So as everyone knows, getting 308 Win components has been a bear now for close on 3 months. Brass in particular has seemed non existent and the large rifle primers a very close second.
So a couple of weeks ago I saw that Wideners had bulk packs of 500 308 LC12 shells, primed for $159. So i ordered 1 package. They came today and I looked them over. Like much bulk packed brass, the necks are a bit of a mess, lots of oval and dented ones. Its just a bit new for me how I am to fix the necks given that the cartridges are primed ? The neck sizer is out because of the primer, but perhaps one can adjust the full length sizer that it will work ok ? No lube though, because of the primer ? Otherwise maybe cut down the mandrel on my Lee neck sizing die to avoid the primer ?
Are the primers crimped ? I see no evidence of a crimp ring or staking. The headstamp reads LC 12 LR. Does anyone know what primers are in this stuff ?
Quality of the brass ? I know this stuff tends to be thicker that civilian brass so less powder capacity, but how about hardness ? Does one lose the primer pocket after a few reloads or will it hold up for a while ?
What I have done in the past is take the decapping stem out of the FL die. Unscrew the little piece that holds the actual pin that pushes out the primer. Reinstall the little piece without the decapping pin and put it back in the FL die. You can now run the brass into the die and not worry about punching out the primer. I typically use the Hornady One-Shot spray lube and wouldn't worry about it getting on the primer. If you don't want to use that, then use the Imperial die wax and rub that on the outside of the case and every third case use a Q-tip to put a small amount inside the case necks. That should take care of the dented necks and allow you to make sure the brass will chamber in your rifle.
I did some research and apparently the LR brass is the "good stuff" (sniper ammo). The primers on the LR are not crimped. So that is good. For some reason, apparently this ammo must have been rejected and the bullets pulled and the powder dumped. There is a little tar like substance in the case neck that has to be removed with Xylene (bullet sealer).
I will probably clean the necks, then weight sort it and then go from there. If I rework the mandrels in my neck sizer so that it is really only for neck sizing and not also for decapping, then it should speed up the task of correcting the necks since this is unfired brass. I should probably invest in a universal decapping die..
Correct on the LR designation; the brass was bound for M118LR ammunition, loaded with the 175 SMK. The primer will be a #43, or their equivalent of a Match primer. Normal primer used in LC 7.62 ammo is the standard #34 primer. Cases with the asphalt sealant is supposed to be loaded within 30 days of its application, or have the sealant removed before sealing if its been over that time period. I always used a standard bore brush to remove this. I'd be careful about any sort of solvent for fear of contaminating the primer.
Should be good stuff, but it does make me wonder why it was sold as surplus.
Note, the tar sealed mouth. When NATO 7.62 is pulled, it leaves the waterproof tar seal in the mouth. If you resize this brass and EXPAND the neck, the tar will gum up your expander ball. You have options, you can fight the gum, only neck size outside OR use a Q-tip with xylene and the tar will melt like butter. There appears to be enough tar left to waterproof and reseal your bullet and it doesn't seem to affect accuracy. But no guarantees on that. This is pulled brass after all.
I sorted through my "haul" and just over half was the LR brass. The balance was a mix of dated LC headstamps with crimped primer pockets as expected.
One thing I will say is that the stuff was filthy. Its as if the people who pulled the bullets and powder threw the brass on the ground and then a few weeks/month later came by with a broom and swept it up....
Given how dirty / tarnished the stuff is, I've decided I'm not going to take chances on the primers and I'm going to deprime it all. After all, the bullet and powder I am going to load will cost a LOT more than a new primer and this way I can get the brass perfectly clean before I reload.
So here is my question: I have never deprimed brass with LIVE primers. A little less than half the batch (about 200 or so) are not only live, but are crimped too, so it will take quite a lot of force to deprime.
If anyone could offer some guidance on how to do this safely, it would be appreciated.
To "soften up" the primers as well as clean up the brass, I am running it through my stainless media tumbling system with "hot" water. On first inspection after 1/2 hour the water was green, never seen that before. But then this is non fired brass, I am used to the water being black from soot. Don't know if part of the green is from the primer compound, I hope it is..... now going back on for a second round with fresh hot water and detergent. They should come out looking pretty sparkling...