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KinleyWater
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 1:45pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

I have just started getting ready to reload some brass from a batch of commercial loads. So, this is once fired (by me) brass from three different commercial manufacturers. After tumbling the brass, I inspected each piece and made an interesting discovery. All of the Winchester brass (50 pieces from a single box of WW box)exhibit what looks to me like signs of excess pressure. Namely, flattening of primers. Many have what appear to be case head stress, and many also have a taper from the case wall back toward the rim (about .180, extending from just in front of the rim).

My first instinct is to scrap the whole lot, but I thought I would put it out for the intelligentsia for input. So, thoughts?

I will try and get some pictures if I can.

Thanks, all!

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Paul B.
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 3:00pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

Winchester has always loaded their .357 and .44 Mag. ammo a bit
hotter than anyone else. In fact, Winchester's first loads for the .44
when they came out were so hot that Elmer Keith had to pound on the
ejector rod of his M29 with a piece of wood and swore in print that he
would never ever put another Winchester load though his revolver. I
shot them in an S&W M29 when I got my first one and they were
hotter'n hell. Stuff I shot a few years back was still quite warm but not
like those early loads.
Frankly, I would go ahead and load that Winchester brass as it should
be OK. Hell, if you're afraid of it, send it to me and I'll load and shoot
them.
Dunno what you're looking for in a load but I load 20.0 gr. of A2400
(Alliant's version) and Elmer's bullet with no problems in any of my .44
Mags. Back it the day, I used Elmer's load of 22.0 gr. of H2400
(Hercules version) and his bullet. Seems to me the Alliant version is just
a bit faster burning than the Hercules version regardless of the fact that
Alliant says they're the same. I've shot way too much of both to think
otherwise.
Paul B.

Edited by Paul B. on 22 March 2017 at 3:09pm
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 5:03pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Thanks for the input, Paul; that's why I come here. As for loads, nothing too hot. I have Blue Dot, which I was going to use in the 14-15 grain range with Nosler 240gr JHP. Lyman 50th edition puts the max load at 14.9 for 38,600 CUP. They also quote 1150 from a 4 inch tube - I suppose I will see. Anyway, I doubt at 30 yards there are any deer that would complain.   

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RT58
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 6:01pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

Flattened primers may be an indication of over pressure, but doesn't necessarily mean the brass is ruined.

The stress of the case head is another question. Just exactly what did you see? If you noticed black rings around the fired primers that is an indication of leakage and if the primer pockets are enlarged the primers may back out during firing and send a blast of gas and powder back toward your face.

There will be tapering ahead of the rim, which is normal, so does it look different than the other brands you fired?
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 23 March 2017 at 5:41am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

RT, Thanks for the info. There are no black rings around the primers. What I am seeing, post tumbling, on many of the cases are dark lines - perhaps .200 in length - running parallel to the rim within .250 of the rim. That leads me to believe there may be some weakness in the brass.

As for comparing it to other brass? Well, Buffalo Bore also shows flattened primers; which I am not surprised by, but not does not have any of the dark lines I noticed on the WW brass. I also have some others in Starline brass, which were loaded by a company called LAX Ammunition. The projos are plated lead, so I doubt they were loaded to any great pressure, and they feel very mild in both hand and long guns. Those cases show very normal rounded primers and the brass is very nice in all other regards.

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RT58
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Posted: 23 March 2017 at 7:16am | IP Logged Quote RT58

KinleyWater wrote:
What I am seeing, post tumbling, on many of the cases are dark lines - perhaps .200 in length - running parallel to the rim within .250 of the rim. That leads me to believe there may be some weakness in the brass.

That is baffling. Brass is relatively weak and if not contained in a chamber would blow up on firing. They usually expand to fit the chamber where the web meets the head, which is normal. If the dark lines you are seeing are fractures there is a problem and you should contact the manufacturer and let them know, hopefully you kept the box with the lot number on it.

Run a fingernail or a fine piece of wire ground to a flat point over them to see if you can feel anything or look at them under magnification. If you do feel something rub it with fine steel wool to see if it comes off.

