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Reuse of brass?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by North of 49th, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. North of 49th

    North of 49th Member

    Sep 30, 2007

    if there is a simple answer to this question then i must have missed it somewhere. Now I must warn you all that I am a serious noob when it comes to reloading. Now my question: How many times can you reload the same shell?
    I am looking at reloading mainly rifle such as 7mm Rem Mag and 30-06 sprg
  2. dwave

    dwave Member

    Jan 28, 2006
    The wonderful United States
    Depends on the brass really, I get around 7-10 reloads out of my Winchester .303. Straight walled carts. I can get more.
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    If you size for a bolt gun, are using standard rimless cases, and you are only setting the shoulder of your case maybe .003” or so, you can reload that case until the case necks split, or the primers fall out of the pocket. I took a set of LC64 cases 22 reloads in a M1a. Still have them. They are well used.

    By proper sizing technics you can use brass for a very long time, unfortunately without a cartridge headspace gage, you really don't know what you are doing when you size rifle cases. Sure, the sizing dies come with instructions, but the set up instructions given with sizing dies assume a lot of things. And seldom following the instructions do you ever get the brass sized to the correct length.

    If possible you would like to set back the case shoulder about .003” from the fully expanded condition it comes out from the rifle. In no case do you ever want to size it more than .006” as you are likely to get a case head separation on the next firing. Sometimes following the instructions that come with the sizing die you will not be able to even set the shoulder back enough to avoid a crush fit in the rifle chamber. In a few instances I have had to grind material off the bottom of a sizing die to get it to set the case shoulder back enough. Just take the instructions that the factory sends with their dies, and toss out the part that tells you to size to the shellholder. Or shellholder plus a ¼ turn. You will find that such guidance is inaccurate at best, rubbish on the average.

    To properly size cases to a correct length you need case gages. I really like the Wilson type case gage. You size your round and drop it in the gage. This gage measures the distance between shoulder and base. It is a "go" and "no Go" gage. And it is a true measurement, as I have dropped my chamber headspace gages in my wilson gages and found perfect agreement between them. You want to size your case between “go” and “no go”, and for my rifles, I size everything to gage minimum.

    If you want to try an experiment, size the case following the factory sizing die instructions. Then measure the sized case length with your case gage. If the case is between the “go” and “no go” of the gage, go buy a lottery ticket. Because it is your lucky day and you are going to win the lottery. What you will probably see is a case that is over length. On a few occasions you will see an underlength case.

    This web site is really useful for showing how to use case gages. I recommend looking at the pictures, and it explains the special case gages needed for the belted cartridges.


    The midsection of the Wilson gage is cut big. It only measures headspace. What the Wilson type gage and the other functionally equivalent gages do not measure is "fatness". This is an important measurement for gas guns and should be controlled. With a gas gun, you do not want any resistance to bolt closure due to overlong cases or over fat cases. It is a safety consideration for gas rifles with free floating firing pins, it is a reliability consideration for the other few actions. The answer is not to reduce the case length excessively, for then you risk headspace separation. The answer is to use small base dies in conjunction with case gages.
  4. SDC

    SDC Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    People's Republic of Canada
    It mainly depends on how you are resizing your brass; if you're full-length resizing, this cuts down on the number of loads you're going to get out of a case, but it lets you use that ammo in any rifle of that calibre; if you're only neck sizing, it may or may not work in other rifles, but it should last longer. Regardless, this is one of the reasons why you should take a close look at each case you're planning on loading, especially if your loads are on the hot side. A common sign of impending separation (a very bad thing) is if you start to see a bright line of brass around the case, because it shows that the brass is stretching and thinning out in that spot.
  5. GP100man

    GP100man Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Tabor City, NC.
    on a bolt rifle i push the shoulder back enuff to close the bolt reliabily. i have 06 casing that still show no seperation signs with 10 loadings .

  6. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    S. C. Florida
    If you use fairly light loads, cases will last a long time. At max loads they wear out a lot quicker. But either way, it's still cheaper then buying a bullet in a brand new case from the store.
  7. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

    Feb 24, 2005
    Southeastern Pa.
    About 45 years ago a friend gave me two boxes of Federal once fired .30-'06 empties.
    I have used this same brass for my deer hunting since then.
    I shoot a few rounds to "sight in" and a few actually hunting so I may have re-loaded the cases about six times.
    Neck- sized only, 46 grs. 4064, 180 gr Remington Core/Lokt.
    I'm shooting a Pre War Model 70 that I bought then for $80.00 and have taken over 50 Pa whitetails since.
  8. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    I don't notice any particular longevity difference between properly full length resized bottleneck brass and neck sized in my bolt actioned rifles other than the FL sized cases seem to chamber more easily. The chief advantage as I see it is that there is no lube to have to remove with neck sized cases.
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