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Old 06-28-2019, 03:39 PM
WrightFlyer WrightFlyer is offline
 
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Default Tracking Rifle Case Usage

I have been reloading for a couple of years, and my experience has been limited to straight-walled case calibers (e.g., 9 mm Luger and 30 carbine). I have never kept track of the number of times any given case has been reloaded. I do all the usual inspections on each case during the reloading process and have never found any issues with split cases.

I would like to "graduate" into rifle calibers. In particular, my supply of 30-06 HXP is nearly exhausted. I can definitely see the advantages of saving some money by reloading all this "once used" brass as well as using lighter weight rounds for plinking. None of my books or any of the threads in this forum address the concept of keeping track the number of times a piece of brass has been reused. I understand that rifle brass is worked pretty hard during resizing, and it can become brittle over time resulting in neck splits, head separation, etc. Hence, it has to be annealed it to eliminate the internal stress.

So, I have a few questions:

- Should I be tracking the number of times each piece of brass has been reloaded? I can see myself taking all the brass and putting it into my "once used" bucket. As each case is reloaded and shot, the brass goes into the "twice used" bucket. Once all the once used is reloaded, start all over again with the twice used bucket.
- Do you typically just throw out (or recycle) the brass after "X" reloads? If so, how many times can you (safely) reload rifle brass?
- Do you use the reload count to determine when annealing is necessary and reset the reload count back to one (1) for that piece?
- My initial focus is going to be on 30-06. Do these practices also apply to .223/5.56, 7.62x54R, 6.5 JAP, etc.? Does each caliber have its own "never exceed" reload count?
- Should I simply just keep reloading the brass until I observe any failures and then throw it out?
- Should I really be doing this for both pistol and rifle cases?

Thanks to everyone in advance.

Last edited by WrightFlyer; 06-28-2019 at 03:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2019, 04:49 PM
rcolarco rcolarco is offline
 
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My opinion only:

- Should I be tracking the number of times each piece of brass has been reloaded? I can see myself taking all the brass and putting it into my "once used" bucket. As each case is reloaded and shot, the brass goes into the "twice used" bucket. Once all the once used is reloaded, start all over again with the twice used bucket. You can do this if you want. I just load them until the necks crack.
- Do you typically just throw out (or recycle) the brass after "X" reloads? If so, how many times can you (safely) reload rifle brass?I just load them until the necks crack.
- Do you use the reload count to determine when annealing is necessary and reset the reload count back to one (1) for that piece?Anneal? Why? The world is awash in .30-06 brass.
- My initial focus is going to be on 30-06. Do these practices also apply to .223/5.56, 7.62x54R, 6.5 JAP, etc.? Does each caliber have its own "never exceed" reload count?Everything's different. Your experience will be different from others. I just load them until the necks crack.
- Should I simply just keep reloading the brass until I observe any failures and then throw it out?When the neck cracks, throw it away. Chances are the whole lot will go soon.
- Should I really be doing this for both pistol and rifle cases?Pistol cases don't wear out for a long, long time. I am still reloading .38 Special cases I have had for forty years. Once in a while one cracks and I throw it away.

You may get the impression I worry about case life about as much as I worry about being struck by a meteor.
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  #3  
Old 06-28-2019, 05:24 PM
BrianS BrianS is offline
 
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That is what I do also, split necks, its done. Some of the bottleneck rimmed cases, such as 762x54, 303 British, do not seem to last as long. And with some of the military semi auto rifles, brass disposes of itself. My one Garand, and myFN49, toss cases into never never land at times.
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  #4  
Old 06-28-2019, 05:55 PM
kidthatsirish kidthatsirish is offline
 
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some of my 30-06 cases I have reloaded around 7 times already. I have not annealed any of them.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2019, 05:56 PM
kidthatsirish kidthatsirish is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidthatsirish View Post
some of my 30-06 cases I have reloaded around 7 times already. I have not annealed any of them.
I have had no issues. For the record the first 4 times or so have been neck sized, after that I FLS.
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  #6  
Old 06-28-2019, 06:58 PM
ceresco ceresco is offline
 
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With light loads, HXP 30-06 brass will last indefinately. Load it, shoot it, trim occasionally and toss cases that fail or have significant damage. Classic case separations are extraordinarily rare in 30-06 and some even suggest that trimming is unnecessary, just to give you some perspective. These comments are not to be extended to include other cartridges or hot loads. Good Shooting. ...
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2019, 10:45 PM
la Fiere la Fiere is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceresco View Post
With light loads, HXP 30-06 brass will last indefinately. Load it, shoot it, trim occasionally and toss cases that fail or have significant damage. Classic case separations are extraordinarily rare in 30-06 and some even suggest that trimming is unnecessary, just to give you some perspective. These comments are not to be extended to include other cartridges or hot loads. Good Shooting. ...

