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Old 03-21-2010, 11:53 PM
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Default Brass Identification

Hello All! I'm new to this forum and new to reloading. I own a .357 Magnum (S&W 686-6" Barrel, 6 cylinder) and after five months, have had one hell of a time finding factory ammunition so I purchased some reloading equipment.

I have about six-hundred cases of once fired brass, (ammunition I fired myself) and I purchased a bag of 100 suposedly "once fired" brass from the range. It contained twelve different manufacturers brass and need help identifying it, and for those who are technically minded, what brass is appropriate for handgun reloading and what is garbage. Personal experience with various brass and loads in .357 Mag would be appreciated!

I would also like to pool your minds for good resources about cartridge development, and brass identification.

The brass is: "RP"-Remington, "Winchester"-Obvious, "Hornady"-Obvious, "*I*"-???, "G.F.L."-???, "S&B"-???, "CBC"-Magtech?, "MIDWAY"-???, "PMC"-Obvious, "FEDERAL"-Obvious, and what I believe is Star brass-it has a star, a circular line and another star.

I'm leery of re-using the 150 Federal brass cases as 24 of the 150 Federal's American Eagle brand 158gr cartridges that I used were very hot, causing flat primers, hard to eject cases, and a handful of times I was unable to rotate the cylinder. So far Federal has not returned my calls. Should I throw out brass that was hot or resize and experiment? Thanks.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:05 AM
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The brass is: "RP"-Remington, "Winchester"-Obvious, "Hornady"-Obvious, "*I*"-???, "G.F.L."-???, "S&B"-???, "CBC"-Magtech?, "MIDWAY"-???, "PMC"-Obvious, "FEDERAL"-Obvious, and what I believe is Star brass-it has a star, a circular line and another star.

My personal view
*I* Independence is OK
S&B Sellier and Beloit is very good
CBC is cull
GFL is Fiocchi
Star is NOT Starline.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:09 AM
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*I* is from Independence ammunition, a brand of cheap target ammo. GFL comes from Fiocchi ammunition. S&B is Sellier & Bellot. CBC is Magtech ammo.

Midway headstamp is from MidwayUSA.com:

Quote:
While the Nambu project was going together, we were referred to Starline Brass (at that time in California) to do some part of the project. They said "No!", but suggested that "Midway" should buy and resell their newly made 357 Magnum brass. Starline had been formed by some of the previous owners of Sierra Bullets after the Leisure Group purchased Sierra in 1968. They had always wanted to make brass and now with time and money on their hands could give it a try. Bob Hayden, president of Starline, said they would put the Starline headstamp on the brass, which was fine with us, but if we would purchase 200,000 pieces they would put the Midway headstamp on at no extra charge. We gave them a purchase order for 200,000 pieces and 357 Magnum brass became the first product to bear the "Midway" name in 1979. We couldn't know it at the time, but the 357 Magnum brass, which was a spin-off of the Nambu project, would be the idea that really launched the Midway Company. Midway sold millions of rounds of Starline-produced Midway brand brass each year. It was Midway's offering of Starline-produced brass that coaxed Winchester into the bulk component market in 1984 and Remington to join in 1986. Midway, with the help of others, is given credit with starting the bulk component business, as we know it today.
RP, Winchester and Federal can all be reloaded without hesitation. As for the others, I really like CBC and GFL.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:14 AM
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S&B is top notch IMO. Have used it for years, and no problems in reloading the brass.
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:37 AM
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actually, the star semicircle star *_*stamp is Starline. It's good brass, and is used by other companies, as well.

Can't really duplicate the mark on my computer, but I'm sure we're talking about the same thing.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:29 AM
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I would re-use the Federal brass as long as you inspect it and it looks fine (except for flattened primers). You might want to give them a second inspection right after they are cleaned and resized.

