Sorting brass by brand or weight


December 12, 2012, 06:08 PM
Mabey a sily question, but if you have a mixed bag of brass and some of the brands overlap in weight would it be better to sort out the Rem, Fed, Win and Norma headstamps or is the weight the most important. Most of my brass I get "once fired" for dirt cheap from the local range and they have everything mixed in. Is it safe and accurate to use Fed/Rem/Win brass with the same charge if they weigh close to the same?

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December 12, 2012, 06:19 PM
head stamp sorting is way more important, imop. just the differences in case wall thickness is enough for me to sort by manufacturer.


December 12, 2012, 06:25 PM
I sort by head stamp, but not weight.If I was good enough to shoot at the National level, I might sort by weight, but I'm not and I don't. Lightman

Kevin Rohrer
December 12, 2012, 06:40 PM
I sort by brand and allocate one brand to each rifle.

December 12, 2012, 06:51 PM
The way I have been doing it is using one brand for each different load type. For example my Rem brass used for my woods hunting load (usualy a SGK at a sub 2850fps speed) my Federal for my yote blasting load (light HIGH speed poly tipped) and my Prvi for my target loads (high BC bullets at whatever speed that rifle likes the best) and so on. It has worked for me so far, but I was thinking that brass of similar weight would have to have similar wall thickness and case volume no matter what the brand since they all use only slightly different grades of brass.

December 12, 2012, 06:56 PM
if its a low charge plinker like a .223 or a pistol cal, I dont really worry about HS. For rifles its all sorted by # of time fired, HS, and which rifle it came from (if I have 2 rifles in same cal) I havent gotten in to weights yet.....

December 12, 2012, 07:10 PM
I sort by headstamps for sure, for rifle and pistol. I figured the more consistent the better, plus I'm a little OCD. :D

December 12, 2012, 07:13 PM

my post regards, mostly, revolver cartridges and their penchant for pushing bullets out the cylinder during heavy recoil. specifically, the 357 magnum case wall thickness variations between manufacturers.

rifle cartridge cases, on the other hand, are not so dependent on case neck tension for reliable shooting. still, i sort rifle cases by manufacturer.

i still think there are differences in the cases behind the web. rims a little different, primer pockets a bit deeper or shallower, rim cut-outs cut different.

i think all these differences can affect the cartridge weight without affecting the internal case volume. so, i don't put a whole lot of stock in weighing cases.

if i suspected a large difference in case volume, i would check the volume of the case.


December 12, 2012, 08:11 PM
Rifle yes,

Pistol No.

December 12, 2012, 09:18 PM
I keep everything sorted by brand.

December 12, 2012, 09:39 PM
Rifle...maybe...only if chasing accuracy.

Pistol...definitely not.

December 12, 2012, 09:46 PM
I always sort pistol (9mm and .38 Special) brass. One, it gives me another reason to look at each piece, and two, because different brands "feel" different in the press and I think it could madk a problem with a case. I found this particularly with .38 Special brass using a Lee Turret press.

Arkansas Paul
December 12, 2012, 11:52 PM
I never do for pistol.
For rifle, I used to but am thinking more and more that it doesn't matter. At least not for me. Maybe I'm just not good enough to see the difference. I know with my handloads I can take a load of three different head stamps and shoot a moa group. I've done it several times. If your going for competition accuracy where you need much tighter than that, then maybe you have something, but I don't shoot competition.

December 13, 2012, 12:18 AM
Headstamps pistol and rifle.

December 13, 2012, 02:26 AM
for 38, I just sort out the dreaded winchester brass... rp, pmc, agulia, sb, ppu, federal etc brass all easily seats primers. If im not paying attention and load up a box of win without putting that extra pressure on the downstroke while priming, 10% of the brass has high riding primers.

for 223 I keep pmc and RP headstamps together and I separate lc and FC. fc tends to be really short at 1.743ish vs the 1.755 I trim everything else to.

December 13, 2012, 06:03 AM
Rifle yes,

Pistol No.


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evan price
December 13, 2012, 06:20 AM
Pistol hardly ever
Rifle sometimes-
Loading precision rifle, yes. Blasting ammo that's well under max loads for a semi-auto for chasing junk on the berm? Nope.

December 13, 2012, 07:43 AM
Is it safe and accurate to use Fed/Rem/Win brass with the same charge if they weigh close to the same?

I use brass of many diffferent types, but keep it separate and will load different for each. For example in 308 I may load 150's in Rem brass and 165's in Win Brass. It makes it easy to know which is which if I ever get 2 rounds mixed up.

To be honest I cannot really tell any difference between Rem and Win brass and could probably get by loading them interchangeably. I can tell a big difference in Fed brass. With the same powder charge the load will be 50-75 fps faster, and if working close to a max load you may be too hot in a Fed case, and not with the others.

