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Old 10-09-2010, 11:38   #1
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Buy once fired brass or roll your own?

Wannabe reloader here, hopefully start cranking next month. Trying to get a head start, I have read/am reading various reloading manuals, currently on Lyman's 49th edition. Lyman strongly recommends reloading brass that you bought new and NOT to buy commercial "once fired" brass because you don't know its actual history. Comments? Opinions? Experience?
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:28   #2
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There is only one negative with buying once fired brass you don't know what it was shot out of. If it was shot in MG of some sorts, the brass may be stretched more than if shot in a bolt or semi-auto weapon. Machine Gun chambers are notorious for being over sized. Now I have reloaded thousands of rounds that I personally shot thru my machine guns. Never had any problem shooting the reloads in my bolt/semi-auto weapons. But here is the down side, I have browning beltfed MG in 30-06. I have found that the maximum number of reloads that the brass can handle is 2 + the original load. After 3 reloads, the brass has been stretched and sized way to much and I begin experiencing case separations (average 3 out of 100). If I reload a fourth time, the case separations go way up 20 out of 100. Now for 5.56x45, I can easily get 4 reloads with no apparent problems.
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Old 10-09-2010, 23:35   #3
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Well, knowing exactly were the brass came from and how many times it was fired is certainly a plus. That said there are plenty of reputable brass dealers online that guarantee quality. I buy both new and used brass, never had a problem.
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:00   #4
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Are you reloading 223? Pistol? Like mentioned above, you can get good brass thats once fired from many sources. I have purchased lots of pistol and rifle brass from different forum members and only got questionable brass once.
If they state "Once fired " and list the head stamp you can at least make your decision from there. .40cal brass fired from an un supported chamber was questionable at one time. Brass from a full auto stay away from.

Good luck, reloading is fun and very rewarding if you keep focused. Your reading has you on the right track. Lots to learn.Ask lots of questions, none are stupid,ever! We all had to learn at one time.

Mike
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:16   #5
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Wink

I have reloaded thousand of 40Cal fired from a auto and have never had any trouble!! So don't let any one tell you diffrent. Clean resized and load. ==Good Realoading ==
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:31   #6
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.40 cal WAS QUESTIONABLE ! I also reload lots of em and never had trouble.

Im not sure the nature of asking about trusting used brass.

Mike
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Old 10-10-2010, 06:50   #7
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To all,
Thanks for the responses so far. Y'all are very helpful. I had planned to order some once fired brass from TopBrass/Scharch.com,as they seem to have a good rep as far as I can tell. The Lyman manual gave me second thoughts, but after your responses, I'm back on track for ordering the once fired brass.

myg30,
I'll start out loading 9mm Luger ball ammo as a learning tool, so to speak. When I get a little more confidence in my ability, I'll move up(?) to .223 Rem. Those will be my 2 mainstay calibers. Eventually will do some .45 ACP and .308 Win and maybe a little bit of .300 Wby Mag.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:09   #8
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TopBrass is as good as any, they are good people. When purchasing used 9MM and 223 brass make sure you are not getting used Military brass. They have crimped primer pockets and take a little more case prep.

Now that yuou have your brass, what about bullets?
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:55   #9
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Originally Posted by steve4102 View Post
Now that yuou have your brass, what about bullets?
Bullets? You can buy once fired bullets? J/K

To get my feet wet, I'm thinking of starting out with 9mm FMJ by Rem, Win and Hornady, mostly because I'm familiar with those names and that ammo. Will see which of those are more accurate in my world, then go from there. I'm not a match shooter, but like everybody, I do like small groups. Should I be looking at Sierra, Barnes or others instead at this point? I won't be loading my own ccw ammo, although after I get the standard ball ammo down pat, I will probably duplicate my carry ammo for SD practice ammo.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:07   #10
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Go here and get handgun excellent bullets at a great price.
http://www.rozedist.com/

