How much brass do you buy

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AJC1, Jun 3, 2021.


How much brass do you buy.

  1. I buy all of it.

  2. I buy brass for my competition guns only.

  3. Buy brass, people leave this stuff everywhere for free

  4. Not much only when I dont have another option.

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

    Jun 29, 2013
    You really didn't have an option for me. I buy once used .380 brass because I come home with less brass than I go with. I bought brand new starline .357, .44 mag brass because I don't like the factory loads, most are too hard, so I just bought enough brass to last me a lifetime. 9mm I come home with more than I leave with, don't need to buy it. .38 I have enough, I might buy once used if I need more, but I have enough. 44 spl, I have enough for what my wife shoots. So I buy brass for special needs.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  2. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

    May 10, 2005
    Kingsport Tennessee
    I mostly reload commercial cartridge brass fired in my guns.

    Rarely I have bought brass for handloading cartridges I did not have commercial ammo for.

    Off the top of my head, I have bought
    _ .38 S&W brass for a BP revolver
    _ 6.5x52mm brass necked for .268" bullets
    _ .45 AutoRim brass to handload for a cut .455 Webley No1 MkIV
    one hundred each of those plus 40 .30-30 and 20 .303 Brit brass I bought new for experimenting in BP cartridge.

    That's versus thousands of reloads of commercial cartridge brass fired in my guns.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  3. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    I generally buy once fired brass from other individuals as needed. I've only bought a dozen or so .38 Special boxes of ammo, so I've bought probably close to 3,000 pieces of brass for reloading. At about $.05 a piece I consider the cost negligible. I recently found 1,600 wadcutter cases for $100. Similar situation with 300 Blackout. I've probably shot 2 boxes of factory ammo and bought 2,000 pieces of converted brass. I think I bought 1,000 pieces of .45 ACP to supplement my brass. During normal times you can find people selling common brass for cheap.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  4. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

    Apr 26, 2015
    I've bought exactly 1 bag of 100 9mm brass once when I was out of town (away from my inventory) and needed a few cases.
    When I get a new caliber I buy good quality ammo and reuse the brass.
    I'm not saying I'm against buying new brass, I've just never had a reason to. If I got into competitive shooting I'm sure I'd want to get some good Lapua or Starline.
  5. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

    Dec 1, 2020
    I've seen fist-fights between brass chickens on open ranges before. Not my thing.

    I'm not retired yet so my time is still my most valuable commodity. I buy brass cheaper online and from the indoor range than my time picking it up is worth. I added up the time it takes to gather all my brass a couple of times and applied my hourly compensation rate to that time. For common pistol calibers, semi-auto not revolver (those I eject into a box and take with me) it cost me more to pickup and process my own brass and everything laying nearby than it costs to buy wet-cleaned, decapped, sorted brass for one caliber online. I leave my semi-auto brass lay at the indoor range as my contribution to the club; and then sometimes I buy it at a discount from their buyer, cleaned and ready to load. Sometimes he's more than my usual online suppliers, though.

    I do pickup brass at the outdoor range for my rifles - but just rifles and revolvers. Unless it's old stuff that's on its last loading because of stressed necks or bases. That stuff I leave for the brass chickens to fight over.
    cfullgraf and AJC1 like this.
  6. Warpiece

    Warpiece Member

    Jun 26, 2012
    I had been trying to buy most of it in the form of factory ammo, but after multiple squibs I started going the once fired route for certain calibers like 9mm. I don't care for most factory ammo, but it's something I could give other people to shoot without worrying about my reloads. That fear went away after a string of squibs from wwb!

    With prices like they are for ammo, and components, it's getting hard to tell which way makes more economical sense.

    My range has multiple members that show up to police the brass like a full time job, it isn't really laying around for free, I'm lucky if I leave with a much as I brought.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2021
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  7. KentM

    KentM Member

    Jan 2, 2021
    For 9mm and .223/5.56 I pick up range brass. Actually, I have so much 9mm that I don't even bother to pick it up anymore, and I don't need to re-use previously reloaded 9mm shells.

    For .223 I keep my own previously reloaded shells for future use, but so far I've always had more than enough once-fired brass that I haven't had to reload any cases a second time. The "Twice-fired" bucket just keeps getting fuller and fuller.

    The only brass I buy is 300 AAC. There's hardly ever any to pick up on the range I use, and converting it from .223 is more of a pain than it is worth.

    When I think of all the work I put into making that annealer that I've never used... But it was fun making it.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  8. Bazoo

    Bazoo Member

    Apr 21, 2021
    Cecilia, Ky
    I both buy brass new and used and scavenge brass. I shoot on my private farm, and other than a friend who doesn't reload, have no free source. My friend though has an itchy trigger finger and I end up with a lot of 9mm, 38special, and 45 auto.

