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hardrockjr
03-02-2014, 01:46 PM
I have read where benchresters say that 6PPC brass will last a certain period of time or for X number of reloadings depending upon how hot the loads are. Outside of actual case failures, what other indicators are used to say that the brass is no longer reliable or serviceable? I have been away from benchrest shooting for many years and am now coming back to the sport, but am suffering from a paucity of current experience. Advice and comment from fellow benchrest shooters would really be appreciated! Thanks.

GerryM
03-03-2014, 11:22 AM
Brass life , ok loose primer pockets, splint necks bulges near the base.
The brass needs to be annealed when it gets hard, some cases go along time as long as they are sized properly , kept clean and annealed.
Remember to trim them .

Wilbur
03-03-2014, 12:00 PM
When you get some brass that fits and load it sensibly, it will last the barrel. I think I had such a load twice over the years I shot. Folks that find a 'hot' load that works make it as long as they can and some have the time to make new cases for each match. I think everybody has some backup cases whether they are new or used. I really don't know what folks are doing these days but I suspect that everybody believes they have a good plan until the plan fails. Remember that the previously mentioned sensible load will become questionable at some point and whoever heard of going down on your load. That's likely the point where your problem will arise and you need to have a plan. Good or bad, you need to have a plan.

I read of folks that spend a lot of money to prevent the above and I believe they know what they're doing. I never had enough money to prevent cases that didn't grow such that they didn't fit well so I developed a work around involving a marginal FL die that didn't do much more than make the cases fit for another shot. (Somebody wants that die and I can't find it.) That die allowed me to finish an agg while I worked on some new cases. I really didn't need that die until I got lazy for a match or two but it was good to have. Remember that extraction is as important as insertion and this die didn't deal with extraction.

Well...I've rambled along quite enough (and rambling is all I do these days) but the bottom line is to have a plan. There's nothing worse than having cases that won't fit well. To shoot well, and that's what we go for, you need cases that go in and out easily.

BTW - Folks don't think these days as they did a few years ago. Running your cases into a FL die is not as much a no-no as it once was... Perhaps somebody that is more sensible will reply with a better answer.

Wilbur
03-03-2014, 12:07 PM
How many folks that win now and then anneal their cases? I've been aiming to ask that question but have never got around to it!

82boy
03-03-2014, 12:11 PM
There are many different schools of thought on this, and it comes down to personal preference, and the degree of match's you are shooting. Most shooters would take new to fairly new brass to the super shoot, everyone wants to do there best, and have no excuses why they did bad. Some shooters would not waste good brass on a local club match, with a few shooters, winning nickels, so that makes the first difference. I know shooters that shoot there brass 4 aggs or two entire match's, (Light gun, Heavy gun, 100 and 200 yards.) and pitch it aside for varmint hunting, or small match's, or even sell it to others. I know other shooters that will never throw out a piece of brass no matter what. (One guy I know shoots club match's with brass with well over 100 firings, and he is very competitive.) My personal preference is for a registered match I would like to have fairly new brass, maybe a couple of firings on it. For a club match I fire brass until it gets a click in it, (Click= when you raise the bolt handle after firing it stops at the primary extraction cam, forcing you to pull the bolt up hard.) then I pitch it. I have noticed that brass last longer than most shooters will use it, and have notice little to no accuracy difference between newer and older brass. basically if it makes you feel good do it.

ReedG
03-03-2014, 12:46 PM
Haven't seen you so "talkative" in a long time, Wilbur. Hope that's a good sign.

I can't qualify as "win once in a while" as I'm usually middle to upper-middle of the pack in IBS, though I have got lucky at a few egg shoots. The lack of winning is due to my old eyes and slow brain as I think my equipment and loads are as good as any.

I am in the anneal often group and usually do it after third firing. I have no empirical evidence that it works other than the brass (30 BR, 6 PPC) literally lasts forever with moderate loads. I define moderate as ~3,050 fps in the 30 and ~3,300 in the 6. The real brass life extender for me is to have custom FL sizing dies that resize all points of the case ~.001-.0015" and use a bushing to size the neck every firing. My loads don't expand primer pockets, the annealing is good, not only for brass longevity but also for consistent neck tension.

Wilbur
03-03-2014, 01:13 PM
There's a couple or three good looking annealing setups that look like they would work better than anything I EVER did but when I did it...it didn't work out so well. The necks came back as they should have but the fool things wouldn't shoot well. Soooo...I quit doing it....but have always wondered what it would be like to have some method of doing it properly.

ReedG
03-03-2014, 05:00 PM
Wilbur, I don't know enough about annealing to write an interesting postcard, but what I do know came from Ken Light's instructions and talking to him on the phone. His design may have been the first, I'm not sure, but his design makes sense to me and for my purposes it works. The process of having hot water in the wheel to equalize temps seems like a good idea to me. I bought it and use it as he describes as I am not interested in trying to fix something that isn't broken.

If you're ever passing through Northeastern Vermont in a bad dream or something, bring along some brass and see how it works.

jim casey
03-04-2014, 03:02 PM
While i am not one of the heavy hitters, i have observed the following: Matching the resize die to the reamer makes brass last longer. When using matched set up of reamer and die, 30 pieces of brass will wear out a barrel. All full length dies are not the same as some resize the body and webb more than others. Expansion of the webb causes the "click" when bolt is lifted. Matched sets of reamer & dies slows down the loosen of the primer pocket. -- regardless of matched dies and reamers -- super hot loads will shorten brass life. Rotation of brass to insure all are fired equal amounts (to include hot loads) extends brass life and makes trimming of brass more uniform.

