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Old 06-01-2014, 08:51   #1
jumbopanda
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Be careful with range pickup brass

I recently decided to start loading 10mm, and acquired a bit under 500 pieces of mixed range brass from various sources. I would love to just buy a 1000 pack of new Starline brass but they are out of stock as usual.

I've been doing some reading on this forum and others, and came across a thread talking about how PPU brass was too thin and wouldn't provide enough tension after sizing to hold a bullet in place. So the first thing I did was sort through my brass and pick out all of the PPU headstamps I could find. While I was doing this, I came across a couple of pieces of brass with smileys on them, and so I picked those out as well.

After that, I began to worry that I could have left some damaged brass in the pile. Some of the smileys were very faint and barely visible unless examined closely, so it was highly probable that I had missed at least a few pieces.

I decided to measure the case heads, and found that the vast majority were in the 0.421-0.424" range. SAAMI specs indicate that 0.420"-0.425" are acceptable. However I did come across a few pieces that were in the 0.426"-0.428" range, a few of which had smileys, but many did not. I decided that I would be best not to risk it, so I removed those from the pile as well. I ended up just locking my calipers at 0.425" to create a makeshift case gauge, and dropped every single piece of brass through the jaws to make sure that I didn't miss any. A few of the rejected pieces were pretty fresh looking Underwood and Starline brass with no smileys at all. Would they be safe to load again? Possibly...but I decided that it wasn't worth the risk just to be able to reuse a few pieces of brass.

So in the end I found that I was left with about 400 pieces of usable brass. I'm glad I only paid 5-10c a piece for most of this stuff, otherwise I would have been quite upset at how many I had to toss in the reject pile.

I think the reason that this happens is because 10mm is a cartridge that is highly geared towards high powered loads, and hand loading. I wouldn't worry about loading the 9mm or .45 brass I pick up at the range, because the chances of someone trying to push those calibers to the edge of case failure are pretty slim. 10mm is a whole different animal. I must say, having to worry about all of this is kinda taking the fun out of things (and I haven't even started loading!)


I should have just stuck with .357 SIG...125 grains at 1550 fps without a worry in the world. Oh, and brass is cheap too!

Last edited by jumbopanda; 06-01-2014 at 08:58..
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:15   #2
attrapereves
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I'll pass on 10mm range brass, unless I know the source of the ammo.

That's my main complaint with reloading 10mm is having to buy brand new brass. With 9mm and 45ACP, I can pick up once fired for around $30 (9mm) and $45 (45) per 1000.
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:01   #3
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I don't load max effort 10mm much anymore, but when I was loading in the twilight zone, I only used new Starline and loaded it only once above book. My second fired were for loads in the books and every single one was inspected closely before entering that service.

You are wise to inspect your brass carefully and disgard any with the faintest smiles (I do it even with my brass I know the origin on).

I have found the Redding Grx pass through die a nice accessory to return brass shot from my stock Glock chambers at higher loadings back to where I can use them in my tighter 1911 chambers, but I never load those very hot.

On the notion of picking 9 or 45 brass and using it freely. If they were used by their previous owner for Major 9 or 45 Super loadings, you can still run into problems. Just make sure you have a very close look at anything you pick up, regardless of the caliber.
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:33   #4
jumbopanda
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I'm also thinking that Underwood brass might not be good for reloading due to the high power of the original factory loadings. There aren't any smiles on these cases, but the the web definitely expanded a bit on all of them. I guess there's a big difference between a load that's safe for one use and one that's safe for multiple uses.

Honestly I'm not even trying to push the envelope. I just want to replicate the original Norma spec 200gr 1200fps load. But apparently that's considered nuclear compared to most factory loads these days.


