Military Once fired brass

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GP Idaho posted this 27 April 2017

Hello All: I hope some of you military class shooters can help me out here. I have a lot of military 7.62X51mm once fired brass, Lake City 08 and 09.  I full length ressized some of the brass and fired it once (light jacketed loads) The cases are now 2.012 in length .003 short of needing their first trim. On resizing the brass for the second time (using a Redding bushing FL sizer) there is now a bright ring around the cases just forward of the case head. Now usually I would think case head separation coming up here if I saw this but the cases haven't yet stretched enough to need their first trim. Using my Harbor Freight shop saw I opened up a couple of cases and the inside looks like new, no rut on the inside wall at all.  My thought is this brass must have been fired in a S.A.W. or such and is showing the rifle equivalent of the “Glock Bulge&rdquofrom an oversized automatic weapon chamber. Should I take the hit and send these cases to the scrapper or can they be safely loaded with cast bullet loads?  Thanks  Gp

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R. Dupraz posted this 28 April 2017

I have used LC ;military brass from the sixties for quite a few years in my Israelie 7.62x51 Mauser. All cast loads for the military matches. This was match brass though. And I also use a Redding FL sizer bushing die. Those cases had been reloaded countless times before finally being replaced after seeing some cracks beginning to form in the web area of some of them.. These had all been once fired in a match M-14.. Don't know what the difference would be. But from what I understand, some years were better that others.

Normally, the indication of a case head failure is a definite hair line crack starting to form in the web area, just ahead of the case head on the outside. Plainly visible. If it's not a crack but just a shinny ring around and there is no indication of anything inside the case, I wouldn't worry about it. But would continue to inspect the cases each reload. Especially the inside if some cases are suspect. Which should be done anyway.

An easy way to check the inside of cases for separation is to use a paper clip with a little hook bent on one end. You will be able to feel if the inside is completely smooth or not.

 

 

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GP Idaho posted this 28 April 2017

Thanks for the reply R.D.  I don't know where the extra rdqo letters came from in the question. Computers and their operators do strange things sometimes. lol  Gp

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onondaga posted this 28 April 2017

GP,

Don't  load a bunch of them till you see if your sizing die gets them to chamber easily. They may be usable no matter how bad they look and they will also fire form as you use them. Any that will not chamber easily are recycle fodder.  A size check drop in die after sizing is a good choice of tool to diagnose what you have and decide what is not suitable for reloading..

 

Gary

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GP Idaho posted this 28 April 2017

Well, I'll keep an eye on the cases. I had the ten I fireformed to my Savage Model ten. Two I cut open to have a close look inside I reloaded the eight tonight and they chamber just fine using the Redding bushing FL resize die I'll keep loading these cases and opening one each firing until they are used up. I have 500 so I don't mind losing a few testing.  Thanks for the replies. Gp

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RicinYakima posted this 28 April 2017

The bright ring on the outside can also just mean that the chamber they were shot in is max or a little oversize. The bright ring is just the die working the brass back to SAMMI specs.

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Ed Harris posted this 29 April 2017

Much of the LC 7.62mm brass on the surplus market has been fired in the M240 machinegun.  Very little fired 7.62mm military brass will be found surplus these days which has been fired in rifles, unless you are lucky enough to find M118LR sniper brass.

I've stuck to .30'06 boltguns for my cast bullet work because I have multiple 5-gallon buckets full of range brass which was fired in M1 rifles, alot of it being M72 Match brass.  Drooling pic of one of my golden horde cans in which the brass has not been turned into empties yet:

”

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Larry Gibson posted this 29 April 2017

Ed is correct; 99.9999999% of milsurp LC 7.62 NATO once fired brass will have been fired in M240s or even M60s (there are a few still in service)  machineguns.  Full length sizing in regular dies will cause the cases to stretch and lead to incipient case head separations in as little as 1 or 2 additional firings. That can be avoided with the use of an RCBS .308W X-die.  I suggest the regular X-die and not the SB or AR dies. 

