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Old 07-14-2011, 09:11 PM
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Question Sorting Handgun Brass - What Say You?

Over the last few years I have accumulated a fairly large quantity of handgun brass in various calibers. Most of it is .45 ACP, 9mm, and .38 Special. I have been sorting it into four categories by head stamp, Remington, Winchester, Federal, and everything else combined. I have way more than I can ever use up, so I thought I would clean it up and try to sell some.
When selling handgun brass, does it matter if it is mixed head stamps, or do you think it is important to sort it by brand?
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:19 PM
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Tough question, maybe some each way. My plinking loads, I go ahead and mix brass. It doesn't matter. Anything I load up for more serious work, hunting or SD, I use all the same brass, because I want as close as I can get to exact duplicate cartridges.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:28 PM
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I don't think it matters. I would buy some .45 and I don't really care about headstamps - just primer size. I've seen Federal brass in .45 that was made for Sm primers.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:36 PM
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I like to buy mixed headstamp brass advertised in the classifieds. The reason I like them is because they're usually really cheap. If you want a bit more money, seperate them. If you want ease and convenience, don't.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:37 PM
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While I have no hard evidence to support my theory, I believe people will pony up a few extra bucks for a lot of brass if it all has the same headstamp. I sort by headstamp, because some brands of brass have tight primer pockets which I prefer to prime with a RCBS bench mounted priming tool. The other brands run just fine through my Hornady Lock-N-Load.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:41 PM
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Intellectually, I understand that there's good evidence for there being no reason whatsoever to do it (see this month's Handloader, for instance). Nevertheless, I sort my brass.

I'm 5/8 German, after all.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich View Post
Intellectually, I understand that there's good evidence for there being no reason whatsoever to do it (see this month's Handloader, for instance). Nevertheless, I sort my brass.

I'm 5/8 German, after all.
I'm 3/4 German but the Irish in me says screw it.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:11 PM
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The Norwegian in me don't care. I reload so I can shoot not sort brass, but I do sort by caliber. My 38 spl is brass, and 357 mag is nickled because I too old to read that many head stamps.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:04 AM
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Most of my handgun loads are in mixed brass. I load brass and nickel cases together too, usually.

I do sort rifle brass more often. Hunting and target loads I try to use brass with the same headstamp and year if I can tell it.
Made a lot of target loads in .308 in Lake City 68 brass.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:14 AM
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Uffdah! to the headstamp sorting.

I've never been able to demonstrate any kind of measurable difference in my own reloads.

I know there are folks who believe it's important.

I'm a skeptic.

Are you selling some brass now?
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:52 AM
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To me in plinking loads it doesn't matter anymore. There was a time when I would sort it out but I've picked up so much over the years I just lump it all together any more. Different brands in brass and nickel, large primer, small primer, large flash hole, small flash hole. Took too many bins. Now if I shoot any of it at least I know how many times it's been shot by me and none of it gets left out. It's especially useful if I'm going to a range where I'm not guaranteed to find or get it all back. There's nothing worse than shooting new brass only to have it land beyond the shooting line and you can't retrieve it.

Sorting "my" brass however is a different story.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:46 AM
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I'm in the "used to" crowd. When shooting competition, I try to have the same brand brass in the ammo box but haven't been doing that lately so...

It all goes into the tumbler and into the XL650's case feeder. It doesn't have a problem with it, I guess I won't either!
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:49 AM
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The American in me just wants to hord up all the brass I can afford. My bucket of .45 ACP is getting half empty...
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximumbob54 View Post
The American in me just wants to hord up all the brass I can afford. My bucket of .45 ACP is getting half empty...
No me! Mine is so full it is running on the floor!

Just getting the three full 3lb coffee cans into the tumbler through the night and day today! Had to interrupt them to run the 3lb coffee can full of dirty 44Mag brass though. Second can in the tumbler now though!

My 45ACP brass is pretty cheap though. 5 gallon bucket, free to $10, depending on the mood of the range guy that day!
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:21 AM
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I still sort by headstamp. I find it serves several purposes: Making sure the caliber is correct (I found some .45 GAP mixed in with my .45 ACP brass); in rifle brass checking for incipient case separation; and I have OCD, so it makes me feel better.

In a recent lot of .30-06 I found some .270, .280, .30-30, and .32 Special cases along with some Frankford Arsenal brass from 1909.

So I prefer to sort.

