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Mil Surplus reloading components?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Jasper1573, May 31, 2011.

  1. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    Has anyone had any experience/problems using mil surp reloading components? I recently purchased some reclaimed mil surp powder from M118LR rounds, supposedly equivalent to the Reloder 15 canister grade I normally reload. The fellow who sold it to me said it shoots the same as Reloder 15, and I find that to be reasonably true, but since I started using the powder, I have had a couple of case separations and today I noticed that bright ring just above the base of a couple of cases indicating an impending case separation. They haven't been complete separations, but enough to make me wonder. The brass I am using is Lake City once fired brass, and I have only reloaded it a time or two. My understanding is that LC once fired brass should last longer than its commercial counterparts. I am using 43.2 grains of Reloder 15/mil surp powder behind a 175 grain SMK at 2625 fps. Any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    If you have some canister reloader 15 left load a few with it and fire them. measure the case to see how much it expanded. Also note what the primer looks like (Flatten primers does not always mean over pressure). Then load some with surp powder and shoot them and compare your observations. If your FL resizing the die may leave a ring on the brass where it stops resizing. To tell if the brass is seperating run a paper clip or thin wire inside the case as you can feel a notch where the brass is thininng if it is seperating. Also what type of gun are you using (semi auto or bolt), are you FL resizing, and how many times has the brass been reloaded. Most LC surplus brass that I have came across seems thicker and has less case volume therefore use lower powder charge. How does the 2625 velocity compare with canister powder's velocity. With the info provided and assuming that you are Full Length resizing it sounds more like a headspace issue than over pressure. Can you post pictures of both the seperated cases as well as the ones with the ring. As you go through the fire and resize cycles the brass swells and stretches to fill the chamber. The brass seems to stretch from the area in front of the case's web. You then bump the shoulder back in Fl resizing and fire again. When you resize it again it stretches from this point
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  3. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    Powder does not cause case head separations. Excessive headspace, whether it is rifle chamber related or induced by bumping the case shoulder back too far, is the cause of this. Bend the tip of a paper clip at a 90 degree angle and run it down the inside of one of your cases with a bright ring on it. If it is indeed an impending case head separation, you will feel a "groove" at that point on the inside of the case. Would suggest you back your resizing die out the next time you reload, and gradually screw it back in until the brass just chambers, or use a RCBS Precision Mic to set up your resizing die.

  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I agree powder type, or pressure of the load has nothing to do with case head separations.

    You are pushing the shoulder back too far during FL sizing and creating excess headspace for your gun.

    Try backing the sizing die out until you can feel just slight resistance when closing the bolt on a sized case.

    That is near zero headspace in your chamber, and should go far in preventing excess case stretching.

  5. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    I full length resized then fire formed these Lake City brass in my Rem 700 bolt action .308 Winchester. Since then I have only done a partial neck sizing on them as I have read that puts less pressure on the brass. Out of hundreds that I have loaded and fired, I have had two case separations and a couple showing a bright ring. The load isn't that hot, and with only sizing the neck, there shouldn't be a shoulder issue, should there?
  6. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    Is the once fired actually once fired? Did you remove the crimp yourself? I have never had a case separate so I can't offer any help there. As for using pull down stuff I play with all kinds of it. Mostly powder but I've sent a few bullets down range & have a few thousand brass. I just ordered 7500 projectiles today.

    Problems:I used some powder & its equivalent powders load data with some pulled bullets. The first shouts at starting load was fine the next .2gr higher popped the primers. I scrached my head thought I got something mixed up loaded the one .4gr over starting load & couldn't get the bolt back. I used a brass rod to knock the bolt back & the neck was split. All were pulled down & measured with no faults found. I reclaimed everything & worked up different loads that all seemed fine. I will not try that powder/bullet combo again.

    RC & USSR give good advice so I would lean hard to what they are saying. Wish I could be more help.
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Follow Don's advice with the paper clip. Your LC may have been fired in a machine gun. Machine gun brass is not expected to be reloaded as machine guns have huge chambers.

    This is what the internal ring looks like in a sectioned case. You will feel it with a paper clip.

  9. Seedtick

    Seedtick Well-Known Member

  10. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    Can't guarantee that the LC brass is once-fired, but the folks I bought it from swear that it is actually once-fired. I am pretty sure it was fired from a machine gun because of the heavy extractor indentation just below the shoulder.

