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Steel casings??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ultratec1, Nov 13, 2012.

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  1. ultratec1

    ultratec1 Member

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    I was under the impression that you couldn't/shouldn't reload steel casings but I have heard quiet abit lately that alot of people do. Is there anyone here that does?? If so do you treat it like regular brass casings??
     
  2. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    I only reload brass. I know people reload aluminum pistol cases. I know that steel cases are hard on dies. When i come across steel cases, they get thrown in scrap bucket.
     
  3. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I've always been told that the steel cases are bad on your dies, the coating on the cases will eventually wear off and then you will have steel on steel not good. I also whouldn't reload aluminum cases because 1 all of them I have seen have been berdan primed to discourage you, and 2 it's too soft to be used more than a couple times or with heavy loads. Unless you were going to be super cheap I see no reason to try to reload steel or aluminum cases, theres certainly no advantage and it could lead to problems.
     
  4. Mike 27

    Mike 27 Member

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    The nickel plated cases are re-loadable but hard on your dies. I have re-loaded some but not many, I try to stick with brass. The aluminum I suppose will re-size but it is not designed to. The aluminum will crack it is not designed to take the re-size and not malleable enough to take it without cracking.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    It can be done, it has been done, but steel doesn't have the properties needed to be good for repeated reloading. Until I get desperate for brass cases, and I mean desperate, count me out.
     
  6. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I've always heard and read that the nickel plated cases are the same to reload as brass. My used set of .357 dies saw hard use for 20+ years by the previous owner. He only ever used nickel cases and I can't see anything wrong with them.
     
  7. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Pretty much says it all.

    I've reloaded steel and alu. cases as an experiment to see if it would work, it did, with that said I do not recommend it. Manufacturer states "Not To Reload Them". We abide by manufactures powder recommendations, bullet size, and all the others, why not the recommendations regarding steel and alu. cases?
     
  8. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    For sure.

    Nickel plated brass cases reload just fine. The nickel can be hard on steel resizing dies if the cases are not lubricated properly. This is not an issue with carbide dies used for hand gun cases these days.

    When I by new cases, I buy brass. When I have purchased fired cases, any nickel cases get reloaded with the rest.
     
  9. mdi

    mdi Member

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    No metalurgist here, but the steel of steel cases is way softer than the hardened reloading dies. When lubed to size, I really don't think the wear on the dies will be much more than brass (after several years reloading exclusively steel cases, mebbe a couple thousandths "abnormal" wear). The reason not too many folks reloaded steel was one; brass was more available (and before surplus steel ammo was so cheaply available) and two; it was thought steel cases' reloading life was extremely short (2 or 3 reloadings). I followed a thread over on Gray Beard's forum where a reloader was using steel cases and kept close records of loads and number of reloadings. He got up to 12 reloadings on some steel .223/.5.56 cases. I haven't tried it yet as the only steel cases I shoot are berdan primed and I have no 7.62x39 dies...:D
     
  10. Otto

    Otto Member

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    Reloading steel casings in my Redding dies? I don't think so....
     
  11. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    the biggest problem with steel cases is that the ones I've seen are usually berdan primed. But yes, they can be reloaded. Back when I was doing 45acp I even reloaded a few on accident and didn't even notice until I was loading mags.

    you can reload aluminum cases 1 time, then the aluminum gets brittle and splits.
     
  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    As already said, yes, they can be reloaded, but it isn't recomended, and is in fact dfiscouraged against by component manufacturer's. I wouldn't personally ever put a steel casing through my dies, ever! There are characteristic variances in just about every aspect imaginable that would likely make it a process of developing your own data due to the way steel acts when resized, and then fired. It doesn't spring back in the same manner as does brass, and therefore could produce a significant increase in pressures using data intended for brass, which all data is tested and rated for brass.

    As for nickel plated brass, I've been loading it for many years and have never had any problems. Some say they will not last as long as yellow brass, but I get pretty much just as many cycles from them as from standard brass.

    GS
     
  13. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Member

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    No problem reloading steel -- several calibers are boxer primed.

    4A1283CC-D624-4AD9-8742-A10414708BA8-10957-00000D1F03CF5428.jpg

    8e52d607.jpg

    Thousands loaded, no noticeable wear to dies, no problems shooting. Chrono data in my 223 and 45 loads show the exact same velocities between the steel and brass cases. They tend to split at the neck quicker than brass, but the splits aren't any more catastrophic than brass (meaning I don't even notice it until processing after it is shot).

    Lee doesn't see any problem with it:

    http://leeprecision.net/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/322/8/reloading-steel-cases
     
  14. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I really dislike blanket statements

    In the experiment I did referred to in post 7 above I reloaded both steel and aluminum cases 5 times with no case damage of any kind, splits or anything. I quite at that point, it was after all just an experiment.
     
  15. helotaxi

    helotaxi Member

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    What brand cases are those?
     
  16. Steve2md

    Steve2md Member

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    boy, those are sharp looking. How do you keep them from rusting in storage?
     
  17. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Those appear to be Tulammo cases, and you must apply some sort of polish or something to them to keep them from rusting. Otherwise they start rusting even from just leaving them out on the table overnight.
     
  18. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have also reloaded aluminum and steel cases with OK results. The main reason not to is that it is a major pain to deal with Berdan primed cases. If brass cases ever become scarce then I will reload what I have on hand with no problems.

    I have some of those cases like pictured above that are Hornaday 223 (tactical ?) and they are indeed brass, plated with a black coating that will not come off in the tumbler after a couple reloads so far. FYI I cut one up and the Hornaday ones I have ARE brass and will not be attracted to a magnet.
     
  19. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Member

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    Yes, they are Tula and Wolf. Wet tumbled in steel pins to take the poly coating off prior to resize and trim.

    No polish -- I just don't tumble them again after lube-and-size (I usually have to trim the 223 cases when I first get them; they typically measure 1.77 after initial firing, but don't grow noticeably in subsequent firing). I just wipe the cases down lightly, assumably leaving a little bit of the lube on there which protects against rust. I don't have a vibratory tumbler, but other guys who reload steel tell me that tumbling them with car wax gives better protection.

    Never had any problems with them rusting, but I keep them in ammo cans with desiccant packs.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    How many loadings do they typically give? How do they fail when they do. Do they give any warning signs before said failure?
     
  21. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Member

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    Some split after the 2nd or 3rd load, some have made it to 5 or 6. Early on, it was typically the 2nd load where I'd see a split on the 223, but since I've been doing it more, I'd say that the typical split is the 3rd or 4th load. For the 45ACP, some split very early, and I have other cases that just keep going and going. I think I have a couple that are probably on their 9th or 10th load -- I'm not keeping that close of track. I have occasionally thought about doing a controlled test with some cases just to get some actual data on number of possible reloads (there's an obvious lack of data and experience on it), but I'm lazy and it just isn't worth it to me. I'm pretty conservative in the processing, such that if I see anything that looks even remotely sketchy, I toss the case. I've even tossed entire batches of cases when I start seeing numerous cases with cracks -- since the cases are free and plentiful, there's nothing lost by doing that.

    All of the failures have been simple neck splits (on the 223) or case splits (on the 45 ACP). No warnings, but I have never had the rifle cases get to the point where there are those telltale signs inside and outside of a case split like you would see with a brass case (discolored ring on the outside, bump when you scrape the inside). Not saying steel doesn't behave that way -- I just haven't personally had any cases get to that point where they start to show those flaws. It is always a split at the neck in my experience.

    None of the case splits have been anything noticeable during the shooting. They have ALWAYS been observed in the post-shoot processing.
     
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