Brass Matters – Adventures in Reloading

Brass Matters

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.

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NickJ
NickJ

How far away are you shooting ? wondering if this would affect shooting Cowboy Action or just plinking ?

Dubya
Dubya

K; The more I reload the more stuff I find that falls in the “gotcha” category of information. I am finding that with my .300 BLK reloading that my converted .223 or 5.56 brass is dying early compared to the “factory” 300 BLK once fire military brass. Mostly neck cracks. That leads me to wonder if there should be an annealing step after reforming them from .223 / 5.56? I also recently started shooting exclusively cast powder coated bullets so case mouth flair and a Lee factory crimp is in the mix too. I never used a flair with jacketed… Read more »

CharlieBrassStuffer
CharlieBrassStuffer

Question…what size is your expander? It could be that the R-P brass is dead soft? I dunnoh, I’d have to be there and do some measuring & mulling! Problems like this one intrigue me.

Dubya
Dubya

Charlie; Yep, different alloys will “rebound” differently. One reason brass is the defacto “best for the cost” is that brass has a bit of rebound back from where it is moved to once the mandrel [die’] is removed. It helps hold the bullet, lets it extract after firing, etc. Different alloys will behave differently. Some will lose that property and work harden as they get worked back and forth in the movement areas like case mouth shoulder area where the chamber is different from the dies it was resized in. But you know this, I suspect. Just tossing it on… Read more »

CharlieBrassStuffer
CharlieBrassStuffer

((( I hope no one ever thinks I am talking “down” to them. ))) I don’t take it like that….heck, I’ve been an electrician since 1968, found my calling early in life but at the same time I’ve paid attention to all the other trades I’ve worked around…so, I can weld, plumb and do woodwork in my shop but that doesn’t mean that I know too much about any of my extraneous skills, ha! I can stick metal together and sometimes make it look good but…metallurgy and technical subjects like that require in-depth training that I never picked up..so…when someone… Read more »