Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2002
Wenatchee, WA
As with most things in this sport, it depends.

If you buy say, 1000 Lapua .308 Win cases at about $33/100, you have about $330 into them, and you still have to do the basics, i.e. trim, chamfer, debur, make a cursory pass w/ flash hole deburrer, primer pocket uniformer, etc. Probably won't take a whole heck of a lot off, and they are (in my experience) disgustingly consistent, to the point that it was *awfully* tempting to just run them thru a F/L sizing die, for good measure (the headspace was amazingly consistent as well) to round out the necks, mainly (shipping/storage boo-boos), and go shoot. Probably would have had no problems.

Now, if you are willing to spend the time and effort, you can certainly prep Winchester brass (my current 'preferred' domestic stuff) to just as good as better. And as the Winchester costs (at least) half what the Lapua does, you can afford to cull cases that are just plain outside a given set of criteria, be it weight, whatever. The extra $$$ can be put towards something nice like a fancy neck turner, a Gracey trimmer (or power neck shaver), better powder measure or scale, etc.

For me, one issue that led me to start using Lapua brass when Winchester had been working pretty darn well, was that my chamber is pretty much on the *maximum* end of the spectrum, in almost every dimension. Lapua cases (in .308) have a thicker case neck, therefore I'm working the necks a fair bit less during resizing, and hopefully not having quite as much runout issues, and hopefully the case life will be as good or better. Also, the web area in front of the extractor groove on a Lapua .308 is 0.4685 or so, vs 0.464 or 0.463 on a Winchester, so again, less 'extra' for the brass to have to expand into.

All in all, if I had a snugger chamber, I'd probably just use up all my Lapua brass, and then go back to Winchester, if it were me. Most of the operations to get a Winchester up to par w/ Lapua only have to be done once, and w/ some good power tools (Gracy Power Neck Shaver for neck turning, and either a Gracey or Giraud trimmer for trim/chamfer/deburring) can be done right quick like.



Rifleman 7

Active Member
Apr 14, 2003
I'll second milanuk. In my custom .308 TAC rifle I've got has a minimum chamber with a .339 neck. It'll shoot most any preped brass good if the basic load and seating depth is right. But Lapua brass just seems to get a little tighter group than anything else. Federal Gold Medal has been the next best.

What I think is going on is the amount of neck tension one's particular gun likes. In a tight-necked chamber where one neck-turns his brass, the Lapua seems to respond better.

In a .308 chamber that has a standard .343 neck, I don't think neck-turning will help much. The necks are going to get work-hardened after several reloads and fine neck tension will get hard to control.

In one rifle I had with a .345 neck, the brass would get work-hardened after 3 or 4 loads and the necks start to split. So why get too involved with premium brass and every last brass prep detail??


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2001
The difference between match brass and commercial brass is you and your particular rifle.

If this is a full blown BR rig with every dimension trued and minimized, match brass like Lapua will show a difference. However, understand that the difference sort after in this game usually get measured with calipers.

For the rest of us with either custom rifles or production rifles looking for better more consistent groups, match brass doesn't do much. Most of us are happy with 1/3 MOA groups. That's three times what the BR shooters want.

Buy your brass in one lot/brand. Fireform in the rifle, lee collet neck size, then follow up with prep - flash hole debur, trim to MAX allowable length in chamber, chamfer, maybe neck turn. If feeling realy picky, I will measure the internal volume of this brass by using a fine grain powder (WCC680-consistency of salt). I rarely find that cases vary enough to be visible. make sure you tap the cases to settle the powder.

Now the trial by fire. I shoot my brass for group at 200yds or further. part of my normal shooting. As long as I do my part, any brass that causes a flyer is marked. If that brass does it again, the brass is pitched.

Using this process, I have used brass from all major brands and several types of military brass. All produce performance up to the potential of the firearm. Meaning all shoot sub MOA and many under 1/2MOA.

Using a clean, consistently burning powder that is temp insensitive, lit by a good or match primer makes a huge difference to long range performance. A lot of ball powders (military surplus), except H870 and W872, don't burn consistently for LR accuracy - lots of stringing.

Proper sizing and seating of the bullets (less then .002" runout) in relation to the lands does more for accuracy then all the brass prep out there. Remember that Fed Gold medal 308 ammo is superb. I doubt there is someone sorting brass and weighing powder chargers.

Straight ammo is the most important thing.

If getting neck splits after a few firings and using a bushing or collet neck die, anneal the necks. Kit available from Hornady or info off the net. Makes a huge difference to case life.


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