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Old 04-25-2019, 10:38 AM
Duckford Duckford is offline
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Default Interchanging Brass From Rifle to Rifle, Standard Practice or Taboo?

As I'm collecting brass around the front porch after shooting during the winter, I'm finding quite a bit of 7.62 NATO that escaped my brass catchers and got lost into the snow. The brass is, of course, so filthy it has to be cleaned and after a dip in the sonic cleaner I can still tell my PTR fired brass from the remaining flute signature, but the signs on the brass to distinguish the M1a and FAL brass is gone. Which leads me to an old issue....

From what I've heard and read some people think that once a piece of rifle brass is used in a rifle, it should NEVER be fired in a different rifle ever. Reasons seemed to be centered around accuracy to some degree, but also hints that fire forming cases might somehow make them dangerous in other chambers. Yet buying up military spent brass has been long common, yet people take home spent brass from the range, people buy "once fired" brass that might be twice or thrice fired. Is it much ado of nothing, or one of those minor details worth highly considering?

Since I can segregate my PTR brass easily I'll continue to do that, but some of the other brass is so similar after the wash I'm tempted to just load them as a same batch (offhand rapid fire practice is waht they are used for, no need for super accurate loads) and fire them from either my FAL or M1a respectively. Unless there is a very good reason I'm overlooking. I've read that super light powder puff loads can eventually distort rifle brass, so my lead rifle loads all have separate brass for that purpose. Am I making a big mistake on mixing brass from two battle rifles?
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:47 AM
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No mistake at all.....make sure that they are fully sized and trimmed...you are good to go.

Randy
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:55 AM
Krogen Krogen is offline
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I'd agree that if cases are properly sized and trimmed there's no concern in switching among rifles.

Now that PTR is a different situation; at least for me. I don't bother to reload for mine. Instead, I shoot steel case ammo in it. Not only does it launch cases into low earth orbit, but those I manage to find are disfigured by the chamber flutes. Opinions vary about reloading "fluted brass" but I choose not to.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:16 AM
robertrwalsh robertrwalsh is offline
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Hard core precision rifle shooters prefer to keep brass with a particular weapon from what I hear. For others it is of no consequence.
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Krogen View Post
I'd agree that if cases are properly sized and trimmed there's no concern in switching among rifles.

Now that PTR is a different situation; at least for me. I don't bother to reload for mine. Instead, I shoot steel case ammo in it. Not only does it launch cases into low earth orbit, but those I manage to find are disfigured by the chamber flutes. Opinions vary about reloading "fluted brass" but I choose not to.
So far my PTR cases have worked fine for my M80ish reloads, no problem yet in the gun. Sometimes the rim gets a bit roughed up and this makes it a little difficult to get into the shell holder, but that gun just eats anything once you've got it loaded. Flutes seem superficial, no problem from that. But I had to quit using my big Tupperwear tub as my brass catcher because the gun would hurl the brass so hard it would bend case mouths and dent bodies. Straightened out the mouths with a Lee universal flaring die piece and got the chewed up brass to work, I'll be keeping notes as I go through lots to see how long they will last.

I've been thinking of going steel in it again, my C93 only eats steel because of the bolt gap and I'm too lazy to change it, and the PTR shouldn't have any problems with it. I've been moving to brass ever since I read up on Lucky Gunner's steel case study about burning out barrels, but then again they were hammering those steel jacket bullets through hot barrels at high rate of fire; this may not apply to my style of shooting. I can't reload M80 any cheaper than I can purchase steel. Maybe I should reserve the brass for the other guns (DSA recommends no steel case, but they might be playing safe) and just not worry about a barrel I MIGHT kill at 5k rounds.

Lot of work to produce regular plinko grade rounds at the same price I can buy steel. I suppose "do steel jackets kill barrels appreciabily" is another thread subject entirely.
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:20 PM
rockquarry rockquarry is offline
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You would likely need an extremely accurate rifle, like a benchrest gun to see much, if any, difference. I have four old .222s that I've had for a long time, three Sakos and a Remington. One of the Sakos has a slightly tighter chamber than the other guns, so I resize the brass only to the point where a loaded round chambers with a bit of effort. Fits fine in the others guns. All the rifles are capable of groups in the 3/4" and smaller range, even if I'm unable to shoot such groups every time.

Same for three old Model 70 Winchesters in .30-06.

