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Inclusion in WWII 30-06 Brass?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Swampman, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    My brother came to visit and brought his new (to him) M1D with an original M84 scope. Since we wanted to get in a good bit of shooting, I loaded up 100 rounds using the only heavy military 30-06 brass that I had on hand (It was old TW-42 that I'd received as virgin, loaded M2, AP rounds a couple of years ago) in order to supplement the two boxes of Hornady "Match" 30-06 M1 Garand ammo that he'd purchased ($42.99 per 20 round box!) :eek:
    I pulled the bullets, dumped the powder and then (carefully) deprimed and reprimed the cases with fresh CCI #34s. I then loaded them up with 168 grain Hornady A-MAX bullets over 46 grains of IMR 4895, seated to 3.270" (over the 3.240" suggested in the Hornady manual, but it exactly matched the factory loads with the same bullet).
    The shooting went great and I gained a lot of respect for the M1D as a sniper rifle. There were no problems whatsoever with the rifle or ammo when we were shooting.
    However when I cleaned and inspected the brass today, I found this:


    This was the headstamp:

    I apologize for the lousy cell phone pics, but it's the best I've got at the moment.
    It looks like there was a solid piece of copper somehow formed into the case when it was made. I looked into the case with an otoscope and it appears that the piece of copper goes all the way through the case (I tried getting a pic of this but no dice), there are also numerous small cracks around the copper which don't really show up well in the photos.
    Does anyone out there have any knowledge of how such an inclusion could occur?
    Was this sort of thing common under the pressures of wartime production?
    I guess this shows that everything wasn't made better in "The good old days".
  2. .22-5-40

    .22-5-40 Well-Known Member

    Hello, Swampman..Those were pretty hectic times as far as production of all sorts were concerned! Remember the scrap metal drives..probably not the most homogeneous alloys..but there WAS a war on...And they only were intended to be fired once! My Dad worked in the Tool Room at AC Spark Plug in Flint, MI during the war..he said things got so busy, they couldn't take a lunch break...recalled many a day running a Monarch lathe with sandwich in one hand.
  3. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    If it is only one case that is not as bad as some commercial brand cases failure rates these days according to other posts seen on various forums. Yeah that could be an isolated problem and shows why one should inspect each piece of brass before reloading. I know some that don't bother:eek: It held together OK and as stated they were not assembled with the thought of reloading in mind and with maximum speed so it is a wonder there were not more problems associated with the period. I also wonder if the surplus was actually factory seconds that over the years had the documentation lost and then sold as prime without anyone being aware of problems. Just saying.:scrutiny:
  4. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    That's not an inclusion. That's just a spot of corrosion on the case. I use brass with small spots like that all the time without incident. If you had a really big spot, 1/4 inch or so, I might toss the brass, but that one is fine. Anyway, what's one piece of brass worth, 15 cents maybe? If in doubt, toss it.
  5. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    As I stated in my first post, it is visible from both the inside and outside of the case. It is also surrounded by small cracks in the brass. I appears to be a chunk of fairly pure copper that somehow got into the brass during the production process.

    I've been reloading for 37 years and have seen all sorts of corrosion on cases.
    This isn't corrosion.
    I have no intention of reloading the case again, I was just wondering if anyone had seen or heard of such a defect before. I was also hoping that someone with knowledge of the brass drawing and forming process might be able to explain how it could have happened.
  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Well if it is not corrosion then it is a brass flaw.

    Production levels were stepped up in 1942 and the most important thing was to get stuff out there.

    It did not have to be perfect, and if it went bang, that was good enough for the period.
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Cases are punched out in flat circular "slugs" from a huge roll of cartridge brass.

    Then progressively drawn in forming dies until final shape of the case is attained.

    A piece of copper in the raw cartridge brass alloy would be very unlikely, as it has been smelted to completely melt and blend the brass & zinc, poured into ingots, rolled flat while hot, then wound onto big rolls.

    So I'd have to guess a scrap piece of bullet jacket? or perhaps copper wire? from overhead lighting or electrical repair got dropped in one of the punch press dies by accident.

    At any rate, I have never seen anything like in it 50+ years reloading.
    So I'd say it was just a one-time fluke accident with some copper scrap of some kind.

    On the other hand, maybe it's not copper at all.
    Maybe some workman lost a finger in a punch press and thats his gold wedding ring! :what:

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  8. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

    Thanks rc!
    The copper wire dropped into a forming die sounds a lot more plausible than anything I was able to come up with.
    I like it a LOT more than the wedding ring scenario! :barf:
  9. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    Seems to measure up to the brass flaws on the case mouth.

    Brass from the WW's ? Well...... Like many have said, speed was of the essence.

    Into the heap it goes... Check 'em all really carefully !
  10. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    Don't underestimate what people will put into presses. I owned a company for many years using brass to manufacture our product, and we purchased in excess of 100,000 pounds of various brass alloys in strip annually. I've never seen any inclusions like yours, but I have had employees put starlight mints, pennies, acorns, bottle caps, and various other things under the stamping dies before operating the press, pushing the foreign objects into the brass, or in a few cases, cracking the stamping dies themselves. Never a wedding ring, however.

    Those offending employees that we knew about had very short careers.

    In more than one instance, we had employees lose fingertips in the punch presses because they didn't follow safety regulations or bypassed them, but that's for another post. :uhoh:
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I looks like bad corrosion that has been tumbled off in SS media. Just guessing though.
  12. fguffey

    fguffey Well-Known Member

    And? of course, there is electrolysis, a little acid, dissimilar metals. For short runs I clean cases with a home made spinner, the process also works when I want to show off with bright shiny cases.

    The spinner will destroy a case neck that has been compromised and those ‘corrosive spots’ will not go away after polishing /surface cleaning. For me life is too short and I have too many cases to take a chance on a case that is questionable.

    TW, Twin City Arsenal: Federal was not in the business of making metallic cartridges, at the time Federal loaded shotgun only, and the government said “You do now”. Federal made a very serious effort to catch up, “wasn't made better”, 1942 was the first year of production at TW. TW had 30 plus lines. The dissimilar color indicate something foreign got included into the process when the case was stamped.

    F. Guffey

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