Reloading aluminum and steel cases

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by milsurpguy, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    I have loaded GI steel 45 cases from the 50’s several times with carbide dies, no lube with no problems. Have not tried the recent black steel cases. I assume they are polymer coated whereas the GI cases were zinc plated.
    Aluminum cases are reserved for dummy action testing rounds. Since I don’t have any live rounds in aluminum, they are readily apparent as dummies.
     
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  2. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I used to buy them by the case ($2.99/50 rounds) as they were cheaper to buy loaded rounds than components to reload.

    I learned quickly to chamber, then unload and inspect the round. As the case is not as strong as a brass case and some firearms buckle them upon chambering or set the bullet back. Like this and this is new ammunition, the problem won’t get any better after they have been fired once.



    I quit using it in bulk (again new and never reloaded) once I had a firing pin stop look like it had been cut by a plasma cutter.

    5B33B69C-D334-4ED2-8931-F22852CCDC8B.jpeg

    Although it didn’t damage mine, I later had a fellow competitor tell me he had to change out the breechface before, due to erosion from using aluminum cased ammunition.

    Not unlike this but he was lucky enough to have damaged one on a pistol that had a replaceable breechface vs having to get another slide.

    FCE9E327-AC33-40CA-BEF4-0DC8F2602A18.jpeg

    Might be stuff to keep an eye on in the future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  3. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    I have bucket loads of brass, no reason to change.
     
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  4. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    Yeah I have a camp carbine in 45aarp and it's kind of hard on rounds.
    For 9mm the Beretta 92fs strips them off the magazine and goes just about straight into the chamber.

    So are the primers in fired aluminum cases loose letting gas by or what?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  5. hdbiker

    hdbiker Member

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    I reloaded boxer primed .45 acp aluminum cases once just for grins. worked great... hdbiker
     
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  6. n2omike

    n2omike Member

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    Interesting discussion. All I have to add, is to not automatically believe all brass is reloadable! I picked up a ton of .308 and it was Berden primed BRASS. Figured it out after bending the sizer/decapper on the first one... LOL
     
  7. tmd16556

    tmd16556 Member

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    I guess I have reloaded a lot of steel headed shotshells. They can go a long time but the pressures are low and the plastic holds a good bit of it too.
     
  8. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    But the big question is WHY?? What caliber?

    There is not shortage of brass
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Maybe an extension of his 9mm for deer thread. Perspectives in what could be done vs what should be done.?
     
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  10. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    If you pick up the two piece Shell Shock Tech 9mm stainless/aluminum cases it takes a special die to reload those. The cases have to be pushed out of the die with spring pressure to keep them from separating the two parts.
    Case-Separation.jpg
     
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  11. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I think I'd be more worried about them doing that in the chamber.........:eek:
     
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  12. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Every time someone thinks they have built a better mousetrap--------------:scrutiny: Oh well!
     
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  13. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    Yeah I got a few thousand of those.
    That "spring" is a peice of rubber or neoprene, maybe polyurethane.
    Turns put I may already have some shellshock dies.
    Got an old Lee 357mag die set and the decap pin has a bit of rubber on it that helps push out the shell. Just swap the decap pin to the 9mm die, which is also Lee and should be good.
     
  14. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Plus not like the question or idea has not been proposed since time began!:uhoh:
     
  15. AK Hunter

    AK Hunter Member

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    Me too that's why I never tried to reload the two piece cases.

    I have tried my luck at reloading aluminum & steel without much luck.
    The aluminum was easy to reload but you could only get at most two reloads before the primer pocket stretched to the point it wouldn't hold a primer anymore.
    The steel is a little more forgiving but only to a point. They have to be inspected much more carefully because it can break in places brass never will. Believe it or not steel cases are softer than brass. They will rip out with a grain structure that looks like sintered metal (also known as powdered metal). I had a bunch of the .308 cases that I was using do just that at the extractor rim. It hung the case in the chamber so it shut down my shooting for that range trip. I started carrying a aluminum rod with me to knock out the stuck cases on days I was shooting steel.
    308-steel.jpg

    In my honest option you need to stay with brass cases, it's had all the bugs worked out of the process by now I hope.
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Aluminum cases I load one and done. Perfect for shooting in the winter when you don't want to/can't look for cases.
     
  17. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    The primers go in the aluminums pretty easy. A little too easy maybe.
     
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  18. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    I think beat bet is reload them 1x, or could end up with cases that I wasted time sizing, flaring, just to have the primer fall out, barely stick in there, have to remove it, or have the spent primer fall out into the gun after the shot has fired.
    Oh I'm going to load them on the soft side.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  19. milsurpguy

    milsurpguy member

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    If I can push the primer out by hand with a punch it's too loose and I toss the case.
     
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  20. Bcwitt

    Bcwitt Member

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    I have dabbled w reloading steel 45 acp cases. I feel it is hard on the dies , sometimes it just doesn't crimp. Often yields a loose cartridge. I had one of them split lengthwise. That was the last time I messed w that.
     
  21. GarandMan94

    GarandMan94 Member

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  22. N555

    N555 Member

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    I have reloaded aluminum 45acp and 9mm just to see what would happen. Primers went in solid on all the 45acp and I had a few loose primers on the 9mm maybe 5% had loose primers which I didn't load, set aside and removed and re used the primers.
    45s were more likely to split when seating the bullet, had about 1% or 2% do that, I don't think any 9mm split when seating.
    Only reloaded them once.

    I reload some berdan cases, just get a berdan decapping tool.
     
  23. OTShooter

    OTShooter Member

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    Steel, Boxer primed pistol cases are useful for times when you're not going to be able to recover your cases. They're no harder on your dies than brass is. I've run tons of steel .45 cases through mine without any issue. On the other hand, except for Winchester's steel 9mm cases, you need to be careful when considering loading steel 9mm; some brands have steps inside the case that reduce capacity enough to make a "safe in brass" load really, really hot.

    Aluminum cases are a lot more challenging though. They size fine, but they are very difficult to taper crimp. And they fail pretty quickly too. I use them exclusively for making dummy rounds - both "function testing" dummies, and loading dummies (used to verify seating depth adjustments).
     
  24. roval

    roval Member

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    ...and people used to complain about small pistol primed 45 ACP.
     
  25. N555

    N555 Member

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    I love small primer 45acp.
    No one wants them, sometimes I get them for free, when buying it 1x fired (allegedly) is 10% to 30% cheaper than large primer and it's usually available.
     
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