ReedG
03-04-2014, 05:11 PM
1. Norma brass in a 6 PPC will not survive anywhere near the abuse that Lapua will. Had several separate at the expansion ring in four firings of loads that I shoot all year in Lapua brass.

2. I got some PPC brass with a used rig I bought and it had a "few" loadings on it. Good quality Lapua brass with excellent necks and no expansion ring to speak of. But the primer pockets are so loose I can, literally, seat primers with my fingers. Just for giggles, I loaded some of them with my usual load (30.4-gr. 8208XBR) and, to my surprise, they shot great and subsequent tests with good brass with tight primer pockets didn't do any better. I could not determine any "problem" to the rifle or any detriment in accuracy with primers that were seated with a gentle push from the tip of a finger.

3. A +1 on the importance of custom FL sizing dies. In "match" chambers they are a must to match the sizing to the chamber. But also, in factory chambers, where expansion can sometimes be in excess of .015-.018" at the expansion ring, a custom FL sizing die that only moves that back .002" will increase brass life. That's why neck-sized factory brass last longer than FL sized. The death of brass is over-working it, either by hyper-hot loads or improperly sized dies.

hardrockjr
03-04-2014, 07:31 PM
Everybody, Thanks so much for your advice! My loads would be considered moderate at 28.0 - 28.7 grains of V133 behind Barts 68 grain bullets, compared to match lists that show up to 30 grains of the powder. Looks like I will get a custom die and use a dozen cases or so for a barrel life and see how it works out. Thanks again! John

Joe Maisto
03-04-2014, 07:42 PM
While i am not one of the heavy hitters, i have observed the following: Matching the resize die to the reamer makes brass last longer. When using matched set up of reamer and die, 30 pieces of brass will wear out a barrel. All full length dies are not the same as some resize the body and webb more than others. Expansion of the webb causes the "click" when bolt is lifted. Matched sets of reamer & dies slows down the loosen of the primer pocket. -- regardless of matched dies and reamers -- super hot loads will shorten brass life. Rotation of brass to insure all are fired equal amounts (to include hot loads) extends brass life and makes trimming of brass more uniform.

Jim;
+ a bunch. If I haven't learned anything else ;
Buy your own reamer.
If you are qualified, chamber it, or send it to someone that stands out in this game.
Then, send several cases fired in that chamber to anyone of several people that make dies to those specs.
Niel Jones, Harrels, some others that are that qualified as well.

Vern
03-05-2014, 11:01 AM
I started the 2012 season with 100 pieces that quickly turned to 99. But I shot all 99 of those for 6 matches plus one tuning session in 2012 and 4 matches in 2013 so that would be 11 times each.
Loads were 133 from 29.5 to 30.3.
Could probably shoot them another season, no loose primer pockets or any other problems that I can find.
However Im getting a new barrel this year and I am currently making a new batch.

jim1K
03-05-2014, 04:49 PM
How many folks that win now and then anneal their cases? I've been aiming to ask that question but have never got around to it!
I anneal every time….. jim

r44astro
03-05-2014, 06:56 PM
Bullets 25cents each or more, powder about 10 cents per round, primers less than 4 cents a round. PPC brass 95 cents each, if I use 10 times then only 9.5 cents a round. I use new brass at each match I go to, if I thinks they need replaced at any time during the weekend I use new. So considering costs I never concern how long they last or try to use old brass from matches previously. I am only concerned as to the feeding and extraction.

Pete Wass
03-06-2014, 08:28 AM
It's a shame the lad who made the induction annealing machine did not go forward with building some of them. In my opinion, this method of annealing simplifies and makes the process so much easier and quicker, is safer and easier to control. There is a Youtube of his prototype. It's worth looking at.

Also, Alinwa has the chamber -die relationship thing figured out. I would recommend reading what he has to say. Much of the problem with brass is from chambers that are the wrong size from our dies, or vise versa.

Pete

jim1K
03-06-2014, 09:47 AM
I would like to know who is competing with bullets that cost .25 each? I don't know what could be any easier than firing up my Bench Source annealer and annealing cases when i come home from a match it doesn't take 15 min…. My dies and reamer are set up for .001 sizing at the shoulder and .0005 at the base and i size .001-.002 on the neck. Maybe that is why i can get 100 firings with out a loose primer or split neck, and shooting 33.305 of RL-15 and 103 Spencer bullet,CCI 450 primer so it isn't a light load…… jim

Tom Libby
03-06-2014, 10:43 AM
This is a good thread to read I enjoyed all your input and answers. I personally like to take my cases to bed with me before a match so I can bond with them and get a warm and fuzzy feeling before we start the first match. (sorry I just had to do it) :D

r44astro
03-06-2014, 11:17 AM
I would like to know who is competing with bullets that cost .25 each? I don't know what could be any easier than firing up my Bench Source annealer and annealing cases when i come home from a match it doesn't take 15 min…. My dies and reamer are set up for .001 sizing at the shoulder and .0005 at the base and i size .001-.002 on the neck. Maybe that is why i can get 100 firings with out a loose primer or split neck, and shooting 33.305 of RL-15 and 103 Spencer bullet,CCI 450 primer so it isn't a light load…… jim

You the Man Jim

James M.
03-06-2014, 11:50 AM
I asked a shooter from the SS who had just won the HV grand about how many times he shot his brass. He told me that the brass was the same that he used the previous year (which he also won the HV grand). He did not know how many times it had been reloaded. James

jim1K
03-06-2014, 12:16 PM
James, I think not over working it is the key to brass life, i anneal for uniform neck tension. I don't need to trim but a few times a year so the brass isn't moving ……. jim

ReedG
03-06-2014, 08:06 PM
Tom, I think the prolonged exposure to body heat from an overnight session like you describe may have some "annealing" effect on the brass ...