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EastOutfitters
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm preparing to load for .338 Win Mag. I'm currently collecting brass as it does'nt seem to be readily avaiable, and have a question about the brass, Lyman 49 advises me to reload the belted mag cases only a few times, my question is where to look for signs of excessive wear, where will trouble first appear? The loaded ammo will be used in only one rifle, so I plan on neck resizing only. First time I've loaded a belted case, anything else I should watch for?
 

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Splits in or near the neck, and shoulders would be my primary area of concern... brass will "work harden" and start to split after it gets to a certain point. Re-annealing the cases before they get too hard will extend the life of it... also, just above the belt might get some thin spots after excessive or higher pressured reloading as the brass stretches with each firing a little at a time... look for a "shinier ring" around the case above the belt... it can be felt inside with a thin "L" shaped wire if there is any actual separation happening...
 

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looking at the price of new brass, i dont see any reason not to just buy loaded ammo for the brass. are you planning on shooting this thing a lot or just to hunt. i was looking into a 338 for a while but i shoot everything i own a lot so i decided to stay in 30 cal because of the cost. keep track of how many times you reload it, in my bolt guns i take and use a triangle file and mark the rim every time i reload it, but mostly i just keep reloading until the brass is damaged or it does not resize well. i would say you could get at least 5 reloads even with hotter loads.
 

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EastOutfitters
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your replys. I posted this same question on several reloading boards and have recieved an extenicive, education on Belted Mag brass, and also thru several offer have collected 100 'range pick-up brass' and 120 new unfired cases. Part of the education involved annealing, which is why I accepted the range pick up brass, ( it cost me $6.00, for shipping ) to give brass to practice with. By far the most advise given was to bump the shoulder back .001- .003, and anneal every 3rd loading. I am informed that by doing so that I'll get very long case life. :)
 

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Tp extend the life of belted cases set your sizing die up so that you headspace off the shoulder of the case and not the belt. Because of tollerances in chambers and brass if one uses the belt to headspace off you can have several thousands play. When the firing pin hits the primer it pushes the case forward, the then expands grabbing the chamber walls and then the pressure pushes, stretches the head to the rear causing the thinning and light ring just in front of the belt. Several cycles of this and you can aticipate case head seperation. While I do not shoot my .338 much I have in the past run it's brass across my .35 Whalen expander ball and then backing off the .338 Sizing die, size a case and try it in my M70. I gradually birng down the sizing die until I have just a bit of resistance when closing the bolt. That creates a false shoulder to headspace off to help overcome the case head seperation problem. Once my die is set up I do not change it when reloadig fired brass unless a sized case requires too much effort to close the bolt on. This procedure can be used on any belted case, but would probably not be too effective in the .300 or .375 H&H because of the long sloaping shoulders. .264 use a 7mm expander, 7mm use a .30, .30 use a .338, etc.

I would like to tell you that I now get 10 good reloadings from my .338 brass but again quite frankly I just don't shoot this thing enough, but this procedure has been recommended by the "gun gurus" as a stop gap for case head seperation.
 
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