David
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:22 AM
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im new to reloading so I haven't acquired that much brass yet. Just in the process of picking up another caliber pistol so my sorting and storing isn't beyond unmanageable yet. So I separate by head stamp. Im hoping to reach the point were I have so much brass I don't know what to do with it all. Then yes Ill probably just keep it mixed.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:46 AM
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well it comes down to a time thing for me (and a storage thing for most.) Using a semi auto, its hard to find brass on the ground, let alone making sure its yours.. At the end of a range trip I have a large zip lock bag full of mixed brass, some mine, some other. All different types of calibers. So I do an initial sorting by caliber then like I mentioned earlier, I have the time and room so I sort by head stamp.
Once I collect a wider supply of brass I'm probably gonna throw the head stamp sorting out the window. Unless there is a specific reason or I feel like being overly organized ( which I often am.) It would be far easier and less time consuming for something like a rifle or revolver. Altho I am a fan of having things organized to the 100th degree. So long as room allows it w/o looking overly cluttered, I will probably sort by head stamp. But for me using an auto loader its solely about organization ( I'm necrotic.)
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:50 AM
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I believe it has some importantance on accuracy and even feeding. I used to shoot some bullseye and worked the loads for my guns on a Ransom rest. I have seen different brass make a difference when using the same bullets, powder and primers. I have also seen brass differences have an impact on feeding in some guns. My working theory on this is centered on differences in case length, throat thickness and case thickness in general - they all vary. Nickel cases are also harder than full brass. If you are reloading different brass all at the same time with the same press set up this can particularly become an issue. Is it a big difference - depends on what you are looking for. Spend some time on a Ransom Rest and i think you'll agree. Not specifically brass related but I used only CCI Standard Velocity in my S&W 41. At 25 yds in the rest it would hold a group under and inch all day. Run some Federal Hi-Vel jacketed rounds through it and the group would open up to about 4".
Needless to say I sort my brass - I even try not to mix different lots of the same head stamp (got some German in me too ).
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:27 PM
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DEPENDS, as they say, on what exactly you are talking about. If you shoot a lot of 223 and don't sort and include the various commercial brands and military you may be in for problems. A safe pressure load in Win or Rem brass may not be safe in Lapua or some of the military. You could very quickly find yourself in over pressure problems. Lapua for example is much heavier brass than most other commercial brands and this means that the internal capacity is reduced. Smaller chamber with standard loads means higher pressures. It is this actual chamber volumn that we are concerned with in reloading. By varying this chamber volumn we are also affecting velocity and as a result, likely the accuracy as well.

While this is not as important with most of our handgun shooting, the same principles still remain.

Consistency is the key to accurate handloads and it does not come from mixing brass.

For some of our shooting this is very important, and for some, it is not important. You get to decide what you want.

Ward
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:34 PM
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I almost have more brass than I know what to do with, and I sort by headstamp when I load for consistency, i.e. mostly for my rifles. I still sort my .44 Spl., but not my .38 Spl.
jc85, I hope you meant "neurotic".

Larry
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:45 PM
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naw I mean im dead tissue..

haha yes, my bad. spell check dosnt always work in your favor =)
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:42 PM
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I always sort for length and headstamp for 9mm, as I think it makes a difference (I shoot bullseye). I quit using range brass years ago now I only use Starline for everything but 327 (only because they don't make it yet). I guess I just like consistency (German and Finnish). - gene
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:00 PM
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Default Sorting DOES make a difference

As a buyer, I am willing to pay more for sorted brass. I believe it definitely does make a significant difference in the consistency of the reloading process. For example, R-P 45ACP is consistently "thin" and loose and requires a lot more crimp; Speer 45ACP is stiff and tight and requires more of a flare to prevent shaving the bullets when seating. Federal and W-W are the most consistently uniform.
Does it make any huge difference in accuracy? Well,if you're just plinking around, probably not enough to notice, but, if you are in a bullseye tournament where a few points seperate places, I believe in giving myself every chance possible.
The only time I will use mixed brass is if I am just banging around in the great outdoors where I will not likely be recovering the used brass anyway.
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Old 07-16-2011, 04:26 PM
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Bah!

For handgun shooting I doubt it makes a difference.(Actual shooting maybe a mental thing) Unless you are some pro competition shooter.

I would like to see a study done with average to good shooters and give them ammo all loaded the same, only with different brass and see what the results are.