Where one might run into problems is if there is a big difference in chamber dimensions between two rifles. Sized enough to fit a minimal chamber, there could be headspacing problems with such ammo fired in a maximum-dimensioned chamber, possibly resulting in case head separation.

As for a semi-auto, it might be necessary to full-length size everything. Don't know if I'd want to swap brass between a semi-auto and bolt-action. This would require some experimentation.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:49 PM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is online now
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Default Will swithing rifles affect the ammo's performance?

A lot of the comparison on what is accurate has to do with what various opinions are, and the type or power of your optics, and distances involved.

I know that in the 80's, the Ohio NG rifle team had some shooters that with match M-14's with match sights and match ammo could do 10 shot 1-1.5" groups @ 200 yards (I think that is pretty darn good!) That is in position shooting.

From a rest on a solid bench I have bolt action 223's and 308's that will do dime size groups at 200 yards. While nice and somewhat impressive looking, I was only doing a good job. A fantastic groups under the circumstances, would be a group where the outside is measured,and the diameter of the bullet is subtracted. The 5 shot group size should read something that starts .0 or maybe .1! (I used to produce these on occasion, but I believe the eyes are a little weak, and the muscles a little shaky now)

It only takes 3 good things to produce these type groups. 1) A good rifle w/good sights or good scopes, 2) good ammo, and 3) a good shooter! (Good weather is helpful but not necessary!)

Number 2: Good ammo, weather factory or handloaded is determined by consistency and concentricity (No wobble as it rolls across glass). Brass fired only in one good gun then Neck Sized, was the old standard to achieve concentricity (and still works). But some of us have a thing about ammo not fitting a rifle chambered for that round. So I Full Length all my ammo! It will fit and fire in any rifle with that chamber! I often only size the neck 2/3 of the length for concentricity, I also use competition seating dies That seat the bullet on the same axis as the case. (if you thought that was a given, you will be surprised how far off things have become.) This is a compromise, Bench Rest chambers .002" diameter larger than the sized case are the best, but don't always work in the field.

Consistency, is a factor of exact duplication of components from one round to the next. So if all your bullets, primers, powder charges and cases are the exact same, they will perform the exact same in one rifle. The next gun may OR may not like that combination. (For example of not liking something, IMR 4064 is reported to be the best 308 Win powder. I have had 12 rifles in the last 40 years in 308, not one of them liked 4064!) My rifles like Varget and they like IMR 3031. So your award winning ammo may not shoot well in my rifle! Or mine in yours! BUT 12 in a row is way outside the bell curve!

Ivan
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:53 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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LOTS of BS out there. My 223 works in all of my .223 rifles. My 30/06 works in all my 06's. Multiple reloads on every case. So someone sold you a line of bovine excretement.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:00 PM
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I guess no one, including me, has explained this is in a simple manner.

Keeping brass separate for a particular rifle hurts nothing. Also, it's possible you may see an accuracy improvement (over brass fired in more than one rifle) and extended case life, but don't expect either. Anyone serious about this must experiment.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:33 PM
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One near certainty is that the chambers of your various rifles each differ from the others. If you are sizing all this brass in the same way, it can't be optimal for every rifle, or for the brass.

Another certainty is that your brass is from different manufacturers and/or lots. Therefore the likelihood that the same powder charge is optimal for each effective chamber size, for every round, is low.

Finally when sized in the same way, some brass will be worked more than others.

Precision shooters wouldn't use those practices because consistency is fundamental to them.

Whether any of these things will affect your brass life (slightly if at all) or your results is uncertain.
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:33 PM
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I started reloading about 47 years ago. I spent several years obsessing over every detail, including "fire forming", "neck sizing", and other technical details that are probably of more interest to bench rest shooters than they will ever be to hunters or sporting shooters.

In the meantime I have owned at least 20 rifles in .30-06 caliber, and I have loaded at least 10,000 rounds for use in "service rifle" category (M1, '03 Springfield, Johnson, etc), all using the same brass processed the same way (full-length resizing, trimmed to length, etc), and the same bullets seated to the same COL.

In addition to the military rifles mentioned I have used .30-06 in a couple of sporting rifles while hunting Colorado mule deer and elk, and a few other edible critters. Process the ammo the same way for all rifles, and the results have always been satisfactory.

