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All factory brass ok to reload?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Potatohead, Jun 19, 2013.

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  1. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Hey guys and gals,
    Trying to learn all i can about reloading right now, havent started to actually do it yet. Of course im keeping all of my range brass and trying to build a little stockpile (9mm,380,223), bringing it home, tumbling and storing. Question is: Is pretty much all factory brass ok to reload? I just dont want to be collecting and tumbling all of this brass and find out later that i cant use this or cant use that. Im pretty much shooting the basic ammo brands i guess: PPU, Federal HydraShocks, Fiocchi, A couple different Winchesters, Magtech, PMC, Master (i think these may be reloaded already?), S&B, Blazer, Remington cheapies, Federal cheapies, American Eagle...Any comments on brand characteristics/tendencies would be appreciated also. Thanks very much Sorry for long post..
     
  2. bds

    bds Member

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    If they "are" brass, I would say so.

    Some S&B cases are brass plated steel cases and you should test them with a magnet. ;)
     
  3. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Thx BDS, just making sure im not cleaning these up for the scrapyard. Even the silver "looking" cases can be brass right? Like these Low Recoil Hydra Shocks, correct? Or if its not brass colored, its not brass? (im far from a metallurgist as you can tell)
     
  4. Canuck-IL

    Canuck-IL Member

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    I would skip Amerc headstamps - it's only alleged to be brass.

    /Bryan
     
  5. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    Nickel cases are harder on the dies over time. All factory ammo is reloadable unless it is stated like CCI"s ammo which some is aluminum cased, it says on the bottom of the case "N/R" meaning Not Reloadable.

    For 9mm and 223, if your picking up everything at the range, meaning other peoples brass, look to make sure it is boxer primed. Boxer primed is just one flash hole. Scrap or separate anything that has 2 holes, because it will break decapping pins.

    Ive picked up a lot of peoples brass, reloads and non reloads, and I've reloaded it all. Except for mentioned above, aluminum cases, berdan primed (2 flash hole), and nickel.

    Nickel can be reloaded, i don't because it is harder on the dies, and i don't come across it much. It is perfectly fine to reload, i just like all my brass to be brass.
     
  6. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    awesome. thanks for the info. So is some brass not brass colored though, or are those more likely aluminum ? Does all brass have to be that goldish/brassy color in other words? I know that probably sounds pretty stupid
     
  7. mdi

    mdi Member

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    FWIW; Nickel plated cases may be harder but you would need to reload tens of thousands or rounds in steel dies, and prolly hundreds of thousands cases in carbide dies. Theoretically hard nickel plated brass will wear out hardened, polished steel dies, but in real life nope...

    I've been reloading .38 Special since '69 and .357 shortly thereafter. I have about 2,500 .38 Special cases with about 10% nickel plated and 1,000 .357 Magnum cases and 50-75 nickel cases. I have reloaded some of the nickel .38s so many times the nickel is worn off in spots (about 40 of them) using the same set of dies I purchased in '80. Everything is still running like new...

    In all the time I've reloaded the only brass unfit for reloading is Amerc. Cheap brass alloy, sloppy tolerances. Everything else I've picked up, except aluminum, I've reloaded (I tried some steel 45 ACP cases once, but really not necessary, brass is plentiful).
     
  8. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    Also be careful with Federal rifle brass, I've heard from a couple sources it's softer than normal leading itself to fewer loadings and signs of wear showing up faster (case head separation, cracked necks, ect.)
     
  9. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Great info guys. But yall are scaring me about this aluminum. Are my "silver colored" cases not brass? Scratch that-Is it possible for brass to be "silver colored" or is brass only brass colored?
     
  10. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    There is a very obvious difference between Blazer Aluminum Cases and Nickel plated brass. The aluminum is much lighter and just plain looks like aluminum. You can tell just by looking or drop it on a hard surface and you hear the difference,

    Also on your 223 Remington, it may be military brass and have crimped primers, so to reload it you need to remove the crimp either with a swaging tool or reaming it out.