For competition benchrest rifle shooters where everything matters to them, yes it probably matters.
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:04 PM
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Rifle brass get sorted by head stamp, rifle and usage count. Handgun brass not so much, I only sort it by nickle or not.
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Old 07-17-2011, 04:47 AM
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The ransom rest has proven to me that sorting absolutely makes a difference in accuracy. Unfortunately I cant shoot well enough myself to tell the difference. I still sort it though just in case my shooting ever improves to that level. (actually just a dream)
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:00 AM
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I do it becasue I can see the difference on the target in certain calibers with certain guns. For example, with my SIG 210-5, not sorting brass will normally increase the group size about 1 to 2" over sorted brass.

The same hold true with my Les Baer 10mm.

Try it yourself and see if it matters to your gun and your shooting skills.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M. Eick View Post
I do it becasue I can see the difference on the target in certain calibers with certain guns. For example, with my SIG 210-5, not sorting brass will normally increase the group size about 1 to 2" over sorted brass.

The same hold true with my Les Baer 10mm.

Try it yourself and see if it matters to your gun and your shooting skills.
With those two guns you could load them with ball and black powder and shoot 1" groups.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:02 PM
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I'm going to start sorting my .380 ACP by headstamp. When depriming MRP stamped brass the head of the primer comes off but the primer itself doesn't. Annoying to say the least. 21 rounds out of a box of 50 (or at least what I recovered from the range) did this.

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Old 07-22-2011, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsbock View Post
I'm going to start sorting my .380 ACP by headstamp. When depriming MRP stamped brass the head of the primer comes off but the primer itself doesn't. Annoying to say the least. 21 rounds out of a box of 50 (or at least what I recovered from the range) did this.

David
MRP is another headstamp for Magtech which is part of the CBC group. CBC, Magtech, Men and Sellier and Belliot.. It is excellent ammo and brass.

It's odd that you are having problems with depriming it??
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
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MRP is another headstamp for Magtech which is part of the CBC group. CBC, Magtech, Men and Sellier and Belliot.. It is excellent ammo and brass.

It's odd that you are having problems with depriming it??
I know. None of the other calibers have this issue. Only the .380 ACP. It could be just this batch. I'm keeping my eye on it now.

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Old 07-22-2011, 11:32 PM
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I sort mine. I've noticed different case thickness between makers. For example I've found R-P 45 Auto brass is thinner than Federal or W-W.

That works well when using .452" diameter bullets in my 22-4. W-W and Federal cases are so tight that I can't easily push a full moon clip of cartridges into the gun. With R-P they drop right in.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:36 PM
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I sort mine and mix what I don't want to keep for resale if there isn't enough of a certain brand.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith357 View Post
Rifle brass get sorted by head stamp, rifle and usage count. Handgun brass not so much, I only sort it by nickle or not.
+1 what Smith357 said.

98% of all my handgun loading is designed to duplicate standard pressure and velocity (not +P, etc.). I have small lots of new factory and once fired brass for hotter .38 loads and .357 Magnum loads.

I use a single stage press and handle each piece of brass multiple times resulting in lots of visual inspection. I toss out any case that shows the slightest split, bulge, wrinkle, etc. Otherwise, it's load and shoot.
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:52 PM
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If you don't sort them, how do you do final inspections? I handle every round as part of the sorting process and occasionally toss some back for breaking down.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:33 AM
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For me, sorted is not a plus unless it's all Starline, Federal, whatever. Name brand stuff. Surprisingly, PMC is my favorite headstamp for .45ACP.

I've bought several batches of used .45ACP. As long as there wasn't any steel or aluminum or large amounts of Amerc in it I was happy. I do my own cleaning & sorting. Name brands and "others."
Now that we are seeing so much SPP .45 brass sorting by headstamp is kinda mandatory.

.357 Magnum brass gets sorted to major brand name & "others." Brass I buy used serves as range fodder with .38+P loadings to avoid carbon rings. I like to load my target batches with same headstamps.

For full house Big Dogs I use Starline that I bought new.

Just a hint, I'm almost always in the market for used .357 Magnum brass if the price/trade is right.

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I'm 5/8 German, after all.
I'm of German ancestry as well.
ummm... I actually sort 9mm brass...