    He's to stingy to shoot any rifle calibers, and over the 8 years or so we've shot together, I've gotten less than a batch of 50 of 30-06 and 30-30 from him. When times are plentiful, reloading isn't something he'd consider. Not that he would reload in lean times either.

    I've bought new 30-30 brass as well as loaded ammo. I will only use fired rifle brass if it's known firing. Mostly I avoid rifle brass from forums as unknown.

    Pistol brass is different though and I'll gladly buy it if it's a good price and I need some. I can always trade some of the free brass I get too. I trade all the 9mm brass, 40, and any of the undesirable headstamped 38 and 45 brass for calibers I need.

    I recently traded 500 38 special cases for 250 357 magnum cases.
    AJC1 and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  9. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

    Jul 6, 2017
    I buy all of it

    Well, not quite. I haven't ever bought .45acp brass. But all the other cartridges are Starline. Most is purchased, and a small minority is from factory ammo which I pick up after shooting.
  10. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    I’ve scrounged brass left at ranges, kept new factory ammo brass I’ve just shot, bought once fired or other used range brass and bought new brass in bags from stores or bulk buys on line.

    I don’t discriminate when I’m stocking up...or when I buy a gun in a new caliber. :thumbup:

    Stay safe.
  11. swg1

    swg1 Member

    Feb 15, 2020
    Always bought all of it. Staring at a box that holds fifty and I only recovered 49 pieces is enough to drive me to distraction. Picking up unknown range brass tickles that OCD part of my brain as well. It's not easy being a lazy perfectionist. :confused:
  12. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

    May 25, 2011
    Piney Woods of East Texas
    When I lived in the city I shot at a indoor range and was able to collet all the brass I needed. Since I moved out to the county and have my own range I no longer have a source for range brass. A couple of friends I use to shoot with save me there brass for when ever we hook up. Normally they come to visit and shoot. Since there was no rifle range close by we did not shoot rifles much. But since I now have a rifle range setup for 300 yrds, they find it very convenient. One does not reload so I end up with his brass.

    So now I buy my rifle brass if I need some and pistol if it's a new caliber to me. I have enough pistol brass to last my life time and then some.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  13. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    My options are 1) Buying new brass, 2) buying factory rounds and keeping the brass, and 3) scrounging brass from the range.

    I haven't bought factory centerfire rounds in I don't know how long. The factories rarely offer exactly what I want, and all of it is horrifyingly expensive as far as I am concerned.

    My local indoor ranges all have "no scrounging" rules. One even has a "If it hits the floor it's ours" rule, meaning that even if you drop a piece of your own brass you're not allowed to pick it up. (I haven't been back since they instituted that silly rule, and don't plan to). That leaves brass from the outdoor ranges: dirty, stepped on, lord knows what it's already been through.

    So I buy all my brass. I don't really see any reasonable alternative.

    <edit> Every once in a blue moon I will see someone dumping his just-fired factory brass onto the ground. If it's something I use, I'll ask the guy if I can have it, and so far have never been turned down. So I have gotten a total of a few hundred once-fired cases in .357, .44 Magnum, and even 500 S&W that way - but it's so rare as to be negligible.
    kcofohio and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  14. Klaatu Barada Nikto
    • Contributing Member

    Klaatu Barada Nikto Contributing Member

    Dec 10, 2020
    Greenville, SC
    A buddy of mine finally retired from the USAF in 2017 as a Chief Master Sergeant.
    For the last 3 or 4 years he was in he'd take a plastic trash can and a snow shovel out to the range and collect up brass. Then about once a month I'd ride my M\C down from Greenville to Sumter and fill the saddle bags with brass.
    Have plenty of 7.62x51, 5.56 and 45 Auto, just wish I would have grabbed some 9mm.
  15. MFInc

    MFInc Member

    Dec 5, 2020
    I just picked up some new 10mm auto and .40 S+W cases today(Starline).I have bought those same and new 9mm as well for specific HP loads, and load development. Plus I don't have to Bulge bust it :) The 10mm is for another pistol I'm building, and 10mm is HARD to find at the range lol... I found 7 out of about 700 pistol cases I had picked up. Which is most of my stash with the factory ammo cases I've kept. But I always seem to come home with more brass than what I shot...
    kcofohio and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  16. mokin

    mokin Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Western Colorado
    It depends. I haven't bought 9mm or 5.56 brass. Other cartridges like .303 British and .308 Winchester, I'll buy loaded rounds for the brass. For the really hard to find, .357 SIG, 6.5 Carcano, I'll buy it.
    kcofohio, MFInc and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  17. NapalmMan67

    NapalmMan67 Member

    May 2, 2013
    With an old lady in her shoe.
    A mixture of.

    Bought some once fired from a few members here. I've also bought some new 7,35 Carcano, 45 AR and 50 BEO before... but I've never seen those for pickup anywhere at a range.

