How long is your rifle brass lasting?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MWC1974, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    For rifle, how many reloads are you getting before you start to see signs that it is nearing its end of life.

    For reference, I’m on my 4th reload of my starline brass for 30-06 and I think it’s starting to show signs that it needs to be recycled. See the ring on the right case, it appears to me it’s on its last load. The left is on its second load and is Federal brass.
     

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  2. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    Here is a better pic. Starline to the left and right. Federal in the middle.
     

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  3. reloaded_in_pa
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    reloaded_in_pa Contributing Member

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    A lot of it depends on the brand, not all brass is equal. I have some 270 brass that has been loaded at least 20 times.
     
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  4. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    From 2 to over 20 all depends.
     
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  5. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    A good rule of thumb is 3 to 5. Bright ring isnt necessarily a separation, either. Take the worst one & cut it longitudinally, right thru the ring. If it is separating, it will be obvious. Sometimes it is just an oversized chamber & the sizer leaves the ring in the same place. Neck sizing can help.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
  6. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    Thanks. I always neck size after the first firing. I may cut one of these after it’s next shot to take a look. All in all, I guess I can’t complain about 4 reloads / 5 firings out of the same brass.
     
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  7. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    I like to watch neck after trimming. I can sometimes see the neck craze, just like paint. At that point it is time to toss them. I never have any luck with annealing and when I spot the crazing the next shot will often become a flyer. I've never had a case separation and generally I start with Remington factory cases. My cases last between 5 to 7 loads. I rarely load max and I think that has a lot to do with case life.
     
  8. Kaldor

    Kaldor Member

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    I plan for 10 loadings, especially in a very tight headspaced bolt gun where I'm only seeing 2 thou growth per firing. A 2-3 thou shoulder bump, using a mandrel to set neck tension, and annealing every firing significantly increases brass life I have found. I know I have some LC 223 brass that is over 10 firings.

    Something to look at is how much growth you're seeing every firing. If the headspace is long, that will cause your cases to stretch every firing and significantly reduce lifespan.
     
  9. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    How you resize your brass can make a big difference in case life. If all you do is screw the die down into firm contact with the shellholder then you will likely be over-sizing, pushing the shoulder back only to have it blown forward at each shot, stretching the case and resulting in an eventual case head separation. Backing the die off a bit can still bump the shoulder back enough for easy chambering but can extend case life a lot. Using this technique I have cases in many chamberings which have been fired over 20 times and are still going strong. Those I am not so careful in sizing may last only 4-5 shots.



    .
     
  10. rocirish

    rocirish Member

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    I think Bcwitt nailed it. That ring looks too low to be separation and is probably just where the sizer die stops
     
  11. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    If you are only neck sizing, how could your brass be overworked ?
     
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  12. Airborne Falcon
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    Airborne Falcon Contributing Member

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    Yep ... learned that the hard way. Now I always back off the shellholder a half turn minimum when resizing all my bolty stuff. Sometimes more.

    Small base resizing dies for all my service rifles and ARs.

    I've been getting six or seven reloads out of my 30.06 and .308 bolty brass ... a little more out of my 270 brass. A little less out of my 300 WSM brass.

    45-70 .... I've been playing around with 20 pieces, various loads from the 325 gr FTX to a couple of 500+ grain hard cast boolits and .... Starline Brass appears to be hanging tough on these 20 pieces so far. Next batch will be the 9th go-round for these 20 pieces and they appear to still be going strong.

    I have had really good luck annealing milsurp brass btw and I also do not remember the last time I suffered a base or case head separation.
     
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  13. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    No idea. That’s why I’m asking about the ring?
     
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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Sizing ring pic (.35 remington)
    Expansion at web on .35 Remington case - Case shown unsized after 8th firing - Pic 1.JPG
    Expansion at web on .35 Remington case - Case shown unsized after 8th firing - Pic 2.JPG
     
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  15. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    Thank You, Walkalong. Maybe I’m just seeing rings from the sizing die. I’ll keep an eye on them.
     
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  16. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Check them for the start of an internal rut. (Demonstrated here)
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    All that said, with proper sizing, and reasonable pressure (within SAMMI spec), there is no reason .30-06 brass shouldn't last many firings in a bolt gun.
     
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  18. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    The ring looks like the spot the sizer die stops sizing down on the brass in a slightly larger than normal chamber.
    I anneal every three reloads and control headspace as best I can by partial FL sizing (setting shoulder back) and so far most of my rifle brass ends up bad by having loose primer pockets. Most of it lasts at least 8 reloading cycles when not using max or over, loads.
     
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  19. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    I cut them right thru the case head w a bandsaw. That gives you the veiw you have in Walkalong's pic. Never a bad idea to sacrifice a case or 2.
     
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  20. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    How easy is it to feel the crack.?
    I have these but i do not feel a crack with a paper clip. They are 30.06 loaded with cast data. I have many loadings on them.They were hard to extract.
    20210912_151443.jpg
     
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  21. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

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    Neck sizing dies should not leave marks on the brass body near the base. They only size necks
     
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  22. MWC1974

    MWC1974 Member

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    Thanks Walkalong, and others. Like I mentioned, I’ve been neck sizing so I’m not sure why these marks are showing up. That’s why I asked here. My loads are well below max and I’m shooting them through a bolt action. First time using starline so that maybe the difference? I did notice (visually) the starline brass was thinner then the federal brass when looking down the neck and double checking the powder was dropped. Anyhow, I’ll monitor the brass closely after the next firing.
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    In my semi-auto rifles, I get 4-6 reloadings, even 30-06. My only 30-06 rifles are Garrands.

    I had some 308 Win cases (7.62 NATO) that appearently were fired in a machine gun. It showed evidence of case head separation via the paper clip test after one or two firings. Otherwise, the paper clip test has not been vary accurate for me.

    The only case I neck size is 22 Hornet. The shallow taper of the neck tends to allow the case to stretch and cause case head separation. By neck sizing, I get a few more reloadings as the body of the case is not sized. I only have one 22Hornet rifle.

    If I set up the sizing dies correctly, cases fired in a bolt action rifle last considerably longer than the semi-auto rifles.
     
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  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Not too hard, but sometimes something can feel like one when it's not. Best thing to do is feel inside some cases, and if you think you might feel a rut, cut it open. I did that case on a bench grinder, but a dremel works, cutting them in two with something works....... :)
     
  25. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    Do you have a means of checking headspace in the gun? A gauge or similar? Not a bad idea to check that out & see what you are working with.
     
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