Machine gun brass


July 15, 2007, 02:23 PM
A friend acquired some brass that was fired through a fully automatic rifle but now he is concerned about reloading it. Mainly he is concerned about resizing it. It is 308 brass. Can it be resized through a normal full length size die or does it have to go through a small base size die? Thanks.

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July 15, 2007, 03:58 PM
Normal full length size with lots o lube should do the trick. That's what I do to my SAW .223 brass.

July 15, 2007, 04:59 PM
It all depends on how the headspace was set up on the machinegun the ammunition was fired in. I've sized some that came from M-60's that was right at SAAMI minimum, and also some that was stretched so bad that it couldn't be loaded a second time. A lot of machineguns have adjustable headspace, due to interchangeable barrels. I've reloaded brass from both M-60's and M-240's. You just have to see how it came out of the gun and proceed from there.

His best option is to size some of the brass and see how it comes out. Without actually seeing the brass, and measuring it, no one else can tell if it needs any special treatment or not.

Hope this helps.


July 15, 2007, 05:08 PM
If your friend wants to use it in a SAAMI chamber in a AR15 type rifle, he better full length resize with a small base die. Before 9/11 I was able to purchase ammo cans of once fired LC brass. Pretty darn good stuff.

I full length sized with a small base die, and I checked the sized cases with a Wilson type cartridge headspace gage. With mixed military brass, fired in who knows what, the full length case sizing needs to be verified with gages. Turning a sizing die down to a shell holder seldom, if ever, gives correct cartridge headspace.

July 15, 2007, 05:09 PM
All you need is a standard resizing die. The only problem with resizing brass fired in full auto rifles is that the chambers are on the large side so it will take a little more effort on the press handle resizing it.
Small base dies are only needed when resizing brass for use in some semi-automatic or pump action rifles. Due to their design they just don't produce the force needed to chamber a cartridge that the brass has not been resized to factory specs.

July 15, 2007, 05:15 PM
No, it is in a bolt type rifle he said him and some guy named Benny Hill built. I don't know who the second guy is...I thought Benny Hill was a comedian but I guess I was supposed to recognize the name. He said he has dumped some money in this rifle customizing it to make it a really nice bench rest type rifle. I will tell him to try to resize some with a regular full length die and if that doesn't work to try a small base die. Thanks for the answers.

July 15, 2007, 05:36 PM
Should be no problems with that brass at all. There are two additional steps and one caution you my have to consider reloading this stuff though.

Caution: Hopefully these don't have bergin primers, say bye bye to your decapping die if it does. Now on to the problems...

First are the primer crimps. Most military rounds use them. Easy to fix using a crimp die.

Next is the waterproof material you may see in the necks. That should be removed with a wire bursh. Kinda looks a powdery gray inside. Tumbling won't remove this stuff.

Other that, I've found military brass to be very heardy, especially the stuff from Isreal. Lots of reloads.

I would use a dental pick to see if there's any separation occuring inside the case, but you probably already do that anyways... just trying to be on the safe side here.

July 15, 2007, 07:07 PM
I do indeed but it never hurts to throw out the reminders. Thanks.

July 15, 2007, 10:29 PM

In all likelyhood you will need a small base die the first time you resize it, to get it to fit into a bolt rifle's chamber. The problem with machinegun fired brass is, it is expanded too much in the web area, and a standard full length sizing die does not reduce that part of the brass enough to get it to fit most chambers. Something that alot of reloaders don't realize is, a small base die reduces the web portion of a case to the same dimensions as brand new factory brass; standard FL sizing dies do not.


July 15, 2007, 10:55 PM
I told him to go ahead and try to resize a handful and see if they will chamber. If not he will need to go with the small base die. I think he already suspected that but he just wanted to bounce that off somebody else.

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