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richhodg66
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 4:15am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I loaded up and shot 50 rounds of .44 Special last night and then loaded them again. I'll probably shoot them today some time.

Funny thing is, that box of PMC brass is a box of 240 grain copper washed SWCs I bought from Starkey's Gun Shop in El Paso to go with a Charter Arms Bulldog I bought that weekend from a gun show in '89 or '90. First handgun I ever bought, Dad had one when they first came out and I liked it. I don't shoot it but a few times a year, but it always works and is a good gun for what it is. It sits loaded in a drawer in easy reach and I'll keep it til I die.

For years, that PMC brass got loaded five or six times a year, sometimes more. Been a lot more the past few years as I got another .44 Special.

As I was loading these last night, I could tell primer pockets are getting looser, but all the cases are still good, haven't lost a single one out of that box. There is very likely 100 or more loadings and firings on that box of brass and PMC isn't generally considered high quality stuff. Granted, it was all low pressure stuff, but that's pretty amazing when I think about it.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 6:52am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Rich, I agree that if loaded to mild to moderate working pressure, cases can and will often last for decades. There are .44mag cases here that are 20 years old and have been loade dozens of times. .30'06 cases are still being loaded from 1960 here that have been,in one set, 53 times with about a 10% loss due to failure over the years.

On the other hand is some .357Mag that are splitting and weakening from full heavy loads that are relatively new with under 10 loads each and maybe 2 years old.

I'm firmly convinced that cases will last for years if loaded wisely and with moderate loads.

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richhodg66
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 11:15am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

One thing too, I believe the .44 Special/Magnum dies I have, which are carbide, helped. I started .357 with a set of steel dies and I believe steel dies are harder on the brass.

But yeah, a .44 Special in a Bulldog gets unpleasant pretty quick so I've been known to load some rather mild .44 Specials.

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M700
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 11:23am | IP Logged Quote M700

I've found my .38 Special & .45 ACP brass lasts, and lasts...

Some of my .44 mag brass has been used only for mild loads, and is also lasting about forever.

Rifle loads? Not so much... I do tend to load them towards the max. Not all of them, but... Ya, many of 'em are right up there at or near max book loads and they certainly seem to deliver, either on targets or on game.

That brass has a more limited life.

Guy
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richhodg66
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 12:05pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

Loss and damage from being thrown about and such is what kills auto brass. I've never kept track of loadings on any of it, and probably wouldn't have on this except it's what I started with and only had the one gun in it for years that I did pretty limited shooting with.

Rifle brass either splits at the neck or the primer pockets loosen up. Had a full case head separation the other day, only the second or third one I ever had. It pays to DX rifle brass before it wears out.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: July 25 2017 at 3:21pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

When loading for local PD's, I had 5gal buckets of the same empties brought to me about every four months. This went on for eight years until when I got sick of loading for everybody else. But in that time I inspected every case and culled the bad ones. Out of 4 to 5 big buckets there would be not even enough to show hardly in a coffee can. It is remarkable the heat, stress, and strain placed upon the humble cartridge case and it, unless abused, may last for several loadings over a span of many years. Simply remarkable. Non-loaders toss empties aside without a second thought.

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375supermag
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Posted: August 02 2017 at 9:18am | IP Logged Quote 375supermag

Hi...
Brass can last for many loadings if cared for and not
loaded to maximum pressures.
I have .357Magnum cases that I have been loading a
couple of times a year since the early 1980s. Most of
those loadings have been in the mid-range power level.
Out of several thousand cases of mixed head stamps, I
haven't needed to toss more than a couple.These cases
cover the gamut from R-P,Federal,PMC, etc.
The only cases I load heavy loads(near book maximum) in
are a few hundred nickel-plated cases that I have have
kept segregated for just that purpose. I have not lost
a single one of those cases due to loose primer
pockets, splits, etc. despite being reloaded at least a
few times a year for many years.

I can only remember ever having a single split case in
35+ years of reloading quite a few different calibers.
That was a .45Colt case that split down the side for
over half its length. None of the other cases in that
batch of several hundred have ever split and all have
ever been loaded with only one load...8.0grs of Unique
with a 2555gr commercial cast LSWC. I have no idea to
this day why that case split...that case was probably
loaded a dozen or more times before it failed and none
of the others in that batch have ever showed any sign
of weakness despite being reloaded quite a few more
times since that one case failed.

I also have several thousand .45ACP cases that have
been reloaded many times with 4.5grs of Bullseye with a
commercial cast 230grLRN bullet. A fairly mild load
that provides fine accuracy and functioning in several
.45ACP pistols.
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Atavist
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Posted: August 04 2017 at 7:27pm | IP Logged Quote Atavist

Leave it to the new guy to be the hot head.