    Most of my 9 Luger has been from range pick up over the years, the last few years has been slim pickens though. Majority of my .38 Special is from my dad, who got about 800 cases from a local PD practice range back in the late 70s. My .357 and .308 is mostly factory ammo I unloaded. Mixed in the .38/.357 is some I inherited from my Grandpa.

    kcofohio, MFInc and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  18. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

    Jan 29, 2021
    Shamokin/Coal twp Pa.
    I did buy 500 10mm starline brass. When i was getting ready to order my 10mm 1911. Most of my brass is range recovered. I did buy 100 10mm loaded ammo at the start of the craziness to replace some of my cracked casings. I did also buy some 45 colt brass from scheels in the spring.
    kcofohio, MFInc and AJC1 like this.
  19. ATCDoktor

    ATCDoktor Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Here of late (due to shortages/panic buying) I’ve been buying “once fired” rifle brass (243, 22-250, 30-06, 30/30) when my supplier has it available.

    I only buy when It’s all the same manufacturer, all the same headstamp and of course the price has to be inline with what I believe is proper.
    kcofohio likes this.
  20. mstreddy

    mstreddy Member

    Jul 15, 2010
    SE Fla -- land of sunshine, liquid and otherwise.
    As many here, I buy brass for the uncommon calibers that you won't find on the ground. 32 ACP, bought once fired from a couple of the online vendors. A batch of 223 converted to 300 Blackout when I was starting out with that cartridge from someone on this or the other forum. And of course, you don't see much 303 Brit, or reloadable 7.62x54 brass, 30-40 Krag, 7.7 Jap, 7.5 Swiss, 6.5 Jap, 6.5 Swede, 6.5 Carcano or even 8MM around the ground here. And of course since I got into the other .32 handguns, I had to buy new 32 S&W Long and 327 Mag.
    For the common - 9MM, 40 S&W, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, 45 ACP -- plenty on the ground for me to pick up. Even 223, and 308. And it helped that my rich uncle would "give" me some once-fired from the range too.
    kcofohio, MFInc and AJC1 like this.
  21. DRM7997

    DRM7997 Member

    Jul 20, 2020
    I do both. I've bought my 7mm mauser and 35 Remington brass. For my 35 whelen and 9.3x57 mauser I make it out of 30-06. I use lake city for 9.3x57 and hxp for the whelen. I never have to buy 308 or 30-06. My buddies don't reload. They give or sell me the brass from their m1 garand or m1a range sessions. I greatly appreciate it!
    kcofohio likes this.
  22. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    A few years ago I found a couple somewhere on the east coast that had access to indoor range brass for chump change (9mm $7/1000,40/$8.00 and 45/$9.00 The brass was all commercial from an indoor range and sorted (they tumbled it too) I ordered 20,000 of each and a couple of weeks later my porch was covered with flat rate boxes. For less than a cent each I wasn't going to crawl around at the range picking up brass. Other than "exotic" cartridges I haven't needed to even look.
    merlynski and kcofohio like this.
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    Most of my pistol brass is range brass, some I bought, like .32 ACP, but most I picked up, including .380, 9MM, .38 Spl, .357 Mag, .40 S&W, .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .45 ACP. I bought my .32 Long, .32 Mag, .32-20, .400 Corbon, & .41 Mag.

    90% of my .223 is range brass I picked up, and I would be OK with it all being range brass. When you have a lot, been picking it up for decades, you can sort out a pretty nice batch if you need to.

    I have a lot of .308 range brass, but bought my "match" (Lapua) .308 brass. My .30-30 brass is range brass, I bought my .35 Remington, my .30-06 is range brass, I bought my .458 Win Mag. I bought my .22 Hornet brass, my .222 brass (No longer have the gun), and my .222 Mag brass.

    I bought my 6 Dasher brass naturally. I bought my Hornady 6 Creed brass (Gave the rifle to my nephew to shoot PRS with, and so far he's using factory ammo). I have 100+ 6.5 Creed brass and sorted out 50+ Hornady cases to start loading for my older brother one of these days, and he's saving his factory Hornady brass.

    I shoot a lot more pistol calibers than rifle calibers. I tend to be more serious with rifle (Have a purpose), where I shoot pistols for fun.
    Skgreen, kcofohio, AJC1 and 1 other person like this.
  24. snuzzo29

    snuzzo29 Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    I have bought new rifle brass for my hunting rifle and new 10mm brass. Everything else is brass from factory ammo I shot, friends shot and gave to me, or picked up at the range.
    kcofohio and AJC1 like this.
  25. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

    Dec 24, 2018
    Northern illinois
    Things I won't find , I buy. I bought 1,000 starline 454 casull cases because there's none of that laying around. 357 magnum I have never bought new, just loaded what I have and I've bought from "once fired" or whatever a few times. I get it where I can. I'm lucky too, a friend of mine on this forum works at a range and gives me some awesome brass when he finds it laying around. So a mix of everything but I'll generally only buy new for cartridges that aren't common.
    kcofohio, Walkalong and AJC1 like this.
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