Wondering when to retire .30-06 brass (sectioned brass photos included)

1Moose

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When posting this, I somehow lost a lot of the content, so attempting to edit it now....

I have a Rem 700 .30-06, and I'm wondering when to retire the brass. With the load my rifle likes, I am seeing light extractor marks occasionally, and slightly cratered primers regularly. I never have bolt lift stiffness.

I'm shooting Barnes 168 grain TTSX, 50.0 grains IMR 4064, Rem 9.5 primers, and Lapua brass. Bullets jump 0.050 inches. I'm up to 7 loadings on some of the brass, and while I've never seen any of the lightening of the brass on the exterior above the web, I was getting paranoid, so I sectioned a couple cases that I've fired 7 times as well as one that I've fired only 3 times to compare.

Would you be concerned by this? Might there be a rapid onset of a problem above the web (or anywhere) even though I'm not seeing signs of thinning at this point?

Thanks for any advise you might have. Feeling like I need to back off of this load and run a new ladder test.

30-06 Fx7.jpg


30-06 Fx3 case.jpg
 
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g0rd0

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how often do aneal? You don't need to sacrifice brass, strieghten out a paper clip and put a slight bend on the end, run that bend around the inside base if you don't feel any irregularities than your brass is good to go.
shoot, neck size (ns), ns, ns, anneal full length size, ns, ns, ns. In other words ns 3 times then anneal plus full length size, my 7RM (federal), brass is doing their 12th reload (total 13 shots) and I have still over 190 out of 200 what is missing are ones that I ruined annealing or lost in the field
 

1Moose

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how often do aneal? You don't need to sacrifice brass, strieghten out a paper clip and put a slight bend on the end, run that bend around the inside base if you don't feel any irregularities than your brass is good to go.
shoot, neck size (ns), ns, ns, anneal full length size, ns, ns, ns. In other words ns 3 times then anneal plus full length size, my 7RM (federal), brass is doing their 12th reload (total 13 shots) and I have still over 190 out of 200 what is missing are ones that I ruined annealing or lost in the field
I have to admit that I haven't learned how to anneal yet (worry I'll inadvertently heat the case too much and create a problem I can't see), and I've only been full length sizing for all my cartridges. I know many neck size for their hunting rifles (this one is--though I haven't neck sized any of my cartridges), but I figured FL sizing would ensure I never ran into an issue in the field. I've been attempting to minimize shoulder bump and see if I can get acceptable brass life in the process. That said, with what could be pressure signs (extractor marks), I started to get nervous about the brass. Sounds like your reloading procedures are working really well for you in your 7RM.

I'll use the paper clip technique in the future. I was worried I might not notice any problem signs with that technique so didn't use it. Tough hobby to be self-taught! Appreciate the insights.
 
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jfseaman

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Your brass appears to be serviceable. Remember, you are in charge.

Paper clip method.

Annealing is your friend. Don't be intimidated. It could be as simple as setting them in a sheet cake baking pan with an inch of water and heating the neck and shoulder.
 

243winxb

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Using the Barnes maximum loading. The 7X fired may be showing a little wear?
thin.jpg

If the brass is not stretching a lot on firing, there should not be any case separations.

When FL sizing, only bump the shoulder back about .002" If fl die is contacting shell holder when sizing, shoulder set back is about .005" and not enough to be a problem. But more than needed in a bolt action.

The primer pockets will get loose first. Watch for any gas leakage past the primer. Check bolt face after shooting.

I have 19 firing on 243 Win brass using a FL bushing die. The neck would crack using a standard FL die. I do not anneal, as its hard to get it right.
 
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1Moose

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Your brass appears to be serviceable. Remember, you are in charge.

Paper clip method.

Annealing is your friend. Don't be intimidated. It could be as simple as setting them in a sheet cake baking pan with an inch of water and heating the neck and shoulder.
I had read method with a bath of water some time ago. I may give that a try. Thank you.
 

243winxb

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338 belted.
338Head2.jpg
The outside of the case should have a shiny thin line starting around almost all of the case. Here is a 223 separation starting in the body of the case.
caseseparation.JPG
 

1Moose

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All brass looks normal, using the Barnes maximum loading.
If the brass is not stretching a lot on firing, there should not be any case separations.

When FL sizing, only bump the shoulder back about .002" If fl die is contacting shell holder when sizing, shoulder set back is about .005" and not enough to be a problem. But more than needed in a bolt action.

The primer pockets will get loose first. Watch for any gas leakage past the primer. Check bolt face after shooting.

I have 19 firing on 243 Win brass using a FL bushing die. The neck would crack using a standard FL die. I do not anneal, as its hard to get it right.
Thank you. I'll keep an eye on the bolt face for any leakage. Haven't noticed any yet. I had previously established shoulder bump by loading a case many times and looking for markings on a seated bullet that I coated with sharpee. That was finicky, so I recently got a headspace bushing set to make it easier and to confirm things. After using the tool, that's money I wish I had spent earlier (as I already had the main tool for measuring bullet jump to reach the lands).

Much to learn. Wish I knew why I was getting those extractor marks.
 

1Moose

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Normal for the loading. I changed post you quoted.
I'll check that more closely. I was wondering if there was a tiny bit of thinning there also but as it wasn't cut perfectly couldn't measure it well with my calipers. If your eye caught that section also, I suspect it is indeed getting thinner, even if only marginally at this point.

Would a conservative approach be to retire those cases? What I don't know is if thinning occurs slowly (and I could monitor it for another firing or two) or if it could go from that state to separation?
 

243winxb

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Light ejector marks can be seen on some factory loaded ammo, as brass flows into the hole. A litte is ok. A lot is not.

Right light. Left over pressure, primer fell out.

My old Lyman manual said the brass should be scrapped after the 4th trimming. This means when maximum trim length is reached, trim back .010" After 4 times, scrap brass. I have never gotten to 4 trimmings. Neck crack first.
Ejector Mark.JPG
 
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243winxb

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Would a conservative approach be to retire those cases? What I don't know is if thinning occurs slowly (and I could monitor it for another firing or two) or if it could go from that state to separation?
With the price of Lapua brass , i would vote monitor it. I would watch for the thin shiny line and use a pick to check inside.

Your Rem 700 has 3 rings of steel, lots of protection if you do have a case head separation.
 

1Moose

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With the price of Lapua brass , i would vote monitor it. I would watch for the thin shiny line and use a pick to check inside.

Your Rem 700 has 3 rings of steel, lots of protection if you do have a case head separation.
Light ejector marks can be seen on some factory loaded ammo, as brass flows into the hole. A litte is ok. A lot is not.

Right light. Left over pressure, primer fell out.

My old Lyman manual said the brass should be scrapped after the 4th trimming. This means when maximum trim length is reached, trim back .010" After 4 times, scrap brass. I have never gotten to 4 trimmings. Neck crack first. View attachment 88473
Excellent photos. Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this--it's very helpful for me. I've been reloading for a few years, and I read a lot, but everything I'm doing is self-taught.

The marks I'm getting are similar to to the ones you showed on the right-most photo. I have seen a faint full circle of the extractor profile very rarely, but the more common marking is a faint half-moon shape.
 

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