When reloading for a rifle do you seperate brass by headstamp?


October 23, 2011, 06:01 PM
I'm sure this has been asked before, but I didn't see it. Someone on another forum said something that got me wondering. Do most of you separate the brass by the headstamp when reloading for a rifle? Also, what about a pistol? If so why? If not, why?

I personally don't as I shot each one to make sure they shot to the same poi and then made sure I wasn't getting pressure signs from any of the brass, and then I just tossed it in a pile and started reloading it all. I separate it by the number of times it's been fired, but most of the batches I load up have mixed headstamps as I find I will have 4-6 of each headstamp on the same firing, and find that if I try to separate it into lots of different headstamps and times fired I have a ton of different lots with 5 or 6 rounds in each.?

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October 23, 2011, 06:06 PM
I separate rifle, depending on the application. For high levels of accuracy, everything possible to get accuracy gets done. For cannon fodder, not much gets done.

For pistol, I don't do any pistol shooting requiring extreme levels of accuracy beyond 25 yards. If I shot bullseye, I would.

just my .02,


October 23, 2011, 06:20 PM
Those shooting on a 400 lb concrete bench and with 40 pounds of sand bags might see a difference, but out to 300 yards I will shoot mixed headstamp brass in Highpower competition. The course of fire is standing slow fire, sitting rapid fire at 200 yards. At 300 yards you shoot prone rapid fire. Came close to shooting a clean once standing, sitting and prone rapid have shot lots of cleans.

Of course the accuracy standard of a highpower shooter shooting from slung positions is different from a bench shooter. What you find if you shoot enough is that human errors of sight alignment, stock position, and trigger pull, out weigh most ammunition induced errors.

I know many outstanding shooters who shoot same headstamp at each distance.

I am also shooting small bore prone, you would not believe how sensitive to wind those things are, and of course, how sensitive the game is to the same old problems of sight alignment and trigger pull.

When I get to long range, I shoot same headstamp. I believe it can make a difference at 600 yards, I am not going to waste a match experimenting with mixed headstamps at 600 yards, all the good F class guys shoot same headstamp at 1000. Everything makes a difference at 1000 yards. Some F class shooters I know weigh cases and loaded rounds. You can get as anal in your reloading practices as you want at long distance. Wonít make a difference if you canít read the wind. Six hundred yards is a long way, no one game hunting should be shooting at that distance because you donít get fouling shots or wind shots hunting.

October 23, 2011, 08:20 PM
Most assuredly Yes, for sure!!


Master Blaster
October 23, 2011, 08:33 PM
I reload .308, and .223 (7.62, and 5.56) mostly these days, and its for accuracy. All my current brass is Lake City 1x fired so I sort it by head stamp year, some folks sort it by weight after that. Every little bit helps.

October 23, 2011, 08:55 PM
Depends, (not adult sized diapers)
If what I am loading is junk rounds for pinking, no.
If what I am loading is even distantly approaching being a 'hot' load, yes.
If what I am loading is to be fired in any of my more accurate weapons, yes.
If what I am loading may be used for hunting, yes.

Pistol stuff, not so stringent. The 'hot' loads, yes. Also hunting loads, yes.

I would like to know what all of these guys do with their 'second' fired brass. I will shoot mine till old age takes them away.


October 23, 2011, 10:15 PM
Absolutely, for my serious bench use.
Actually, I'm kinda past range pickups anymore, and usually just purchase new, in the brand of my choosing. I have gotten to like Lapua brass, and although it's expensive, it is consistent quality stuff.


October 24, 2011, 12:31 AM
if you reload for a 308 or 223 service rifle, the military brass will be much thicker than commercial brass. the military brass will require a reduction in powder charge to prevent excessive pressures. the sierra manual states a one or two grain reduction for military brass when loading for the 308.

i segregate.


October 24, 2011, 11:30 AM
the military brass will be much thicker than commercial brass.Not always so, especially with 5.56 brass.

I have 1,000 new Rem commercial .223 that is much heavier/thicker then my old LC GI 5.56 brass.

I haven't messed with enough recent 7.62 / .308 brass to say one way or another.


tightgroup tiger
October 24, 2011, 04:45 PM
I hate range brass, unless I get it the same day it was dropped. I only use one head stamp of brass for accuracy.

Yes, I definately sort headstamps for my longguns.

October 24, 2011, 06:44 PM

I find enough difference in various brands of pistol cases to warrant culling out specific brands in 45acp. With rifle brass, it's easier to sort by headstamp and focus on a specific brand to eliminate that variable.

Carl N. Brown
October 24, 2011, 06:49 PM
Yes I sort by maker, even for .38 Special, even though the variation between manufacturers does not mean much when I am dumpin 3grs to 5 grs Unique in .38Spl cases that can hold 21gr FFFg easily. (I shoot revolver and leveraction carbine in 38Spl and .357Mag.)

October 24, 2011, 06:50 PM
Yes. I group everything by head stamp and work that set of brass until they are all finished. Then they are further weeded down to quality before loading and further after that.

I go shoot at the Appleseeds and get a lot of once fired brass in front of me. I finally broke down and picked up a brass/acorn catcher so I don't have to crawl on my knees for quarters.

October 24, 2011, 11:35 PM
I don't always separate, it depends on what I'm loading up for. My pistol brass gets spearated and kept trimmed to same length. HP brass is kept trimmed to same lengths, but only in certain applications do I sort it according to head stamp. I actually feel weight is more important to me personally, than is head stamp.

