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Brass and headstamp questions

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Odnar, Apr 10, 2007.

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  1. Odnar

    Odnar Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    I was sorting some brass I found sprouting at the range last weekend (mostly .40 and 9mm). Some of it was Winchester, some Federal, some "R-P" and some "*I*". I identified the R-P as Remington-UMC just by looking through my own stockpile. Anyone know what "*I*" is (I never paid much attention before), and is there a source I can look up commercial headstamps? I know that there are a lot of sources for deciphering military markings.

    Is there any difference, functional or otherwise, between the cases marked "Winchester" and simply "WIN"?

    Do you bother separating by brand when reloading? I have been just for fun, but I don't think it would make much difference for the informal handgun shooting that I do.
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Central WA
    I sort headstamps in handgun ammunition only when I'm trying to build very accurate rounds (say, for silhouette) or when I'm loading at or near maximum pressures. In either case, uniformity can matter, and just hefting different cases will tell you there can be significant differences in different headstamps of the same cartridge--thus, potentially different case volumes and different pressures.

    For ordinary speed-shooting competition like IDPA or just plinkin', where I'm neither needing match accuracy nor pushing the envelope for pressure, I mix'em up.
  3. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Wooster, Ohio
    I posted the same question a while back when i had a brain fart and couldn't think of what the name was on the box the guy was using. "I" is Independance brand ammo. I've loaded their cases with no trouble. I sort by name just to help keep track of what batch I'm in, because I tend to buy in quantity by brand.
  4. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Brass sorting

    Odnar--I shoot Bullseye pistol, so accuracy is important. I go by the advice of the guy who, in my league, is usually the top scorer or the runner-up. His advice is, that with a pistol you're waving about at arms' length (his terminology) there are too many other factors in accurate shooting, to bother with sorting the brass when reloading.

    I came from a rifle reloading background, so when I started pistol reloading and shooting bullseye, I sorted my cases and kept the lots separate, like with rifle. Then I learned that most pistol shooters don't do that. So I held a careful shoot-off: Each of my separate lots, separately, versus a scrambled lot of brass. Guess what: Not a particle of difference in accuracy!

    So I dumped all my carefully sorted lots of cases into a bucket! I also don't retire pistol brass after so many rounds, or any such. The rule is, Shoot 'em 'til they split.

    Now, I DO remove the cases that seem unusually thick--you can tell the difference when you bell-mouth the cases--because they'd have notably less space inside, plus they'd crimp differently. I'm not even sure that that's necessary, but it makes me feel better about my ammo so I continue. These cases are always nickel plated, and usually just 1 or 2 manufacturers. But all the other cases just get loaded together.

    My target brass gets bell-mouthed, and crimped, as little as possible.

    And I do use quality brass: Quite a bit of mine is Starline; all is U. S. brands of brass. No Wolf, no milsurp, no foreign, and also no Amerc brass. (Amerc is the one U. S. ammo company that doesn't seem to care about quality control. Every reloader I've ever talked to agrees that Amerc brass is junk.)

    And currently I'm doing better in Bullseye than ever.
  5. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    I sort all my cases by head stamp...:)
  6. Darth Muffin

    Darth Muffin member

    Nov 9, 2005
    As mentioned the *I* is Independence ammo. I've reloaded it plenty of times with no problems. Probably not the best brass in the world, but plenty functional.

    Personally, I'd pitch the RP stuff. It seems to be very thin brass, such that when I set the crimp on a .40 load using Winchester or Speer brass the bullet ends up loose when the RP brass runs through the same die at the same setting.

    Maybe if you loaded it separately and set the crimp using RP brass it would work... but it's not worth the trouble to me.
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