Chamber Specific Brass Life


June 11, 2012, 08:31 PM
So, I'm used to having to FL size all the brass for autoloaders and levers, this bolt gun "Chamber specific" thing is new to me.

I like it.

Curious though.... I'm used to getting rid of cases at some point due to all the sizing.

These aren't moving any.... I mean any. Its been 4-5 firings on some of them, and my trimmer doesn't do anything to the length whatsoever.

The cases are formed real good to the chamber.... I didn't know it worked that well.

At some point do you just pitch 'em for posterity, or ???

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June 11, 2012, 08:34 PM
As long as there is no "rut" inside above the case head, and the necks are still elastic enough to hold a bullet well, you're good to go. If the cases work harden too much, but are still sound, you can anneal them to get more life from them.

June 12, 2012, 09:09 AM
I have cases with 20-30 firings on them. I have never done anything but NS. I FL & trimed them when I first get them but after that NS & load.

June 12, 2012, 09:32 AM
As long as there is no "rut" inside above the case head, and the necks are still elastic enough to hold a bullet well, you're good to go. If the cases work harden too much, but are still sound, you can anneal them to get more life from them.

... and the primer pockets are still tight enough.

Besides peering into the case with a flashlight to look for the rut, you can feel one developing with a paperclip, end bent to form a small hook.

June 12, 2012, 11:57 AM
I had the opportunity to acquire 22,000+ cases by the pound, in 5 gallon buckets from my favorite iron and metal recycler in NY, new, once fired. Minding my own business at the Dallas Market Hall Gun show, someone says I have a few dies for sale, I purchased 7 boxes, most were listed in the Special Order Catalog from RCBS, then the Dealer said something about ‘being serious’ and gave me a contact number, I called, the man had 2,200 cases for sale, a trunk full of cases, most were cases I formed because of cost . He made me a deal and threw in a RCBS Reloader Special press and a RCBS case trimmer (with one collet) and all the pilots. I found 4 collets for the trimmer for $12.00,

Then someone walks up and informs the builder of his rifle the rifle has head space problems, the builder ask the proud owner of the rifle to bring it to the shop anytime, the builder examined the case he claimed to show evidence of excessive head space????? The proud owner then moved down the line, I did not get involved, until, they were through, it was then I ask to see the case. After examining the case, I ask, “Is this the only case you have, are you firing it over and over and over” I then explained to him, “The case he handed me was sooooo thin it would not survive the lowering of the ram after sizing” and that did not go over very well, the builder of the rifle then ask to see the case again.

To avoid the appearance of two ‘ganging up’ the builder sent the proud owner of the custom build type rifle to a third party with the instructions “Take this case to table # X, isle # and then ask him what he thinks without telling him who built the rifle and, do not tell him the part where this is the only case you have”. In about 30 minutes the proud owner returned, unhappy, seems the third party pulled the case apart, measured the thickness of the case body and ask “Is the only case you have to shoot, are you shooting this case over and over and over??

the proud owner was not happy with the third party, seems he was offended by the the technique and methods used by the old smith, the old smith informed the owner of the case .0025 thousandths is ok for paper, but when a case is fired to the point it can just support itself when stood up, it is long past its useful life. I offered to form 200 cases for his rifle, I suppose I could have misunderstood the question, it is possible the case he handed me was one of 100, if he was looking for attention? he got it.

I understand the order of importance as in, “I get 100 firings out of my cases” I will tell you! that shooter/reloader is a better reloader/shooter/owner of a better rifle/owner of better cases than I am at reloading for the rifles I shoot and they own better equipment than I own and they have methods and techniques that that exceeds my abilities. There is nothing for me to gain to by going for a world record when it comes to case life, in my opinion there is no way to verify the claim and in the real world I have suggested the person making the claim could have lost count.

Back to the proud owner of the thin case and rifle, he had to work at it to get that case that thin, or he acquired the case from the person that shot the case until there was little case body left, guessing where the case came from was not the question. I have cases that that were thin and on the verge of coming apart and fired once, the case heads were flatten, the primer pockets were blown open along with the flash holes with a hint of ever having a head stamp. And no, the rifle did not handle like a doll buggy, I was told the receivers were suspect because etc., etc.. They were not suspect.

F. Guffey

June 12, 2012, 12:08 PM
A useful story, Guff.

I'm just curious though, as my cases really can't be getting any thinner. The brass isn't moving. It isn't moving in the neck, or anywhere else I can measure.

I neck size them back into spec to hold a bullet- so thats expanding out, and getting worked back in... but they aren't growing in length.

I guess I'll probably have neck splits long before I have anything even close to head failure in this scenario.

I'm not super stingy about brass life- a little better life was an excuse to chamber form and neck size....but I didn't expect this kind of a result. This chamber is a lot more uniform and "true" than anything i've ever worked with.

June 12, 2012, 03:27 PM
I have started "just" neck sizing my .223 cases, however, its been suggested to me to FL size them about every 3 or 4 times, just to keep the brass thickness even. Sound logical? Some of this brass has been reloaded 4 times, before I started the NS only routine, it had been FL resized before that, so...... I'm going to keep an alert eye on those cases now, might need to toss soon!

June 12, 2012, 04:53 PM
Kinda depends ham... on semiauto brass, its recommended to FL every time, for reliability and feeding.

On bolts, kinda a person preference.

I don't see a reason to FL if the brass isn't moving, as is my case. FL'ing won't do anything other than push it back to SAAMI spec, or whatever I set it to...which I don't want.

June 12, 2012, 06:45 PM
I've had (what I think are) some cases getting slightly tough to chamber after 5 or 6 neck-size only reloadings on my 308 Rem 700. The cases were used with different pressures during load development, but they've all been shot about the same number of times since their last full-length resize.

June 13, 2012, 04:47 PM
It is pretty impressive as what necking brass does for case life. I used to get 4-5 cycles from my high powered rifle brass prior to necking. Now I see 12-15 cycles before I begin to see signs, which still show up just above the head. I'm real finicky about my necking process and think that is why I rarely experience any neck splits. I don't resize the entire neck down to the shoulder, this is to avoid over working the brass in that area. And since I seat as high as possible, it isn't really necessary to run the neck sizer down that far any way.


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