I still use the Fed brass, just reduce the load slightly to get the same velocity and load them with a difffernt type bullet for easy identification. For example I may use 150 gr SP bullets in the Fed cases and 150 gr SST's in Rem brass.

Peter M. Eick
December 14, 2012, 01:36 PM
I sort when I package them up. I find that mixed brass is less accurate in my target grade guns then my production guns. If you are banging away with a factory Glock you might not see the issue, but if you are shooting a Custom Sig 210 you probably will or at least I did.

December 14, 2012, 05:09 PM
For pistol I remove the S&B brass as I'm loading and load the rest mixed.

December 15, 2012, 11:57 AM
Well lets see if I can put this in type ???

I become more cautious/careful & alot more attentive `bout the brass,primer,powder & projectiles as pressures go up !!

I for 1 load my SD ammo , the last 357 rounds took me 2hrs to inspect & asm. 50 rnds.

The last check is that every rnd. must chamber in every revolver used for SD.

Time consuming, yes, cost feasible ?? probably not (factoring in my time) but 110% satisfaction !!!

December 15, 2012, 12:36 PM
I do not sort hand gun cases except to cull undesirable head stamps. If I was shooting competitively, I would shoot only one head stamp.

Rifle, I sometimes sort, sometimes not depending on...

1. I have several rifles that cases are only available from one source (221 Remington, 17 Remington). Not much choice there. Easy to "sort".

2. When i shot Service Rifle, I shot only one brand of cases in my match rifle. My 223 Remington blasting ammunition is mixed head stamp though.

3. I buy less and less mixed head stamp batches of brass and I do not shoot where I can get range cases so i am starting to buy single brands of cases for my various rifles. As the odd head stamps get consumed, they will not be replaced.

When I shot skeet competitively, I settled on buying one brand of ammunition for each gauge. It made reloading the hulls for practice easier as I only had to stock one style of components for each gauge.

I fooled with weighing cases for a while. I am not a good enough shot to see a difference or shoot at a game where it matters so I do not bother weighing cases any more.

December 15, 2012, 12:45 PM
For my rifles, I sort by headstamp, then weight. Some folks think that since their skill isn't that of a benchrest shooter, that it's not important. I think that every advantage I can take with my ammo will help to make my skills better.

December 15, 2012, 02:00 PM
Just remember every inconsistency we remove from the process that`s 1 less problem we have to contend with !

December 15, 2012, 02:48 PM
I only sort when I am working up a load. I do this to control variables. Once satisfied with a load I will load without sorting. If there are any hiccups I will make a note of the head stamp involved to see if the problem was particular to a specific head stamp.....makes sense to me anyway.

December 15, 2012, 02:59 PM
Rifle - yes.
45ACP - for USPSA, no. Shooting for group size, yes.
357 - yes, for me the headstamp affects group size.
T/C Contender - yes.

December 15, 2012, 06:49 PM
Just remember every inconsistency we remove from the process that`s 1 less problem we have to contend with !

You would think so.

But, there are some variables that can be proven statistically to be insignificant and is it really worth the time expenditure.

What are those, well I will admit I cannot say for certain. it seems primer pocket, for one, cleaning has been identified as one variable that does not affect accuracy.

Hondo 60
December 15, 2012, 10:35 PM
I keep everything sorted by brand.

same here.

December 15, 2012, 11:01 PM
I sort handgun for precision SD loads to .5gr variance, to be set aside in the reserve.

Beyond that, I just use winchester primarily for pistol.

When I started on pistol, I sorted more as I was paranoid.... I still do during load development. After that, I just really don't need to unless I want to make a fantastic supermatch batch.

In rifle, I grain sort in 2 whole grain bandwidths for plinking, and "matching" or .1 variation in precision rifle for the reserve.

Reloading is one of those neat areas of handiwork precision where you can make the quality controls as loose, or as tight, as you desire. Folks call me nutty all the time anyway. YMMV

December 16, 2012, 12:47 AM
Rifle : All brass is bought new so it's the same lot, trimmed to length, flash holes uniformed, then sorted by weight. ( GO AHEAD and razz me about OCD!!)
Pistol : If it's in good shape, it works good. Although for my revolver I check the length so when I crimp I'm ok there.

December 19, 2012, 04:05 PM
I aggree with GP100man:

I seperate all my rifle brass by brand.
Keeps things/conditons more predictable.

When I get enough of one kind of brass, I put every case through a full preperation regime.
I like to shoot long range (500-1760 yards).
With this kind of shooting & benchrest, every variable you can control from case concentriciry, shooting form, to firearm construction is invaluable! This way, a shooter only has to worry about the hardest part of precision shooting. "the wind and weather conditions".

