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.357 brass lifespan - low pressure loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by anothernewb, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. anothernewb

    anothernewb Well-Known Member

    With target loads (700-900fps), and mild crimp - anyone got a reasonable expectation of lifespan of the brass?

    Most of my loads are 2.5 or 2.8gr Trail Boss and 148 swagged HBWC.

    Will be working up some loads of 231 and 158gr LSWC.

    Got a deal on 1000 used brass, and am wondering if I should consider picking up a few more.
  2. homatok

    homatok Well-Known Member

    Useable life of those cases with low level loads---decades+++

    More brass?---always good!
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    WIth those loads?


    I have old .38 Spl brass that has beem loaded so many times you can't read the headstamps too easily.

    Eventually, you will get case neck cracks.
    But it will be a long while if it is good brass to start with.

  4. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Well-Known Member

    Good question.

    I've been using the same couple hundred brass cases for 158 gr LSWC over 6 gr of Unique, for a while now. I think they're on their 9th or 10th cycle.
  5. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    At those loads, minimizing the belling/crimp becomes the limiting factor.
  6. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Well-Known Member

    Low loads, you can get many loads out of them before showing signs of real wear.

    As far as a number of loadings, only the brass can tell you that, no one can say a definite answer because of several factors, manufacture, quality of brass, care of brass.
  7. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Well-Known Member

    I've been loading the same 357mag brass for over 20 yrs at higher pressures than that. Yours should last you a very long time.
  8. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    IME what kills 357 mag brass is resizing and crimping. If you are loading light loads the cases wont take as much abuse in resizing and you wont have to crimp as much. I have 357 cases that have seen 14.5gr of 2400 under a 158gr SWC at least 15 to 20 times and have no issues, and those get a fairly good crimp.

    My favorite light load is a 158gr SWC with 4.2gr AA#2. I dont know that this load will ever wear out a piece of brass.
  9. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    If all I had were 357 cases, at the very least I would't crimp them. Neck tension should be enough to hold the bullets in for 5 light shots. I would even experiment with loading them unsized to see if I could eliminate any additional wear on sizing them.
  10. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Reload them until they crack or won't hold a primer. A few cases will always fail before others. You will quit counting long before the most of the cases die.
  11. Mango88

    Mango88 Well-Known Member

    I recently disposed of some .38 S&W Special brass that I had been reloading for at least 30 years and it wasn't new when I acquired it.
  12. 918v

    918v Well-Known Member

    Back in the 80's Guns and Ammo reloaded a 38 Special case 100 times before the case mouth cracked.
  13. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    I had some brass that I reloaded 20 times.
    I just wasn't confident it would last much longer.

    There was no evidence that it was failing, it may have lasted another 20.
    With low pressure loads, brass will last a lllooonnnggggg time.

    BUT - to me, more brass is good! :D
  14. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    more brass is always a good thing..
  15. anothernewb

    anothernewb Well-Known Member

    good to know! I've got a few 45 acp that have 15 loads on them now and are still going strong. I've heard that those last forever because a light taper crimp doesn't overwork the brass. Seems to be the consensus that most brass in low pressure loads as long as it's not work hardened lasts nearly longer than the shooter.

    I've got a 2 ice cream pails of 38spl brass that I got from an estate sale too, had the .357 cases first though, so those have been my working set.

    Really starting to get the feel for why the 38/357 has survived this long. really flexible range of loads, and the revolvers are just plain sweet. Have a 6" GP100 and a 4" 586 now, and a el cheapo Taurus m82 on the way (cause I just couldn't say no to less than 2 bills...) I can see myself becoming a revolver whore in the not so distant future.
  16. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

    quit worrying about it, and load 'em till they crack..
  17. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    And when they do crack, trim and make 38 special brass.
  18. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Well-Known Member

  19. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Even my H110 full tilt .357 mag brass lasts more relaods than I have been able to accurately keep track of.


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