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#5460905 - 12/06/14 07:48 AM Case life
jlsbassman Online   content


Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 344
Loc: Royse City
I know there are a lot of different factors that affect this, but what kind of case life you have? Have many times do expect to load a case?

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#5460930 - 12/06/14 08:01 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jdk1985 Offline
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Registered: 08/15/11
Posts: 11704
Loc: Waco, TX
Pistol rounds - until they split or will not hold a primer

Small semi-auto rifle rounds (AR) - only a couple. They develop little partial split at the shoulder that I do not like. When they get these, I discard them. Of course, if it gets a big - big - dent or a crack elsewhere, out they go.

Small bolt action rifle (223) - quite a lot.

Big rifle rounds - I'm trying to figure this out as well. I have a lot of 3/4 times fired 300 WM brass that is still rocking just fine. Is there a good / easy way to check for case/head separation issues without trying to scratch the inside of the case with a paper clip?

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#5460939 - 12/06/14 08:09 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jlsbassman Online   content


Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 344
Loc: Royse City
It's been years since I've done ay reloading but can remember loading some 3 or 4 times. Never had a separation but did have some necks crack. Just wonder with all the recycling of metal that goes on now if that effects how well the cases are built now compared to 15 years ago when I was loading before.

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#5460943 - 12/06/14 08:12 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jdk1985 Offline
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Registered: 08/15/11
Posts: 11704
Loc: Waco, TX
I do not know the answer to that. My guess is that it has not effected it much at all, if any, and that cases are as strong as ever.

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#5461059 - 12/06/14 09:45 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
FiremanJG Offline
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 17893
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
I had some .260 Rem brass with seven loadings on it. It had been annealed twice in that seven. About 20% of 500 pieces of brass were getting loose primer pockets. Never had case head seperation or a split neck. 22-250 I have won't last as long as hard as I'm running it. I can't say what's gonna happen on the 7 Rem Mag since I'm pushing it very hard. But it is a belted magnum, so only time will tell the tale.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is in Hornady brass, which I've read isn't very durable. All of it is still only one firing or still virgin, so it too is an unknown of how it will hold up.

Bottom line is annealing is very important to make brass last longer as well as make more consistent ammo.
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#5461285 - 12/06/14 12:46 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
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Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9412
Loc: Lewisville, TX
It depends on what case it is, hard hard you push it, what rifle it's fired out of, how you size your brass, and what brand of brass it is. Reuse Federal (FC) brass, and you may only get 2 or 3 reloads before the primer pockets are done. Shoot a 6.5x47 and you may get 15-20 reloads out of the Lapua brass.
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#5461311 - 12/06/14 01:08 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jlsbassman Online   content


Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 344
Loc: Royse City
Wow is there really that much difference in brands or does it have more to do caliber? I'll be reloading 30-06, 270 and 243. I think most of the brass is winchester brand.

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#5461445 - 12/06/14 03:02 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
papa45 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Arlington
I currently load .243, .270, .30-06 and .300WM. All are Remington brass. I don't believe it's any better or worse, it's just for consistency. I don't anneal at all. Most of my loads are heavy, but not super hot. I've never had a primer pocket issue. .243 may start to get small longitudinal cracks in the neck after 5-8 times. .270 seems to stretch a little bit each time, but goes on forever (12+ times) with no signs of head separation. .30-06 doesn't last long because it's an autoloader; if they survive getting beat up and lost, they may start to show signs of head separation after 4-6 times. When I first started loading .300WM, I did full-length resizing and the cases only lasted 3-4 times; I changed to partial resizing and they now will go 10-12 times.

I believe your rifle chamber dimensions have a lot to do with brass life. If it's oversized or long, brass life will suffer. Of course, hot loads add stress to the brass as well. You can extend your number of loads by annealing and/or partial resizing, neck-only resizing or just bumping back the shoulder, providing they still cycle properly.

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#5461460 - 12/06/14 03:11 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jlsbassman Online   content


Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 344
Loc: Royse City
I should be good then, I was figuring 4-5 loads per case.

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#5461466 - 12/06/14 03:14 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
jlsbassman Online   content


Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 344
Loc: Royse City
Do you have to trim your cases very often? When I was loading before I did not have a trimmer so I don't remember trimming at all. I picked up a forester trimmer in a package deal I bought a while ago.

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#5462196 - 12/07/14 12:47 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
kmon1 Online   content
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 20288
Loc: Texas
Some cases stretch more than others, one of the advantages or Ackley Improved cartridges is less case stretch. The sharp shoulder and minimum case taper results in less case stretching than more tapered designs. If you look at soe of the cartridges that are becoming more popular these days like the Creedmoor family they have not as sharp of a shoulder as the Ackley but sharper than many others and very little case taper both of which result in less case stretching and less trimming.

Something else that a lot of people do not realize is much of the case stretching is from the resizing process when the expander ball is pulled back through the neck it stretches the case as much or more than firing the cartridge does, lubing the inside of the case mouth helps some for that. Lee Collet dies help there since the case is not pulled on for neck sizing with them.

Like someone else said a tight chamber will also result in less case stretching.

Some brass is softer than others and stretches more than others. Federal brass is one of the softer ones IMO and stretches more than say Remington, Nosler or Lapua.
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#5463693 - 12/07/14 07:18 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
GasGuzzler Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/15/13
Posts: 1639
Loc: Cooke County, Texas
.357? Maybe 10-12 if I keep them around 14.5 grains 2400.
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#5464860 - 12/08/14 10:19 AM Re: Case life [Re: papa45]
redchevy Online   content
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Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23393
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: papa45
I currently load .243, .270, .30-06 and .300WM. All are Remington brass. I don't believe it's any better or worse, it's just for consistency. I don't anneal at all. Most of my loads are heavy, but not super hot. I've never had a primer pocket issue. .243 may start to get small longitudinal cracks in the neck after 5-8 times. .270 seems to stretch a little bit each time, but goes on forever (12+ times) with no signs of head separation. .30-06 doesn't last long because it's an autoloader; if they survive getting beat up and lost, they may start to show signs of head separation after 4-6 times. When I first started loading .300WM, I did full-length resizing and the cases only lasted 3-4 times; I changed to partial resizing and they now will go 10-12 times.

I believe your rifle chamber dimensions have a lot to do with brass life. If it's oversized or long, brass life will suffer. Of course, hot loads add stress to the brass as well. You can extend your number of loads by annealing and/or partial resizing, neck-only resizing or just bumping back the shoulder, providing they still cycle properly.


I have had similar experiences with mid grade loads. If you creep to the upper end/max of what you can get out of the cartridge it falls off sharply.
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#5468363 - 12/09/14 08:16 PM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
Sirrah243 Offline
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Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 1831
Loc: Llano County TX
I'got some pieces of 243 brass that I've reloaded 8 to 10 times and they pass the paper clip test so who knows how many times...till the neck splits.
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#5468864 - 12/10/14 07:49 AM Re: Case life [Re: jlsbassman]
redchevy Online   content
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Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23393
Loc: Texas
I have a set of 300 wby factory brass that was originally wby 180 grain spire points and then got 9 reloadings of mid grade 200 grain partitions and 220 grain hornady that still pass all my inspections. They are currently loaded with a load I no longer use not sure if I will load them again if I ever fire them. I neck sized and after every 3rd loading FL sized. Never had a chambering/feeding issue.
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