Once fired vs new brass...?

entoptics

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
429
I've been a budget minded reloader from the start, and it occurred to me, that perhaps once fire brass is better than brand new brass when starting a new rifle (factory or build).

1) I've measured a lot of factory new brass, and it's always been well below SAAMI minimum in base to shoulder and sometimes even OAL.

2) I've measured a lot of fired brass, and the worst chamber I've seen leaves them just a hair over SAAMI max.

Taking observations 1 and 2 into account, I've found that sizing a random once fired piece of brass back to the specification of any chamber I've measured, is less reforming movement than would have occurred if I'd fire formed new brass.

In other words, every single piece of once fired brass that I've repurposed for another chamber, was closer to that chamber, than a new piece of brass would have been.

My theory is that a 60,000 psi fire forming process in a SAAMI chamber will get you a lot closer to "ideal for my particular rifle" than the bash/smash/stretch process required for creating a new piece of brass on a factory assembly line (no matter how high end).

It also might "hammer out" other variations, making it easier to assess uniformity.

What do you all think?
 

Bait57

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
11
Location
North Dakota
I have used both and saw variations in each. I still plan on using both. I will prob purchase more new brass with my current build than I normally would.
 

RT2506

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
1,921
In 40 years of hand loading I have experienced a wide difference in how the same load will shoot out of new verses fired before cases. On the other hand I have also experienced little to no difference between new and previously fired cases. It all depends on the rifle, caliber and load. You will never know until you give it a try in YOUR rifle.

I once had a new Rem. 700 7 Rem mag. Using 100 new Rem. cases no matter what load or bullet it tried the rifle would not shoot 3 shots under 2 inches. I was about ready to send the rifle down the road. Decided to give the best load a try with previously fired cases just part sized with a FL size die. "Neck size with a FL die". Found that no matter the bullet used you could just about fill up a case with Accurate 3100 and it would shoot bug holes as long as it was with a previously fired case just part sized.

Here is another example that has blown my mind. In dealing with two wildcats, 25-06AI & 30-30AI the fire forming loads shot just as tight at 100 yards and to the same point of impact as did the final load work up.

As to different lot numbers of cases. I would just weight short them for a narrow tolerance. You will have a few cases in the same lot that will very quite a bit sometimes.

I personally always do load work ups using previously fired cases. I will purchase 50 to 100 new cases depending on the rifle and it's intended usage and fire them doing a break in of the rifle and just to sharpen my shooting form. The load that I use for this will most often come from what the suggested accuracy load is that comes from the Sierra manual which I have found more often than not is spot on.
 

RevJim

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Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
546
Location
Sandy, UT
If I work up a load in new brass, and I find a good load, I will make up a bunch of "hunting loads" in new brass , same Lot. If my rifle doesn't like the load in fired case, I work up a different load in it. Sometimes, I have had rifles that shot well with both, but every now and then, I get a head scratcher! If I order "once fired" brass off internet, I weight sort them, and I'm not even a LRH, just anal! ha I have also just used 2 boxes of factory loads ( usually Winchester PP) for scope adjusting, break in, etc, and then work up a load. 40 rds is way plenty to take on a hunt just about anywhere!
 

waveslayer

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Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
199
Location
San Juan Capistrano, CA
I would start with new brass. There is no difference if you buy once fired from someone else or new Braas. You will get similar results, depending on YOUR rifles chamber. Unless you know the guy or girl you bought the brass from had the same reamer used on their rifle...

So basically you are still fire forming your brass to your rifle. If you are doing a load work up, I use new brass then find a node, shoot once fired brass to match the velocity to hit that node by using and truing QL.

So basically it doesn't really make a difference, at least with new brass it is new and you will get 1 more firing out of it
 

blacktail 8541

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
115
I work up hunting loads in new brass, and use once fired for practice when I can. My main rifle a semi custom Remington 700 is not to finicky and will shoot both very good. Some of my other rifles like once fired to perform their best. Go with what works in your rifle.
 

waveslayer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
199
Location
San Juan Capistrano, CA
I work up hunting loads in new brass, and use once fired for practice when I can. My main rifle a semi custom Remington 700 is not to finicky and will shoot both very good. Some of my other rifles like once fired to perform their best. Go with what works in your rifle.
What happens if your load is worked up for new brass and you shoot all of it? Now what, sell it and buy new brass again. If you reload then you need to work up a load or have custom dies made to match new brass. Once fired brass will always expand giving you more volume. Depending on the dies you have, you may not be able to match new brass case volume
 

blacktail 8541

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
115
I buy enough that it is not a worry, Also my once fired is is sized and loaded to the same velocity as my hunting load, Some people over think things to much.
 

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