308 LC 12 brass - primed: OK it is UGLY - BUYER beware

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by westcliffe01, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to update anyone who I might have encouraged to get this brass, that I believe from my work yesterday that this brass was not properly heat treated and is brittle. That is why I believe it has the high incidence of neck splits and laps.

    As I have continued working with the 2 groups of brass that was in my batch, about 60% LR brass and 40% mixed 10, 11 and 12 year crimped primer non LR brass, I have found a significant number of shells with the neck defect.

    Right now, I don't think it makes sense for me to reload these as is, without at the very least doing a neck anneal, which I am not setup for. In addition, I am reluctant to work this brass in any die prior to annealing since I believe the fallout could become a lot higher.

    I paid $159/500 or $31.80/100 which is close to the price of commercial brass (if it was actually available). Right now, I doubt this brass would be suitable for reloading after a single firing and a significant number may split on firing.

    For the moment, after cleaning and depriming all this stuff and removing the tar from the neck with naptha and an earbud (which worked perfectly, BTW and makes seeing some of the neck issues clearer too) I am pretty disappointed.

    I did the usual perusal of the on line reloading supply houses and snagged 300 Lapua Palma brass cases on Midway, since it is the first new quality 308 Brass I have seen in 3 months. My entire objective was to develop some decent 308 long distance loads using 185 and 215 gr berger bullets and I am not going to risk this process with sub standard brass.

    If I can anneal the necks. I may do a series of multiple cartridge reloads to see how long it goes before it splits to decide what I will ultimately use it for. Worst case scenario, it becomes "leave in the field" brass for my FAL.
     
  2. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid to ask where you purchased it, I think I already know in as much as I remember the ad for pulled 308 brass with residue in the necks.

    I considered it but passed (glad I did). I was hesitant, you don't normally see unfired LC 12 or 13 with pulled projectiles so I surmised something was amiss.

    It'd been my experience that this particular vendor (if, indeed it's who I think it is), will stand behind the product.

    I do have 500 OFLC 12's coming from the same supplier (I think)...... Should be here on tuesday.

    Never had any issue before with their brass and I buy a lot of supplies from them

    Rather than play cat-in-mouse, is it Wideners?
     

  3. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Get the old Vicegrips out and do the springback test.

    Take a known good cartridge and apply the vicegrips to the point where the neck deforms upon closing and release the vicegrips. Note the amount of return to concentricity and then, without adjusting the vicegrips, squeeze a suspect cartridge and note again, the return to concentricity. If the cartridge is too soft (over annealed) it will stay squished. if it's brittle (inadequately annealed), it will 'spring back to concentricity more so than the known cartridge and/or crack.

    Thats the cheapest and easiest way to ascertain elsaticity in the neck.
     
  4. Rhino55

    Rhino55 Well-Known Member

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    If that is true Lake City Brass that has been pulled down! PLEASE notify Lake City Army Depot! or send me the info on where you got it. I'm an Ammo inspecter for DoD and LC/ATK has been known to produce BAD ammo in which the DoD rejects and ATK is suppose to demil. You can contact me through this web site.
    Rhino55gun)
     
  5. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    You need to be very careful when annealing bottle necks. I know there is a pile of video's about annealing necks with everything fron a cordless drill and a socket and a pan of water to putting them in a pan of water and heating the necks and knocking them over.

    I have no faith in any of the homebrew methods for couple reasons. One, it takes an exact amount of heating time for consistency and the heat can't exceed (I believe 850 degrees) or the cartridge is junk.

    You need a temperature sensing paint, a device to sequence the case in the flame and a method of transport that rotates the case as it heats.....

    I suggest you make your next purchase a Bench Source annealer. I have one on Jeff's recommendation and I anneal everything from 338's to straight wall 45LCS.

    Not cheap (about 500 bucks) but better than destroying a rifle or getting hurt.

    Graf's sells them. Bench Source has a website too.
     
  6. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Lets wait and see. I know Wideners was offering pulled 7.62x51 (308) in LC 12/13 on their website and they may still be there. Again, I'm real hesitant about buying pulled anything that was never ignited. I just read between the lines.

    website: www.wideners.com

    Go to reloading components, brass, 308

    Mine is OF LC 12/13. I'm comfortable with that. It's went bang already.

    In retrosoect, I have never had one issue with their OFMB in any caliber. The have always been above board with me.

    I'll have a look-see however.
     
  7. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I just checked (Wideners website) and it's still there. 159 bucks per 500, with tarred case mouths, 21-13 LC.

    Same as before.
     
  8. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    I have written Wideners regarding the issue. Its Sunday and I'm sure they are pretty busy. I wouldn't deal with them if I didn't think they were a good vendor. I just have to wonder if they got stiffed by an upstream supplier who was supposed to mutilate the brass if that was an issue. In my opinion, when over 2% of a batch has clearly visible neck splits on unfired brass, it is a pretty big problem.

    I don't mind what I paid or the work that I did, but everything here points to the brass being the reason why the ammo was rejected. I will take some pictures of some of the cases to illustrate.
     
  9. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    Here is how the issue manifests itself. Sometimes harder to see than other times. The case on the right is about average for the "before cleaning" state, the brass is quite dark making it hard to see the neck split with the tar coming out it.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Thats no good..........