 

If you get the die I suggest adjusting it in the press so the cartridge headspace is set to your chambers headspace.  That will size the case minimally.  Then tighten the mandrel down against the case mouth tight as per the instructions.  You should not have to trim the cases at all as per the instructions, I don't.  With use of the X-die I have had LC cases fired in MGs last 15+ firings with full service loads in M14 spec chambers. 

 

I also suggest decaping before sizing with a Lee (or other) decaping die 1st as those dies have a sturdier pin that is unlikely to bread on the crimped in primers. 

 

LMG 

Concealment is not cover.........

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Ed Harris posted this 29 April 2017

FYI for those who are interested in loading for the "Pogo Stick."  Recently obtained an evaluation sample of Starline .308 Win. brass.  Cases appear similar in construction to old LC before 1976.  No longer have access to a lab to mount, section and do Knoop or Vickers DPH hardness gradient, but from empirical testing, repeatedly reloading with 39 grs. IMR3031, 168 Sierra MK and Federal 210M primer, which is FULL CHARGE load, primer pockets are staying tight in 5 reloads, which is a good data point. Cases weigh like old LC and appear to be able to be used interchangibly.  MUCH better than current Federal, Lapua, Remington, which all seem SOFT and must be pitched and smashed upon second firing, being "destroyed to prevent enemy use."

IF I were loading for for an M14 /M1A I would look at buying a bunch of that. 

Weighing cases, it does appear that they are mixing lots off different machine lines, and for 600 yards you would want to outside turn necks to 0.012 to clean up high spots, but flash holes are clean and uniform and primer pockets good.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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GP Idaho posted this 29 April 2017

First, I'd like to thank you all for your responses. I don't know where I could find a more qualified group of guys willing to share their thoughts.  As I suspected in the original post, it seems that this brass has most likely been fired in the generous chamber of an automatic weapon.  I'm not feeling too beat up on the deal as 600 pieces came to just $62.50 shipping included.  The X-die is a thought to be considered, thank you Larry.  I managed to remove all of the crimped in primers with my RCBS decaping tool with out breaking a pin using slow steady pressure and have swaged the pockets on the lot.  I'm glad to see Starline moving into the bottleneck brass business as I've always had good luck with their brass and we need domestic suppliers for our components.  Enjoy the day.  Gp

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BigMan54 posted this 30 April 2017

As I read through these posts I'm reminded of the days here in California  before Feb 1989 & the "assault-gun" ban of April 1989. Prior to those days a friend & I shared a H&K 91 in 7.62Nato/.308 & a SIG PE-57 in 7.5 SWISS. 

Both had fluted chamber's & were REALLY TOUGH on brass. We had 1000 rds of LC '81 (?) In 7.62  & 300 rds of NORMA 7.5 SWISS. 

The chamber's of both rifles were military generous & we used standard RCBS dies to reload both. The 7.62 decapped in the RCBS sizer die without a problem. Pushed the primers out through the G.I. crimp with ease. NORMA 7.5 SWISS  had no primer crimp, being standard loaded Hunting ammo.

We had no reloading problems with either cartridge.  We actually didn't even completely full-length sized either cartridge. But rather barely touched the shoulder.  We lost cases to splits in the body of 7.62 & neck splits in the 7.5 SWISS. Due to striking the ejector/action port. Or maybe the other way around. It's been too long to remember every detail. We sectioned a case every loading cycle. Never found one that showed signs of case stretching.

But for us maybe having to make the trek to Arizona to sell them & a BARRETT Light 50 came at an opportune moment. It took A LOT OF WORK to load for those guns. But one added plus of the fluted chamber of the H&K. It was easy to keep the brass for our M1A'S seperate.    

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun.

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papertrl posted this 01 May 2017

Ed Harris shared: 

Drooling pic of one of my golden horde cans in which the brass has not been turned into empties yet:

”

 And here's it's kissing cousin, also from 1961. One box only, unopened.

””

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Ed Harris posted this 02 May 2017

Gee, maybe we should breed them!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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papertrl posted this 02 May 2017

Gee, maybe we should breed them!

