AN EXPERIMENT IN 30-30 BRASS LIFE

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  • Last Post 20 March 2019
Bill2728 posted this 10 March 2019

Starting with 3 pieces of Winchester 30-30 brass that has been fired once previously.  Using XMP5744 from a Lee  1.3cc dipper (17.3g) (just under starting load for 190 grain cast bullet), Remington 9 1/2 primers and cast 180 grain bullets gas checked that weighed 187gr after size and lube, sized .309, lubed with Ben's Red and a coat of BLL tumble lubed. Dies used were RCBS Cowboy dies with just enough flair to start the bullet and crimped to the case being just flush with the first band.

I started to think that the test wasn't going to last long when the first neck split at the sixth loading. The two remaining cases were annealed after the 11th reloading.  I was beginning to think that they might be indestructable but after the 20th firing both of the remaining cases had hairline cracks at the mouth. Neither case showed signs of stretching and the web of both were still a smooth transition to the wall of the brass.
As a matter of curiosity, I trimmed both to beyond the crack.  The shortest of the two measures 2.015", 0.014" shorter than the 2.029 trim length.  Both still useable if you were in a bind though probably not the best for accuracy but still well over one calibre for seating depth.
It did make for a fun and interesting day.

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shastaboat posted this 10 March 2019

I wonder how long the cases would have lasted if you annealed after 5 firings and subsequent 5 firings?

Because I said so!

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Bill2728 posted this 10 March 2019

Probably better. I started to do this some time ago with 10 pieces each of Winchester, Remington, Hornady and Federal and it didn't take long to figure out that I had bitten off more than I cared to chew.

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John Alexander posted this 10 March 2019

Bill,

Nice, well thought out experiment. It is good to see such results on the forum.  Thanks for taking the trouble to post your results. More food for thought.

Now that you have results for that set of dies, load, and lot of brass as a base condition, it would be interesting to extend the experiment to see how much the life of the cases would be extended, if any, for the same conditions minus the flaring (use a bit more inside chamfer instead) and minus the crimping.

I have always wondered how much flaring and crimping affect brass life.  I normally do neither and get over 150 reloads from my cases but I believe that long life is mostly because I use the Lee collet die whenever possible which works the brass very little.

An extended series of tests along this line (different brand dies, or cases, annealing every 10, etc.) would make a interesting Fouling Shot article.

Good work.

John

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Bill2728 posted this 10 March 2019

Thank you, John.  Perhaps I should edit the original post. This was shot with a 1948 94 Winchester.  I wanted to try to duplicate a load I might carry in the field with this old tube fed carbine, thus the crimp.  Your suggestion of further testing without flare and crimp sounds interesting but I think the old 03A3 might be a better candidate.  Wow!  5 times 150 is going to get me a lot of practice!  Time to move from the Lee Hand Press to the Turret!

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Bill2728 posted this 16 March 2019

30-30 Case life part 2

Well, after removing my head from the dark recesses of my body, I realized that I don't crimp for the A3, and as noted, already had a baseline for the 30-30.  Single loading 3 rounds at a time should be no chore so I started with 3 more pieces from the same bag of once fired.
All were cleaned and sized using the same RCBS Cowboy dies, length checked with a Lee trim tool, lightly chamfered with a VLD reamer, same load of XMP5744, Remington 9 1/2 primers and gas checked RCBS 180 gr flat nose bullets.
On the 8th load, they started to shave a bit of lead so prior to the 9th, they were lightly reamed again. After the 11th, they were annealed, just as the previous 3.  After the 20th, they were checked again with the Lee trim die and it touched two of them lightly, all were chamfered again.  At the 29th 2 of them started shaving lead again so were trimmed and chamfered again.  Just to break the monotony, I set up the chrony on the 30th, 1653, 1656 and 1661, extreme spread of 8fps if my arithmetic is correct. Kind'a pleased with that. 
on the 35th load, 2 of the cases split.  I sure didn't get 150 loads out of them but 35 is nothing to laugh about.

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RicinYakima posted this 16 March 2019

I think that is excellent for 30/30 brass.

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John Alexander posted this 17 March 2019

Bill,

Another well managed and interesting experiment.  Sticking with the 30-30 and single loading instead of changing to your A3 avoided possibly introducing other variables. Although avoiding the flaring and crimping apparently got you a substantial increase in case life, I think it indicates that the case life of over 150 that I cited is probably mostly due to the very small amount of brass straining by the collet die.

I know we have a fair number of collet die users that hang out on the forum.  Have any of you run a test on case life when the collet die was used from reload one?

What  are others finding when resizing with conventional rifle type reloading dies with expander plugs?  How about case life when the cases are repeatedly annealed?

What other interesting experiments are going on out there that could be posted for the rest of us to think about?

John

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Ross Smith posted this 17 March 2019

I have some 30-30 brass that has been made into 32-40. I have no idea how many times they have been shot. But in all fairness I breach seat and the cases are only powder reservoirs, no sizing what so ever.

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John Alexander posted this 17 March 2019

Yes breech seating should result in even longer brass life than sizing with the collet die.

I believe Ideal used to sell what they called "Everlasting Cases" which I never understood because it seemed to me that any case should be everlasting with breech seating as long as the pressures are low.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 17 March 2019

Earl Naramore has an excellent section of the development of brass cases in his book, "Principles and Practices of Handloading Ammunition".  The original case was thin drawn brass the same thickness from neck to rim, but with an extra layer around the primer pocket.  The next were what are now called "balloon" head cases with a recess around the inside of the primer pocket but sides and necks the same thickness. The Ideal Everlasting case had thick sidewalls, necks and solid rim and head almost like the modern case. They were never meant to be resized, but used for breach seating or neck reamed to hand set a bullet into the case. At black powder pressures, it didn't work harden for hundreds of firings and then could be annealed. Modern cases are tapered in thickness from the neck up to the head and we don't resize the heads of our cartridges either.

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Bill2728 posted this 19 March 2019

30-30 Case life part 3

3 more cases from the same bag of once fired Winchester brass.  Same primer, powder, load and bullet.  The change this time was that they were sized with a full length RCBS size die and trimmed when case length started encroaching on the first band.  Some of the results were expected, they were trimmed much more frequently, a total of nine times.  Some results were a surprise, the first case neck split on the 45th firing! 

I have an hypothesis; with the Cowboy dies, the sizing is done in two steps, first the neck is sized undersize then the expanding mandrel enlarges them to a greater diameter for the loading of lead bullets and the button in the standard resizing die sizes for jacketed bullets.  So I pulled them both and measured, standard button is 0.3055" and the Cowboy mandrel is 0.3070".  My belief is that the working the diameter of the brass causes greater weakening than stretching the length with the standard die button.

I'd like to prove or disprove that sometime in the future.

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4060may posted this 20 March 2019

Collet Dies, 30-40 Krag No.3 Ruger

been shooting the same 320 cases since I bought the gun in 1987, full length sized only twice since I started, I cut the end off the collet to leave a flared case mouth, and I leave it on the case to center it in the chamber.   I also made a larger pin to give me .002 tension

The throat is eroded a bit/lot, most of the loads shot in the gun were 30-180-SP RCBS, .311 and 14.5grs of Unique, and Lyman 314299 .311 with 32grs Varget..  180's for Chickens, Pigs, and Turkeys, 299 for Rams..rifle scoped with 6-20 Leupold

the cases have been annealed twice, I have not lost any cases to cracking

 

 

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