Author Topic: Starting out question...  (Read 4257 times)

zumatx

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Starting out question...
« on: January 21, 2009, 09:04:43 PM »
So I plan on starting to reload soon, but I have a few questions I hope you guys can answer for me. 1: Is any of the brass from factory loaded ammunition reloadable? And if so, how do I know which are and which aren't? 2: It seems like a lot of places I look on line for the components are sold out. Any favorite catalogs or websites that have stock?

Thanks for your help! :)

John Q Public

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2009, 09:22:29 PM »
Hi Zumatx,

I have not started reloading yet --- I am saving up for a progressive press, but that is a different story.

However, from what I understand, all center fire brass cartridges all reloadable. They just have to be cleaned, re-sized and properly trimmed if necessary. Shotgun cartidges can also be reloaded. I am not certain about rimfire cartidges.


Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2009, 10:01:35 PM »
First, what do you mean by "brass?"  Some people refer to any empty cartridge cases as "brass."  However, cartridge cases can be made from brass (a copper alloy) as well as steel and aluminum.  Copper - good.  Steel, aluminum - bad.

Not all center fire brass cartridges are reloadable.

The steel cases are frequently a dark green or brown.  Steel cases can be copper washed too.  They are attracted to magnets.  The aluminum cases are a dull silver/gray.  Neither one is likely reloadable or at least not worth the effort.  They are frequently Berdan primed, i.e., the anvil that ignites the primer material is a part of the casing.  If you look down the case mouth, you will see two flash holes (bad).  That's why they are a PITA to reload, you would have to align two depriming pins with the two flash holes to eject the spent primer, which is not how you deprime, them but that is another story.

Brass cartridges are the commonly seen gold color.  They can also be a mirror-like silver color, i.e., nickle plated.  They should be Boxer primed to reload.  But, they can be Berdan primed too, especially foreign military surplus.  Boxer primers have the anvil in the primer cup.  If you look down the case mouth, you will see that the cartridge case has one flash hole in the center (good).  That's what makes them preferable to reload.  Your reloading dies will have a depriming pin that will go down the center of the case and deprime it.

Brass is more elastic than steel and aluminum.  Upon firing a cartridge, the cartridge case obturates, or stretches, to seal the chamber during firing, and then contracts for extraction.  Brass has the elasticity to do that several times, hence its reloadability.  Steel and aluminum does not have the repeated ability to reliably obturate.

Also, check your brass for structural defects.  Get rid of torn rims, split case mouths/necks, anything with soot showing gas leaks around the primer and pocket, etc.  Watch out for brass fired from fluted chambers.  You will see longitudinal striations on the cases.  The fluted chambers have their benefits to the firearm but are hard on brass.

Good luck finding components.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 10:04:08 PM by mike »

Offline Biff

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 06:31:53 PM »
I've been ordering reloading supplies (cases and bullets) from http://www.midwayusa.com/ since the '80s.  I try to go 'local' on the primers and powder.  It's best if you can buy in bulk - it may offset the prices for the hazmat fees on the primers and powder.

Reloading is a lot of fun, but I cannot stress enough about safety when you reload.  You need to be really careful to not have any distractions (especially when you start pouring powder).  You also need to be careful about not eating or drinking while you're doing it to mitigate lead contamination.

Also, are you planning on reloading for pistol, rifle, or both?

zumatx

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 08:08:38 PM »
I've been ordering reloading supplies (cases and bullets) from http://www.midwayusa.com/ since the '80s.  I try to go 'local' on the primers and powder.  It's best if you can buy in bulk - it may offset the prices for the hazmat fees on the primers and powder.

Reloading is a lot of fun, but I cannot stress enough about safety when you reload.  You need to be really careful to not have any distractions (especially when you start pouring powder).  You also need to be careful about not eating or drinking while you're doing it to mitigate lead contamination.

Also, are you planning on reloading for pistol, rifle, or both?

I plan on reloading for both rifle(7.62x54R, 30.06, 8mm Mauser) and pistol(.40, .45). It seems like I can find cases and bullets with relative ease, its the powder and primer that's eluding me. Thanks for the tip about not eating or drinking, it had never crossed my mind.

zumatx

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009, 08:12:49 PM »
First, what do you mean by "brass?"  Some people refer to any empty cartridge cases as "brass."  However, cartridge cases can be made from brass (a copper alloy) as well as steel and aluminum.  Copper - good.  Steel, aluminum - bad.

Not all center fire brass cartridges are reloadable.

The steel cases are frequently a dark green or brown.  Steel cases can be copper washed too.  They are attracted to magnets.  The aluminum cases are a dull silver/gray.  Neither one is likely reloadable or at least not worth the effort.  They are frequently Berdan primed, i.e., the anvil that ignites the primer material is a part of the casing.  If you look down the case mouth, you will see two flash holes (bad).  That's why they are a PITA to reload, you would have to align two depriming pins with the two flash holes to eject the spent primer, which is not how you deprime, them but that is another story.

Brass cartridges are the commonly seen gold color.  They can also be a mirror-like silver color, i.e., nickle plated.  They should be Boxer primed to reload.  But, they can be Berdan primed too, especially foreign military surplus.  Boxer primers have the anvil in the primer cup.  If you look down the case mouth, you will see that the cartridge case has one flash hole in the center (good).  That's what makes them preferable to reload.  Your reloading dies will have a depriming pin that will go down the center of the case and deprime it.

Brass is more elastic than steel and aluminum.  Upon firing a cartridge, the cartridge case obturates, or stretches, to seal the chamber during firing, and then contracts for extraction.  Brass has the elasticity to do that several times, hence its reloadability.  Steel and aluminum does not have the repeated ability to reliably obturate.

Also, check your brass for structural defects.  Get rid of torn rims, split case mouths/necks, anything with soot showing gas leaks around the primer and pocket, etc.  Watch out for brass fired from fluted chambers.  You will see longitudinal striations on the cases.  The fluted chambers have their benefits to the firearm but are hard on brass.

Good luck finding components.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. 'Preciate it.

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 08:17:07 PM »

Thanks for clearing that up for me. 'Preciate it.

My pleasure.

Offline RipTombstone

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 12:16:22 AM »
Zuma,
For the 7.62x54R, I like the Varget powder made by Hodgdon. Good stuff, not overly powerful, but not wimpy either. Shoots really well in my Mosin-Nagants, .270 Winchester, and .243 Win.
The primers I use are the Winchester large rifle primers (WLR I think is how they are coded on side of box).

There are ways to reload the berdan cased cartridges, and even ways to convert them to boxer primers, but it takes a lot of explaining and link posting.

Good luck. RipT

Offline Biff

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Re: Starting out question...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 05:54:26 AM »
Almost forgot - Don't store your primers and powders in the garage, as the fluxuating temperatures/humidity may wreak havoc/shorten the life expectancy.  As for your primers, check with your local fire regulations on how much you can store in one place, and if there's a requirement to store them in metal containers, etc.