If they are out of stock and you can't wait, go here. These are excellent as well, just a bit more $$.
http://www.montanagoldbullet.com/
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:26   #11
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just my opine - if shooting any straight walled pistol rounds buy factory fmj when it's on sale at bulk prices and save the hulls for reloading if your time is worth anything.
particularly for 9mm slugs if you buy in bulk Rem Golden Saber is about the best you can get and good price too. it shoots the best in all pistol chamberings I have. it's only about $1.75 more than fmj per 100. highly touted in 'box o'truth' too.
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Old 10-11-2010, 14:33   #12
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New brass would be nice but once fired is much cheaper. And then there is the brass you can sometimes pick up at the range. I've reloaded both of the latter but always inspect each case as I'm reloading. Weeding out the rejects isn't difficult.

A good reloading manual will tell you what to look for when inspecting a case.
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Old 10-11-2010, 16:39   #13
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Higgite...

I know you mentioned our Minis were seperated at birth, . I've got close to 1k of once fired .223 and 5.56 fired from the long lost sister, if you're interested. Let me know.
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Old 10-11-2010, 20:22   #14
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I've loaded range pickups as well as those I've fired myself and have had no problems. For over 20 years that's about all I use.

The .380, 9MM, .40 and .45 cases seem to last forever as long as you stick to published data and don't over expand them. Longer cases like .38, .357, .44Spl, .44 Mag and .454 Casull will split at the mouth sometimes, but more often if they're nickeled.

I don't do match shooting and range pickups work fine for my needs, but rifle brass may pose a problem if you load for accuracy. I still use pickups for those too, but out of my milsurps it's no big deal.
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Old 10-12-2010, 13:28   #15
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Originally Posted by Marlin 45 carbine View Post
just my opine - if shooting any straight walled pistol rounds buy factory fmj when it's on sale at bulk prices and save the hulls for reloading if your time is worth anything.
particularly for 9mm slugs if you buy in bulk Rem Golden Saber is about the best you can get and good price too. it shoots the best in all pistol chamberings I have. it's only about $1.75 more than fmj per 100. highly touted in 'box o'truth' too.
It depends on what your shooting the straight walled pistol rounds in. My 9mm subgun goes thru 750 / minute. If I don't reload, I can't aford to shoot it. If I get a good price on factory rounds, I will buy, but its hard to beat the price of reloaded 9mm.
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Old 10-12-2010, 13:38   #16
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Originally Posted by Crowcifier666 View Post
Higgite...

I know you mentioned our Minis were seperated at birth, . I've got close to 1k of once fired .223 and 5.56 fired from the long lost sister, if you're interested. Let me know.
Crow... thanks. PM sent. Took me forever to find how to send one. Duh!
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Old 10-25-2010, 22:45   #17
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You can get 5.56 LC 09 brass, new for $150. per thousand, why bother with an unknown piece of brass. It's not worth the money. If you are using reasonable loads, there is no reason you cannot re load it 8 times.

John K
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Old 04-11-2012, 19:38   #18
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There was a test on all brass and LC was rated 4 and REM and WIN was down at 8 and 9 so do not be afraid of MIL brass FED was around 5 LAPUA was 1 the best.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:19   #19
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Range pickup works for me.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:29   #20
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I purchased a couple thousand .308 once fired. I would assume machine gun ammo. It was pretty dirty, but cleaned up nicely. It fit into my Wilson Gauge before it was re-sized so it was stretched out too much. On the bad side I had to trim every one of them. But a power trimmer made short work of it. I still hate trimming brass.