EDIT: actually two of the Underwood cases did have faint smiles

Last edited by jumbopanda; 06-01-2014 at 15:46..
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:37   #5
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I have no problems with 10mm brass pickup unless its been Glocked.
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Old 06-01-2014, 15:09   #6
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I think getting to 1200 fps with a 200 gr slug depends a lot on your barrel length as anything else. If you are shooting a 6 inch barrel it is pretty pedestrian stuff. If you are using a stock length G29, it is going to be pretty hot stuff.
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Old 06-01-2014, 17:50   #7
_The_Shadow
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Well I can tell you that Glock's factory 10mm chamber allows brass to expand to 0.4340" without "SMILES", whereas a S&W 1006 would be around 0.4285".

Any casing with a distinct "SMILE" is trash! Smooth rounded bulges can be ironed by pass-through sizing to recondition your cases, but there is a always a risk reusing cases with high pressure characteristics. Be safe!
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Old 06-01-2014, 23:25   #8
jumbopanda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _The_Shadow View Post
Well I can tell you that Glock's factory 10mm chamber allows brass to expand to 0.4340" without "SMILES", whereas a S&W 1006 would be around 0.4285".

Any casing with a distinct "SMILE" is trash! Smooth rounded bulges can be ironed by pass-through sizing to recondition your cases, but there is a always a risk reusing cases with high pressure characteristics. Be safe!
Yes, the factory Glock chamber is very loose, but I think the bigger concern is that if I want to actually load my brass more than once, I should refrain from loading to the point where the case head is expanding, and of course discard any brass that has already gotten to that point. The majority of my brass measures 0.421-0.424 and I'm going to try to keep it that way. From the samples I examined, smiles tend to be associated with case heads that are 0.426" or greater, depending on the severity of the smile.

Last edited by jumbopanda; 06-01-2014 at 23:27..
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:14   #9
_The_Shadow
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jumbopanda, if you want to see what the commercial ammo is stuffed with, drop by here for a detailed look; http://10mm-firearms.com/factory-10mm-ammo-pull-downs/

You may find some interesting info that maybe useful to your projects...
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _The_Shadow View Post
jumbopanda, if you want to see what the commercial ammo is stuffed with, drop by here for a detailed look; http://10mm-firearms.com/factory-10mm-ammo-pull-downs/

You may find some interesting info that maybe useful to your projects...
that is one great place for the reloader
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:06   #11
jumbopanda
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Originally Posted by _The_Shadow View Post
jumbopanda, if you want to see what the commercial ammo is stuffed with, drop by here for a detailed look; http://10mm-firearms.com/factory-10mm-ammo-pull-downs/

You may find some interesting info that maybe useful to your projects...
Oh this will definitely be useful. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2014, 13:00   #12
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Post 1,345,387 from Offsidewing about how turrible PPU brass is for 10mm.... YMMV
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Old 07-12-2014, 17:56   #13
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10mm range pick up brass is the only brass I will not use unless I am pretty sure it is once fired.
I don't load to max but I still start with new Starline brass and keep track of the number of loadings as I use a stock barrel in my G29.
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Old 07-13-2014, 14:24   #14
ca survivor
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I only pick my own brass.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:35   #15
pasky2112
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@jumbopanda (Po?) ;-)
What IS your 10mm platform btw? Forgive me if I missed it on my crIPhone.
As WeeWilly stated, your bbl length will go along way determining how you reach your Norma goal.
Also, I've found everyone has diff ideas of what "Glocked" or bulged cases mean. IMHO, my criteria is visible sheering of case web. On the outside of the case, if you see OR feel a definitive 'line' or border (fingernail or dull knife-edge 'clicks' running over suspect area) it is sheered and should be destroyed. If it doesn't click but is a smooth belly 'bulge', it can be carefully reloaded if resized to reasonable specs. I've reloaded countless guppies and fired them in non-Glock bbls w/out any probs. that said, ALWAYS Err on the safe side and ALWAYS heed that 'little voice' of protection.
As an aside, I had a batch of my own Factory UW loads 'smile' barely visible and the cases would not resize! Tossed my own once fired brass... From then on, I case gauge and check ALL cases making no assumptions. The fact you're concerned and asking for help is a sign ur off to a good start. Resist complacency at all costs! Happy loading and fun shooting!
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