308 LC 12 brass - primed: Good, bad, ugly ?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by westcliffe01, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    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 ?

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  2. gebhardt02

    gebhardt02 Well-Known Member

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    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.

    Geb
     

  3. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    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..
     
  4. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Kevin, this had been loaded, but had the bullets pulled and powder dumped out. Perhaps it did not meet the accuracy requirement as originally loaded or was "timed out" ?

    Widenrs doesn't mention it being LR brass, maybe I just got lucky ? They also say the primers are crimped.

    Beggars can't be choosers in this market. If anyone needs 308 brass, they still have more of it for $159/500 or $300/1000.

    Widener's Reloading and Shooting Supply INC

    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.
     
  6. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    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...
     
  8. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    I have some on the way, ordered about five days ago. I have the same plan as you. I think I am going to deprime them first. I have deprimed a lot of live primers, never had one go poof. But I always wear eye protection when doing it just in case.
     
  9. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    I think the LR brass may work out OK, but I imagine it would take a lot of force on the crimped ones and it looks like the wet tumbling is going to kick the primers butts anyhow. + I get to work with "clean" brass instead of that filthy stuff...

    Has anyone noticed how the tools for primer pockets have been sold out for months ??? The RCBS primer pocket swager combo has been out of stock since December. I have a bunch or Hornady 223 brass with crimped primer pockets and now this military stuff....
     
  10. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Well, its working out fine so far. The green in the water when tumbling is definitely from the primer.. I guess it does not like that hot soapy water at all...

    I am also putting together a picture why this ammo was rejected in the first place... About 2% of the total has either a split in the neck or what looks like a forging lap when the brass was made. I couldn't see this before the brass was cleaned up, but now that it is I have been finding more of them. Its not a tiny defect, its typically the full length of the neck.

    I have already deprimed all the LR brass, was no problem. Some of the LR brass was crimped too, which is odd, it is not supposed to be. The shells were still wet and so I have to clean up my press at bit when I get through this batch. Unless I am mistaken, the primer compound contains mercury. The green solution in the water has stained my fingernails a kind of yellow. I'm sure that under a black light I would be glowing... I think it is also the reason why some of the cartridges come out the wash copper colored. Now that the cases are deprimed, they will get one more washing in the tumbler and I am sure that will get rid of the copper look since all the primer compound is gone.

    My Lee neck sizing die had no problem with depriming. It has a full caliber mandrel for the neck and all one needs to do is spin the mandrel in a drill while polishing the conical end and putting a slight radius on the corner so that it will open up any bent case mouths more smoothly. I do have to say that this beats dealing with buying used once fired brass with mixed headstamps, thats for sure. Last batch of used brass had about 40 PMC shells in it that were fired with over max loads. Big ejector flow mark on it and the headstamp is so flattened that it is hardly legible. That goes into the "emergency" supplies...