who's .308 brass is good?


February 28, 2009, 07:35 AM
I'm trying to get myself setup to shoot some local 600yard prone matches. and for the purpose am buying a 700 SPS varmint in .308. And it's been awhile since i last dealt with .308 in any way really. the last time i was looking into reloading it (nearly 15 years ago) i was told Lake City was "the brass to get a hold of" and it seemed fairly easy, and not too pricey, to get in "ammo stash" quantities.

now from what i'm hearing LC has just about dried up as far as public vendors are concerned. and i'm wondering what companies make decent brass?

As good as i hear it is, I still can't quite bring myself to drop the cash needed to get a supply of Lapua brass, and i'd LIKE to start with loaded ammo anyway.

are winchester or Prvi-Partizan any good (brass wise) ? i've found some decent deals on 100-200 round amounts of these two and they lead the pack in what i'm likely to get. meaning that i'll likely get one or the other, unless someone screams "No don't get that!"

so what IS the best to worst list of rifle brass these days?

thank you for your time and patience, any and all info is welcome.

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February 28, 2009, 08:32 AM
winchester, remington, and hornady are good. no experience w/ prvi. not a fan of federal. might look into norma, as well.

February 28, 2009, 08:47 AM
Handloader magazine's December edition (No. 257) contains an extensive article by Gary Sciuchetti on loading the .308, including accuracy tests with different brands of brass (Nosler was the best) and durability (Norma and Rem surpassed all others). You owe it to yourself to get a copy of the magazine. You can get back issues of the magazine by calling 800-899-7810. It will cost you around $10 but is worth having the article.

February 28, 2009, 10:19 AM
If you want to shoot match, Lapua is the best. Norma and Nosler are both good as well.

February 28, 2009, 10:24 AM
Lapua and Norma are the best I've used. I was given 2 empty boxes of Hornady TAP 308 match from a practicing SWAT member at my range. That is some of the best brass I've ever loaded. It's very uniform and lasts a long time.

February 28, 2009, 11:43 AM
I'll second what Horsemany said. I don't handload, but a few of my friends do, and they get amazing results with lapua brass, even in rifles that "shouldn't" be so accurate.

February 28, 2009, 02:25 PM
Good brass that I have used: LC (of course), Remington, Winchester (I have had good luck with W/W), IMI.

Norma and Lapua are too expensive for me.

If it is free, use Federal. If you are buying, stay away from Federal. Shoots great but the primer pockets open up very soon.

I would stay away from eastern block anything.

Coal Dragger
February 28, 2009, 02:54 PM
I have had good luck with Winchester, Black Hills (not sure who makes it for them), Lapua, Hornady, and Nosler brass.

My favorites for consistency are Lapua and Nosler. The Nosler brass is the easily the most consistent, even the flash holes have been reamed/de-burred already. Lapua is a close second for me.

Like many other things in life, you get what you pay for. Brass is no exception.

February 28, 2009, 10:09 PM
out of curiousity what IS the going rate on LC when you can find it nowadays?

stopped by the 600yrd prone match held at my local club this morning, was talkling to the match director after it was over, about finding a good supply of brass. and he offered me a deal on once fired LC, and another shooter said to contact him if i wanted primers, since he had more than he'd be able to use in his remaining lifetime (70-80something gentleman, who doesn't shoot competitively anymore, with on the order of 50-100K primers).

so, so far Winchester and black hills are on the good list, like slamfire i can't afford Norma or Lapua right now, and i have to say that though others have reported good results with Remington, my own past experience (loose primer pockets after 2-3 reloadings, higher than normal rate of split necks) moves me away from them.

I'll keep that all in mind thank you. any adn all further info is appreicated :)

Zak Smith
February 28, 2009, 10:20 PM
I shoot Lapua brass.

From shooting and observing long-range matches for a while, I have concluded that having a barrel with a properly-cut chamber (true, concentric, etc) is more important than almost anything else.

February 28, 2009, 10:21 PM
That's basically all I shoot out of my .308/7.62mm NATO rifles these days.

February 28, 2009, 10:57 PM
all my 308 brass is lapua as well

HOWEVER, i bought it like, 7 or 8 years ago when it was half the price it is today. I don't think i would spring for $60/100 right now.

February 28, 2009, 11:17 PM
I've shot some rem match 168gn BTHP and wasn't to bad, But I do much better at the 300+yd with my own reloads.
If you do buy some save the cases and send them to me, I'll get rid of them for you. :D

February 28, 2009, 11:54 PM
Brass selection is an interesting dilemma for many people. To give you an example of how different brass can be, I just weighed 100 Norma cases in .300 Win Mag that I bought a few months ago. The brass is new and unfired. I'm currently on my fourth loading for 100 Winchester W-W Super cases also in .300 Win Mag. Anyway, here's the data for both sets of cases.

