What is the Best Brass to Reload?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by hillbilly68, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. hillbilly68

    hillbilly68 New Member

    I have never hand loaded before. However, with the cost skyrocketing I think I must get over my apprehension of destroying a fiream by shooting something that I put together (never had any desire to pack my own 'chute either for the same reasons;) ). To give you an idea of what I am looking to do is produce as accurate/ consistent a round that I can, and have the flexibity to adjust loads for lower recoil target shooting and higher performance hunting. Looking to start with 44 Mag (revolver) and 308 (bolt action). Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    Is it more cost effective to buy factory loaded ammo for the first set of rounds and then reload them, or is it better to "cold start" with unfired new brass?

    What is the best brass to buy to reload?

    I have read (don't know if its true) that mil brass (eg Lake City) is more inconsistent due to thicker case walls than production brass. Is this true?

    How many times can you safely reload a case? (I know it probably depends on how hot the loads are) but how can you tell?

    Thanks in advance

  2. Dgunsmith

    Dgunsmith New Member


    Find a local NRA affiliated gun club and take the NRA reloading class.

    You will get lost of valueable information and get the inside 411 on best local sources of brass, primers, powder and bullets.

    Reloaders ARE Americas ORIGINAL recyclers !:D

  3. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    What Dgunsmith said. Findsomeone close that has expreance to help you. Loading your own is not rocket science, but when your playing with presure around 60,000 psi, in the safe range and make a mistake and hit 100,000 psi. bad things can happen.
  4. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member


    If you are talking NEW brass,norma is best in my opinion. Drilled flasholes,precision,and the correct hardness out of box.

    WILDCATT Guest


    first get manuals.
    lyman reloading
    lyman cast bullet
    lee reloading
    and others
    get catalogs
    Graf for brass bullets powder
    midsouth shooters for equipment
    brass bullets powder
    you dont have to load to top pressures
    target loads are most accurate
    buy brass.norma may be consistent but costly
    you can buy once fired brass or good pickups
    308 can be loaded 10 times
    44 mag 3 or 4.
    45 acp and 38 spec target forever.
    get lee cast turret will load both good shooting:)
  6. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    the best brass

    is free. I use range pickups all the time. I carefully inspect each case for defects and cull anything questionable. Sort by headstamp for the best accuracy.
  7. seedy

    seedy Member

    For the 44mag it is hard to find brass at the range. I have found deals on once fired brass in .40 and 9mm. I personally use starline brass which seems pretty consistent. New brass is tough to resize initially but after a couple of firings gets easier. You can use carbide dies on straight walled pistol brass which is less messy and faster. The great thing about 44mag reloading is you can easily load down to 44special levels with faster powder and bulk cast bullets. Happiness is shooting about 100 rounds out of my Redhawk loaded to about 900 fps using 240 gr.SWC and 7.5 grs of W231. If you use hard cast bullets you will have less leading of the barrel. You might be able to find once fired .308 brass though I have never looked for it.:rolleyes:
  8. fluffo63

    fluffo63 Guest


    .i have bought some good brass from Ebay,if they sale anymore
    they have lost some business,,:D
  9. marysdad

    marysdad Member

    You don't need to worry so much about doing damage. Reloading is pretty forgiving of most mistakes. It's pretty hard, but not impossible, to damage a firearm with handloads (especially a .308 bolt gun or a .44 mag. revolver). Just follow the manual and take things one step at a time. You'll be fine. If you have a class or can get an experienced handloader to help you, by all means do so. However, you can learn it on your own. Feel free to e-me if you have any questions.

    I prefer RCBS equipment and dies. The kit that includes the Rockchucker press is an excellent value. It has everything you will need to get started, except dies and components. Lee is cheaper, but you get what you pay for (no flames, please).

    There is nothing wrong with buying factory ammo and then reloading the cases. However, it looks like you want something that factory ammo won't do. So why not spend your money on getting started shooting the ammo that you want from the git-go.

    Brass life depends mostly on the firearm and the way cases are sized during reloading. On modern commercial firearms, the chambers are such that brass life tends to be good. Read up on the Web regarding how to neck-size rifle cases to extend brass life. For your purposes, pretty much any brass will do. Norma and Lapua make, IMHO, the best rifle brass. However, I would recommend something economical like surplus military cases for the .308 and Winchester, Remington, or Starline for the .44 mag. See how many firings you get out of them. If they last (and they probably will), you really don't need to spend the extra on expensive cases. I don't advocate picking up range brass. You don't know how many times it has been fired, nor what else it has been subjected to. Brass is cheap. Much cheaper than your gun or your body. So, why pick up range brass?

    Once-fired military cases are cheap and typically last many firings. Military cases tend to have thicker walls than commercial cases, however, both are uniform from case-to-case. You just want to be careful not to develop maximum pressure loads in commercial cases and then load the same charges into military cases. Because of the thicker walls, the military cases' internal capacity is less. Consequently, the same charge will produce higher pressures in military cases. You'll be fine as long as you work up loads gradually in whatever cases you are using (which is what the manual will tell you to do anyway).

    The two things that you look for to determine whether the case should be reloaded again are: 1) neck splits 2) incipient case head separation (weakening of the case head). A neck split is a vertical crack, usually near the case mouth. This is obvious and can be seen with the naked eye. An incipient case head separation can sometimes be seen, but your objective is to feel it before you can see it. Each time the case is fired and then resized, brass migrates from the head (base) toward the mouth. Eventually, a thin horizontal band develops about 1/4 inch up from the bottom. You can feel this by dragging a wire with a small "L" bent at the end (a large paperclip will do) upward along the inside of the case. If a thinned band is present, you will feel the wire "drag" as it catches in the thinned band. When you can feel the thinned band, toss the whole lot of cases. If the head gets thin enough, a bright band will appear on the outside of the case. This means that you have already gone at least one firing too many. If you keep on firing the case, it will eventually crack through and the case head can separate (blow off). A case head separation can do damage to the rifle and blow hot gases and other nasty stuff in your face. However, you will never have a problem if you follow the manual and check your cases. Here's a pic of one that almost let go. A crack is visible on the outside of the case. You never want to see this: :eek:

  10. shoez

    shoez Guest

    I agree with this guy except for the 44 mag only lasting 3 or 4 times. I have loaded full house loads in some Winchester nickel cases over 20 times. Only after this point am I experiencing some cracked cases. I have some cases that I have used for light loads that have over 30 loadings. He is correct on 45 ACP, I have some old WCC 62 Winchester cases that have been loaded over 50 times. The rims are nicked and banged from being ejected so many times. I just wait for them to crack or when the primers have no resistance being seated.
  11. 1hole

    1hole New Member

    Highest quality brass is Lapua, next best is Norma.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2008
  12. Kamiahkid

    Kamiahkid New Member

    I normally use Winchester brass, but I just purchased some Norma brass. The quality of the Norma brass is much better than the Winchester!