The best deal in town was my friend on the military shooting team. He would bring me new loaded M855 ammo. I would pull the bullets, dump the powder and give the empty primed brass back to him. After his matches, he would give me back the fired brass. I would cut the loads by 10% and put the bullets back. I loaded and fired a bunch of these. Wasn't so much a deal as a service. He got to load the brass with heavy match bullets and his favorite powder. Plus it saved him a bunch if time. I got free powder, brass, projectiles, and other recyclables.
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Old 08-28-2012, 21:16   #21
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Originally Posted by higgite View Post
Wannabe reloader here, hopefully start cranking next month. Trying to get a head start, I have read/am reading various reloading manuals, currently on Lyman's 49th edition. Lyman strongly recommends reloading brass that you bought new and NOT to buy commercial "once fired" brass because you don't know its actual history. Comments? Opinions? Experience?
There is a bit of truth to that. Your not guarenteed the history of the brass. I have had few problems going this route. A lot of times this "once fired brass" is from "lots" of ammo used to test fire guns that have been manufactured, or recycled brass from the military or "test lots" of milspec ammo destine for a military contract.

I have used this sort of brass a lot in the past. Since I worked in the military at a gun range for years I also have a ton of brass I have accumulated over the years. Its fine to use, just might need a little extra work to prep for reloading thats all. One thing to remember is mil spec ammo uses a thicker brass case. This will need to be reloaded with a slightly lighter charge of powder as there is less case capacity as a result of the thicker brass case. You can ID military ammo as it will have a manufacture code and the last 2 digits of the year of manufacture.

Examples...

WCC 89 Winchester 1989
TZZ 92 Isreali Milititary Industries 1992
LC 02 Lakecities 2002

The above are some of the more common examples you will find on military small arms ammo. Such ammo will have staked primers and require and extra step or two in the reloading process to remove the primer and the primer crimp so that it can be reloaded. Pesonally despite the extra work needed I prefer this type of cases for my reloading.

The only time I would probably be a little nervous about using once fired cases is if they came off a civilian public gun range as there is no clue as to if its really once fired or if it was reloaded ammo that was loaded to max charge levels which will shorten the brass cases life considerably. When I utilize this type cases, I keep it seperated from my other brass and make a very close inspection each time I reload it looking for tell tell signs of case head seperation or splits in the brass that are forth coming. When I find such cases I dent them with a pair of dikes and discard them so that they cant be resued.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:23   #22
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Originally Posted by jonjon View Post
Range pickup works for me.
That is how I got most of my brass.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:15   #23
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Originally Posted by higgite View Post
To all,
Thanks for the responses so far. Y'all are very helpful. I had planned to order some once fired brass from TopBrass/Scharch.com,as they seem to have a good rep as far as I can tell. The Lyman manual gave me second thoughts, but after your responses, I'm back on track for ordering the once fired brass.

myg30,
I'll start out loading 9mm Luger ball ammo as a learning tool, so to speak. When I get a little more confidence in my ability, I'll move up(?) to .223 Rem. Those will be my 2 mainstay calibers. Eventually will do some .45 ACP and .308 Win and maybe a little bit of .300 Wby Mag.
They are a good to buy from.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:22   #24
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People are not leaving there brass lay they are taking it home to reload of for some else. If I leave it lay it has been reloaded 6 times and trimmed at less 3 times.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:22   #25
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I take what I can find - new or used. I clean and inspect used brass carefully. You can usually tell if it has been reloaded.

I often keep the unknown origin stuff for my cowboy loads. In the rare instance I load something to "full potential" I stick to new brass and demote them to cowboy loads after a couple uses.

It last a lot longer than people give credit. I keep a log, sorting them in lots. I have some .45 colt brass with over 25 loadings. They still look fine. I use them for cowboy loads. If I start getting split necks, I'll cut them down to schofield loads and keep using them until the primer pockets are loose.

"High Powered" bottleneck rifle cartridges I treat a bit differently. I still don't typically load to the max, but I'll anneal the case necks after 5 uses if it's hard to find brass. I minimally resize to reduce case thinning and keep a close eye on case-head separation. I usually trim only once, maybe twice if it's rare brass. If the case is getting longer, it's getting thinner. I don't really "plink" with these, so cases last a long-long time. Big game hunting brass just doesn't get a lot of milage.
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