Norma .300 Win Mag

Min: 214.4 gr
Max: 216.8 gr
ES: 2.4 gr
Avg: 215.4 gr
SD: 0.53 gr

Winchester W-W Super .300 Win Mag

Min: 236.8 gr
Max: 241.0 gr
ES: 4.2 gr
Avg: 239.1 gr
SD: 0.64 gr

So the Winchester cases are significantly heavier than the Norma cases with the average Norma case weighing 90% of the average Winchester case. Also, the ES of the case weights is better for Norma compared to Winchester. What this will do to my load data is a mystery at this point but I plan on finding out tomorrow or next weekend. The reduced case weights of the Norma cases indicate larger internal case volume which may lower the pressure in the case during ignition which will probably reduce velocity.

As for which brand of cases, well, I think that's already been covered well enough.


March 1, 2009, 12:05 AM
so what are some group sizes you guys have gotten comparing good to bad brass? im mainly interested in the federals performance since that is all i have been using

Zak Smith
March 1, 2009, 12:09 AM
There are other factors besides what accuracy you can ultimately get - however, accuracy can be an issue. Factory Federal Gold Medal Match 168-175gr is, for example, known to be excellent ammo in a wide variety of 308 rifles. It is often said that if FGMM 175 won't shoot accurately in your .308, then nothing will.

However, Federal brass is also known for being soft.

Another factor to consider is how much prep work is required to remove defects and/or make the brass consistent. One of the reasons I like Lapua brass is that I don't have to do any prep/corrections: just dump in powder and go.

March 1, 2009, 12:31 AM
I had weighed 200 Lapua .308 cases (new, unfired, two boxes, same lot) a couple of weeks ago and finally got around to putting that data into a spreadsheet. Here are the results:

Lapua .308 Win

Min: 172.6 gr
Max: 174.4 gr
ES: 1.8 gr
Avg: 173.5 gr
SD: 0.49 gr


March 1, 2009, 12:35 AM
6 months ago, you could find LC going for $100/1K avarage. rite now, seeing $120-140/1K if you can find it. Most people who do sell it are out at the moment and taking emails to get back w/ you in about a month...:uhoh: But if the older gentleman w/ the 50-100K primers wants to get rid of any, please get in touch w/ me, I'll take a couple K off his hands for a reasonable price!

March 1, 2009, 12:46 AM
so what are some group sizes you guys have gotten comparing good to bad brass?

What's your definition of good brass? If you compare the data for the 400 cases that I weighed (shown above) then you might think that Lapua is the BEST brass because it has the lowest case weight variation. However, I've loaded the Winchester W-W Super brass three times already and none of the necks or belts have split or separated. With my current load I've shot a 0.317" 5-shot group and many sub 0.5MOA groups with cases from either end of the range and anywhere in between. I don't see any difference in accuracy based on case weight but then again, the maximum variance is only 4.2 grains.


March 1, 2009, 12:58 AM
if the older gentleman w/ the 50-100K primers wants to get rid of any, please get in touch w/ me, I'll take a couple K off his hands for a reasonable price!

the general impression (and i maybe wrong) that i get is that when he does sell portions of his stash, he does so only to those who shoot the local matches/club members. it can be kind of a pain to ship em, ya know? and the local pool of shooters is just about big enough that if he wants to sell some he doesn't have to look far.

but i can certainly inquire.

March 1, 2009, 07:44 AM
I've processed and reloaded a lot of .308 brass. The only "new" cases are the ones I've shot then reloaded everything else is range pickups, and I pick up thousands of them. They range from milspec to match grade cases. I do sort by head stamp and trim and load by head stamp, and I will load between 1500 to 2000 .308 at one time. Every load is 168gn BTHPs either Sierra or Hornady and every case is loaded with 41.2 gns of Varget. (I do an awful lot of long range iron sight shooting). I have not had a single case failure yet and some of those cases have have been reloaded at least 4 times.
IMO if you push a load you will have case failures regardless of which brand of case you use.
It seems that everyone, me included, has an opinion on which cases are good and which are bad. So tell me which of the following 3 are the best and how do you know :confused::confused::confused:
FC, FC, and FC. There are three

March 1, 2009, 10:19 AM

Thanks for sharing the weight differences. One way I've gotten around that on some cal's is buying twice as much Winchester brass. For instance I load Winchester cases in 7mmRM. I can buy 200 for the price of 100 Norma's. Then I weight sort them into two different batches. This effectively cuts the weight difference in half. Then I do my case prep which sometimes includes lightly trimming necks for uniformity. Basically if I do a little more work I can get twice the brass which I think I can make the same quality as Norma.

I still shoot Norma or Lapua for some cals though.

March 1, 2009, 11:23 AM
IMHO, if you're shooting a factory rifle, just get what brass you can, prep and sort by weight, and go to town. I wouldn't get too hung up on getting Lapua unless you had a custom competition rig with a match grade barrel, etc. I use Lapua in my 6PPC for that reason, but for the cost and the fact that I have to mail order it, I don't in my other rifles.

As far as the best brass I can buy locally (at least around here) I would say Nosler- it's good stuff and not too pricey for what you get (fully prepped and sorted).

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