First Born: Frank Lakeford

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GP Idaho posted this 02 May 2017

I'll take the runt of the litter. I'm working with my 223s  lol  Gp

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Duke M posted this 2 weeks ago

 Risking a bit of thread drift, but here goes. I really like military surplus brass but occasionally some has minor imperfections/damage on the rim that cause difficulty when trying to insert it into a shell holder. Is anyone aware of a uniforming tool that can "clean up" the dings, burrs, etc. that brass gets from being fired in semi auto rifles?

 

Duke

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RicinYakima posted this 2 weeks ago

 Is anyone aware of a uniforming tool that can "clean up" the dings, burrs, etc. that brass gets from being fired in semi auto rifles?

 When I was shooting High-Power, I would tap the case into a Wilson trimmer shellholder. Chucked an RCBS shellholder into the headstock of the lathe, put the base into the RCBS shellholder and turned the lathe on. Just light pressure would burnish the dings back in line while I held the Wilson shellholder. HTH, Ric

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Duke M posted this 2 weeks ago

Well Ric, since I do have the Wilson trimmer shell holder, I think that is a viable solution. I think I'll start setting the offending samples aside until I accumulate a pile, then plan a session of fixing them. Thanks.

 

Duke

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Starmetal posted this 2 weeks ago

Ed Harris, I have a group of friends that are serious benchrest shooters. They talk often about preparing cases to get the most consistent alike cases.   They have found out by actual testing that sorting cases to case volume far exceeds sorting cases by weight for consistancy.  Makes sense to me because after all the intenal volume of the case is the boiler room and if all cases are the same internal volume, that they would give the same pressures.  What do you think?

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 2 weeks ago

The common easy first sort is by brand.  I wonder though, even though it is a 'given' that uniformity in brass is mandatory for high accuracy, I've not seen comparisons of targets.  Like 10 shots from brand 'a' vs ten shots from brand 'b'.

Yes, I sort.

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R. Dupraz posted this 2 weeks ago

I have seen a weight variation as much as 12-14 grains between different brands or rifle brass of the same cal.

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John Alexander posted this 2 weeks ago

Starmetal wrote: "Ed Harris, I have a group of friends that are serious benchrest shooters. They talk often about preparing cases to get the most consistent alike cases.   They have found out by actual testing that sorting cases to case volume far exceeds sorting cases by weight for consistancy.  Makes sense to me because after all the intenal volume of the case is the boiler room and if all cases are the same internal volume, that they would give the same pressures.  What do you think?"

I too will be interested in what Ed thinks, but since this is a forum I assume you won't be offended if I give my opinion. The volume of the rifle chamber is constant with the bolt face always in the same place. The brass will be tightly pressed against the chamber. The density of cartridge brass varies little, and almost none in a lot of brass. I assume the cases are trimmed to the same length. Therefore, I can't see how variations in case volume wouldn't correlate with variations case weight (although the percentage of variation would be a different number.) The more brass the less internal volume, the less brass the more internal volume. So the statement that consistency in volume is more important than consistency in brass weight doesn't seem to make any sense.  The easiest way to check for variation in case volume would be to check the variation in case weight.

I would appreciate it if you could refer me to a report on the actual al testing so the method used to reach this conclusion can be known? Thanks in advance for any documentation you can offer.

John

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Starmetal posted this 2 weeks ago

 John I will get in touch with this groups I'm speaking about and particularly the gentleman that cc's his cases.  I'll see if I can get some of his records of before (weighing cases) and after (cc'ing cases) and the corresponding group sizes.

I read where a gun industry writer when to the Hornady brass manufacturing plant.  The technicia running the machinery wanted to show him something very interesting.  He took some cases from line that were totally finished except for the extractor groove and the head stamp nomenclature and weighed them.  They were extremely consistant.  They he pulled cases from the end of the line that were finished and weighed them.  The weight variation was much more, but not real bad.  That's showing that weight difference was in the extractor groove and head stamping and that they were working on that to improve those two processes.  That John, is where I say weighing cases wouldn't make a difference in shooting them. 

