Brass Matters – Adventures in Reloading
In reloading, there are many variables that come into play. If you look at a reloading log book, you will see areas to record almost everything you could ever think of. Things like: primer brand, powder brand and lot #, bullet type and weight, air temperature, humidity, and many other variables that can come into play. I have considered many of these and even considered the brass manufacturer for other loads. I was not prepared for the vast difference in neck tension that I encountered recently while reloading some 38 special ammunition.
I was working with some Remington Golden Saber bullets that I purchased on sale. Load data for these particular bullets in 38 special was somewhat elusive, but I thought I could find a similar bullet and use a similar load. All the ammunition shot, but I was getting large fluctuations in the velocities. Several people asked about crimp and gave good advice about troubleshooting the issue. The crazy thing was that I just loaded up a bunch of Hornady XTP and didn’t have any problems. I went to my press and started from scratch with the dies. After setting the dies back up and seating the bullets a little deeper in the case, I noticed a significant difference in neck tension between brass manufacturers. On the initial loading of the XTP bullets I used all S&B and Federal brass. When I first loaded the Golden Saber, I used some newly fired Remington brass. The difference was very subtle, but I noticed right away the second time around. The Remington brass is just more pliable or softer. I am definitely no expert and in fact know very little about metals or metallurgy. All I know is that I am going to be very careful and not mix my brass anymore.
As usual, I learned a valuable lesson the hard way. The Remington brass seems very nice and looks good quality, but it just didn’t work for this load. It may be great for lead bullets and may work great if I adjust the flare and crimp more. And to be fair, the example in the video was the most extreme that I found. For now though, I will keep them separated and use the S&B and Federal brass for the Golden Saber bullets and probably most everything else. In reloading there are many variables and I am learning as I go.
I enjoy all things outdoors and gun related. I am a life long hunter and staunch supporter of self defense and the right to keep and bear arms. I am a Concealed Carry Instructor in the state of Kentucky and enjoy helping people exercise their Second Amendment Rights. I also enjoy collecting historic firearms and recently started reloading ammunition.