Virgin brass, or once fired!

Blackhawk

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Something has been bugging me about brass, virgin brass, either processed, or out of the box, versus once fired!
First of all, Butterbean , made mention of it in his thread, MY FIRST TIME, but I want to explore other people's thoughts, and experiences , with accuracy, from virgin brass, versus once fired.
I have had two rifles, in different calibers, that would , with virgin brass, shoot better groups, hands down, then it would with any combination of resizing, or lack of. Full length, partial, neck sized, didn't matter. It shot ok, but no where's near what the virgin did.
Secondly, do you shoot the whole box, or do do take out and shoot through a batch, then start over.
Thoughts and experiences appreciated!
Be safe All!
Questions Posed:
1) Are you annealing your virgin or once fired cases?
2) Are you using a body die and competition shell holder set in order to determine your correct shoulder bump ?
3) Are you FL resizing your brass using a Match Grade Die with the correct bushing inserted in order to obtain optimum neck tension?
4) Are you indicating your bullets TIR ( total indicated runout ) with a concentricity gage in order to determine just how much runout
Less expensive die sets often exhibit more inherent run out than a quality set of reloading dies.
Stacked tolerance issiues between worn shell holders/plates and reloading dies themselves can also be a prime contributor. ( to that end I rotate my shell holders as they are the least expensive items to replace)
In that light how long has it been since your dies have been broke down and cleaned?
There certainly can be more that is preventing you from from finding your sweet spot , but here at least is a good place to start!
Note:
If you have indicated negatively to any of these questions please re evaluate your reloading procedures.
OBTW
I am a big proponent of the Satter Lee ladder Test, also a modified version of the O.CW. tests
You may find these will certainly help with your load development !
My wingman is always my faithful V3 Magnetospeed Chronograph.

Hope this helps
 
Last edited:

skipglo

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Well here’s my guess if you load two cartridges to the same overall length but virgin brass is .005 shorter than fire formed or once fired brass when they are loaded to the same length you think you are jumping say .020 and that may be accurate in your rifle but if the brass you started with was .005 shorter upon expansion would you really be jumping .015 this is why I say it is a guess does the case stretch first or does the neck open up and release the bullet first?
Bill...I believe the neck will stretch first under the pressure....once the bullets are released there is no resistance.... unless one wishes to counter that it heat expansion....and if that were the CASE ( Pun intended) then it would contract when cooled. IMHO
 

Autorotate

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Something has been bugging me about brass, virgin brass, either processed, or out of the box, versus once fired!
First of all, Butterbean , made mention of it in his thread, MY FIRST TIME, but I want to explore other people's thoughts, and experiences , with accuracy, from virgin brass, versus once fired.
I have had two rifles, in different calibers, that would , with virgin brass, shoot better groups, hands down, then it would with any combination of resizing, or lack of. Full length, partial, neck sized, didn't matter. It shot ok, but no where's near what the virgin did.
Secondly, do you shoot the whole box, or do do take out and shoot through a batch, then start over.
Thoughts and experiences appreciated!
Be safe All!

Sir

I would recommend you test to see what shoots best for YOU in YOUR rifle, using YOUR reloading tools and processes.

National records and Championships have been won using virgin brass in precision target competitive disciplines.

There's plenty of room for noise and error in reloading, it's worth testing. Suggest developing your powder charge, seating depth using fired brass, and then test that same recipe with virgin in your rifle.

I would recommend focusing on the results on the target, instead of a Chrono, and don't get too hung up on theories regarding what should work, instead focus on what works on the target with your rifle.
 

ButterBean

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The replies here certainly give a lot to think about and have created a lot of questions for me. I run a mandrel in new brass and start load development immediately. I'll shoot through the whole lot and then tweak the load if needs tweaking. It usually doesn't. But, I do recall having a barrel that shot virgin brass better than subsequent firings.

The comments about seating depth changing are interesting. With Wilson seating dies and an arbor press I can see measured differences in CBTO of a couple .001" at times. I just can't wrap my head around the best load having a seating depth tolerance within .005". It so close to the margin of error of our equipment. I'd rather be shooting than fighting thousandths. A .005" seating depth difference shouldn't produce a dramatic difference on the target unless you're a benchrest shooter, IMO.

The comments about pressure changing from virgin to fired brass is also interesting. I fireform brass for the 22 Creed from 22-250 brass. That's a pressure change. If a load changes dramatically from factory to fireformed brass due to the pressure difference I'd say that load isn't in the node.

