Reloading Brass Fired from Another Gun

Orange Dust

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Oct 23, 2015
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A bigger issue with range brass is number of firings. Depending on the range it can be mostly once fired factory loaded cases, all once fired, or worn out junk handloaders left there because it wasn't worth picking up. Sort it carefully if you don't know origin. With experience you can usually tell just by looking at it.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2003
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Golden Colorado
Had some some success, so I would say depends. Worth a try for sure. My 223 would work with some but not others, savage factory gun. My factory 270 winchester, worked ok with cases fired in my dad's gun, but not my brothers.
 

D-mon

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Aug 11, 2003
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Scotland
For the brass that can not fit in a tighter chamber , I was wondering if it would be possible to create your own “small base body die” buy getting a full length die and cutting on the lathe the top portion at the junction between body and neck and removing material on the bottom till it is tight enough when it touches the shell holder to resize properly the sides of the case. If brass has memory, delete its memory :)
 

Hugnot

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Sep 26, 2020
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Montana
Yes- once fired brass, F/L re-size including adjustment for proper head space - bump back if needed, then check trim length. A standard SAAMI chamber will accept F/L sized brass using SAAMI spec dies provided brass head space & trim length is correct. Spring back (memory) near bottom of brass, that is work hardened, should be negligible provided SAAMI pressure limits observed; if exceeded by a certain extent loose primer pockets are likely.

For years I used once fired 7.62X51 (.308W) GI/LC (white cardboard box, red eagle having admonishment "not for combat use") match brass with no primer pocket crimp, fired from M1A (M14) match rifles used by various active duty Army rifle teams - cheerfully donated. For my M70Win action match rifle I used standard RCBS F/L dies with bump-back & a Vickermann seater die. No problem - standard load used 168 Sierra or Hornady bthp bullet with 44 grains of H380 (old lot) with many load cycles. I then got into turning necks & my 600 yard scores improved.

Thinking I had mastered this, many years later, I got 250 RCW 5.56X45 /.223 once fired brass & resized 50 to .20P (.20-.223) using a Redding .223 F/L bushing die with a .226 bushing. About 3 out of 50 stuck in the .20P chamber after firing and the extractor ripped the rim off. I then got a RCBS .223 Small Base body die and no more stuck cases after the first pass in load production. Some time later I discovered that my standard RCBS .223 F/L die also fixed the problem when used without the expander button. Possibly, hot loaded factory ammo fired in sloppy chambers caused the problem.

I don't see why modifying a standard F/L die by removing steel at the bottom & removing the shoulder & neck portion & preserving basic body taper would not work. F/L dies are real tough, hardened steel so I have not attempted this.
 

FatOldMIHunter

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Feb 16, 2018
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The only time I had a problem with "memory" in brass from a different gun, I solved it by annealing the brass and holding it in the full length resizing die for about 10 seconds each case. This was thick Norma brass and it became some of the best I've used in that gun.
 

Mike Matteson

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Jun 26, 2017
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All I have ever done with brass fired from somebody else rifle is anneal, and full length size the brass. Never had a problem with the brass. Using a SAAMI RCBS full length die, and that being the chamber is a SAAMI standard.
 

MLN1963

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May 5, 2013
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Once fired is not a problem as the brass hasn’t taken a set yet. Multi times fired brass can be a problem if the chamber it’s been fired in is larger than yours in the web area. Annealing can’t fix this because we can’t anneal the web. Small base sizing is hit or miss, usually miss. It will bring it back small enough to chamber, but once you fire it again it wants to go back to where it took a set. You will have heavy bolt lift and hard extraction when this happens.
 

P7M13

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Orygun
I just experienced something like this, this weekend.
130 pieces of 243 Win brass of unknown shot count / multiple headstamps / and based on what I saw, different rifles.
Things learned:
  • If you can get a case dimension checker, do so. I have a Wilson 243 Case Checker, and it proved itself invaluable.
  • I found that these cases were fired in different guns with different chamber sizes.
  • On first screening (case checking before sizing),
    • 1/4 did not pass on the case head sitting too high
    • 1/4 did not pass due to neck length too long
    • 3 pieces had split necks
    • one piece had a mangled case rim
  • 1/2 did pass
  • Of the 1/4 that did not pass from the case head sitting too high, I took my 308 Small Base dies, pulled the expander, and sized all the bodies. About six still failed the case dimension check - toss.
  • Trimmed all the ones that failed the neck length.
  • Resized all of them with my 243 dies. Approx four more were culled for neck splits, ~4 did not look right after sizing
  • Anneal all of them.
  • Primed all, and loaded 20 for a ladder test to determine best charge nodes.
There were FOUR important steps here:
  • Having a Small Base Die that sized the body near the case head.
  • Visual Inspection. (some of these neck cracks were sneaky bastiges)
  • Case Size checking
  • Annealing
In the end, I had 104 pieces of usable brass from the original 130. I'm lucky. I bought 100 pieces, but I've known the gunshop owner for ~20 years, and he said he put a little extra in to make sure it came out right. Yep.
 

Mike Matteson

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Jun 26, 2017
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1,141
A few several month ago at a range I picked up 60 Hornady 300 W. Mag case. One fired. Set aside for a rainy day. I haven't check them, and I would be either resizing to 308 Norma Mag or 338 WMag or any other belted mag chamber. Brass was hard to come even then. If I come across brass laying around I will pick it up and store it. May not use it, but it may become impossible to get cases someday if Biden gets his way. I will have just that much more I can use if need be. The price was right. If you get a big pile of brass that done, save them and turn them at recycling center. They generally pay better for brass cases. It's a better brass.
 

MLN1963

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May 5, 2013
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145
That’s a new product on me. I don’t really understand the usefulness of that but I’m sure there is one. Since all chambers are slightly different I don’t understand how they can come up with a standard?
 
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