Reloading brass from NT frangible rounds


April 22, 2008, 03:46 AM
I was sorting brass today and noticed the flash holes on some of my Winchester NT (frangible round) brass is double the size of regular cartridge flash holes in the same caliber. Some are larger, some are the same size as regular cartridge brass. Anyone ever notice this? Anyone ever reload the brass from frangible rounds? I do not think the brass with the oversized flash holes is safe to reload. Is this a valid assumption?

Should I recycle all my NT brass or reload the ones with normal sized flash holes?

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April 22, 2008, 07:02 AM
I don't know if it will affect anything reloading wise. I wouldn't use them until I knew.

The reason is that those "lead free" (safe for indoor range) primers necessitated the use of a larger flash hole.

April 22, 2008, 07:42 AM
They say it doesn't matter. I used to segregate them, but I no longer bother. I have not really been able to tell a difference. I am sure for something like Bullseye it would matter, but not general shooting.

April 22, 2008, 07:47 AM
All the Win NT cases I ever ran into had small pistol primers. If I run into one It goes in the trash. I do not have time to sit there and sort through my brass and buy small pistol and large pistol primers for a 45acp.

Jim Watson
April 22, 2008, 08:28 AM
Early Winclean had larger than standard flashholes. Winchester says those will take standard loads. I make no effort to sort them out for IDPA, I might for NRA 50 yard slowfire.

The current crop of .45 NT brass has small primer pockets. Winchester says not to reload those. I don't know why, maybe maybe they think I am just not smart enough to put in the right size primer. But I have done it and they work fine except the velocity is off by 25-40 fps in the loads I use. Federal NT small primers are heavily crimped and would call for reaming or swaging.

I don't see many .45 NT small primer cases around here, there is no indoor range to show a need, so the few that turn up I just throw in a box. When I accumulate enough to bother with, I will load them up.

The Bushmaster
April 22, 2008, 09:56 AM
Jim Watson has it. The test loadings that I have ran over my chronograph indicate what Jim has said. 25 to 50 fps slower then large primered cases. I have no problem loading them. I have experimented using WSPM primers which ups the fps to about normal. MAKE SURE YOU WORK YOUR LOADS UP SLOWLY WATCHING FOR SIGNS OF OVER PRESSURE WHEN USING WSPM PRIMERS.

April 22, 2008, 10:23 AM
It’s not just NT that has the larger than standard flash hole. I noticed lower SDs with the larger flash hole, when loaded with small charges of fast powder. I save the small primer NT brass (and GAP brass) for my revolvers. Small primers are easier to ignite than large ones allowing lighter trigger pulls while retaining 100% reliability.

The Bushmaster
April 22, 2008, 11:35 AM
That's a thought...Good point, jmorris...

April 22, 2008, 12:08 PM
I load 'em and shoot 'em, since that's what brass is for. I separate them by primer size and when I get a batch of .45 cases with small primer pockets, then I load them and shoot them, and repeat as necessary.

Hope this helps.


April 22, 2008, 12:13 PM
Winchester says not to reload because they'd rather sell new ammo. As posted above, the small primer NTs work fine and have a 5% velocity loss - that was computed over five different but pretty common loads used in Bullseye.

April 22, 2008, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the replies. I always believed that an oversized flash hole was a bad thing and would result in excessive pressures. I read an article once for making wax projectile rounds that called for opening up the flash hole a bit. The article said never to use the rounds with enlarged flash holes for regular reloading due to the above issue. I use Winchester 231 and usually load practice ammo with near minimum charges (just enough to reliably cycle the action in most cases).

Anyone see a potential problem with that?

It'll be a PITA sorting out all the NT brass, but I do not mind doing so to err on the side of caution. I wasn't aware of the whole small primer 45acp thing either, so I am going to have to sort the 45's either way. The odd thing is that the large flash holes were only present on some of the brass in 9, 40, and 45.

April 22, 2008, 03:27 PM
You'll find some companies going to the large flash hole for all their loadings in .45 acp. It's really no big deal.

Hope this helps.


April 22, 2008, 07:21 PM
In .45ACP I doubt the diameter of the flash hole makes much difference, but a pox on the pinhead that came up with the idea of using small pistol primer pockets on .45ACP brass!


April 22, 2008, 07:45 PM
They've loaded .45 acp with small pistol primers for years in Europe, but with Berdan primers. There isn't much volume to worry about in the .45 case, so a small pistol primer will ignite that small amount of powder just fine.

Hope this helps.


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