I suppose if I were a top ranked contender for bench rest shooting I might pay more attention to all the little details. But I'm not in that league so I just do what I need to do so I have ammo that functions properly in any rifle appropriately chambered. So far that has kept me satisfied with target grouping and meat in the freezer.

About 20 years ago I bought one of the H&K G3 rifles in 7.62 caliber with the fluted chamber. First time I picked up my brass I started wondering about how to deal with that. Found out that normal full-length resizing and processing was all it took to make everything work properly in the G3, M1-A, or the FN-FAL.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:43 PM
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Mike when you stick a hull, and you will. Remember your words !!use the hydraulic method with cleaning rod and patch it’ll probably get it loose
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:48 PM
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For accuracy bolt actions...... neck size.

Any other system needs a full sizeing and my blessing.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:25 PM
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I have two 30-06 rifles. One is a modern Remington 700, the other is a 1936 vintage Model 1903A1. The 1903 was rebarreled in 1942, and whoever did the job cut the rear of the chamber slightly oversize (by 0.001"). Many cases fired in that M1903 will not chamber in the Remington, even after resizing. The area in question is just ahead of the rim and apparently is not affected by resizing. So I use separate cases for the two rifles. Different headstamps. I have heard that this is not uncommon.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:56 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Mike when you stick a hull, and you will. Remember your words !!use the hydraulic method with cleaning rod and patch itíll probably get it loose
Started reloading for rifles, handguns and shotgun in 1972.......I HAVE NEVER stuck a loaded round in a chamber. If you full length resize/trim and seat projectile to proper length....You never will. Only sloppy reloading practices cause this.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:57 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
I started reloading about 47 years ago. I spent several years obsessing over every detail, including "fire forming", "neck sizing", and other technical details that are probably of more interest to bench rest shooters than they will ever be to hunters or sporting shooters.

In the meantime I have owned at least 20 rifles in .30-06 caliber, and I have loaded at least 10,000 rounds for use in "service rifle" category (M1, '03 Springfield, Johnson, etc), all using the same brass processed the same way (full-length resizing, trimmed to length, etc), and the same bullets seated to the same COL.

In addition to the military rifles mentioned I have used .30-06 in a couple of sporting rifles while hunting Colorado mule deer and elk, and a few other edible critters. Process the ammo the same way for all rifles, and the results have always been satisfactory.

I suppose if I were a top ranked contender for bench rest shooting I might pay more attention to all the little details. But I'm not in that league so I just do what I need to do so I have ammo that functions properly in any rifle appropriately chambered. So far that has kept me satisfied with target grouping and meat in the freezer.

About 20 years ago I bought one of the H&K G3 rifles in 7.62 caliber with the fluted chamber. First time I picked up my brass I started wondering about how to deal with that. Found out that normal full-length resizing and processing was all it took to make everything work properly in the G3, M1-A, or the FN-FAL.
x2........Lobo.......You have seen the wolf.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:48 AM
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No problems. Only reason I keep brass paired to rifles is when I neck size. After it goes through the FL sizer, the brass and the rifle don't care which goes where.
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Old 04-26-2019, 05:03 AM
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For our 5.56/223 Colt ARs we have used RCBS SB dies since ‘79, brass is not specific to each rifle...... and different headstamps are not an issue.
Bottle neck cases are neck sized and kept separate for each gun which includes Bolt and No.1 rifles.
Straight wall rifle cases as in 357/44/45, that go with pistols as well, are not gun specific.

Will be adding one of the following flat shooting calibers .....
30-06/308/338/375 as hunting with fishing rods won’t harvest MEAT.

Our one 458WinMag, like a seaworthy vessel, can handle anything ....but the crew occasionally flinches.
If I get another I’ll most likely load rounds that are useable in both.

Fortunately the rifle specific rounds loaded for a recently sold bolt gun did not chamber in the No.1V rifle but ran fine in the Colt.