I guess we should qualify what we're talking about here, though. Are we talking about virgin brass shooting .2's and fireformed shooting in the .7's? Or, are we talking .010's?
We are talking about untouched virgin brass shooting in the two's and after all the countless hours we put in to it and cant get it any better or get it to repeat
 

ButterBean

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Questions Posed:
1) Are you annealing your virgin or once fired cases?
2) Are you using a body die and competition shell holder set in order to determine your correct shoulder bump ?
3) Are you FL resizing your brass using a match grade die using the correct bushing g in order to obtain optimum neck tension?
4) Are you indicating your bullets TIR ( total indicated runout ) with a concentricity gage in order to determine just how much runout
Less expensive die sets often exhibit more inherent run out than a quality set of reloading dies.
in that light how long has it been since your dies have been broke down and cleaned.
There certainly can be more that is preventing you from from finding your sweet spot , but here at least is a good place to start!
If you have indicated negatively to any of these questions please re evaluate your reloading procedures

Hope this helps
Really ???????? this has absolutely nothing to do with the question that was asked, One again we are in the ditch, I will also suggest you do your homework before you suggest That 7stw should re-evaluate his process
 
Last edited:

DJ Fergus

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Sir

I would recommend you test to see what shoots best for YOU in YOUR rifle, using YOUR reloading tools and processes.

National records and Championships have been won using virgin brass in precision target competitive disciplines.

There's plenty of room for noise and error in reloading, it's worth testing. Suggest developing your powder charge, seating depth using fired brass, and then test that same recipe with virgin in your rifle.

I would recommend focusing on the results on the target, instead of a Chrono, and don't get too hung up on theories regarding what should work, instead focus on what works on the target with your rifle.
Good advice.
 

Pdyson

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Brownwood Texas
I will inspect a new batch of virgin brass and I’m partial to Lapua and Nosler. I chamfer and deburr but I only run dented mouths thru the resize die. I don’t trim until after 1st firing. I shoot trough the whole batch, steel pin wash, dry in a jerky machine, then I bag it and throw in a post it with the number of fires. I anneal after 3 firings but I don’t turn necks. I just started mandrel resizing with Cheap Lee dies a year or two ago and it works like a champ. I have better performance than when I was using Expensive bushing dies. I’ve been swapping out one caliber at a time...I can’t bring my self to sel my match dies though...what’s up with that? I dont know.
i’ve never had your problem, but if did, I would buy new brass after the 2nd reload and sell the twice fired brass.
 

DJ Fergus

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I can say this.I shoot factory ammo, trim ,sort the brass by weight, size on a Lee Collet die , work up load, then go shoot. It just flat out works. Now with virgin brass that I have used to work up a load with, it's gonna be more finicky, cause the brass had not been fired with all the same charge weights and can be more consistent after the second firing.
 

Savage 12BVSS

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I like to set my headspace on a rifle to where the case is barely loading the bolt handle within it's last couple degrees rotation of being fully closed. Some will argue that is not enough headspace. That's fine, I won't argue back about it. But this gives me minimal change in headspace whether I neck size only or bump the shoulder slightly with a full length die. I'm sure there are drawbacks to this, but for me personally the benefits out weight the drawbacks.
This is exactly how I headspace every barrel on every gun I own and shoot. That said....... a good gunsmith taught me how and why to do it that way. Maybe it could be because I never tried with new brass, I always used it for fouling, sight in, and hunting. I always felt that initial size change in rifle chamber with firing was the starting point to load for accuracy. Maybe I've missed out on the virgin brass accuracy potential, can't deny a lot of posters have experienced it. Thats what I like about reloading, no two people do it exactly alike and yet most find their way to accuracy :)
 

Savage 12BVSS

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I can say this.I shoot factory ammo, trim ,sort the brass by weight, size on a Lee Collet die , work up load, then go shoot. It just flat out works. Now with virgin brass that I have used to work up a load with, it's gonna be more finicky, cause the brass had not been fired with all the same charge weights and can be more consistent after the second firing.
Wow djfergus you just keep posting what I would say but better (love them lee collet dies!) Will stay with what works for me, but not debate others who have found a different way.
 

7stw

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Somewhere in the mix, the whole meaning of this thread got lost. I've loaded and shot for more then 40 years. In that time, with various rifles, brass, loads etc, I've run across this, " PHENOMENON ", on occasion. The load, that was fired, in the virgin brass, was a predetermined load, that the rifle liked, that was simply put together, with virgin brass, sometimes processed, sometimes not.
My question was, and is, have any other members noted that before, what if any thing do you think, is the reason.
Not that you can change it, the brass is now once fired.
It's not about seating depth, headspace, or load data. That's already been determined.
Thsts as clear as I can put it. Sorry if it came out any different!
 

LVJ76

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your once fired brass will never be sized back down as far as virgin brass so the case capacity will be a little different this is why I never do load development with virgin brass

I agree, different size and pressure so I avoid having to rework loads after first firing. That said all rifles react differently so not surprised some of your loads arent affected between virgin and fireformed brass.

I used to use cheap bullets for practice when fireforming but lately mostly Federal Premium factory ammo with nickel plated brass and then do load development with this brass. Growing up my dad mostly used nickel plated brass and I've leaned towards it in the last couple of years.

I do keep loads with regular brass but hunt mostly with nickel plated now.
 
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