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Brass questions - pressure signs

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Unread 02-19-2008, 12:01 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: N. TX
Posts: 92
Brass questions - pressure signs

My question is spurred by the excellent thread last month on pressure signs in brass, and how they can be misleading. It is an offshoot/stray from that topic.

Does anyone sort their brass by loads shot through them i.e. 3 firings, 5 firings, etc, pressure signs evidenced in recent firings, etc. I.e. your last loading of 20 rounds had three hot loads that caused shiny case heads on them, do you a.) reload them, using them for fouler shots b.) reload them without idea or care if they are stressed more than another case c.) don't trust them, throw them away. My question comes from my recent experience with a particularly soft lot of Nosler brass - I have been shooting my new rifle for break-in, it has been awe inspiring to say the least for accuracy, but the cases from one of the two batches of Nosler brass I have are already a little loose in the primer, after one firing (300 RUM, Borden action, Hart barrel, Kirby built - wtg Kirby, what an awesome . I bought another lot of brass from another forum member (before I shot the box of brass I am having issues with, and who it turns out was concerned about the softness the Nosler brass had developed a rep for) and funny thing is this other box doesn't seem to have any issues with loose primer pockets, even with hot loads - 220 SMK's over 91.0 grs of Retumbo, which causes case head shiny spots (way hot) but not any loose pockets. I know the brass is sized correctly, its not a headspace issue on a couple of cartridges. My question is should I worry about this affecting my accuracy if I mix these cases up while tumbling, etc. Thanks in advance for your replies!

I have to thank Kirby publicly for putting together such a nice custom gun. Jim Borden built the action, and chambered the barrel, and Kirby put all of it together, and I have to say that it is worth every penny I spent on it. I will try and put together a review when I can get pics, and some more representative groups documented, but for now, I can boast of shooting my best group ever with a rifle from this gun, 3/8 MOA at 250 yds for 4 shots. This rifle is one of those rare jewels that not only is super accurate, but shoots 200 gr accubonds, 210 Berg VLDs and 220 SMK to the same point of impact (app +/- 0.5 in at 250) out to 250 yds. I have heard of rifles doing this, but never owned one, I gotta say I am pumped even typing this up...! And the real kicker, that I am not sure anyone will believe, is that this group was from my 2nd attempt at a ladder test... first bullet was 89.7 grs of Retumbo, then went up in 0.3 gr increments to 90.6. I see why everyone says you have to shoot at min, 300 yds for the ladders when using custom guns... There, no one can bitch at me, I hi-jacked my own thread! Your replies to my brass question are greatly appreciated.

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Unread 02-20-2008, 01:20 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 230
Sounds like a sweet rifle!

I keep brass sorted by number of times fired, and weight in match brass. When that batch is burnt up I tumble and prep them together. If I have to mix in an ammo box, the primers of the oddballs are Sharpied so I know which plastic coffee can to put em in when I get home.
Shiney spots don't bother me, if I know it was a high loaded round (b). If it occurs out of the blue, with a set that the others do not show the same sign, I pitch it (c).

Another thing I do is keep reloading one case, to foul the bore with, with every batch I shoot. This gives me an idea of how long the brass with the current load will last.

If I run into a looser primer pocket when loading it gets a big X drawn on the case head meaning "Last Fire"and gets put into the sighter/fouling/clay bird section of my ammo box (a) and tossed after shot.
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Unread 02-20-2008, 10:51 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 309

on that!! You must keep records of how many times as a minimum and especially the loose primer pockets cases for "last trip" purposes. My son keeps no records, sorts nothing but wonders why he can only get 5 reloading cycles out of his cases whereas I get 10-12. I happen to clean by lots meaning loose pockets are not mixed in the once fired.---- Overbore
Member, Revolutionary War Veterans Association
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Unread 02-20-2008, 11:50 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: N. TX
Posts: 92
Thanks for your responses

Well then it looks like I will need to try some of the Remmy brass, as it looks like this first lot of Nosler brass is trash after my next (2nd) firing. Kinda what I had already figured out, but nice to see some other opinions that this is what I should do. I like the idea of using one case as a fouler shot and reloading it till you know how long the case will last with a given load (number of shots), I assume that you are reloading it at the range and firing it over and over on one range trip.

light bulbI am tempted to call Nosler and communicate my issue about the brass being soft, as I have heard this a good bit from others, and now have first hand experience. Of course, I have the other 50 cases, from the other lot, that looks like I wont have an issue with, so I am not up a creek without a paddle so to say. I wonder if they had a manufacturing lot with soft brass, and just didnt catch it, or let it be sent out for public consumption figuring no one would complain. at a little over a $1 a case, this is a pretty bad PR move.

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Unread 02-20-2008, 07:29 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Pueblo, CO
Posts: 286
I keep brass of the same lot together and load all of that lot at once. For instance; Work up load with new brass, takes 20rds to work it up, load up remaining 30 (or 80) and when I start getting low on rounds shoot remaining up at rocks or paper and load the whole lot up again. If I get a loose primer pocket, I chuck it. Once I've gotten down to less than 20 pieces of good brass, I chuck em' all and start all over again (it takes a long time for me to get to that point). I don't load real hot so I usually don't have to start chucking brass untill I've gotten at least 5 loadings out of em', and I usually buy at least 50 pieces of brass at a time. So it takes quite a while to burn up a lot of brass on my big game guns.
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Unread 02-20-2008, 08:08 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 619
I sort my 7WSM brass by the number of times loaded. After 4 reloads, I anneal them and start all over again. I'm running them pretty tame compared to some - 180 Bergers at 2,900 fps+/-, so the primer pockets are still as tight as when they were new and they look like I'll get at least 10 and possibly 15 reloads from each case before they go into the recycling bin.

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Unread 02-25-2008, 05:12 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,002
I have had the exact same experience with Nosler brass in my 300WinMag,first firing in my Kimber 8400 had ejector marks/loose pockets.
I contacted the Nosler rep here(a mate of mine) and he told me the gun must have a problem,I tiold him that the same load(3grs under max)had no trouble in this gun with Remington brass,and yes I did work up from 3grs below.
I keep all my once fired brass seperate,and I keep records of all the shots each lot has had.
I have also found it easier to use one batch of brass at a time(20 of 100/200).I use the same batch of 20 until they are no longer usable.
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