

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Ant1
May 16, 2007, 01:02 PM
I too scour the ground for brass, (.45ACP) at my local range and USPSA matches. I usually leave with more than I fired.:cool:

entropy
May 16, 2007, 01:08 PM
I arrive at the range early for the 4-H Shooting Sports classes I run, and glean brass from up by the targets- shooters have to move up to the targets if they want to shoot closer than 50 yds., and apparently either leave all thier brass or can't find it all in the grass- I always get some .45ACP for me, and 9mm and .40 for some friends that reload those. :cool:

cbsbyte
May 16, 2007, 02:13 PM
Usually ranges don't like people taking the brass since they sell it for scrap. My local range collect the brass in buckets then sells it once a year to help offset the cost of running the ranges.

Whatsit
May 16, 2007, 02:53 PM
If you had the initiative to pick it up and it is littering the range; it's yours - finder's keepers. What's left over, the range folks can scrap :)

Gustav
May 16, 2007, 03:00 PM
A trip to the range can be like an Easter egg hunt one never knows what one finds.
Found many different casings some have been put back into use once inspected others given to family or people who reload for the calibers I don't.
Think of what you are doing as recycling and in so doing saving a resource and that is after all the politically correct thing to do.:evil:

ArfinGreebly
May 16, 2007, 03:01 PM
My last trip to the range (with my daughter) was similar.

We were setting up targets and stumbled over veritable pools of brass, all of it .38 and .357, which doesn't scatter like 9mm and .40 cal, and we filled two ziplocks with the stuff.

Then we policed our own after shooting.

Filled all but one of the ziplocks we brought, and came home with three times as much brass as we shot.

Usually it's pretty thin, but that last trip was good.

I have an arrangement with a local shoppe where I get direct ammo credits for spent casings.

I save a little, he makes a little.

Works out okay.

yhtomit
May 16, 2007, 03:16 PM
"Usually ranges don't like people taking the brass since they sell it for scrap. My local range collect the brass in buckets then sells it once a year to help offset the cost of running the ranges."

At a private range, if that was the policy, sure.

But at this state-run / tax-funded range, there are a few regular scroungers who leave the ground remarkably free on most days -- no selling-as-scrap-to-support-the-range stuff. I'd sure be taking my own out anyhow (esp. since most of the .45 is on moonclips, some days), which makes it inevitable that I run into others' brass, too. (At least if I'm the first one with scrounging on my mind after some brass leavers have been there ;)).

I'd like to strike up a conversation with the elderly fellow I mentioned, actually, and top the dollar-a-pound he gets selling it for scrap by sorting through for the calibers I intend to reload. and giving him back the rest -- win/win, I think. (I'm sure somewhere there's a chart that would show how many cases are in one pound of typical fired cases, per caliber ...)

Cheers,

timothy

cbsbyte
May 16, 2007, 03:19 PM
At a private range, if that was the policy, sure.

But at this state-run / tax-funded range, there are a few regular scroungers who leave the ground remarkably free on most days -- no selling-as-scrap-to-support-the-range stuff. I'd sure be taking my own out anyhow (esp. since most of the .45 is on moonclips, some days), which makes it inevitable that I run into others' brass, too. (At least if I'm the first one with scrounging on my mind after some brass leavers have been there ).

I'd like to strike up a conversation with the elderly fellow I mentioned, actually, and top the dollar-a-pound he gets selling it for scrap by sorting through for the calibers I intend to reload. and giving him back the rest -- win/win, I think. (I'm sure somewhere there's a chart that would show how many cases are in one pound of typical fired cases, per calibe

Your right about public ranges. I thinking only of private ranges since that is all we have in Mass.

