How do you know when Brass is get past it

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
I am now on forth or fifth reload on some of my 7x65R RWS brass. It all looks fine to me, but how do I tell if it is getting long in the tooth. It does feel quite hard to resize, but always has done so, and probably lack of enough lube on the inside of the case. I am not loading it particularly high, ie quite a mild load, but wanting to work up another lod with a heavier bullet at a bit more throttle for longer range big stuff.
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
I can't say when to discard brass other than when it splits, the wall thickness starts changing (incipient head separation) or primer pockets enlarge. ---- If you value your brass & especially before running up a new loading I strongly recommend annealing all your cases before the next sizing operation.

Ian
 

gixer1

Well-Known Member
Visually inspect it, and check the lengths basically. If using a relatively light load it can last for a long time...there are plenty of people out there with brass that's seen years of use with no annealing.

regards,
Gixer
 

timbrayford

Well-Known Member
I discard my cases when they become too long after their 4th trim, typically 8-12 times fired. If you are having trouble resizing this may be due to insufficient lube.

atb Tim
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
lots of signs

- thin case head to body boundary (test with fine pick/bent paper clip)
- thin necks (also an indication of thin bodies from cases continually growing and being trimmed, unlikely in 7x57 TBH)
- poor neck obturation due to work hardening (fixable with annealing before discarding)
-splits (extreme IMO)

none of these is particularly likely in a low load large case scenario

I have low to medium charge .270 cases on 8, 9, 10 firings without issue

Personally I find RWS brass quite hard anyway so would expect the neck obturation to be your first indicator
 

gixer1

Well-Known Member
Just as a note, I spoke with an elderly gentleman at the range 2 days ago who had a rather accurate 260, he was telling me it was a very light load and that some of the cases were on about 40 firings!

some of my 223 is on its seventh, but I tend to discard it more due to the dents the AR puts in the cases as it throws them out the ejection port.

regards,
Gixer
 

Sinistral

Well-Known Member
I am now on forth or fifth reload on some of my 7x65R RWS brass. It all looks fine to me, but how do I tell if it is getting long in the tooth. It does feel quite hard to resize, but always has done so, and probably lack of enough lube on the inside of the case. I am not loading it particularly high, ie quite a mild load, but wanting to work up another lod with a heavier bullet at a bit more throttle for longer range big stuff.
I know what you mean about RWS brass - I've got Federal in 7x64 (a rarity) & RWS in 7x65R, and what a difference there is in effort using the same dies & lubrication. If using rimmed cases like you, I'd be neck-sizing only (as in .303) so 'web-thinning' wouldn't happen. The stretch ring mark from this is usually visible as a warning before the paper clip test works. :-|

I don't think there's a fail-safe objective test. As I understand it, 'annealing' is only done to neck & shoulder but 'work-hardened' cases will split anywhere including the extraction groove in rimless.

I discard all my cases after the 6th firing out of habit, and the whole batch of 50 if a neck splits on just one. The long-necked case types like .222 (particulary the Winchester crap) and .270 were more likely to split here and go in the bin.

Frequently trimmed cases thicken rather than thin at the neck, but I've never needed to do this more than once or very rarely twice. Splitting here will also depend on how tight or slack the neck bit of your chamber is too. You'll probably know the answer to this already from inserting a bullet for fit in a fired case.
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
Heym I've found RWS 8x57irs cases to be excellant for longevity. I tend to find that the primer pockets go slack before I have any problems with neck splitting. My loads are only moderate being for a break action rifle.
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
I'd say anneal them and carry on reloading. Re-anneal after each three firings. Ensure the primers fit correctly and aren't a 'loose' fit. ATB
 

Scipio Africanus

Active Member
Carefully measure the overall length. Each time you trim, brass is removed which comes from somewhere. The brass flows in the direction of the muzzle each time a round is discharged, so every firing results in a thinning of the case wall. Eventually a case will separate - though this may not be for many many firings & when depends entirely on the ability of the case material to resist & reform after the repeated strains of being hot squeezed in the chamber & cold squeezed back up the die, even neck resizing ones!