This has been my experience with mild Garand loads in HXP brass as well. The typical failure modes are split necks and loose primer pockets. I have had a total of two (2) case separations at the shoulder, both with cases I'd reloaded too many times to count.


I do trim my cases each time.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:23 AM
Rich/WIS Rich/WIS is offline
 
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Split necks or loose primer pockets obviously toss. Also check for damaged rims from cycling in an M1, occasionally would find one bent. Check length and trim as needed. When resizing for the M1 I set my FL die only enough to move the shoulder back a couple thousandths, neck size for bolt guns. I do anneal my brass but more for something to do in the reloading room as opposed to needed. Gave my M1 to my son some years ago and just shoot bolt guns now using cast bullets at low velocity so brass lasts a long time. As noted 06 brass is plentiful and cheap, if something more exotic then careful die adjustment, particularly for rimmed/belted cases, and annealing may be a good idea.
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:26 AM
luigi luigi is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcolarco View Post
My opinion only:

- Should I be tracking the number of times each piece of brass has been reloaded? I can see myself taking all the brass and putting it into my "once used" bucket. As each case is reloaded and shot, the brass goes into the "twice used" bucket. Once all the once used is reloaded, start all over again with the twice used bucket. You can do this if you want. I just load them until the necks crack.
- Do you typically just throw out (or recycle) the brass after "X" reloads? If so, how many times can you (safely) reload rifle brass?I just load them until the necks crack.
- Do you use the reload count to determine when annealing is necessary and reset the reload count back to one (1) for that piece?Anneal? Why? The world is awash in .30-06 brass.
- My initial focus is going to be on 30-06. Do these practices also apply to .223/5.56, 7.62x54R, 6.5 JAP, etc.? Does each caliber have its own "never exceed" reload count?Everything's different. Your experience will be different from others. I just load them until the necks crack.
- Should I simply just keep reloading the brass until I observe any failures and then throw it out?When the neck cracks, throw it away. Chances are the whole lot will go soon.
- Should I really be doing this for both pistol and rifle cases?Pistol cases don't wear out for a long, long time. I am still reloading .38 Special cases I have had for forty years. Once in a while one cracks and I throw it away.

You may get the impression I worry about case life about as much as I worry about being struck by a meteor.
Excellent Answer! DItto for me!
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  #10  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:53 AM
milprileb milprileb is offline
 
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I think the answer is volume of your shooting program and type of shooting you do.
I don't bother tracking # of reloadings on 9mm and 45acp...if neck cracks , its tossed.
I really don't have any problems (M1A, Garand , bolt action rifle) with split necks. I do anneal now but for decades never did so...split necks were rare to ever experience. I lose cases to loose primer pockets and about 6th reloading the chances of case separation ring appearing is a concern , thus I am tuned to look for that after 5th firing.

For Garand or any other shooting, all rounds in the 50 rd box have same mfg brass and are at same number of reloadings. I track # reloading by 50 rd boxes. I prefer to do that. For Vintage Sniper Match (we shoot 300/600/800/1000 yds) with 03a4 clone, my 3006 is same lot of WCC, all cases same # of reloading , all cases annealed, sized, trimmed and this ammo packaged in 50 rd boxes and carefully managed. Its a 200 case batch and on its 3rd reloading. Annealed every time fired.

If I were shooting CMP events with M1 rifle and had (for example) 500 each HXP brass cases, I'd load all 500, shoot them and once all are 1x fired, begin loading the 500 again and press on. Shoot all till 1x, then shoot all to 2x firing etc etc. I would not bother culling those 500 for year of mfg.

556 which I shoot a lot of : mixed case mfg in 50 rd boxes, don't anneal, track # of reloads and toss it at 5th reloading. This is my 100 to 600 yd shooting with powder dumped out of a powder measure. . For 800/ 1000 yd shooting...same lot brass, same attention to detail in all areas as that Vintage sniper rifle ammo...all charges measured.

Case necks have never plagued me but I do (even with annealed necks) get brass fatigue in necks about the 3rd reloading ...I can feel bullet seat easier than others in the lot and I mark them as foulers and toss after shooting. Same with primer seating ..and if its Federal 308 or 556 brass, I can look at the box, see its going to 4th reloading and know I'll get 5% cases to toss as primers slip into pockets far too loose.

Chase variables to chase accuracy. I do that for ammo shot at 800/1000 yds.

Last edited by milprileb; 06-29-2019 at 09:04 AM.
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