Lashlarue
May 16, 2007, 03:28 PM
I collect my own, but as a reloader I'm not going to pick up unknown brass to reload. I limit my reloads to three times for standard pressures and once for hot loads.Closest scrap buying yard to me is 1 1/2 gallons of gas away, going to take an awful lot to make it profitable.

wolf_from_wv
May 16, 2007, 03:57 PM
.17 hmr
.22
.22 mag
.25
.32 Browning?
5.7x21?
.380
9mm Mak
9mm
.38/.357
.357 sig
.40
.41
.44 (short and magnum)
.45
.45 LC
.45 GAP
.50 AE

Then there's all the rifle cases...
.22 Hornet, etc....

GhostlyKarliion
May 16, 2007, 04:00 PM
Darn douple posting THR, heh

GhostlyKarliion
May 16, 2007, 04:00 PM
I too collect spent casings at the range (I think I have a problem, spent ammunition brass makes me happy, but then again so do bullets and powder and loads...) if not for reloading then for recycling. I am collecting everything to melt down what I don't use else where now for melting.

I am still determined to manufacture my own cases from molten brass. I am going to figure it out. ;)

yhtomit
May 16, 2007, 04:15 PM
Lashlarue wrote: "I collect my own, but as a reloader I'm not going to pick up unknown brass to reload. I limit my reloads to three times for standard pressures and once for hot loads.Closest scrap buying yard to me is 1 1/2 gallons of gas away, going to take an awful lot to make it profitable."

That sounds like a well-conservative approach. What calibers are you reloading, or is a list so long I should ask what you're *not* reloading? :)

Judging the from the discarded boxes and appearance of the brass, most of what I picked up yesterday is once-fired WWB, Remington, and Blazer Brass -- and when I hit the range, it's never only for brass, just to shoot (but I'll take what comes).

The caliber I plan to start reloading with is .45ACP, which I understand is one of the nicest to get into it with, because of its relatively large case and low pressure charge. My intent is actually to make loads on the left side of the bell-curve (less oomph, but within the recommended range), for low-recoil plinking, and (once I'm *very* satisfied with the results) letting friends shoot slightly gentler-than-average .45 loads. I have no current ambitions for making anything hotter than average -- for me, for now, I'll leave that to the specialty ammo makers :)

Cheers,

timothy

yhtomit
May 16, 2007, 04:21 PM
wolf_from-wv wrote: ".17 hmr
.22
.22 mag
.25
.32 Browning?
5.7x21?
.380
9mm Mak
[(etc etc)]"


You mean you reload for all those? Or are those calibers you've found lying about your shooting spots? I think I missed the point of your list :) If it's either of those things, though, Sheesh, impressive!

timothy

wolf_from_wv
May 16, 2007, 04:39 PM
That's what I find... Then I go over to the trash can, and get the empty boxes out...

Just reload
.380, 9mm, .45, .45LC

I just put the rest in boxes, for "later"...

Lashlarue
May 16, 2007, 04:40 PM
I only reload 44mag,44 spec. and 45 acp.Lately all I shoot is 9mm but reloading that is not cost effective. Sold my 45and 44 mag pistols but considering a 45 carbine and still have my 1894s...

ball3006
May 16, 2007, 04:41 PM
no brass stays on the ground long when I am around. But, I do not pick it up while a shooter is still there. When he leaves, I am on it. I see very little rifle brass at the club I belong to but pistol brass is fairly plentiful. I only reload mild practice loads so I don't mind shooting unknown brass. It all gets inspected during each load anyway.......I throw more in the bucket than I take as I shoot alot of brass berdan primed surplus stuff......chris3

rxraptor02
May 16, 2007, 05:14 PM
Nice score!


I do not reload. I don't have the space or time. On my last range trip I had my xd45c and a few boxes of blazer brass. The guy who was next to me was a reloader. His kid was chasing down his brass as it landed(the kid was being safe). I offered up my brass and swept it into piles for the kid to pick up. They were happy to take it.

I think I might start collecting to pass along to the folks on board. I just need to find time to shoot...

Tinman357
May 16, 2007, 05:33 PM
I'm still waiting for my 10mm brass to come out of low earth orbit..

