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Old 11-15-2012, 07:37 PM   #1
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Default Brass Questions

I recently acquired a ton of 40 S&W brass. Some regular brass and a lot of it nickle plated. My questions are -

1. When do you discard/recycle your brass? I have a few casings that have very small dents and dings on them. Nothing major, just small dents. Would the small dents/dings mean that the casing is weak in that spot?

2. I have some casings that are obviously beyond repair. The mouth is dented severely and there are major dents on the casings. These I know to throw into the recycle bucket. (This really isn't a question.)

3. Some of the regular brass I have is discolored, I.e., dark in color but looks great. Just discolored. Would this be O.K. to reload?

4. I have some brass of both categories that have major scratches on the outside walls. Is this a sign of wear from previous reloading and shooting or is it just from normal wear?

5. Do any of you guys and girls separate your brass by head stamp? I have a ton of Speer nickle plated brass and a few Federal and Winchester nickel plated brass. As far as regular brass I have a lot of Winchester, Blazer and PMC. I have a really bad case of O.C.D. when it comes to things being organized. I was just curious if anyone keeps they're brass separate from one another according to head stamps.

Sorry for so many questions. I have been reloading for about a year. It is a wonderful hobby that I love. Thanks in advance friends!!

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Old 11-15-2012, 07:42 PM   #2
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I don't bother sorting by head stamp. Most of those dents will come out when you are resizing. Clean them up and try resizing some that you are concerned about. If they still look problematic then toss them. Just make sure what you are describing as scratches aren't cracks.

The dark color is probably just carbon. Should clean up nice

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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What he said up there ^^^. The discolored brass is fine if just dicolored and not corroded- tumbling can make look nice and shiny.

I recycle brass when it cracks. I tend to load target loads, and I will usuually lose brass in the high grass before it wears out. If primer pockets have become oversized, time to retire it.

I do sort my brass- by caliber. May try to keep nickel seperate, but honestly, not that important to me.

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I am loading for target and plinking only. I prefer to purchase self defense ammo as if I ever had to use my pistol for self defense I don't want to be the guy loading my own Hollow Points and have a lawyer saying I am loading Satanic force ammo that can stop a tank from a mile away.

The dark colored brass cleaned up pretty well. It still has some dark spots on it but looks pretty darn cool LOL!!

I have been sorting my brass in nickel and non-nickel. I have been on the fence about sorting through all this brass by head stamp. Just figure I will load it and shoot it. LOL

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Old 11-15-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
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I buy sd ammo too. But being the paranoid sob that I am, I have 1000 or so rounds of hot handload hp for The zombie apocalypse. Everything else is cast lead and nowhere near max pressure.

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Old 11-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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I don't worry about color or scratches. I inspect each case twice. Once during resizing and once when I flare the cases (pistol). I look for actual tears or cracks. Scratches are cosmetic.
Sorting by head stamp is more critical for extreme accuracy loading.

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Old 11-15-2012, 09:36 PM   #7
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1. Small dings from extraction shouldn't be an issue. Glocked (bulged near the base due to inadequate support) brass might be worth a bit of caution. I shoot fairly mild loads so I find that my brass lasts a while. I throw them out when they split.
2. Unless they a just beyond hope, I will typically run them through the sizer just to see what happens. Sometime this will surprise you.
3. Mild oxidation is fine. Actual corrosion is not. Run them through the tumbler & see what you end up with.
4. "Major" is a judgement call. Cosmetic scratches? No big deal. If it might effect the strength of the case, ditch it.
5. I sort by head stamp. It's personal preference. IMHO, it will improve consistency. Will I notice the difference? Probably not, but why add one more variable when it's so easy to avoid it.

.40 S&W runs at a pretty high pressure, and it has a dubious history where case failures are concerned. Always err on the side of safety.

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Old 11-15-2012, 09:59 PM   #8
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I do not sweat the minor dings. They either iron out from resizing or from the pressures of firing. Scratches are often from getting kicked around on the range.

Really dark stuff was likely left on alkaline soil for a while. I tend to batch those together to be shot in a situation where I am unlikely to find them anyway (tall grass).

I have heard a soaking in Vinegar water will correct this, I have not tried it yet.

I clean, polish, resize and sort by headstamp. I keep coffee cans with different headstamps till I have enough to load of that variety.

If you are loading a big batch, you can just load it all up and box it according to headstamp. I, too, am OCD and cannot stand when I end up with odd amounts of one headstamp so I load known numbers of a particular brass.

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Old 11-15-2012, 10:12 PM   #9
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Man I've had some fugly looking cases that once through cleaning and resizing where just fine. You would be surprised to see just how funky a case can look but once through the process it will look just fine. I don't bother with sorting by head-stamp. Nothing wrong wit hit I'm just way too lazy to do it. Some years ago I used to shoot at a public range and picked up a ton of brass that people left. I'll probably never need to buy 9mm, 40S&W brass ever again. I have a good bit of 45ACP brass but not near as much as the others. I did buy a couple thousand pieces of primes nickle 45ACP brass a couple years ago because I had seen a sale. I'll use them until I see a bulge then pitch em. Every great once in a while I'll buy a box of factory ammo to help replace cases I've lost. Mostly that's 45 though. That brass can get pricey so I'll usually just get a box or so of the WWB stuff to help keep a lot around.

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Old 11-15-2012, 11:15 PM   #10
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I reload for the 40 S&W (among others). One thing to watch for (and it was mentioned above) is a bulge just forward of the rim. This is a "Glock'd" case. I.E, it's been fired in a Glock. Glocks have a partially unsupported chamber which causes this bulge. Left unattended, this bulge may cause a failure to go in to battery. A Normal sizing die doesn't/can't remove this bulge as the case can't be pushed far enough in to the die. Lee Precision makes something called a "Bulge Buster". It's used in conjunction with their Factory Crimp Die (i.e. you need both). I run all of my cases through the bulge buster. You can do this either before, or after the cases are loaded. I also have a case gauge for each caliber I reload for, but you can just drop each loaded round in the barrel to make sure it chambers completely and properly.

I should note that some reloaders have no problems with Glock'd cases. They just reload them (without doing anything special to them) and shoot them without any problems. But obviously some reloaders do have problems with Glock'd cases. Hence the special equipment to fix the problem. I would get an occasional failure before I found out about Glock'd cases. It's no big deal for practice. But I just like "all" of my reloads to function 100%.

Back before the days of Glock, we didn't have to worry about this case bulge. But now, any caliber that can be fired in a Glock will have this bulge. I buy once fired cases pretty cheap. It's all mixed head stamp and fired from who knows what. Consequently, I have to "de-Glock" them all. Same for any range brass I pick up.

Below are the links for the extra tools I use when reloading the 40S&W.

Happy reloading,

Don <><

Dillon Case Gauge
http://www.dillonprecision.com/content/p/9/pid/25548/catid/3/Dillon_Handgun_Case_Gages

Lee Bulge Buster
http://leeprecision.com/case-conditioning-tools/lee-bulge-buster-kit/

Lee Factory Crimp Die
http://leeprecision.com/reloading-dies/hand-gun-dies/lee-carbide-factory-crimp-die

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