Originally Posted by Vincine
Why wouldn't the manufacturer just toss them into the smelter?
The manufacturer actually uses brass sheeting or strips to punch out slugs of brass. They then run the slugs though a series of high-pressure dies that form the casing over 7-10 steps, each one more refined than the last.
All of the trimmings (remainders from punching slugs, slivers and rings from trimming cases, etc) actually get piled up and sold back to the manufacturer's brass supplier or another recycler.
Ammo manufacturers don't pour brass on-site, as the process of refining recycled metal is far more complicated than any ammo maker would want to get into. They just order materials. Plus, the heat required for smelting and recasting brass would certainly cause your ammo factory to explode in a day, considering the amount of powder and primers in the place!
You might take a gander at this article:http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2007/06/how-cartridge-brass-is-made/