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Ed Harris posted this 2 weeks ago

John Ardito always used one case and repeatedly reloaded it to shoot his record groups...

In a VERY accurate rifle that would be the best way.

 

BUT, if the rifle of interest won't shoot any better than m.o.a. anyway, it's all mental masturbation.

With typical cast bullet loads in which the powder charge doesn't come close to filling the case, I don't think it matters.

In cast bullet loads I'm more concerned with consistent bullet pull and shot-start pressure, which is affected by bullet fit, case sizing, how cases are prepped and their state of anneal or work-hardening.  Cases which have been fired and resized several times act differently than new or once-fired brass or those which have been annealed.

John Ardito did not resize his brass, but used a tight-necked chamber and bullet which "fit" the fired case neck without having to resize it.  He also used a compressed case full of powder which provided base support for the bullet in the same manner as if loading black powder.

None of these factors mattered to him.  He shot better groups more consistently than anyone before or since...

 

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Old Coot posted this 2 weeks ago

John wrote: place. The brass will be tightly pressed against the chamber. The density of cartridge brass varies little, and almost none in a lot of brass. I assume the cases are trimmed to the same length. Therefore, I can't see how variations in case volume wouldn't correlate with variations case weight (although the percentage of variation would be a different number.) The more brass the less internal volume, the less brass the more internal volume. So the statement that consistency in volume is more important than consistency in brass weight doesn't seem to make any sense.  The easiest way to check for variation in case volume would be to check the variation in case weight.

I would appreciate it if you could refer me to a report on the actual al testing so the method used to reach this conclusion can be known? Thanks in advance for any documentation you can offer.

I have to agree with John on this, in fact I thought that was why we weighed the brass.  Since some brands are thicker than others it is reasonable to expect the interior volume to vary with the weight.

I know that most here shoot one brand of brass and even one lot together, but back when I had started shooting rifle I began to wonder if sorting my cases by weight would tighten my groups.  I did so finding a wide variation in weights of 06 brass from Win., Rem., and GI surplus cases which I had.  The GI surplus was by far the heaviest, and therefore thought to be the thickest in those days.  Anyway, sorting my cases by weight and firing each unit as a group drastically improved my groups ( from 2.5" to 1.5") .  Now, I did not try sorting each lot out because the variation within the weight lot of cases was so small and therefore negligible.  I never did get that 06' to shoot better than 1.25" with jacketed or 1.75" with cast, both for 5 shot groups, but what can be reasonably expected from a hunting weight rifle with a 4x scope on it.

I think that the entire argument boils down to a Dumbo solution:  If holding a raven feather in your trunk helps you fly then by all means do so.  I firmly believe in doing what works , even if it seems a little stupid.

PS Back in the early 70,s nobody thought about the extractor groove.  Brodie

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 2 weeks ago

While some still believe indexing cases, weighing them, sorting cases and other such wastes of time (in my opinion), there is little to no discussion on bench technique. You can perform all the rites of voodoo you wish, spending hours upon hours at the reloading bench, but if you don't spend even more time at the shooting bench, well...... you're just wasting your time. 

Some people are just natural shots and I do believe this. I had only been shooting a handgun for about 10  months when I attending my police academy. Most of my shooting had been plinking, with a little bit of small game hunting. Yet I took top honors in the firearms portion of my academy training shooting a 296 - 52X out of 300 and shooting against 53 other cadets. I don't tell this story to brag, but only to illustrate some have natural talent. 

However one year later when I started shooting competitively, I learned very quickly that I could not rest on my natural talent, getting my clock cleaned several times by guys that shot nearly everyday. I ended up having to practice about 3-5 days a week for about a year before being able to be competitive. Experimenting with loads did not help at all, only focusing on concentration of technique and learning to zone out all around me made me a top shooter. 