Unless cost really is a significant factor - reloading never saves money, we just shoot more ! (as it should be!) - I retire my cases after they have done their job four or five times. I think they deserve it.
 

Harry mac

Well-Known Member
Some years ago I did a series of longevity tests on both 308 and 303 cases. For the 308 I used Federal, PPU, and Sako cases, and for the 303 I used HXP, PPU & Sellier & Bellot cases. 20 cases of each brand were segregated from all my other brass and these were used every time I went to the range. It took a long time to complete the trial, as I only tend to go to the range once a month and you can't expect to fire 60 shots through a stalking rifle every time you do. The results were quite consistent, and almost across the board (S & B cases were the exception), the earliest firing at which neck perforations would start to appear was on firing number six. As a consequence of this I now retire all my brass after five firings.
I found that any shot from a case which failed during firing was apt to not go where it was aimed. It was losing a deer after hitting it with a 303, the case of which separated on firing that prompted my tests in the first place.
The S & B cases in .303 were found to be terrible. I was lucky if any of them got as far as being fired 3 times without at least some in the batch showing either splits or perforations in the neck or shoulder area. With this brand, no amount of annealing seemed to help, and neither did neck sizing. Consequently I wont use S & B cases ever again.
If you retire a case (or batch of cases) when cases start to fail, you've already used them too many times.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
Carefully measure the overall length. Each time you trim, brass is removed which comes from somewhere. The brass flows in the direction of the muzzle each time a round is discharged, so every firing results in a thinning of the case wall. Eventually a case will separate - though this may not be for many many firings & when depends entirely on the ability of the case material to resist & reform after the repeated strains of being hot squeezed in the chamber & cold squeezed back up the die, even neck resizing ones!

Unless cost really is a significant factor - reloading never saves money, we just shoot more ! (as it should be!) - I retire my cases after they have done their job four or five times. I think they deserve it.
What if you you don't trim?
i have several cartridges and loads that dont grow

also the lee collet neck sizer virtually removes work hardening
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
I can't say when to discard brass other than when it splits, the wall thickness starts changing (incipient head separation) or primer pockets enlarge. ---- If you value your brass & especially before running up a new loading I strongly recommend annealing all your cases before the next sizing operation.Ian
I'd agree with all of the above :thumb: but you can extend brass life even when F/L resizing. To ensure this, you need to measure your fired cartridge headspace and set your F/L sizing die up so that when resizing cases your die sizes them to within and not greater than .002" of the measured headspace. Also you can set your die and maintain good case/case neck concentricity by setting up using the attached instructions.

The Rifleman's Journal: Basics: Headspace

Annealing as mentioned is also good for maintaining brass elasticity ensuring extended life and consistency of your brass. Doing this each 3 or 4 firings will help considerably. So if your loads aren't too hot you should get good brass life....as your loads get hotter the life of brass will shorten. How much it shortens is difficult to tell but you should see the signs as mentioned in good time. ATB
 
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caorach

Well-Known Member
Way back when I started reloading I bought 100 Lapua cases. Now I don't count firings but what I do know is that I've gone through over 2000 primers since. I'm loading for 308W and some loads are very mild while others are giving me 3000fps with a 150 grain bullet. Clearly, on average, each case has around 20 loads on it though I suspect there is considerable variation with some more and some less.

Now I don't doubt that some people are getting only 5 - 6 loadings on their brass but clearly there is considerable variation. My cases have taken some abuse as I was learning to reload, making mistakes and so on, but Lapua are well known for being good brass. Given my experience you'd be wasting a lot of good brass if you were, say, to junk your cases automatically after 5 or 6 reloadings.
 

Jdt

Well-Known Member
I make a point of only using a case five times,better to err on the side of caution :)
 

reiver

Well-Known Member
I have some Remington .444 brass that has been reloaded well over 50 times probably near 100 times with cast bullets and mild loads. i got them second hand so who knows how many times they have being fired?. For hunting loads i only use the brass 10 times then use for target practice.
I also find S&b brass in 9.3x74r and 303 to good for only 3 reloads and the brass is harder to prime/size compared to my Norma and Rws brass which lasts for a good 10-12 reloads + so far:love:
 

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