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Old 02-22-2010, 11:59 PM   #1
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Default Do U Trim Handgun Brass?

I shot a competition yesterday, and picked up what brass I could. I ended up with 62 casings that were not my own. How do I know this? Because I color the head of my cases with a red marker. I know they are mine, and know what they are.

This evening I went down and measured the length of those 62 cases, just to confirm what I already know. The shortest case was .821", and the longest case was .840". That is a difference of .019".

I apply a light crimp to my loads and want every crimp to be the same. In fact, I want every round to be exactly the same. If I do not have consistant loads how can I expect to get consistant hits? Does not matter if I am shooting competition or just plinking. I want to hit what I am aiming at, time after time.

Let's just say my own brass is .850" long. That is what a 40 caliber should be. If I throw those 62 cases in with mine what happens to my crimp? And, how consistant are my loads? After all, I now have at least one case that is .029" (that's TWENTY NINE THOUSANDS) shorter than my longest case. You know, that is equal to the gap on some spark plugs?

I have been trimming my 40 caliber brass to .840" for years (I trim one time only). I do this because it is almost impossible to find once fired brass that is any longer. Factory ammo is notorious for having short, inconsistant case length.

Is it necessary to trim handgun brass? You be the judge.

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:24 AM   #2
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I never really had a need to trim straight wall brass. I could see it one time if you need that consistancy but other then that....

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Old 02-23-2010, 01:16 AM   #3
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if youve got a .40 bench rifle, that needs to shoot sub moa groups at 650 yards. Trim away.

The difference isnt going to be known in your pistol. As long as The OAL is the same, they should be consistent.

Therefore, I do not believe it in needed to trim straight walled cases.

(Ive never even checked case length in my 10mm, I run the Lee taper crimp dies, and achieve good results.)

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:01 AM   #4
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Default Trim hand gun brass??

I like most see no need to trim hand gun brass. Especially semi-auto loads. As long as they will head space properly in your barrel, I see no need. The semi's get a taper crimp (in most all cases). The only need I can see is in big-boomer revolver loads, where you want a firm roll crimp. The only way to have a consistently correct revolver roll crimp is to have the exact same length cases. That said-I do shoot some strong .357 and .44Mag. loads, and I have never trimmed the cases??

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Old 02-23-2010, 03:04 AM   #5
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Ditto on straight wall cases. ( I don't trim) Exception- I am running some hot, heavy .357 in a long (10 inch) revolver. I don't shoot a lot of those, but they are trimmed, flash hole perfected, hand inspected, etc.

FWIW, check for consistency within a brand. Gut feeling, you may be seeing mfgr's variance.

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:53 PM   #6
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I have been loading handgun ammunition for about 30 years. I have been shooting IPSC for over 10 years (B Limited, B Limited 10). I have NEVER trimmed straight wall pistol cases. Each round is dropped into a max case headspace gauge and fired. The grand-masters I shoot with NEVER trim their brass in .40 or .38 super. If they don't do it and shoot the way they do, I will not give it a 2nd thought.

Anal retentive is a redeeming quality in long range bench rest shooting and just a waste of time in the handgun game.

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Old 02-23-2010, 09:05 PM   #7
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[QUOTE/]Anal retentive is a redeeming quality in long range bench rest shooting and just a waste of time in the handgun game.[/QUOTE]

I have been told that I have no redeeming qualities at all, robocop10mm

Now, where was I? Oh yes, headspace: The fit of a cartridge in a chamber measured as the distance from breech face to that part of the chamber which stops the case's forward movement. Insufficient headspace hinders complete chambering; excessive headspace permits case stretching or separation. (Joyce W. Hornady)

There are four different headspace arrangements. (1) rimmed case, (2) rimless case, (3) belted case and (4) rimless straight case. Only one of these is determined soley by case length. Yep, the rimless straight case - eg. 45ACP, 40 S&W, 10mm, 9mm and so on.


I cut 1/4" off of a case and dropped it into a barrel chamber, simply to illustrate that the case stops only when the case mouth comes into contact with the end of the chamber. You will also see a chambered round with proper head space. Of course a round never goes so far into the chamber that the firing pin can not reach the primer. The extractor claw prevents this from happening. Ever have an extractor fail / break? Now you know why.

Now, I could care less if Joe Blow does not trim his rimless semiauto brass. Conversely, another person should not condemn Joe if he does trim, right? And yet people get soooo uptight when this conversation comes up! Why is that?

In closing I would just like to point out that if you are using "a max case headspace gauge" you are in fact checking case length.

(pics were not acceptable, so I removed them)

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Old 02-24-2010, 01:09 PM   #8
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Dude! The Anal Retentive comment was mostly in jest, come on!

Uptight when the topic comes up? Who is uptight now? Some people get uptight when they do not get the answer they want. If you feel the need to trim your pistol brass, knock yourself out. I am an accomplished shooter and LONG time loader. I have never felt it necessary to trim straight walled pistol cases, ever. Will it harm anything if you do? No.

I am well aware of what headspace is and what it means to me and my loading. I am also well aware that one of the things I am checking in a max case headspace gauge is case length. I am also checking all other external dimensions like OAL, case diameter at the mouth, rim and every place in between.

So you don't care if "Joe Blow" trims his brass or not, so? Chill out! I was referencing some of the most accomplished shooters in the world. Should their loading habits be considered when considering what us common men should do to load effective, reliable ammo? I think so.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I did not condem your practice of trimming brass.

A thicker skin is very necessary to thrive here. My advise to you is...Grow a thicker skin.

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Old 02-24-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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I have never trimmed a hand gun case in normal conditions. I did buy a 30 cal ammo can full of 357 maximum brass for $3. I don't have a 357 max. But who coud pass that deal up. I trimmed them to 357 mag length. I loaded them a little light to make up for the thicker wall. When it comes to accuracy, they were no better or worse than anything else I have ever shot. It was a very time consuming project though.
But I will never fault a man for wanting to do a better job at something than someone else does. Do what you enjoy.

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Old 02-24-2010, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BILLYBOB44 View Post
I like most see no need to trim hand gun brass. Especially semi-auto loads. As long as they will head space properly in your barrel, I see no need. The semi's get a taper crimp (in most all cases). The only need I can see is in big-boomer revolver loads, where you want a firm roll crimp. The only way to have a consistently correct revolver roll crimp is to have the exact same length cases. That said-I do shoot some strong .357 and .44Mag. loads, and I have never trimmed the cases??

I agree with you BillyBob.. Until I read it here in this forum, I was spending/wasting time trimming all of my cases before reloading them. Now, like you, I will only trim the "boomer" cases where the roll crimp is desirable. No confusion for me, I will just prefer consistency in my magnum loads.
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