    I've dealt with Wideners for years with no issue. Again, glad I didn't get any. I'm kind of suprised that they didn't catch it.

    I believe you'll have to make a short trip over here and play with the annealer. It's pretty neat. Once it's set up, 500 cases an hour is no issue.

    Besides being pulled, I didn't care for the tar issue. I considered getting them and tumbling in solvent but then I figured some more would surface.

    Not sure where Wideners gets their LC brass at but I have to assume they are buying military lots at auction, something I would do myself if I had the need for a couple hundred thousand at a time. I don't. I am authorized to bid however. If they are buying bulk at auction, they should be live bidding (I hope). You always want to inspect the merchandise prior to buying.

    They've been on their site for a while now. I wonder if others are having the same issue??

    Always good luck with LC on my end. I have a couple thousand OFMB-LC 10-11 loaded in 223 for varmits.

    As an aside, not really into 'I have to have it now', I have 1000 Federal LC 223's and 500 more Federal LC 308's on order with Top Brass. They are 16-20 weeks out. Ordered them in February. Top Brass has actually pulled their website and are accepting no new orders.

    Top Brass/Sarch is a cut above Wideners and all their brass comes FL resized, trimmed to length, primer pockets reamed and flash holes deburred so I know they are inspected.
     
  11. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    SidecarFlip, I would like to take you up on the offer of assistance regarding the annealing if possible. I just got done drying the first half of the non LR batch (the ~40% group) after a more lengthy tumble once I got the tar out of it. That was a rather tedious task I have to say... Anyway, of the non LR batch I have not found any more visible splits since getting them good and shiny. The ones I found were at the decapping stage and later when cleaning the necks.

    The second half of the non LR batch is in the tumbler now, and I have been staying up so that I can rinse and dry it tonight before bed...

    This week I have to tackle the bigger LR batch which had by far the larger % of the split necks. Do the tar removal first then tumble them again. I figure it can do no harm to do the anneal, better safe than sorry. Then my plan was to run them through the body die and after that the neck sizing die. Some of the shoulders are deformed a bit, I imagine from putting a compression load on the bullet before they pulled it. I have heard this recommended but never seen anything good come of it. It can screw up the shoulder pretty bad.

    I found a big batch of 175gr HPBT bullets on Grafs quite inexpensive, so I bought a bunch of them for this brass and some once fired range brass I reworked a while ago. I figure I will leave the Bergers for the Lapua Palma brass. Any idea if I need small rifle magnum primers for shooting 185 Bergers from 308 Palma brass ? Right now I have CCI400 primers. I have 4895 powder but not enough... Will have to make another trip to the LGS and see what they have sitting on the shelf.
     
  12. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to load 165 Sierra GK's with Federal 210M primers and probably Varget or 322, plenty of both and 335. I bought copious quantities prior to, not that I knew because I didn't. I have to do a load ladder for the new rifle so it's 5 of each powder weight. I have at least 3000 of that flavor and at least 1000 in 338 caliber, 250's and 300's, or enough to retire with....Oh, I'm already retired....lol

    I gnerally keep a lot of powders on hand because I'm the designated reloader for our hunting group. I have 5 ammunition hungry guys to load for....everybody pulled a tag but me. Oh well, I'll still get some elk in the freezer.

    I like the 322-335 because thats to go-to powders for 223's in 60 grain V-Max and I load piles of those as well as Hornady SPBT's. I was just out in the shop looking at my brass in 308 tnat I've had collecting for a while now. I shoot first time and FL resize in Comp dies then segregate to MTM boxes per rifle. After the F/L, it's all N/S and trim if required. Only time I F/L is if I have a sticky ejection issue. Cabelas loves me. I have a bunch of pismuckle green boxes.

    The first thing I'd do is the vice grip test before considering annealing. You don't really know where the cracking came from or the condition of the necks and annealing an already annealed case neck does nothing to enhance anything and can actually cause more issues.

    Are you media tumbling in a bowl or tumbling in a rotary? When I looked at them, I considered tumbling (rotary) in Stoddard Solvent with a detergent rinse and a clear rinse with Lemshine. Lots of fiddling but then, tar belongs on the road, not in your brass.....

    I spent the weekend tricking the CVA Accura V2's I'm thinking more and more about just shooting the smoke pole.

    Finally, lets see how this Wideners order in 308 OFLC 12-13 looks when I get it. I should have it Tuesday and I'll be looking hard at the necks.
     
  13. westcliffe01

    westcliffe01 Well-Known Member

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    I got a response today from wideners saying to give them a count of defective cartridges and they will replace them...

    For the moment I am continuing with cleaning the brass and would like to anneal the necks since it can't get softer than soft... There is the usual variety of mangled brass in there too, I have had that even in 100qtys from commercial supplies so that did not surprise me.

    Once I have the annealing done, I figure I will do a full length sizing operation on all of it and hopefully any necks that want to split will do it at that time... Then trim to length and go from there.

    Once I am at that point I will report back what the final tally was.
     
  14. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Got mine this morning and not one cracked neck (in the 125 I just F/L resized and did the primer pockets). They are ready for primers. Actually, it's nice OF brass, very clean (no tar...lol). It's all LC 13 that I could see.

    Thats the way it should be.

    Got 500 55 grain Hornady's in 22 caliber too.