    I got myself a paper clip and checked out the inside of the casing with the shiny ring just above the base of the case, and sure enough, I could feel a slight rut or indentation on the inside of the brass case.

    I will try backing out the sizing die a bit and see if that helps. I will eventually get myself a headspace gage. Any recommendations other than RCBS?
  11. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I use a crap pile of surplus components when reloading and have had great success with everything. Just know that sometimes case capacity differs or bullets may be inaccurate compared to the match type but that is reflected in the reduced cost of them.:D
  12. 06

    06 Well-Known Member

    Really got a surprise in a 1200 rd buy of surplus 308 brass. It turned out to be mostly LC Match. Just tickled-passed some on to my son who likes to play with his sniper buds at Bragg.
  13. fguffey

    fguffey Well-Known Member

    To me? sounds like bad habits, a reloader can acquire bad habits when loading off the Internet. For years I have said "I prefer commercial R-P brass over military brass, and no one on this forum can tell me why, and here we are talking about two problems that may or may not be related, case head separation and high pressure.

    ....and I said to him, "I could have told you the case head would separate and or fail before you got to the range to test fire and or fire form your cases" and I said "Had I been at the range when you had a case to fail when forming I could have fixed the problem" to catch some of you up, he had 5 failures out of ten fired cases...and I am not saying the 5 cases that did not fail were good to go, and Hatcher moved the shoulder forward .080 thousands and fire formed his cases to the Hatcher 30/06 modified (+.080) and the case heads did not separate.

    and again I check head space without a go, no or beyond gage.

    F. Guffey
  14. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    Fortunately, I have only had two failures out of about 400 cases and a couple that indicate an impending failure...so failure rate is around .5%. I can handle that as far as cost goes since these LC brass are less than 1/2 price of new brass; however, I am concerned about the long term effect on the rifle. I intend to continue firing them and see how it goes...still neck sizing the ones I have already put through my rifle, and moving the sizing die back a turn or two on the ones I haven't fired yet. Does this sound like a wise way to proceed?
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    There is not much you can do with brass that already has so much case stretch that you feel a ring.

    Brass is only expected to stretch about .006" without rupture. Your brass may have been stretched this much and there is no way to "fix it". It is used up.

    If you feel a ring, dump the brass.

    That is not what you want to hear, but it is the safetest path.
  16. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    Yep, I am now inspecting each piece of brass before firing, and if inspecting indicates a potential separation, I am pitching it in the junk pile. The vast majority of the brass looks fine for now and will go another reloading or two, hopefully more. Even if I only get 4 reloads out of the brass without case separation, it will cost only 5 cents per case. I have a good amount, at least a couple of hundred, that I have reloaded twice, and they look okay. Thanks for the info...still looking for recommendations on head space gages.
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    No doubt about it.

    I have been using a single .35 Remington case to check velocities with different powders to see which will give me the velocity range I want. I found it at the range and I have fired it 8 times. I use a homemade gauge to check how far I push the shoulder back and there are absolutely no internal signs of case head separation after 9 (Minimum) firings. The PP is still tight as well. Three or four of these firings have been full loads.

    Home made shoulder bump gauge for .35 Rem

    You can see where the sizer stops. Sometimes folks think that "line" there is signs of case head separation, but it is not.

    Remington brand .35 Remington case, fired at least 9 times.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  18. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Well-Known Member

    Brass from machine guns generally can't be reloaded many times due to the extreme resizing to get the brass back to the correct specs. Machine guns have very loose chambers and the brass really expands in their chambers. My M1A will show signs of case head seps after 1 firing with LC machine gun brass. I can generally get about 6 loadings out of once fired LC rifle brass, before pitching them.
  19. Jasper1573

    Jasper1573 Well-Known Member

    I went out to my reloading press yesterday, and did as suggested above. I found I could back the FL sizing die out about 1/3 of a turn and still chamber the round. That isn't much of a difference, but may be enough to allow the LC brass to last longer...we'll see.

    Again, thanks for all the input.

  20. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Not sure if it's been mentioned but once-fired LC military case will still have the primer pocket crimp. It's a positive proof that the case is once-fired.

    If the crimp has been removed, who knows how many times it's been reloaded? :rolleyes:

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