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Old 07-26-2011, 04:41 AM
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I always separate my handgun brass by headstamp and even store them in 50 piece trays before loading and after shooting. (I can't help myself, I'm a little OCD about stuff)

Rifle brass gets separated and firings are counted. Handgun brass gets shot until it splits or the primer pockets get too large. BUT, I've been shooting the same 1,200 pieces of Remington .38 Special brass for over 6 years now and haven't had to toss one yet!
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:15 AM
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I sort just about all my rifle and handgun brass. When I first started shooting my springfield armory 45 i did not have much money and since a lot of the shooters did not reload they became my source for extra brass. Was a bad day that I did not come home with at least 2-300 empty cases more than I had left with. So basically all cases regardless of headstamp went into the same bucket.What I did do with the 45 brass was sort it and the oddballs that only amounted to less than 100 cases got put into another bucket. All the speer,rem,ww,federal the big 4 were loaded and shot at steel plate matches. The good stuff like wcc match got saved for a rainy day. And I have to say that shooting mixed headstamped cases showed me that there is little to no difference than that of only one headstamp. We'd fing fiochhi, tzz Israeli, mfs hungarian and a few others like sellier and bellot. The s&b's went into a special box for another rainy day. About the only thing bad with the s&b brass was that it would not accept a large pistol primer easily. Took the deburring tool for doing casenecks and chamfered the opening of the primer pocket. After that no probalems. Frank
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
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Took the deburring tool for doing casenecks and chamfered the opening of the primer pocket. After that no probalems. Frank
I actually bought the tool for reaming primer pockets. I find a lot of crimped 9mm NATO brass, and while I've never had a real problem seating in S&B cases the reamer does make life much easier.

Easy to find the S&B brass. The primer goes "PING!" when ya decap it.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:02 AM
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I just drop it all off at dads and let him deal with it.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:10 AM
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LOL Where does your Dad live? I have some that needs attention.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:06 AM
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Those of you who load for smallish cases like the .380 ACP, may want to weigh the various manufacturers brass cases and see the variation in weight from one brand to another. I did, and the differences were significant. My point is, if they weigh differently, they "probably" or maybe I should say "could" have different internal capacities. That can be an issue with higher end charges of fast powders like Bullseye.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:04 PM
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If you are a contender for master class at Camp Perry, you would want to sort brass. If you shoot like the rest of us, no need.
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Old 08-07-2011, 02:36 PM
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I've been sorting all of my brass for a while, although I'm getting lazier about the plinking loads.

I know the OP was talking about pistol rounds, but I wanted to share this week-end's reminder about sorting rifle brass. I was working up a new load for my 7mm RM (I need lead free now that I am in CA). My brass was sorted (or so I thought). When loading the second round at book max I felt a definite crunch as the extruded powder compressed. The previous round at the same charge did not. I took another look and confirmed that the headstamp was different. I had read that the "other" headstamp brass had lower capacity. I think I just confirmed it.

Chubbs
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:41 PM
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I sort my brass partially because I feel that the same head stamp brass means that it has the same manufactured characteristics and partially because I am anal and like it that way. Sitting on the couch with a bucket from the range and a dozen or so tupperware containers to pitch it into is a no brainer for me. Mainly I just like things orderly.
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  #46  
Old 08-07-2011, 04:06 PM
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I pick up nearly all my brass for free, don't bother to separate it for reloading, but if I were buying used brass, I think I'd rather buy it separated, even if paying slightly more. But then I pick it up for free, so. . .
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:28 AM
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I only reload handgun calibers, 9mm, .38spec., .40S&W, .45acp & I will now need a .45Colt set up for my dillon 550. I am not a compitition shooter, I just enjoy going to the club / range for informal practice.

I have managed to pick up enough brass from the club to fill a 40 gal. garbage can. I sort by caliber using a set of sorting pans designed for the purpose. I no longer sort by headstanp though. For my purposes I found it to be overkill.

I usually find the damaged cases when I and hand feeding my 550. Ocasionaly a bad case might slip through, but I do inspect every loaded round before it goes into the box.

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Old 08-13-2011, 11:37 AM
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Looks as if commercial reload sellers don't sort, but I do, then I box 'em up in factory boxes I pick up at the range. There may not be much brass around, but nobody wants the boxes.
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223, 327, 357 magnum, 380, 45acp, bullseye, commercial, crimp, headstamp, hornady, lock, military, primer, rcbs, remington, sig arms, springfield, starline, winchester

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Reloading Thread, Sorting Handgun Brass - What Say You? in Ammunition-Gunsmithing; Over the last few years I have accumulated a fairly large quantity of handgun brass in various calibers. Most of ...
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