Go Back   CMP Forums > CMP General > Ask Each Other > Reloading
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-04-2021, 08:17 AM
milprileb milprileb is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Saigon, RVN
Posts: 3,084
Default Federal Brass...NON M1 Rifle Thread

Comments here have nothing to do with reloading for M1 Rifle. I am commenting on bolt action rifle and 308 or 6.5 Creedmoor caliber with use of Federal Brass.

I am singling out Federal brass because its the worst offender

a. Primer pockets stretch to point of uselessness at , usually , 3rd to 4th reloading of case.

b. Volume of cases is all over the planet. Thus pressures will vary and thus accuracy of groups get wider...and you get weird flyers. Gets to be a wasted effort to use federal cases for precision shooting at 800 / 1000 yd lines at sub MOA targets. Not talking scores on big targets !!

c. Neck Tension: Federal cases seem to be , even if from same lot #, to be of brass alloy composition which has huge variances. Spring back after re sizing is all over the map. Yes, annealing helps somewhat but still , take 100 cases from same lot # and properly anneal them, you can feel inconsistency in neck tension when you seat bullets and you will see that in group size at 800/1000 yds. Compare to same lot # Hornady brass...far better neck tension and ammo loaded in Hornady brass always outshoots ammo loaded in Federal brass.

This is my experience in 6. 5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester caliber reloading for precision rifles in KRG chassis. I have tried to make Federal brass work but its a pure waste of precious components and reloading time. This is my experience the last 5 years ...I won't use Federal brass any longer. Gave it a good long go but no cigar.

and yes...I even weighed my Federal Cases and culled by weight but still, the neck tension variances plagued performance significantly for long range shooting.

Before the world went insane on components , 4 years ago, I was talking to a proven national level champion F Class shooter who only shoots Lapua brass. I commented at the time it was 80 dollars per 100 cases (308 Win caliber) and prohibitive in cost. He explained his Lapua cases lasted 10 reloads and at that point, he tossed them into the practice brass bin for reloading. At 8 cents a case per firing and to gain nil variances in case volume and nil differences in neck tension (after annealing), I learned a valuable point...8 cents a shot for Lapua performance brass is in fact economical and not cost prohibitive. I have yet to make the leap to Lapua bullets , I am okay with a few less molecules of accuracy my culled production grade bullets achieve. Why...because mirage, winds and my steady hold of rifle accounts for more inaccuracy than any of these bullets could bring to the table. 2-3 inches less accuracy at 1000 yds than Lapua bullets , its not worth my money to bump up to Lapua bullets ...nor Bergers. Now if I were shooting Accuracy International rifles, which are laser beams, I'd see a ton of advantage to Lapua and Berger bullets. As soon as I have a fleet of Jaguars and AI rifles, I'll be using Lapua / Berger bullets.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 09:00 AM
bruce bruce is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,275

You will get no argument from me. Have been reloading rifle and pistol ammunition for 40 years. Have used all manner of brass. Always had good results w/ US domestic production. Shot a lot of Fed., Rem., Win., etc. No problems.

Bought 100 Federal Gold Medal Match .308 Winchester brass to use with a nice Rem. 700 SF-VS. Also had a little over 200 Rem. cases. Plan was to use the Rem. for practice, etc. and use the GMM for more serious shooting. That did not work out. Got only two reloads from the GMM brass before primer pocket expansion rendered them scrap. The load was a 150 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip and slightly more than a starting load of WW-748 as listed in the Speer No. 10 manual. I routinely got many multiple reloads with the Rem. brass. Same for Win. brass. Later ran into similar problems with .30-06 Fed. brass. Don't understand why this has happened. Sincerely. bruce.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 09:02 AM
nf1e nf1e is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 2,666

Been using Lapua and Starline SR primer pocket brass for any precision loading of .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor for some time now. Any GMM I shoot gets loaded only once and dropped into the generic cans for plinking and blasting away at steel targets.
Semper Fi
Sgt USMC 66 -72
RVN 67-68
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 12:34 PM
milprileb milprileb is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Saigon, RVN
Posts: 3,084

I was unaware Federal brass had same primer pocket stretching problems with 150 gr loads , I was always thinking my loads being near MAX due to velocity needed for long range shooting was a major contributing factor stretching Federal primer pockets. It must surely be but perhaps not as much as I thought. Fact is: 3 shooters here flag Federal Brass as "least desirable".

I'll have to try Starline brass and while SR primers have become well thought of recently, I'll have to stay with LR primed brass as my stash of primers is LR flavor..

Thank you Bruce and nf1e for your experienced comments.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 01:44 PM
Fishhead Fishhead is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SW Idaho
Posts: 83


Thanks for posting this. Apparently, I am not alone in my dissatisfaction with Federal brass in general and their .308 in particular. Neck tension all over the place and full length resized, once fired brass (from a friends bolt gun) springing back to where I had to force the bolt on my rifle closed on the freshly sized case.

I'm not good enough to even consider Lapua brass or bullets, but I am demanding enough to expect my handloads to chamber. All my Federal has gone into the recycle pile. RP brass at least resizes and is good enough for what I do. Maybe some day I'll get to where the Lapua stuff makes sense. Your cost analysis is spot on.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2021, 06:28 AM
milprileb milprileb is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Saigon, RVN
Posts: 3,084

Originally Posted by Fishhead View Post

I am demanding enough to expect my handloads to chamber.

We are all on board with you !!!!!!!!
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 02:52 PM
Jakeroub Jakeroub is online now
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,409

I remember hearing about federal primer pocket issues in 223 about 7 years when shooting service rifle. Guess it hasn’t changed.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 05:52 PM
ceresco ceresco is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,058

The stories about Federal .223 brass were true. This was a long time ago--at least ten years. I would like to know if recent production Federal .223 brass is still excessively soft. I have used Federal brass in .308 and 30-06 for years with no major issues. My loads are relatively light, so there is a real possibility that higher pressure loading would bring out the reported issues....that do not exist in my world. Good Shooting. ....
Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2021, 07:47 PM
hebes405 hebes405 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Ohio
Posts: 906

I had the same issue with hornady brass in 6.5 creedmoor (only brass manufacturer available at the time when I bought my rifle). Primer pockets loosened up quickly. Granted, my loads are on the hot side of the spectrum. That's one advantage of small rifle primer brass, extended priner pocket life.
Lapua is excellent brass but I'm runing petterson brass. It's on par with Lapua, quality and price, but its made in USA. I highly recommend it. They also offer SRP in just about every caliber they make brass for too.
Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2021, 12:02 AM
lapriester lapriester is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cobb, N California
Posts: 16,704

Any Federal 223/5.56 brass I happen to pick up goes in the trash. It's soft and has a thinner primer pocket web than any other. I have found that very often even once shot cases will have loose primer pockets. Based on that I don't use it in any caliber except 6.8 SPC where it seems all the typical problems don't exist. Even forming into various smaller or larger wildcat calibers hasn't been an issue. Primer pockets stay tight through multiple loading cycles so far.

I also am not a fan of Winchester or WCC 223/5.56 brass. In got more spit necks and a couple of shoulder separations when I used a few than with any other brass I've used.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:42 PM.