Being in Montana I literally load most of my ammo for bear and often push my loads until I buckle cases from compressing loads, they start to stick on extraction or i get primer bulge... even so I've been impressed how much abuse brass can take... the best I've found to date is definitely Hornady brass... that stuff is hard to wreck and thick enough that after a buckling you can anneal it and resize and put back in action... Herters, PMC, and mystery brass often don't survive such mal treatment.
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Paul B.
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Posted: August 05 2017 at 1:04pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

Dunno about Hornady brass. I haven't used it. My choices are
Winchester first, Remington second and Federal in last place. About
the only Hornady brass I might play with would be their .275 Rigby
AKA 7MM Mauser.
I can understand loading hot as I push a .35 Whelen quite hard. (225
gr. TSX at 2710 FPS) There isn't a critter anywhere on the planet
excepting elephant, rhino and Cape Buffalo I wouldn't take on with that
load and I'd even try the buffalo if African game laws would allow it.
Dunno how long you've been reloading ammo but some of your
comments lead me to believe you might be pushing the envelope a bit
too much. And yes, I do load past what some manuals state as max
but only in cartridges like the 7x57, .257 Roberts and .35 Whelen, all of
which are underloaded by the factories.
I've been reloading ammo since 1954 including a small commercial
handloading business during the mid 1970's as a part time business.
Dunno if you have a chronograph or not but I find mine to be one of my
handiest reloading tools I have. It's kept me from going too far more
than once. Handy gadget to have.
Anyway, welcome to the site.
Paul B.
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richhodg66
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Posted: August 05 2017 at 1:23pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I've never been the sort to load things to teeth rattling levels. It's both unwise and unnecessary. The past seven years I've been deer hunting with cast loads in rifles that don't even match factory .30-30 loads power wise and they work fine. Deer don't tend to go any farther than they did with full power .30-06 jacketed loads. Seems I remember a member on here shot the old Elmer load of a 250 grain Keith and 21 grains of 2400 in an attempt to examine the expansion of the bullet and it went through all 18 milk jugs of water he had set up and was lost on the far side. Really makes a guy wonder "what the hell are these guys planning to hunt with some of these handgun loads they have nowadays?" I'll keep loading my stuff to sane levels. Easier on guns and components, not to mention the shooter, and neither paper nor game seems to be able to tell the difference.



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Atavist
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Posted: August 05 2017 at 3:30pm | IP Logged Quote Atavist

Paul B. wrote:
Dunno about Hornady brass. I haven't used it. My choices are
Winchester first, Remington second and Federal in last place. About
the only Hornady brass I might play with would be their .275 Rigby
AKA 7MM Mauser.
I can understand loading hot as I push a .35 Whelen quite hard. (225
gr. TSX at 2710 FPS) There isn't a critter anywhere on the planet
excepting elephant, rhino and Cape Buffalo I wouldn't take on with that
load and I'd even try the buffalo if African game laws would allow it.
Dunno how long you've been reloading ammo but some of your
comments lead me to believe you might be pushing the envelope a bit
too much. And yes, I do load past what some manuals state as max
but only in cartridges like the 7x57, .257 Roberts and .35 Whelen, all of
which are underloaded by the factories.
I've been reloading ammo since 1954 including a small commercial
handloading business during the mid 1970's as a part time business.
Dunno if you have a chronograph or not but I find mine to be one of my
handiest reloading tools I have. It's kept me from going too far more
than once. Handy gadget to have.
Anyway, welcome to the site.
Paul B.


Paul, only recently got a chronograph and am loving it...it's what reinvigorated my interest in reloading vice just loading for economy...   I do load hot a lot but i'm conscientious about the weapon it's being used in... my 44mag is a super blackhawk and my 45-70 a sabatti sxs.... i'm confident both can take more abuse than i can pack into their cartridges... I don't load crazy on my autos ...especially my EDC a Kimber micro 9... 8 grains of blue dot behind a 124gr hollow point for 1100fps and I'm happy. and even keep the 357 moderate as it's for my wife and is a sp101, one day i'd like to get a heavier frame and really see what I can make her do but for now I'm happy with my two pet cartridges.
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Buffalogun
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Posted: August 06 2017 at 6:48am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun


My practice sort of parallels Paul's. I have used chono's for many years and find them to be a very valuable tool for loading.
They are particularly useful when working with a cartridge for which there isn't much available data.

I also prefer Winchester brass followed by some of the other brands. And, I don't load to max. I've gotten long brass life by loading to less than max and haven't lost any body parts or firearms.

What animal knows the difference between 3,000 fps. and 2,900 fps.? There is however a significant difference in pressure.

More important than the velocities I am getting while working up a load are the increases in velocity with the addition of more powder. It keeps me out of dangerous territory.


Mike

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Old Ranger
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Posted: August 06 2017 at 7:08am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Hey Rich, I used to shoot water buffalos with a.30'06Spr at our firebase up near the Ashau Valley when they'd stumble into the wire. Troop in the tower would holler down to get me and I'd pop em with the M70. Only one round of LC match ammo, and our cook was cutting meat with the MP's and a couple of grunts for security. Most shots were 200m or better. Our source for fresh meat.

I'm with you. Shot placement, and not sheer blasting power, is what counts.

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