While I know the benchrest game and handgun combat type matches are totally different, I really believe that if more competitors would find a load that shoots under MOA and then concentrate all the rest of their time at the shooting bench, their scores would eventually become more competitive. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
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John Alexander posted this 2 weeks ago

Starmetal,

Thanks for that additional information. Indeed, if almost all the weight variation is in the part of the case hanging out in the air then the weight variation wouldn't correlate well with inside case volume.  Good to learn new things.  However, if the other part of the case (the part not hanging in air) is extremely consistent in weight then the weight variation in that part would be tiny and cause an even smaller variation in the volume.

I have no problem believing that the weight variation of cases (as long as they aren't from different lots) has no effect on accuracy -- I haven't weighed a case in the last 30 years. What I have a hard time believing is that the volume variation in one lot of cases has any effect on accuracy or anything else -- until I see experimental evidence from a well planned and executed study.

John

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Starmetal posted this 2 weeks ago

John let me tell about this other case fanatic.  This gentleman would expand his case out to a straight cylinder. He said that the walls are not of a even thickness.  Next he would put them in a lathe and make them all the same wall thickness.  Next up he would form them back to the way they were and load them.  That is a little bit too much for me. 

I like what Ed said about shooting the same case over and over. 

Ponder this guys. Auto racers cc the volume of their cylinder head chambers in order to get them all exactly the same. It made a difference in the performance of a engine. The internal volume of a case is very related to this theory. 

I don't weigh my cases, I do sort them by brand (or brand and year if military), but if I want the most cast bullet accuracy I do weigh my bullets.  

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Scearcy posted this 1 weeks ago

While some still believe indexing cases, weighing them, sorting cases and other such wastes of time (in my opinion), there is little to no discussion on bench technique. You can perform all the rites of voodoo you wish, spending hours upon hours at the reloading bench, but if you don't spend even more time at the shooting bench, well...... you're just wasting your time. 

Amen! The most difficult long gun I have ever shot Is a lightweight, rock stock, 7 1/2 lb bolt gun with cast bullets. Keep a log book when you practice. Cut out and save EVERY group. Unexplained flyers are rarely the fault of your equipment, sorry to say. I wasted several years and traded off a couple of good rifles before I learned this.

Jim

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John Alexander posted this 1 weeks ago

I know that some of the JB benchrest guys worry about and have expensive little instruments to measure the variation in thickness down in the case body.  My reaction has always been that if it keeps them out of the bars in the afternoons it could be a good thing.

I agree with David and Jim no use worrying that those fliers are caused by some nit that didn't get picked.  Pogo had it right.

John

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Starmetal posted this 1 weeks ago

Well I breifly talked through email with the guy that measures case volume. We're going to get on the phone sometime today.  In a nutshell he said it lowered his ES and SD's to low figures. Example: His SD is 1 to 2.  Now I'm not a benchrest shooter, but do any of you  know what kind of figures for SD they talk about?

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Old Coot posted this 1 weeks ago

Starmetal;

If his SD - standard deviation-- really is between one and two then he has a very constant set up.  Any mistakes and or fliers have got to be his fault now.  Think about that for a minute: if he has removed all other variation then when all the bullets don't go in the same hole HE is to BLAME for it.  I don't think that all that work has done him any great favors. 

Given the same load variations in case volume has to effect pressure since pressure and velocity are directly related variations in case volume must cause variations in velocity.  How much and how much this effects point of impact I really don't know.  Using a single case (ala John Ardito) would certainly eliminate that variation in bullet velocity (probably why John did it that way) if you are personally worried about case variations I would suggest that you copy Mr. Ardito.  But, remember if you remove all possibility of random variation then All the Fliers and Bad Bullet Strikes will be YOUR FAULT better be a well grounded person.

As for me I'm just going to keep on fooling around with different cartridges and loads.  Although, I may put a Raven's feather in my hat or tied to my barrel.  Brodie

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Starmetal posted this 1 weeks ago

Agreed Old Coot. Personally myself I don't do all that. The thing with the one case is all well and fine until you run to the end of the case life and you have to start over with another case!  

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