After 50 Years I'm Back

Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by dbecklund, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. dbecklund

    dbecklund Member

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    I'm Dave from Littleton, Colorado. I was an avid reloader and varmint hunter during the 1960s but school and work phased me out of shooting. Two days ago I unpacked all my reloading equipment from our mountain shack, cleaned all the mouse/rat you-know-what off the equipment (with a respirator and clorox - Hantavirus precautions) and all the memories and adrenaline surging through by aging body. This is going to be exciting!

    Question? All my brass and bullets is 1960s vintage. I've tossed all my primers and powders but what is the shelf-life on the brass? My dies are 1960s RCBS. What kind of problems should I look out for with 50 year old brass and dies? I know I need to update but prices have increased (no kidding, Dave) since those days. Thanks.
     
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Welcome back Dave!! U must be about my age. :)

    It's a good age. :rolleyes:

    You should have no problems with brass or dies.

    Don't forget to lube be4 sizing. :) I did the other day and found that some things never change.:rolleyes:
     

  3. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Roy is an old fart, come to think about it, so am I. Being an old fart is a good thing. We don't get in a hurry anymore... Right Roy??

    I'd look inside the dies and check for corrosion before using. Same with the press, especially the ram. Make sure it's shiny with a bit of fine crocus cloth and some light machine oil.

    Far as the inside of the dies, a Dremel tool buff on a mandrel and some fine lapping compound will shine them up, remove any light pits and some machine oil on the threads and you should be fine. The fine lapping compound and buff is SOP for me if I stick a case (rarely). Keeps the brass coming out scratchless.

    Make sure your beam scale's pivot points are free and the dampening magnet hasn't lost it's foof...., Your powder measure don't have mouse turds inside and your trickler still trickles (I have trickle issues with something else).....:D

    Brass has no shelf life that I know of. Powder in old cardboard boxes does, same with primers. Tumble that brass and look it over. If it's turned green and pitted, toss it.

    The new hand priming tools are nice. I'd recommend the cheapo 'Smart Reloader' hand primer. It's shellholder indiscriminate, any works, even the inexpensive Lee's.

    Have fun. I like to handload. Problem is, at my age, I have to recheck my work all the time as I forget what I'm doing frequently......

    Is it really a good age Roy?? We are fast approaching the 'depends' age.......
     
  4. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Geez Sidecar give the fella some credit for remembering some of the aged knowledge. :)
    Yur worse than my wife of 44 years. :rolleyes: For giving details of what I'm already thinking. :rolleyes:

    Am headed for a woof hunt later in the week. Son in law got himself a new go in the snow anywhere UTV and the woofs are killin' elk and deer between me and Wyoming.

    I may be older than dirt but still able to, with only a little mechanical assistance and some goats, able to get out there and do some damage.

    BTW. I am still shooting brass that I bought in the 60s and going strong after more than 20 reloads.....

    Both of you guy have a happy and successful new year......
     
  5. dbecklund

    dbecklund Member

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    Thanks again. I'm not sure what I knew back then and can't even remember I had a 22/30 but boxes of necked down carbine cases don't lie. What was I thinking? It's like a walk down memory lane after 50 years but the memory isn't doing it's job. I have an old Pacific single station press that has gotten a lot of good press (excuse the pun). Thanks for the lube advice and how to clean the dies. I've ordered the reload books and the bullet manuals. I still have a Win model 70 300 win. mag, a Remington 700 22.250 and a custom 30" 7mm mag. SS 1" Shilen with a Sako Receiver with a 30x Lyman Target Spot scope that tracked well back in those days. This was aggressive stuff back in the 60s for a college kid in Southern Minnesota. My only source for supplies was Herters mail order from a mimeographed sales sheet you could hardly read. They didn't accept phone calls or returns so it got a little dicey when you tried to read their mimeo sales sheets. I got some of my powder confiscated and a visit from postal inspector when Herter's pasted a label "Explosive Material" on the box.They finally stopped labeling the packages and I got my powder but the postal guys went straight to the college admin office and I got my dorm room searched and the powder confiscated again. They never found my 220 swift stuffed inside the edge of my mattress. Those were the days. Sorry about the travel log but the memories are coming back.
     
  6. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Powders have matured too. I found some old powder in my late Uncle's closet in a cardboard box. It didn't have that vinegar smell at all. In fact, it smelled musty. I tossed it in the garbage btw.

    Now they come in plastic jugs or screw top plastic bottles, vacuum sealed for freshness. No more wooden die boxes either (miss those). All plastic now.

    I bet that Pacific Tool & Gage press would do real good on Flea Bay. On second thought, keep it. It's USA made.

    Guns still go bang however......:D
     
  7. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    Great to see a come back like that. Welcome back into the fold.
    It is funny how different peoples memories work . At my age I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday but where guns are concerned I remember everything I ever learnt right back to my early Army days .
    Brass can deteriorate over time with stress corrosion which hardens and cracks the brass. Ever seen old shotgun shells with a split down the side of the brass . Well that is stress corrosion causing hardness and splitting . It happens easy in the thin brass of a shotgun shell.
    Thicker rifle cases may seem unaffected but can have fine stress cracks from ageing.
    Not always but if they have been exposed to mercury primers or ammonia products then it is far more likely .
    My advice is don't use brass that old it is not worth it , use old primers and bullets but not old brass . The brass is the pressure vessel and it needs to be in top shape to hold that pressure safely .
     
  8. TracySes23

    TracySes23 Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have loaded ammo stored over a long period of time, empty brass should never go bad.

    Stress is what makes brass work harden. The bullet is mostly lead with a thin copper jacket & has a different heat expansion ratio than brass does. Temperature changes will over time cause more stress around the neck, because brass will expand & contract at a different rate than the bullet, it will be cold worked every time there is a temperature change. This will cause the brass to slowly become harder. Sometimes enough to split a case neck. Working 46 years in the machine tool trade as a machinist & toolmaker, I have never seen brass become brittle just because of age age.
    However I would be concerned about loaded ammo having the potential to split case necks when fired if they aren't already split.
    I have at least 20 boxes of Herter's 22-250 brass left over from the mid 1970's. I plan to begin shooting loaded cartridges using this brass within the next few weeks.

    If I discover I'm wrong, I will eat crow & fess up.
     
  9. etisll40

    etisll40 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome back, tell us how you progress okay.
     
  10. dbecklund

    dbecklund Member

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    So far no problems. However, i did find changes in volume from the current cartridges.
     
  11. JimBridger

    JimBridger Member

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    Did you say .220 Swift?
     
  12. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    its amazing how our opinions can vary. im still using some old h570 that is
    ww2 vintage. ive also had some that went bad 30 years ago.
    as for brass i feel it hardens with age. ive seen new in box older brass with neck splits. annealing might be a good option. trashing might be a better option. time will tell if its good. or not.
    you were one of the early 7 mag owners. the lymans were good but not nearly as popular as unertle back then.
     
  13. TracySes23

    TracySes23 Well-Known Member

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    Here it is 3 months later. No split necks yet. I'll keep shootn' & report back if I get split necks in a few months.
     
  14. TracySes23

    TracySes23 Well-Known Member

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    I got my first split neck after the 7th load. A few boxes were maximum loads by the book. I'll likely get more on splits the next reload. The necks on these were a little thin to begin with. .010" - .012".

    Judge for yourself.

    Spencer