    Get a heavy magnet. I use an old speaker magnet and run it through you assorted range brass, it will pull out the steel cases and staples and other junk.
     
  11. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

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    If the surface has a matte silverish appearance it is aluminum or steel. Toss those out. The shiny, almost polished looking silver ones are nickel plated brass. These are fine to reload. They usually originate from top shelf defensive type factory loadings.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  12. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    another question: is it ok to chunk my brass in a gallon ziploc? or do i need to put them in something like they originally came in (the little trays that come in the factory boxes)
     
  13. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    Steel cases don't look like brass and are not supposed to be reloaded.
    Some people will waste their time reloading steel cases but for all intents and purposes are non reloadable.
    Aluminum cases which are also non reloadable are a dull grey in color and are noticeably lighter than their brass counterparts.

    Nickel plated brass is almost chrome like and is definitely reloadable.
    It has a little shorter lifespan than non plated brass but is pretty.

    If you are looking at brass colored brass the next thing to do is shine a light into the case to ensure there is only a single flash hole.
    This is what is referred to as boxer primed brass and that is what you want.
    For all intents and purposes all American brands of brass will be boxer primed.
    Eastern European surplus ammo may be berdan primed (2 flash holes) and for all intents and purposes unreloadable.
    It can be reloaded but it is a slow and tedious process left for others who are shooting firearms where boxer primed brass doesn't exist.
     
  14. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Great! thanks for the info so far
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes.

    Also coffee cans with snap-on lids, Tupperware & Glad storage containers, etc.

    rc
     
  16. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    So the funky looking Blazer brand that ive always been scared to buy (not Blazer brass) is aluminum. I gotcha
     
  17. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    SWEEET! Thanks you all. Be glad when i get a press, im ready to jump in! Getting tired of sorting and then resorting my brass because i have nothing else to do. What else could i be doing? De-priming? Is that tool fairly available?
     
  18. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    I'd recommend tumbling the brass as soon as you get it. Fresh crud is a lot easier to remove than old crud which seems to harden with age. I tumble my brass clean by adding a little Nufunish car polish to the media which leaves a thin layer of protection and helps keep the brass from tarnishing as quickly. Then off they go into Zip-Lock gallon freezer bags until I'm ready to load them.

    Good pointers about watching for Berdan primed brass. There's more and more of it turning up as people become more desperate to find ammo. Trying to deprime Berdan brass is like trying to put a 5-lugged wheel on a 6-stud brake drum. Ain't no way it will go.
     
  19. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Here is my fired brass out in the shed waiting to be tumbled when I need it. After it gets tumbled I bring it inside and put it in plastic containers, cardboard boxes etc where it waits to be loaded.
     
  21. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    nice. this is a long way off for me but do you all just do the plastic container thing for the live loaded finished product too? Or do you put them back into factory trays? I guess what im gettin at is -will i need all these factory trays one day ,do you think? or just trash em? Everyone may do something different, dont know
     
  22. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    I think that's mostly rumor. Back in the early 1980s Federal made brass for the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA). I've still got cases that have been loaded dozens of times, without a single case failure. These are in 7MM IHMSA, which is a .300 Savage necked down to 7mm, with a blown out shoulder like a AI case.

    I've used Federal brass in a bunch of calibers, with no problems.
     
  23. Potatohead

    Potatohead Member

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    Interesting.That reminds me: how many times can you reload brass? Im sure it varies but, generally speaking with decent brass.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  25. CZ9shooter

    CZ9shooter Member

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    Nearly any outdoors type of place sells plastic boxes for neatly storing and labeling reloaded rounds. At least for most of the popular handgun rounds. I guess I've never really looked for rifle calibers, but I would assume they are there. Anyway, they're pretty inexpensive and highly convenient.

    I reloaded in bulk a time or two and in that case I just use whatever container I can find. I once filled two of the larger plastic coffe cans with 9mm ammo.
     
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