ANT1: Now I know where all my .45 brass goes.. :neener:

thegriz
May 16, 2007, 05:52 PM
I don't reload. I used to tidy up my brass so one of you guys could have it on your next visit. Now I finally have a reloader and I'm saving my own brass. Sorry guys. Now I just have to learn how to use the little bugger. Been too busy to learn but got the whole setup from a classified ad for too cheap to pass up. It also came with a shotgun reloader. So many toys and so little time.

jeepmor
May 16, 2007, 06:14 PM
reduce, reuse, recycle. Even steel has a decent price per pound nowadays. I just collect as much as I can and keep the cases I don't have a gun for in a bucket for recycle. Once it's full, I'll take it in or give to some kids for bubblegum money.

10mm brass, I'm happy to find 50% of my own when I'm out at the gravel pit. I usually find a few I missed the first trip on subsequent visits.

damien
May 17, 2007, 04:59 PM
In the past I never collected my brass. Shooting mostly 9mm, I never throught it was worth it. From now on I am collecting.

cmidkiff
May 17, 2007, 05:44 PM
I just started reloading a few months ago. I _hate_ picking up brass. I reload .204r, .38spl, .357mag, .44spl, and .44mag. All bolt action or revolvers. I shoot, but do not reload, .308win, 5.56, .45, 9mm, and .380. I generally leave the brass on the ground (public range), it never sits there long.

kellyj00
May 17, 2007, 06:32 PM
yall sure do have some clean ranges! Here it's not uncommon to go to a public outdoor state paid for range and find hundreds of empties left by folks who just don't care.

What they don't know is that by leaving their brass on the ground, folks like me are profiting off their lazyness. I've asked the range officer (just a Park Ranger who sits in a f-150 all day reading a newspaper) if I can empty their brass bucket into my trunk. he said no, not because he really cares, but because it's not 'safe' there could be hot rounds in there he says.

I ask how much brass actually gets into that 60 gallon drum every weekend (they're open from sunup to sundown, fri-sun for the general public) he says that the can has to be emptied twice each weekend when the weather is good.

Talk about a waste, I bet they just recycle all that once fired stuff.

Hazzard
May 17, 2007, 08:54 PM
I guess I'm lucky. I belong to a private range that does not recycle their brass. After a match it is easy to pick up a couple of thousand rounds of brass in 9mm, 40, or 45. Since a lot of the match shooters are sponsored, most of it is once fired.

I also have a friend who, for whatever reason, loves to pick up and prep brass more than he likes to shoot. He is a good source and likes to give it away to reloaders. He says prepping brass relaxes him. I figure I save him a bundle in fees to a psychologist!

Antipasta
May 17, 2007, 09:20 PM
The days of 9mm being "not worth reloading" are about over, at least in my parts. The cheapest I see is $7 or so a box and I can reload that amount for less than $4.50. Unfortunately, It's rare to hit the brass jackpot at my local range.

U.S.SFC_RET
May 18, 2007, 12:12 AM
Do Brass Tank Rounds Count?:neener: Honestly I am a brass rat as well and If I can't shoot it I can imagine one day being able to cast my own brass Cannon. Small one of course. Question is I know where alot of seriously discolored brass needs to get picked up and I am not wasting my lizard bedding trying to brighten that stuff up so how do you really clean old and weathered brass?:)

Glock22
May 18, 2007, 12:19 AM
The indoor range that I go to has a bucket that people put their brass in. Last time I was there I thought about dumping that bucket into a backpack taking the brass out getting rid of the wolf crap and then selling it. I don't reload but I should.

flashman70
May 18, 2007, 12:15 PM
I've played golf with guys that enjoy prowling along the water hazards for retreivable balls more than they do actually playing golf. :p

renegade1alpha
May 19, 2007, 10:23 PM
Go to your local law enforcemnt agency and find out where they practice and tell them you will clean up their range for them. Usually they are happy to let you do that. My friends and I did that and we walked out of there with seven 5-gallon buckets full of 9mm, .40, .38, .357, .10mm and .45 acp brass. That sure as hell beats hunting for it!

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