New to rifle reloading, how should I sort cases?


John Wayne
December 1, 2010, 07:53 PM
I know most recommend sorting by manufacturer to start with, but after that, is there any additional sorting I should be doing?

I have cases by Federal, Hornady, and a few rounds from some Russian company that makes ammo for Academy Sports. All are once-fired, and were fired by me, in my gun.

Is there a difference between cases that have been fired twice, and five or six times (neck sizing only)? If I have 100 pieces of Federal brass, should I wait until they have all been fired 2x, 3x, etc. before reloading the whole batch again? Or can I mix the ones that have been loaded 6x in with once-fired?

When loading, should I sort them by length and weight as well?

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Arkansas Paul
December 1, 2010, 08:05 PM
I just sort by headstamp and am done with it. Benchrest shooters go to way more headaches, but you're talking about matches where mere thousanths of inches can mean victory. All I do is chase bambi. An eighth of an inch larger group isn't going to make any difference to me.

December 1, 2010, 08:06 PM

I try to keep mine separated by number of firings. It just gives me a better idea of how far along certain cases have come, as I too am fairly new to this past time, I'm still slowly increasing my charges on certain calibers, so I'm trying to balance "how much + for how many more times + how accurate was it".

I've also learned from a ton of reading here, that when you can eliminate certain variables, it makes troubleshooting (no pun intended) much simpler.

Good Luck... Lots of well versed experienced people here have taught me quite a bit - and saved me a lot of trouble too.


December 1, 2010, 09:33 PM
For .223 plinking, I use mixed brass. Trim, deburr/chamfer and load. Same for .308.

For other rifle applications I want brass of the same headstamp, and I prefer to have it from the same lot.

For hunting all I do is trim, deburr and chamfer, and load it.

For varmint rounds that need to be very accurate, I do more prep work.

When I was shooting Benchrest, I went to great lengths to make a set of 15 to 20 pieces of brass that were as identical as possible.

Hondo 60
December 1, 2010, 10:13 PM
I keep my brass sorted by headstamp & number of firings.
Some will say that's a bit anal for target shooting.

When you get into shooting for maximum accuracy some will weigh every case & sort by weight as well as by headstamp & number of firings.

December 1, 2010, 10:21 PM
Sorting by numbers of times fired is a BIG DEAL when the brass was fired in a gas-operated semi-auto.

Brass fired in "gas guns" gets stretched badly. Within very few firings, any given batch is going to have head separations. Unless you know how many times the case was fired, you have no way of knowing whether the case is likely to fail. This problem doesn't come up with anywhere near as much frequency when the brass is fired in other types of guns.

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