More dumb beginners questions.


August 15, 2003, 01:16 PM
How many times can the brass be reloaded? and how long after being fired can I save my brass before reloading it again?:)

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August 15, 2003, 01:48 PM
10 times is what I've been told. Keep a close eye out and be sure to keep good track. Some folks load pistol ammo brass more, but I ususally throw em away after 10 reloads.

John Ross
August 15, 2003, 01:54 PM
It depends.

Revolver brass can go 10+ loadings before little cracks at the case mouth develop, generally from the heavy crimp/uncrimp cycle. Pistol brass will probably go longer but I have little experience here.

Neck-sized only rifle brass fired in the same bolt gun can go over 100 loadings.

Read your manuals and learn how to detect impending head separation in rifle brass, and how to avoid it in the first place. Too long for me to explain here.


August 15, 2003, 02:15 PM
I've been told 20 times for pistol brass, especially if using light loads.

August 15, 2003, 02:23 PM
I have always lost the pistol brass before it went bad. John was right about rifle. Read on how to detect head seperation in a manual.

August 15, 2003, 02:24 PM

August 15, 2003, 02:26 PM
It depends. As has been said, revolver stuff tends to last a long time, neck sized rifle brass the same. I used to can my M14 brass after 4 reloads due to the large # of case head seperations after that.

BTW, the only dumb newbie reloading question is "Why'd the gun blow up?" S/F...Ken M

August 15, 2003, 02:27 PM
:) ;)

August 15, 2003, 02:39 PM
I load handgun brass until it is either obviously flawed, or I lost it.
I have no idea how many times that is because I don't keep track. I have some .38 Special brass that I have had for 20 years. When I was first out of high school, I owned a S&W Model 14 .38 Special revolver, 100 pieces of brass, and a Lee Loader. Every afternoon or evening that I wasn't working, I would fire all 100 rounds, then load them again that evening. I probably loaded them at least 100 times. The nickel had flaked off the cases. I was using a minimal load and cast lead bullets. As was mentioned, you will see splits in the case at the mouth, the primer pockets will become loose, or you lose them.
I have loaded 9mm cases until the primer pocket was so loose that the primers would fall out due to gravity.

Rifles are another story. You are dealing with high pressure here and there is some danger involved in a case failure. Get a good reloading manual and read about how to tell when you are coming close to a head seperation. Basically you take a piece of wire or a bent paper clip and feel the inside of the case just above the case head. If you feel a ridge developing, this is where the case wall is getting thin. It is time to toss the case. The reason for this is that rifle brass expands and grows in length when you fire it. After a couple firings, you need to trim it back to length. That extra length is coming from somewhere and after awhile the case starts to get thin. Life of any case is proportional to how hot you load it also. If you use very light loads, the case will last longer than if you fire full-house loads. How much you size the case is another factor. As was mentioned earlier, neck sizing rifle brass gives you more case life and often, better accuracy.
A loaded round of rifle ammo is slightly smaller than the chamber, this is how you are able to get it to go into the chamber. When it is fired, it expands to fill the available space, then springs back a little. This is why you can extract the case from the chamber. When you full length resize the case, you make the case smaller yet. All this expansion and contraction work hardens the metal make it less "springy" and sometimes brittle. If the case is otherwise still in good shape, you can anneal the case and continue to use it. In common calibers, this is usually a waste of time because you can buy new cases cheap enough that the extra work involved isn't worth it.

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