October 25, 2011, 12:56 AM
I do separate my brass for both rifle and handgun reloading although it's much less important with handgun brass. (but I can't help myself!)

Friendly, Don't Fire!
October 25, 2011, 01:08 AM
For many pistol rounds, no.
For my accurate rifle, yes, I only will use Winchester brass.

October 27, 2011, 02:13 PM
I want 1 moa or better for long range big game hunting.
I want 0.5 moa or better for varmint hunting.

I do not shoot competitively.

So I mix brass all the time, as it does not matter to me.

Jeff H
October 27, 2011, 04:10 PM
For my accurate rifle, yes, I only will use Winchester brass.

Just curious why you think Win brass is better then all the other offerings?

Back to the question at hand: My wife got all of the OCD tendencies in my house. It is hard for me to sit down long enough to even sort the brass for my accuracy loads that I know need to be sorted. If is isn't something that I plan on shooting at 200+ yds, it doesn't get sorted.

Plinking rifle brass, pistol and revolver brass doesn't get sorted except by caliber.

October 27, 2011, 06:46 PM
I separate my rifle brass always, but for most pistol loadings i do not.

October 28, 2011, 01:07 AM
I separate my rifle brass by headstamp and year if it is available. I use certain headstamps with certain loads (max or near max loads and don't want to change any components). For plinking, I have a bucket of mixed h/s stuff that works perfectly fine.

For pistol, it is currently separated, but that is how I started and just can't get myself to mix them. Would my accuracy suffer? Not likely, but certain headstamps require more work then others so I keep them separated so I know what I am getting into.

Miata Mike
October 28, 2011, 10:20 PM
I am kind of thinking that for bolt action rifles at least, keeping your fire formed cases separate from range brass is worth the effort. I tried neck sizing a handful of .270 Winchester brass that had been shot out of my Savage 110 with very good results today.

If it's not a bolt action, I think it might help to sort by head stamps if at all possible.

October 28, 2011, 11:17 PM

October 28, 2011, 11:43 PM
For rifle, by stamp, by year when available, by number of firings and separately for each gun.

Pistol is sorted just by headstamp for consistent feel in reloading.

October 29, 2011, 06:41 AM

October 29, 2011, 07:55 AM
Only for rifles. I experimented at 100 yards with different cases with everything else exactly the same. You do get some variation in POI, even more so than shooting for groups. With a handgun at 25 yards or less, which is all I use them for, it made no difference whatsoever.

October 29, 2011, 03:31 PM
Picked up some factory sako 308 loaded rounds in original boxes at a sale for $5 a box Bargan!, shot fine though 15+yo, when i tried reloading them with my std heavy load 42 gr 748 under a 180 speer it fills the cases to the top of the neck!. My other brass is rp, lapua, privi and federal (im a bit of a magpie for spare cases) and have never noticed a problem. Will save them for varmit loads. I do keep track of the number of firings, only neck size and case length gauge every 3 firings.
I guess if the powder fits shoot it.

Hondo 60
October 30, 2011, 04:45 PM
I wouldn't think of mixing headstamps for rifle cartridges.
I don't even like mixing straight-walled handgun cases.

October 30, 2011, 06:03 PM
I don't even mix brass of different lots!

October 30, 2011, 06:53 PM
For those who separate, do you have different loads for different cases? Do you go ad far as using different powders in different cases? There are so many variables it is mind boggling.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

October 30, 2011, 07:06 PM
Y E S ! i also weight them and sort them that way as well. unless they are to be loaded as "plinking" rounds. then i just pile in a set amount of powder, and seat a bullet. anything other than plinkers, accuracy is king. so i take all the steps to ensure that everything is as close as humanly possible. i do every trick i can, weather the rounds are for target shooting, or hunting. even though it would be a cold day in he** before i would shoot an animal in the eye at any real distance, i like all of my ammo to be that accurate. if i could find a quick way of measuring the internal case capacity of each case, i would do that. but the only way i have of doing it take a long, long time to do. and i do not have THAT MUCH time on my hands!

October 31, 2011, 05:57 PM
do you have different loads for different cases?
I'm not quite sure what you mean by that query ... if I have some 223 cases from Lapua which are distinctly heavier than a batch of LC, they'll get a different load.

Similarly, 2 different rifles in the same caliber may well prefer a different loading of the same or a different powder.

Mind you, those are both on the OCD end of the continuum ... high power shooters have long ago demonstrated that there are a handful [of less than absolute max] of loads with which any decent service rifle will shoot X-ring at 600 yards ... time spent tinkering with such loads is better spent on the line rather than obsessing over loads.

ETA: [....]

October 31, 2011, 06:02 PM
Like many others I seperate. I shoot Lake City brass most of the time, I seperate by year as well.

Mind you, those are both on the OCD end of the continuum ... high power shooters have long ago demonstrated that there are a handful of loads with which any decent service rifle will shoot X-ring at 600 yards ... time spent tinkering with such loads is better spent on the line rather than obsessing over loads.

A true statement.

November 1, 2011, 08:55 PM
I'll set aside any high quality rifle brass for golf ball shoots. these get separated by head stamp and weight

otherwise it's only separated by caliber

November 1, 2011, 11:38 PM

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