December 19, 2012, 04:15 PM

I dont know where you get your facts from, but a consistant bore is of the upmost importance!
A barrel that has bad copper fouling will NEVER shoot as well as it could with a cleaner bore. It is just physics.
Some barrels shoot better with a little fouling, but not a badly
Fouled Barrel.

One of My long range rifles in 300win Mag shoots great out from 500 yards to 1760yds (in good conditions) for about 50-75 rounds. After that precision starts to decay noticably. A quick cleaning puts everything back to normal.
This is a trend for every precision rifle I have ever seen shot.
The only difference is that some rifles/calibers can get more rounds down range before the precision starts to decay.

December 20, 2012, 07:24 PM


December 21, 2012, 06:05 PM
+1 Steve2md said.

THe Dove
December 21, 2012, 07:05 PM
I sort by headstamp. Not by weight.

The Dove

December 24, 2012, 03:54 PM

No problem, someties I am too serious.

Merry Christmas to All you at THR!

December 24, 2012, 08:11 PM
I sort by caliber only but my shooting is for hunting or recreation, nothing competitive.

December 25, 2012, 04:48 PM
Funny I saw this thread I just loaded some rounds 5 of each head stamp all other variables the same to see if there would be a difference from case to case

Molon Labe

December 25, 2012, 05:24 PM
Rifle...maybe...only if chasing accuracy.

Pistol...definitely not.
+1 Agreed

41 Mag
December 26, 2012, 05:44 AM
I normally start out sorting by headstamp. After that I will pick what ever I have the most of and use it to work up loads for what ever I am working on at the time. After I find a good load I will then use the other brands and slowly work it up to see if it shows any measurable differences. Since most of my loads aren't pushing any limits on the cases to begin with I usually find that the differences are minimal, usually in velocity or group size.

For those that I DO workup to a higher pressure I stick with the same brand cases and use the times loaded method of sorting through them.

For handgun loads I have for the most part gone exclusively to Starline in all calibers so I don't sweat much there. I use range pick up and other attained cases for target loads or in places I know I may not get my cases back.

December 26, 2012, 10:54 AM
I scanned the comments and didn't notice anyone mentioning case capacity. IMO that's the most important thing with rifle cartridges since pressure differences would occur between brands that have different case capacities. I have found that Winchester brass has more case capacity but usually weighs less than Remington cases. This is interpreted by me to mean that Winchester brass is thinner than Remington so I prefer to use Remington brass for maximum loads. This is more for my personal peace of mind than any other reason but I think it matters.
If you want to cram more powder into a case with a compressed load, then Winchester brass should allow that.

The above only applies to the calibers that I load for since I haven't checked out every caliber.

December 27, 2012, 10:02 PM
I sort and load everything for rifle and handgun by headstamp (& year if appropriate) and times fired. If loading a run with same bullet, charge & primer and I must change to a different cartridge case, that's a new lot number & different labeling/packaging.

December 27, 2012, 10:11 PM
Mel, that's a LOT of labelling and packaging, and therefore a lot of small batches. How can you be sure the odd case does'nt cross over from one batch to another, either at the range, in the field, or during the cleaning/reloading process?

December 28, 2012, 07:49 AM
Mixed head stamp case for pistol as most pistol shooters shoot at spitting distances. If you are on the verge of being a national champion at the 50yd line then your perspective would be different.

With rifle at 200yds and under it makes not that much difference to sort cases by head stamp or weight. Do what ever you want at 300 yds. At 500yds and beyond its head stamp sorted then sorted by weight with the same head stamp.

December 28, 2012, 08:08 AM
i always sort by head for me 5-6 shots one hole

December 28, 2012, 08:57 AM
I too sort by head stamp for most cartridges I reload with the exception of .38 special or .44 Mag low-power cast-bullet/wadcutter loads. Sorting by head stamp is VERY important if you are reloading high-intensity pistol cartridges like .40S&W, 10mm, and .357 Sig for semi-auto pistols. With these cartridges, case length, neck tension and taper-crimp must be correct and uniform to prevent bullet set-back during chambering which can (and has) result in a Ka-Boom and possible embarrassment.

December 30, 2012, 05:11 PM
It's not too onerous if one shoots, recovers, bags, cleans, stores, and reloads by lot number (of course then assigning a new lot number). It helps to buy factory ammo by multiple boxes or case lots and new brass 500 or 1000 at a time and then keeping each of them together in their respective groups.

December 31, 2012, 01:33 PM
Whenever I acquire a big lot of brass that I'm not going to use immediately, I tend to sort out the major headstamps and squirrel away some of them.

I dunno why I do this, cuz once I put them into the rotation, they are as mixed up as the rest. I'll have matching headstamps on the first reloading, only.

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