Headstamps to stay away from?


February 5, 2011, 10:52 AM
I know there are a lot of people that say there is no reason to sort by headstamp when reloading 9mm. I guess the OCD in me takes over, because I can stand it not sorting my brass. Up until now I would sort in to three buckets. Federal, Winchester and everything else. The majority of the brass I have picked up at the range and bought at gun shows is Federal and Winchester. I figured that once I got enough in the everything else bucket I would sort that also. Last night after dinner my 8 year old son asked if we could go down stairs and sort brass. The only thing I had to sort was my everything else bucket. I marked up some old baby formula cans and we went to it. When it was all said and done with I ended up with five of those and ten of these, type deal. There is three brands that I ended up with 100 to 300 of each. CBC, PMC and R-P. I did some research and found out who makes them. I figure I can use this brass when I shoot league because I really don't have time to pick up my brass.

I am looking for input from the vets here. Out of those three brands are they all alright to load? Are there any brands that when you are sorting brass you automatically throw in the scrap pile? I have searched the web and really can't find any info on head stamps except who makes what. I used this website for my research. http://www.afte.org/ExamResources/gallery2/v/Headstamp-Gallery/ I just thought about this and I don't know if it matters. I plan on loading 147g CMJ Montana Gold CMJ bullets in this brass.




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February 5, 2011, 11:01 AM
All three of these headstamps are fine to use. I reload all of them. The only brass I discard immediately is "A-merc". S & B headstamps seem to have a little tighter primer pockets, but I have never encountered a problem loading them.

February 5, 2011, 01:33 PM
Ateam-3 said it well. Thats the way I've been doing it for over 40 years. I sort only to have the same head stamp in a box; but of course, there are times to make an exception.

February 5, 2011, 01:44 PM
Discard "AMERC".

February 5, 2011, 01:46 PM
I load everything for my 9mm except A-Merc and IVI. I do sort to get rid of any military crimps only because I have thousands that aren't crimped and don't want to take time to swage them.

February 5, 2011, 01:57 PM
I actually prefer milirtary brass. It seems to me to be better brass, slightly heavier, and lasts longer. As far as removing the crimp, it's one-time and then good for 25 - 30 loadings or until I lose it first (usually happens),

The only brass I toss, other than the occasional berdan, is AMERC. Good for nothing except scrap.

February 5, 2011, 02:12 PM
How do I tell the differance between a regular crimp and military crimp.

February 5, 2011, 02:18 PM
With everything on earth, simple process of elimination must point to a "WORST" in any subject. On the subject of reloadable pistol brass, A-MERC is the worst brass on earth bar none, with no exceptions.

Otherwise, here is what I have found over many years and head stamps. These are my opinions and experiences only:

CBC (Magtech) is decent brass, but a little thick and seems to run a little harder through the flare die due to that thickness. It's decent brass, but not my first choice because of the (slight) extra effort when flaring. I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

Federal stamped brass now means two different things. Older Federal is Federal brass. It's perfectly decent stuff. But newer Federal brass is the same extruded brass as anything you find stamped with CCI, Blazer or Speer. It's all ATK brass now and for you to separate the new -FC- marked 9mm in a container apart from CCI, Speer and Blazer is superfluous because they are exactly the same thing and probably come from the same machine. I sort headstamps like you do, and I have two different buckets -- one for Federal brass and one for ATK brass.

PMC used to make great brass... and the PMC stuff I have from the 90s and a bit later is terrific stuff. But the newest PMC brass has not impressed me. In 9mm, I've not had any trouble from it. In .45 Auto however, it's thin and can wrinkle easily when seating and taper crimping. I am quite disappointed in the new .45 PMC brass. I do still use the 9mm stuff.

R-P is my least favorite of all brass outside of A-Merc. R-P is thin in the case mouth. It doesn't seem to have a short life, it doesn't give me neck splits or anything like that, but I simply do not get the case mouth tension with R-P brass that I get with almost all other brass that I use. And nickel R-P is even worse. So at my bench, I tend to avoid R-P for the most part. Case mouth tension is very important to me -- unintended bullet setback can be catastrophic in some cases. I do use my fair share of it in .38 Special where the cartridge is not being violently jacked in to the chamber by the handgun. And of course, YMMV -- I'm sure some folks love their R-P brass but it's no friend of mine. I notice this thinness in all calibers simply by the comparative effort when flaring the case mouth. And where it gives me the most trouble: 10mm brass.

Starline brass is decent brass but IMO, it's not any better than decent. I only add this because it seems like so many folks put it on a pedestal above and beyond all others, like Lapua, Norma or Nosler rifle brass and I simply don't see it. It's fully functional brass and it's perfectly good brass to work with but I don't buy in to the hype that it's GOLD in pistol brass. In my experience, it's no better or worse than good 'ole Winchester pistol brass. I'd use it without hesitation and it's a darn good buy for the money, but I can't get on board with those who believe it's the greatest stuff ever made.

