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Brass Preparation And Management By John W. Lewis

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Unread 08-07-2009, 12:12 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 28
Re: Brass Preparation And Management By John W. Lewis

Differences are normally slight yes but once that have used a rifle that repeatedly shoots ragged one hole or cloverleaf groups mentally there is no going back. You know if you miss one with that rifle its down to you not the rifle or cartridge.

As a matter of interest my new 20BR has some very tight clearances even in my book but it shot every load over 3 .5 gr (28.0-31.5x N150) spread into one .7 group at 100 yards. That rifle uses Lapua brass fully prepped and then some. These tight clearances mean extra time spent checking and measuring each case after tumbling but it shoots in the .2s and .3s just off a Shooting Bag. For my vermin shooting with it I am now tending to just drop my powder loads.

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Unread 08-07-2009, 10:15 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Western Montana
Posts: 10
Re: Brass Preparation And Management By John W. Lewis

I did read Mr. Lewis's article recently. But something on a related subject. My .17 Rem (standard neck) recently began putting bullets out there that weren't reaching the 100 yard target. (Berger 30 grainers with 25 grains of Varget). I checked for case length and for a burr to no avail. Gave it a good scrubbing and then shot at the 25 yard backer to find the smudges of a bullet coming apart (velocity has always averaged 3930 at the muzzle). The only thing I could realistically think of was extreme velocity causing destruction due to rotational velocity.

Walt Berger questioned the brass. Then I got to thinking...I have loaded this brass many, many times and shot them relatively hot, never needing to trim. My experiences have been that this small brass just does not show brass wear. Began to suspect brass flow to the neck where it might be accumulating , the thickening causing a tight-neck condition.

So threw those cases away and reloaded with virgin brass. Presto! Problem solved!

This rifle/load combo has taken around 800 coyotes over the years and a bullet not even reaching the critter might be thought to be a miss. But checking things out on paper occasionally will save the anguish of a certain kill being lost. Montana Mike
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Unread 09-10-2012, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Champaign, IL
Posts: 208
Re: Brass Preparation And Management By John W. Lewis

Mr. Lewis,

Personally I thought you did an excellent job explaining in detail the why's, the how's of of turning the necks of brass cases. As a machinist, toolmaker, tool & cutter grinder in the machine shop trade. I also worked for 25 of my 46 years in a specialty shop as a working supervisor (I never stopped cutting metal for 46 years). I've cut to tolerances of plus or minus .00005" at times. that's 1/2 of 1/10,000". I've learned that when you're working to extreme accuracy such as needed in long range bench rest shooting, you never know for sure, how something seemingly insignificant can affect the end result.
Because of this, you can perfect factory brass beyond what the factory can do with a cost far less that what most people could afford, if the factory produced brass to the same consistency. With factory brass, you never know when you might have a case or two beyond factory tolerances. Even meticulous inspection sometimes misses less than perfect manufacturing. Normal inspection might check 1 out of a 100 cases, better inspection might check 1 of 10 cases, but there will always be some that get through without being checked.
Maybe if you're shooting woodchucks, a miss from time to time doesn't mean much. It easy to blame it on something else. But if you're shooting 1000 yard benchrest matches, one bad shot could cost you the match. Shooting woodchucks, you can easily chamber another round, no big deal. But shooting a match, you don't get to say, "Gimme another shot." If you have a flyer for any reason, you're stuck with it.

What you wrote was excellent.
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