And if you can, please post some pictures of them, I'd like to see them.
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Paul B.
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Posted: 23 March 2017 at 12:23pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

I think this is a case, no pun intended where a couple of good pictures
would go a long way toward figuring out the problem, if there is one.
Paul B.
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mikld
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Posted: 23 March 2017 at 12:47pm | IP Logged Quote mikld

Primers are a poor indication of pressure (revolver shooting
especially, where primers come out of the pockets a bit on firing
and are re-seated against the recoil shield from recoil/case
movement). As for taper in the case body, is the case tapering
from the case head to the case mouth? If so, it's normal, 44
cases are not really straight. Are the cases sticking in the
chambers/hard extraction? Have you measured the case head
diameter before and after firing? I'd have to see the marks you
mention before I can guess at the cause...

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KinleyWater
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Posted: 23 March 2017 at 1:58pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Okay, by popular request, let me try to upload the pics.

This is what has me the most concerned:


A little less fuzzy here:



PaulB, mikld - thank you both for the info. I am still new to this side of shooting.

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RT58
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 9:28am | IP Logged Quote RT58

They looked worse on my laptop than they do on the wifes desktop monitor.

The black marks look like carbon fouling. Were your chambers dirty when you fired these? It is odd that it's in the head area as this doesn't expand as much as it does from the web to mouth area. Is this on every piece of the Winchester brass or only on a few, like it may have only been in one chamber?
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dahlin
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 9:30am | IP Logged Quote dahlin

Why don't you do a good cleaning and see if that will come off. As for the bump I think that is pretty normal.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 9:53am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

RT, these were the first 50 rounds fired through a newly purchased revolver. The images are typical of all of the rounds as a whole, and none of the brass form other manufacturers exhibit similar characteristics.

My guess on the head area - a sizing die of some sort which didn't go all the way to the base? I could see that on a reload but I know nothing of how new brass is manufactured.

Dahlin, I can run it through the tumbler again, if you think that would help. I know they didn't come out as clean as I would have liked - another way they came out different.

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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 10:26am | IP Logged Quote dahlin

I don't know what kind of medium you are using but for tuff discoloration I have had good luck with Walnut hulls. if you are speaking of the bulge near the rim my cases have the same thing. Randy
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 10:35am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Okay, right now I think I have corn media. I will see if I can get walnut hull.

On the whole, however, the consensus seems to be that the brass likely is not compromised. I will do a thorough cleaning and a second inspection before reloading. In the mean time, I have a good lot of other brass to work with    .

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KinleyWater
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 10:45am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

Lest I forget.

Thank you to all who shared their experience with me.

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Paul B.
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 11:12am | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

How long do you tumble your brass? Maybe throw them in before you
go to bed and let them run overnight. I've used rice, corn cob and
walnut media and all will clean reasonably well. Currently use walnut and
run overnight. I like my brass shiny. Makes defects easier to see too,
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 11:35am | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

It was in about an hour. The rest cleaned up kinds nice. Overnight? No, thanks, I sleep in the next room. Still, a bit longer certainly won't hurt.

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RT58
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 12:04pm | IP Logged Quote RT58

KinleyWater wrote:
RT, these were the first 50 rounds fired through a newly purchased revolver. The images are typical of all of the rounds as a whole, and none of the brass form other manufacturers exhibit similar characteristics.

My guess on the head area - a sizing die of some sort which didn't go all the way to the base? I could see that on a reload but I know nothing of how new brass is manufactured.

Dahlin, I can run it through the tumbler again, if you think that would help. I know they didn't come out as clean as I would have liked - another way they came out different.


Did you clean the revolver before you fired it? That might be part of the black line problem. Under the pressure of firing it would be tattooed in the brass. You might see the same thing when your tumbling medium needs to be sifted. Although that is odd for it to happen like that in the head area in every chamber.

The taper at the head is perfectly normal as the head is almost solid, except for the vent hole, and won't expand as much as the rest of the body. It may not look as obvious with lower pressured rounds.

If you have some OOOO steel wool on hand you can rub one of the cases with that to see if the black lines will come off. If it doesn't it won't bother anything.
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KinleyWater
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 12:48pm | IP Logged Quote KinleyWater

RT, No, I must admit my desire to pull triggers outweighed my desire to field strip and clean. Well, really it always does.    I'll look though my tumble medium as well. Really as long as the brass is safe for reuse I'm not all that concerned about cosmetics - so long as it doesn't cover up some future problem.

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mikld
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Posted: 24 March 2017 at 2:14pm | IP Logged Quote mikld

I think I'd clean the brass real good, removing all marks,
smudges, etc., (if you have to you can use steel wool or
scouring pads one time), and clean the cylinders of the gun. Try
a few rounds and see if the marks reappear...

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