Do U Trim Handgun Brass?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Dave_Bone, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Dave_Bone

    Dave_Bone New Member

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    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. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  2. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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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....
     

  3. willfully armed

    willfully armed New Member

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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.)
     
  4. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    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??:confused::D
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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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.
     
  6. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  7. Dave_Bone

    Dave_Bone New Member

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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 :D

    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)
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  8. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  9. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  10. TheOldMan

    TheOldMan New Member

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    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.
     
  11. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    "Old Man"

    From your screen name, I like you think some wisdom comes with age..But..The smart ones will learn something new everyday...:eek:;):D
     
  12. Dave_Bone

    Dave_Bone New Member

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    Easy there copper! I took your redeeming quality comment without any bruses. That is why there is a big smiley face after my statemnet about (me) having no redeeming qualities. Which, by the way, is totally false! I have an endless list of redeeming qualities. Just as me! :D

    I meant this thread to educate those who do not know what some of the rest of us may know. I must say that is now appears I failed miserably in that attempt. But then, it's not the first time I have "missed the target" :eek:
     
  13. Viking

    Viking Active Member

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    I wish I had saved the article about 40 S&W cases not changing in length to any great degree after many reloads. I've bought a lot of once fired brass and after checking a large number of them I came to the conclusion I was wasting my time as they were all within case standards. I have thrown out a few due to bulged cases that had a radial depression near the base inside the cases after resizing. As to OAL I have checked as to what would feed through the XDm or Cougar magazines. Accurate Powders Handload manual list 40 S&W OAL 1.115" to 1.135" and Hodgdon manual lists all 40 S&W at an OAL of 1.125". 1.135" for my Cougar leaves little room, bullet point and shell rim rubbing and the potential for sticking or excessive friction could certainly cause a failure to feed properly. The 1.125" figure is one that will more than likely feed in any brand of pistol in 40 S&W. As an aside a few days ago I ran across info on a Push Through case resizer which can take care of cases with a minor bulges before using the regular pistol dies. Lee's Factory Sales has what they call it The Bulge Buster Factory Sales 2010 , I think the article I read was for a different brand but I'm thinking it would be worth getting one. I would still check inside the resized cases to make sure there wasn't any stretch depression that could lead to a blow out.
     
  14. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    I have a Magma Case Master Jr. It sizes from rim to mouth. I process all striker fired brass through it regardless of whether they were Glock, Sigma, XD or M&P fired. It works well. I have conversions to do 9 X 19, 40/.357 Sig/10mm and .45.
     
  15. sargenv

    sargenv New Member

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    The only brass I ever trim is brass that comes out of my revolvers.. and that is only in 357 magnum and 10 mm since those are the calibers of the revolvers.. for 38 spl and 40 S&W, I never trim anything since well, unless those cases stretch to their respective longer calibers, there really is no need..

    As for trimming for a semi auto.. I've never run into any issue with any semi auto.. they shoot and shoot fine at the distances I want them to.. The most issue I have is not so much case length but case width.. ie, glocked brass. Length has never been an issue in any semi auto I have shot as far as accuracy or lockup.. If you want to trim, go right ahead.. it's not going to hurt.. but most of us would rather waste the time behind the trigger rather than at the loading bench. :)
     
  16. ghh3rd

    ghh3rd New Member

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    Interesting reading. Even though the OAL can be made the same in untrimmed handgun brass with different lengths, wouldn't the amount of empty space in the round vary, and cause enough difference in pressure to affect accuracy of a handgun round, at least a little?
     
  17. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

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    If the OAL is the same, then the internal case volume is the same.

    I used to be (anally) worried about trimming 9mm and .45 ACP cases. Robo cleared this up for me several months back. I did a bunch of case length measuring before and after re-sizing and on all kinds of brass (known new factory, my old re-loads, and range pick-ups). While there is some variation in case lengths I rarely find any cases in excess of the maximum case length. I now check for excess length (I throw those few away) and do not worry about precise trimming to length. Like the prior poster, I now spend less time in the reloading process and more time at the range!
     
  18. Viking

    Viking Active Member

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    If you were to load all the same type and weight bullets to the same OAL there would be very little volumn difference, these differences could be because of variations of the bottom of the case rim as some may become a bit
    coned from extraction when fired, the only other thing that could make a difference is some Federal cases have the flash holes shouldered down in the inside whereas most other cases just have the hole. I haven't read anything about why Federal does this but it might be to get the primer flame into the powder quicker and more forceful. I have never had problems with Federal cases, they always seem to be very uniform and is one of my favorite cases for handloading. The most varied of case length I've found over the years has been Remington-Peters .44 mag. I have found Winchester cases to have been very uniform over the years I've handloaded and are my second favorite case for reloading. Federal did a lot of inovative changes for the Olympics shooting of the 22 rim fire a number of years back and at that time Federal Premium Gold 22 LR was found to be the most accurate made at that time. I read an article that had pics of the base of the 22 case which had a small portion of the center set in about the thickness of the rim, their claim is that it helped direct the primer flame more directly into the core of the powder giving greater shot to shot uniformity. So it may be that some of that technology rubbed off on Federals other calibers. I've used their Premium brand in 25'06 and 30'06 for hunting and found them to be very accurate.
     
  19. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    To trim or not to trim.

    I can't answer that with out knowing the specs on this specific load. Every expert hand loader should know what the tolerance is on oal of case. Seems you might have picked up spent brass that was all ready reworked. Or this is product from company that has no Q C. Some manufacterers Might have a + or - .030 tolerance on there OAL. Suggest you research more on the exacting tol. for said load. If you cant find it. Do what Makes you Happy and most of all safe. consistency starts with the exact amount of power in each reload. Be consistant. God Bless. Wills in da swamp in La. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends . J. C.
     
  20. Dave_Bone

    Dave_Bone New Member

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    {every expert hand loader should know what the tolerance is on oal case length}

    I have been searching, and asking, for just that information, Will. So far no one can tell me.