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Old 05-08-2019, 08:03 PM
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A bit off my original topic, but not to start a new thread, I'm going to be doing some testing of my M80-esque handloads tomorrow with the chronograph. Rounds seem to work fine in all three rifles so far, hit the target in offhand rapid fire, only cycling issue is that it won't always lock the bolt back on the FAL. What is the velocity range that it might hurt the M1a? What are signs to look for so that its not too cool of a round for the M1a and potentially damage it? Anything to be looking for?
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:48 PM
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There are "some" advantages to keeping one case to one gun, but those advantages are pretty minute in the overall scheme of the regular shooter.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckford View Post
A bit off my original topic, but not to start a new thread, I'm going to be doing some testing of my M80-esque handloads tomorrow with the chronograph. Rounds seem to work fine in all three rifles so far, hit the target in offhand rapid fire, only cycling issue is that it won't always lock the bolt back on the FAL. What is the velocity range that it might hurt the M1a? What are signs to look for so that its not too cool of a round for the M1a and potentially damage it? Anything to be looking for?
Most ammo for your M1A should be around 2650-2700 fps. Your M1A also needs to stay with powders that are in the burn rate of IMR-4895, BL-C2, WW 748, IMR-4064, AA 2520 etc. Deviating from that general area of burn rate and you can damage your op rod. They are EXPENSIVE!

There is a wealth of published reloading data just for the M1A....stick to that and you will have problems.

Randy

PS. I shot my M1A SuperMatch for many years in NRA Service Rifle, Wore out 4 barrels and am on my 5th. My reloads replicated Military M852.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:29 AM
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Been reloading since the 80's. Only in my Prairie Dog (bolt action) rifles do I have any concern about fire forming and neck sizing only. For the ultimate in accuracy you have to be particular. For any semi-auto's and any other sport rifle or any handgun I just full length resize, and pay no attention which firearm it goes in and all work just fine.

For my Prairie dog guns, just like bench rest rifles I fire form the cases, and then only neck size. OAL to the specific gun by measuring the seating depth and seating to within .0020 OAL. I hand weigh every charge, and hand seat the match primers. It all pays off in extremely good accuracy, which is needed when you are taking shots past 500 yards at a target the size of a 2Liter soda bottle.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:46 AM
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The only brass I keep segregated and matched to a specific rifle are the couple of calibers I neck size or don't resize at all. Constantly full length sizing .303 British, 577-450 or 577 Snider drastically shortens case life.
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckford View Post
I'm going to be doing some testing of my M80-esque handloads tomorrow with the chronograph. Rounds seem to work fine in all three rifles so far, hit the target in offhand rapid fire, only cycling issue is that it won't always lock the bolt back on the FAL. What is the velocity range that it might hurt the M1a?
It's not really a velocity range as it is a port pressure range. Choice of powder can affect this as can bullet weight. What powder and load data are you using?

If you check over the owners manual that should have come with the FAL, it should give instructions on how to adjust the gas system. That said, if it locks the bolt back reliably with GI ball, you probably need to reconsider your powder choice and weight of charge.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
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It's not really a velocity range as it is a port pressure range. Choice of powder can affect this as can bullet weight. What powder and load data are you using?

If you check over the owners manual that should have come with the FAL, it should give instructions on how to adjust the gas system. That said, if it locks the bolt back reliably with GI ball, you probably need to reconsider your powder choice and weight of charge.
Sorry about that, was clumsy with my words, what I meant to say was it would not lock the bolt back on the FAL when its gas setting was set for M80 South Korean surplus, so it cycled but was weak. It was more of a point of reference to how it cycled in the weapon compared to real M80 factory, I've got a couple of markers to note the gas settings for different loads. When I was shooting some Tula through it (probably won't anymore after DSA advised not to and I'm handloading anyway) it would not cycle at all on PMC M80 gas setting. So it means that my current M80esque load is less powerful, but fairly close to PMC military and much more powerful than Tula.

My handload is 41.5 grains IMR 4895 in said South Korean M80 spent cases, 147 grain M80 Magtech pulled bullets with CCI large rifle (not military like I shoulda bought) primers. Didn't get around to chronograph, try to do that tomorrow. It cycles the M1a the few test rounds so far, brass lands close to where PMC M80 did, feeds well in the PTR and the thrown case pattern is on par with M80 in that as well. I'll have to set up the lead sled and put it on paper and speed test to get a great idea. If the load seems a bit light, let me know before I put too many rounds through the M1a.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:01 AM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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I've got an old chart from the American Rifleman that shows a ball approximation load for 7.62 x 51 mm with a 150 gr ball and 42 gr. of IMR 4895 in military brass, 2.800 in OAL. I say "approximation" instead of duplication since the powders being used aren't exactly the same as the arsenals use. These loads deliver correct ranges of port pressures.

