Brass Life

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by drenner43, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. drenner43

    drenner43 Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    I'm new to long range shooting and new to reloading. I'm shooting a Ruger 300 Win Mag. How many shots should I expect my Brass to last? Obviously I know to always inspect as things can happen and it could be junk after one firing. But generally, how many times can brass be fired and still be good?

    i'll be loading some once fired Winchester brass, the silver brass used in the Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silver Tips.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    The silver brass is Nickel Plated and can be used 3 or 4 times normally before problems
    start appearing. (Plating starts spalding of ) Also it can't be annealed well so if your lucky
    and don't over work (size) the brass you should jet at least 2 or 3 loadings before having
    to discard the brass.

    Also It is always a little thicker than regular brass and may not size down to the proper
    loaded diameter in the neck.

    If you want to reload for accuracy buy some bulk brass and do all the case prep nessary
    and with annealing you can get many reloads out of the brass as long as you are not
    shooting maximum or above max loads.

    I normally re-load the nickel plated brass one time and then discard it.


  3. drenner43

    drenner43 Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Thanks for the info! Sounds like I oughta just throw that brass away and buy some new bulk. What all prep work would be required on new bulk brass? Thanks
  4. drenner43

    drenner43 Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Also, are there any specific brands of brass that are better or worse than the others? Is the standard remington or winchester brass good quality?
  5. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    "How many shots should I expect my Brass to last?"

    Case life is affected by several variables, few of which we have any real control over. Only way to KNOW is shoot it until you find out.

    Case "quality" includes a lot of different things; consistant weight, consistant necks, thicker/thinner walls, consistant internal volume, strength and how rapidly it work hardens to failure. Which quality are you more concerned about?

    There are differences of course but it's really not as great as some seem to think. I see no vast over-all difference in any of our popular brands of cases.
  6. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    RWS if you can find it will wear out several barrels.

    Tom Sarver set the world record on f 1.4xx inches at 1000 with Lapua brass loaded 54 times but was annealed every time. He threw the brass away after 80 loadings.

    Those are the tops for long life and everything else falls off rapidly after that.

  7. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Already pretty well described here by previous posters, but this really is an open-ended question. I've seen plenty of brass that was rendered into scrap metal after the first firing, simply because it was loaded too hot. Others used with relatively mild loadings, I've seen destroyed pretty quickly by improper die set up, or working the brass excessively (always a bad thing). In some other instances, the brass is worn out quickly, even when proper resizing techniques are used, just due to what they were fired in. The M1s and M14s (M1As) are terribly hard on brass, and it should be discarded after the third firing. Bolt guns, much better. Bottom line is, it varies.

    Brass quality is an entirely separate issue, an it varies widely between different makes. It can also vary widely in some brands from lot to lot, just to complicate the matter a bit further.

    Some issues that you do have control over, can determine just how long your brass will run. Some of these are;
    1) Avoid excessive sizing wherever possible. Proper die adjustment will go a long way towards long brass life.
    2) Avoid high pressure loads. Speed costs money, no two ways about it. You don't want to spend the extra money on worn out brass, slow the loads down a tad.
    3) Under the heading of excessive sizing, make sure the neck dimensions of the die, and the expander ball (if you MUST use one) are the minimal specs capable of doing the job. This dimension can vary from task to task, which is one reason I think the Redding, or other similar bushing dies are about the neatest invention since well before sliced bread. Use 'em, you won't regret it!
    4) Keep your brass segregated by lot, and isolated for one rifle only, even if you have others in the same caliber. One batch for one .308, and another sperate batch for the other .308, etc..
    5) USE A CARTRIDGE CASE GAUGE! Wilson, Dillion and a host of others make very inexpensive gages that can help you control headspace issues. Redding makes a suoperb unit that allows this, and several other case/cartridge/bullet measurments as well. They're your friend; use them religiously.

    Plenty of others here that I'm sure other folks can add to the list, but you get the idea here. Hope it helps!

    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA