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Can cases with dented necks be reloaded?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Trebor, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    I have a bunch of LC .30 -'06 cases with dented necks from my Garand op-rod.

    I don't reload yet, but should be starting up this year.

    Can these cases be reloaded or should I sell them for scrap?

    If they can be reloaded, what tool do I need and how do I use it to get rid of the dents? Is it more trouble then it's worth or no big deal?

    Just wondering if I should keep saving these or sort them out from my good brass and sell them to the recyling place. (It's probably a couple hundred cases)
  2. cane

    cane Well-Known Member

    yes they can be reloaded, and normal loading dies should take care of the dents.
  3. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    I've had to use needle nose pliers to open some up enough to fit into the die, but it's doable.

    Just keep a real close eye on them.
  4. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    Ok, they can be reloaded. Good to know. Will they still be able to be reloaded as much as my non-dented cases? I don't want to have to worry about segrating the cases. (Only one of my Garands dents the cases so I have a bunch of non dented cases as well)
  5. DougW

    DougW Well-Known Member

    The dents are not an issue. Use a punch or something to straighten the nexks out then run through the dies when reloading. You don't have to worry about seperating cases. Be sure to full length resize for the M1.
  6. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Yep. Like TexasRifleman says, needle nosed pliers will take out any really bad dents and the sizer die will fix the rest of it. Dents you might eventually see on shoulders are from too much sizer lube. They go away upon firing. Nothing to worry about.
  7. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    Thanks much.

    I don't even have any dies or gear yet. I do have some general reloading info and some info about reloading for the M-1 that I've squirreled away. I'll probably have some more questions after I actually have the time/money to start buying gear.

    At least I know not to trash that brass now though.
  8. 230RN

    230RN Marines on Mt. Curibacci

    You might consider the fact that working the cases the extra bit to iron out the dents might work-harden the necks more than usual.

    To anneal them, stand them neck up in a pan of water about an inch deep, take a propane torch to each neck individually, and when it's red hot, tip it over into the water with the torch tip.

    Unlike steel, brass is softened, or annealed, by quenching in this manner. You will notice the discoloration around the neck and shoulder in unpolished military brass. This is a result of annealing the mil cases at the factory after forming the shoulders and necks and trimming to length.

    Commercial brass does not show this too often because they polish out the discoloration as being "ugly," whereas the military is more concerned with cheapness and production speed. The polishing that commercial brass makers do is totally unnecessary except from a cosmetic standpoint.

    In general, the step is not often necessary if your reloads are midway in power, which is the way I always preferred to reload.

    However, with full power loads, the body of the case tends to stretch into the shoulder and neck, thickening it at the junction of the neck and shoulder. When the cases get this way, it is preferred to either ream the necks or discard the cases.

    The real soultion is to determine what is causing the denting and eliminate it. You mentioned that you have more than one M1 and it might be worthwhile to exchange parts one at a time to see if any such exchange eliminates the problem.

    M1 experts may point to the extractor or ejector as being at fault, or perhaps an eroded gas port such that the bolt retracts too quickly, slamming the ejected cases into the operating handle as it bounces shut. However, I would rather have the experts speak on this. It has been a very very long time since I shot M1s, and, embarrassingly, I cannot even recall whether they had a gas adjustment or not.

    Side note:

    I used to do this annealing process routinely when I was making .243 Winchester cases out of surplus military brass (LC 53 and Den 42). The forming of the neck from the brass of the body of the case left the inside diameter of the case far too small, so I took a Letter C drill to ream them out to the correct ID.

    After all these forming operations, the brass was undoubtedly severely work-hardened, and the above method was what I used to anneal them.

    These remanufactured cases had a slightly lower volume, and were reloaded appropriately, but they resulted in very accurate loads for my .243 Winchester.

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  9. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Use a steel tapered drift punch. Not needle nose pliers...
  10. P-32

    P-32 Well-Known Member

    I've never had to anneal GI brass. Even those with dents. The extraction grooves will be beat up or brass thinned above the web before they need to be annealed. I've gotten as many as 10 reloads for a Garand before I decided the brass was done. I did have some SL 42 brass where the necks started spliting around 10 reloads or so.
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Needle-nose pliers work great!

    But not in the way you might be thinking.

    You don't actually try straightening the case by bending them back into shape with the pliers.

    Instead, just stick the pointy ends in the case and give it a twist.
    Same principal as Bushmasters tapered punch suggestion.
    But the pliers handles give you something to hold onto.

    All you really need to do is open it up enough for the expanding button on the die to enter the case when you size them.
    The die will take care of the rest.

  12. wworker

    wworker Well-Known Member

    When using the punch or needle nose pliers, be careful not to spread the neck too much. I did that on some 223 cases and wasn't able to use them in the resizing die.
  13. slogfilet

    slogfilet Active Member

    I resized a large batch of x39 recently, and there were some pretty good sized dents in some of the necks. To my surprise, the resizing die (a Lee) was able to make them all purty again.

    I did actually toss a few that had creases rather than dents. i don't have much experience, but I would speculate that a crease in a case neck would weaken the metal more than just a round dent (most of the dents are smooth, even though pretty deep.)
  14. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    Don't anneal cases by heating until they glow red, that burns out the zinc and makes them dead soft - too soft. Only heat until a light blue blush shows on the shoulder and quickly tip into the water bath.
  15. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    O K rcmodel. I'll except that method using needle nose pliers, but.....
  16. 230RN

    230RN Marines on Mt. Curibacci

    I should have said a dull red... this varies, of course, with ambient lighting. A dull red in sunlight may be hundreds of degrees hotter than one expects.

    The anneal depends on time as well as temperature, and for quick anneals, the temperature may go as high as 1100 dF, which is about the color of a lighted cigarette sitting in an ashtray.

    As the annealing temperature goes down, more time is required before quenching. The quenching may not be necessary, except that it keeps the remainder of the case from getting too hot by conduction.

    Annealing may never be required if you use lighter loads and the expander button, sizing dies and bullets are all the correct size.

    However, with the extra work-hardening of the neck by ironing out the dents, an anneal may be necessary before too many reloads. Since you have "many" cases, you are probably not going to have to anneal at all. However, since the dents inevitably occur on only one side of the neck, this side will end up being slightly harder than the other. This may result in uncontrolled release of the bullet into the leade of the rifling.

    The main thing in annealing cases is that pains are taken to not anneal the heads of the cases. The heads are work-hardened by punching in the primer pocket and stamping in the lettering.

    There is a modicum of artistry and craft to annealing cases, but the tip-over water bath is the simplest and safest.
  17. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    +1. Taking the time to anneal brass is better saved for high quality brass used in a platform that doesn't beat them up so much.


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