February 5, 2011, 02:49 PM
I have not run across AMERC, but will steer clear! I usually will discard otherwise decent brass if the headstamp is unclear as to what it is specifically. The only one that comes to mind that I keep ending up with in my range pickups is a particular Winchester 9MM that doesn't say 9MM but just has a number 7 on it. Visual inspection seems to show that it's a 9MM, but I don't want to get it mixed up with anything so I toss it. Also I've been trying to decide if I should dump or just separate the Blazer Brass .45 stuff that uses the small pistol primer.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 5, 2011, 02:53 PM
There were about 500+ pcs of milspec .223 ammo brass that was given to me. Certain cases had a symbol which I believe was like the symbol for Pi (3.1415). Every single one of those cases had extremely loose primer pockets to the point that primers were falling out, and when I tried to put any of those cases in my RCBS shell holder, the rim of the cases was just thick enough to not even fit in my shell holder, and I believe the cases did say 5.56 on the bottom, IIRC.

Wow, that link in the first post of headstamps is really good info!
I found this casing there which I think are the ones I was referring to, possibly not, though: http://www.afte.org/ExamResources/gallery2/v/Headstamp-Gallery/album06/3-74_002.jpg.html

February 5, 2011, 03:40 PM
I only reload .45ACP and .44Mag
I use Winchester and Federal Brass for .45ACP. Win is mostly brass I have shot with some range pickups. The Fed was all range pickups. Never had problems with any of it. And don't mark my boxes because it's all loaded to the same specs: 4gr Bullseye, 200gr LSWC, 1.250 OAL. Have not loaded any jacketed .45 bullets yet, but may try out some XTPs someday.

I use Winchester and CBC for .44Mag. Most of my Win brass is from factory loads that I have shot. The 100+ pieces of CBC brass was all range pickup. All of it works great. The CBC seems a little softer then the Winchester brass, and I only use them for low power Plinking loads 8grs of Unique under a 240gr LSWC. The Winchester is used for both lightweight and full house Mag loads. I guess since I have almost exactly 100 pieces of CBC it's an easy way to distinguish my plinking loads from my heavier magnum loads.

I'm sometimes lazy and don't mark my boxes of reloads. But I know that the CBC is loaded with a certain powder and bullet. The Winchester brass I mark my boxes better depending on the bullets used. XTPs and Ranch Dogs 265gr are marked with powder and bullet. The 240gr LSWC loaded in Winchester brass I usually don't mark mark because like the CBC is loaded with a certain powder (8gr Unique) and bullet.

I do have a few shopping bags full of .40, 9mm, 300WinMag, and other odds and ends, but don't reload those, I just police up brass when I see it laying there. Maybe trade it in to the recycling center for more wheel weights.

chris in va
February 5, 2011, 03:47 PM
Run a magnet through your range pick-up brass. Some of the S&B are steel, despite having the brass color.

How do I tell the differance between a regular crimp and military crimp.

There's no such thing as 'regular crimp'. Military crimp has a ring around the primer, stamped in there by some machine to make our lives miserable.

This is rifle brass, but pistol brass is similar.

http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/2489/crimp.jpg (http://img573.imageshack.us/i/crimp.jpg/)

February 5, 2011, 04:53 PM
Run a magnet through your range pick-up brass. Some of the S&B are steel, despite having the brass color.

There's no such thing as 'regular crimp'. Military crimp has a ring around the primer, stamped in there by some machine to make our lives miserable.

This is rifle brass, but pistol brass is similar.

http://img573.imageshack.us/img573/2489/crimp.jpg (http://img573.imageshack.us/i/crimp.jpg/)
Thanks for the picture. So a military crimp is easy to pick out. I should have written a military crimp and normal brass.

February 5, 2011, 05:02 PM
Separate out S&B brass and keep it, just keep it together because it's tough to seat the primers in it. It's good brass, but it'll slow you down. Maybe use it for your match ammo, primed by hand or on a single-stage press.

Separate out A-Merc brass and throw it away.

All the rest pretty much seems the same to me. (but I don't like mixing brass and nickel cases because it just doesn't look right)

February 5, 2011, 06:35 PM
As long as its Boxer primed and not brass Berdan primed, the only brand I've had trouble with is A-MERC -- wouldn't hold a bullet!

The crimped mil-spec brass borders on being more trouble than its worth, but does work well once the crimp is removed before rseating the new primer. Another hassle is the Federal, CCI, & Winchester "lead-free" brass which uses a small primer in a case that is normally a large primer. Gums up the works with a progressive press :(

February 5, 2011, 11:52 PM
I sort 9mm .

I toss WCC, S&B, FC NT, AMERC, & a few strangely marked cases I rarely get. Some S&B will stick to magnet nicely but are brass "coated".

All of these can be reloaded, but I have no need to do extra work or waste primers. I agree with sevens about not sorting the different companies ATK supplies. I believe Starline, Blazer, CCI, FC, & Speer all have almost identical brass qualities. In my turret press, they are "softer", resize easier and noticeably seat bullets deeper when the seating die is set for WIN, PPU and R&P.