I always thought that StarLine's head stamp was a visual pun. "Star-Line". A little wit and whimsy never hurts, as long as you don't carry that attitude with you to the reloading bench.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:14 AM
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Here is a link that has most headstamps listed. I use it frequently after picking up brass at pistol matches.

http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/h...pcodes_top.htm

mark b

Last edited by mark b; 03-23-2010 at 10:05 AM. Reason: left off link on original posting
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:45 AM
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G.F.L is Guilio Fiocci, Leghorn. Leghorn is where the factory is.
S&B is Sellier & Bellot, a Czech ammo maker. Makes good stuff.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:23 AM
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You will find the SB brass to have a bit tighter primer pockets. It's good brass but can usually tell when hand priming when I hit a piece of SB.
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:09 AM
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Looks like you have plenty of brass to start with. Just make sure your brass has only one hole in the bottom for the primer and is brass, not aluminum. Check it for splits or buldges. I wouldn't worry about the factory hot rounds but if you feel uncomfortable with them it's your choice. You may want to consider loading your rounds a bit lighter than full .357 power and use lead bullets for practice ammo. Save considerable $ over jacketed bullets. Every manufactures brass is a little different, as you reload you will develop a preference. A load I like to use is a .357 case, standard small pistol primer, 125g lead bullet, 5.0g of titegroup powder. about 1000fps in a 6" barrel. Good inexpensive, accurate practice round. As you load be absolutely sure to never double charge a round with powder. Buy some loading manuals and do a lot of reading before you start.

Last edited by Titegroups; 03-27-2010 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:52 AM
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You asked for personal experiences, so here are some of mine. I don't use brass that I don't know anything about - for example the 100 rounds you bought from the range. Some of it may be once-fired and some of it may have been reloaded 10 times! You just don't know.

I also don't mix headstamps because there are subtle differences between manufacturers that complicate reloading. Some will have tight primer pockets and some will be loose. Some will have thin necks and some will be thick. Case capacities will vary causing differences in pressure. With light plinking loads those differences probably don't matter, but it is easier and safer to use good quality brass with a known history.
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Old 03-27-2010, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCD1 View Post
You will find the SB brass to have a bit tighter primer pockets. It's good brass but can usually tell when hand priming when I hit a piece of SB.
+1... Everyone says S&B is too tight to use but I get a bit in my used brass & had no problems. You sure can tell when you find one, though.

I use almost all range pickups. My target loads are essentially +P in a Magnum case so quality of the brass isn't important.

I'd just use the pickups for plinkers & the new stuff for business.

hehe... I scored 2K small pistol primers today...
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titegroups View Post
Looks like you have plenty of brass to start with. Just make sure your brass has only one hole in the bottom for the primer and is brass, not aluminum. Check it for splits or buldges. I wouldn't worry about the factory hot rounds but if you feel uncomfortable with them it's your choice. You may want to consider loading your rounds a bit lighter than full .357 power and use lead bullets for practice ammo. Save considerable $ over jacketed bullets. Every manufactures brass is a little different, as you reload you will develop a preference. A load I like to use is a .357 case, standard small pistol primer, 125g lead bullet, 5.0g of titegroup powder. about 1000fps in a 6" barrel. Good inexpensive, accurate practice round. As you load be absolutely sure to never double charge a round with powder. Buy some loading manuals and do a lot of reading before you start.
I appreciate the input, I'm staying away from lead because I like practicing with loads similar to what I will be hunting with or using for defense. I noticed that G.F.L. cases are .002" thicker than Remington and Federal cases which gives me a warm fuzzy feeling as I develop loads. I have Sierra and Hornady's reloading books, as well as a .357 Mag reloading book from Cabella's. So far I've only loaded Hornady HP-XTP bullets, I have 600 reloads done. Between bullets, powder, cases and primers, 1000 cartridges will cost me ~ $350, less as I reuse cases. I'm tempted to pick up an N-frame revolver for developing +158gr bullet loads, but right now I'm quite satisfied with how loud a 140gr/158gr bullet is at the range. Once I buy a chronometer, I'll be able to measure my results. The range I fire at is only 70ft long and I haven't noticed any deviations in accuracy, I'm holding 1.5" groups at 50 ft, and longer distances and lets just say that I'm not the dead-eye I once was as a young jarhead.
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357 magnum, 686, cartridge, fiocchi, headstamp, hornady, n-frame, primer, remington, starline, winchester

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