FWIW, the 9th edition of the Hornaday manual, 7.62 mm Service Rifle section, shows a max load with IMR 4895 with the 155 gr A-Max of 43.4 gr at an OAL of 2.800 in. Maximum velocity is given as 2700 f/s. I don't recall off the top of my head what the military velocity for 7.62 mm ball is. I expect the bearing length of the A-Max is shorter than that of the 147/150 gr FMJ bullet. The brass used is listed as Hornaday/Frontier which hints at being military-you want to verify this with Hornaday before approaching this load. Testing was in an M1A.

From the same chart as the first load: with the 168 gr SMK, the charge is 40.5 gr, with the M118 173 gr ball, the charge is 39 gr.

If you're loading for the Garand, the .30-06 load is 49 gr with the same bullet & military brass. Hornaday doesn't show a load for IMR 4895 in the Garand section.

Last edited by WR Moore; 05-11-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by growr View Post
No mistake at all.....make sure that they are fully sized and trimmed...you are good to go.

Randy
In my precision bolt guns, I dont mix brass. In my AR, range pickups, FL size, trim as needed & go.
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Old 05-11-2019, 12:33 PM
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This can all be pretty much summed up by saying that segregated brass (ideally new brass from same lot) will be the best, at least in principle if not in fact. Mixed brass will be secondary; again, at least in principle if not in fact.

The only way to know for sure if any of this makes a measurable difference in your guns for your purposes is to experiment with a quantity of each brass and shoot enough groups at 100, 200, and then the longest yardage you would ever use such loads. I'm a believer in chronographing everything when experimenting and I think this would be an essential part of such experimentation.

Standard deviation, extreme spread, etc., mean little unless such numbers are really wild or accuracy is poor.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:14 AM
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I'm a dinosaur so segregate my brass to the rifle it's been fired in. Do the usual tricks uniforming the primer pockets, uniforming the flash holes, trim to length, bevel the case neck and only keep the brass freezer bags marked as to which rifle it's been used in. In my rem 40xafter the first firing then neck size. If I started to get hard chambering,run them through a bump die and trim to length. While I don't expect rifle brass to last forever I got 10 firings out of those 50 cases and 500 bullets sent downrange.I figured I got my money's worth. And in the scrap bucket they went. Now for my Springfield armory 45 I just use range brass but do the primer pocket uniforming as well the flash hole uniforming.never found a 45acp case anywhere near the trim to length spec. I lost count years back of how many rounds those cases have sent down the range. People complain about Sellier & Bellot Czech made cases are. I use the pointy end of the chamfer tool to cut a little ring on the primer pocket and no more problems seating primers. That 45 has well over 30.000 rounds through it and no failures to fire. I decap the primers separately from the dillon. Then the brass gets tumbled and again this is done with a benchrest style hand priming tool. If a primer seats too easily gets put aside for scrap. I shoot cast bullets in a Finnish Moisin Nagant rifle that was put together in 1935. Haven't checked the date on the tang since I got it. That rifle when my eyes cooperate gets 2" groups at 100yds. And I do segregate brass according to headstamp. My Sako 75 Hunter in 30-06 gets a true 1" at 100 yds. with Federal brass, nosler 165 ballistic tips,55.5 grains IMR 4350 and CCI magnum primer. why the mag primer you may ask?. I chronographed the loads and with and without that primer and with the mag primer I get more consistent loads. Frank
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:00 AM
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I do nothing special for service handgun brass. There might be a tiny diff in accuracy fir 50y bullseye guys but for hitting an 8" plate out at 50y, just extra work for little to no gain i o. My best 1911 is mechanically more accurate than I am.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:28 PM
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I did my own rifle brass test in 1982, S&W 1500 in .222 Rem & custom Rem 700 in 25-06, using my new Dillon 450. I never sorted brass again. Today I sort Mil / commercial .223 and 30-06.

Old 223 brass (after 3rd reload) gets fired in bolt action rifle.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:41 PM
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There is a whole bunch of threads over on Gunboards regarding brass segregation and neck resizing relating to the .303 British cartridge. Some even go so far as to use O-rings with the first firing of new brass to ensure that the case head is firmly seated against the bolt head. That blows out the shoulder to match that of the gun. Shoulder length and taper can be inconsistent on SMLEs, No4s and maybe even Pattern 14s. For sure, I wouldn't rely on them being all the same.
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