WIN is my preferred case.

February 6, 2011, 12:07 AM
Only ones I've thrown out are Amerc. I've only found one with a visible defect, which was an off center flash hole. But their reputation precedes them.

Of the big names, I tend to favor whichever ones I have the most of. I try to collect these few common headstamps to make large batches of more uniform cartridges. All the rest gets mixed together for plinking ammo. I have no problem priming FC NT or S&B. The exception is if it's my own, once-fired brass. I separate out all my own once-fired, whether it be CBC, Fiocchi, or even S&B - just in case I should ever want verified, once-fired brass if/when I go "off the books."

I distinguish and separate FC from dot-FC-dot in luger. In .40, they're not too dissimilar, but in luger the plain FC brass is very thin and light. I don't think it gets the same amount of neck tension as most other brass, and internal volume is probably a hair larger.

February 6, 2011, 10:23 AM
Only ones I have had a lot of issues with were A-merc and S&B. The A-merc just didn't seem to size and take a bullet quite right. The S&Bs had a primer flash hole so tight it took the decaping pin off the die. I think it may have been under sized. They may be good but it jaded me on them.

I did just do a bunch of 45s and there were a couple of A-mercs that made it by me.


Smokey Joe
February 6, 2011, 02:06 PM
with all the other posters who saidSeparate out A-Merc brass and throw it away.EXCEPT that, it is made of brass, and you can turn it in for perfectly good money at a scrapyard--oops, metal recycling business. So, don't just throw it away. Also agree with the "Remington brass has thin walls" sentiment. So I scrap that as well.

What I can't figure out is, how a company that makes nothing but horse-droppings quality ammo, Amerc to be exact, stays in business. Not that I really care; it's just a matter of idle curiosity.

February 6, 2011, 06:28 PM
The one headstamp to stay away from is AMERC. All the others are fine. You may experience a bit of difficulty in priming the S&B cases.

February 6, 2011, 06:33 PM
Stay away rom AMERC brass and military cases with crimped in primers - all the others work well. Some S&B cases are brass plated steel - I would discard them. You also may experience some difficulty in priming the normal S&B cases - in all other aspectsthe S&B brass is excellent.

Carl N. Brown
February 6, 2011, 06:39 PM
I have encountered one brand of .45-70 with an internal volume equivalent to 73 gr and one brand with a volume equivalent to 80 gr.

Similarly, 7.62x51 NATO brass will usually be thicker and have less internal capacity than commercial .308 Win, otherwise considered equivalent brass. And there are variations between makers, and minor variations between lots (production runs) by the same maker.

Seperating brass by maker (preferably keeping lots together) is not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; it is common sense.

February 6, 2011, 09:33 PM
in .45 LC I have brass marked BHA and some with 2 stars with a curved line between them, what do I have?

February 6, 2011, 09:37 PM
in .45 LC I have brass marked BHA and some with 2 stars with a curved line between them, what do I have?
Check out the site I put in the O.P..

February 6, 2011, 10:51 PM
The stars and a line in between them is Starline brand brass. No first hand experience, but everyone seems pretty happy with it.

BHA means Black Hills Ammunition.

This is a cool website if you don't know what your brass symbol or head stamp is... http://cartridgecollectors.org/headstampcodes.htm

February 6, 2011, 11:07 PM
in my experience, Starline is good cause when you buy it new, the flash holes are all centered and mostly de-burred. and when you do the initial trim, they are all VERY close in length = great product. never know with range pickup though

February 6, 2011, 11:51 PM
Another vote condemning AMERC. It's the only ammo I've ever seen, that the primers fall out of new factory rounds:eek:

It happened during a match, one of the shooters had 3 or 4 boxes of brand new American Ammo, and under recoil, the primers would back out of the rounds in the mag, and tie up the gun.

February 7, 2011, 12:16 AM
well I was going to say that s&B and cbc seemed thicker and harder to resize than the other brands, but I was soundly beat to it. I thought cbc was cor-bon though. (it was just a guess.) so I learned something. beyond that all my range brass seems to load up just fine, though I have come across a few that were berdan primed brass cases, and the occasional stupid 9x18 mak case I never notice till after I've seated the bullet and it looks funny.

February 7, 2011, 12:34 AM
I see some people here don't like Remington brass (R-P), I don't see why. I have been using the same 1200 pieces of Remington .38 Special brass for almost 6 years now and not one has failed yet. I also use a lot of Rem 30-06 brass and I have at least 6X reloads on them without any signs of splitting necks.

February 7, 2011, 09:25 PM
Craigman: With 9mm, I deprime with both a Lyman (OLD All American-I think) and a Lee turret press and have zero problems concerning off-center primer holes. Never broke a deprimer with 9K deprimed and ready to load on my bench and over 10K already loaded and shot. I have never trimmed a 9mm case.

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