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Brass life?

Discussion in '10mm Reloading Forum' started by WeeWilly, May 25, 2012.

  1. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

    3,463
    327
    Nov 12, 2011
    PRK
    I have been loading my 10mm rounds using new Starline brass.

    Yesterday I tumbled a couple hundred cases I had shot the day before, when I got them out of the media I noticed a couple of split cases. These were vertical splits mid case, most common to me when shooting hot .44RM loads.

    The brass had cycled twice, using Blue Dot at 11.0grs (max book), shot in my stock G20 barrel.

    I guess what I am asking is how many cycles are you getting out of your new Starline running max book (but not nuclear) loads?
     
  2. OregonG20

    OregonG20

    629
    165
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oregon
    I get those too, sometimes. I run 13.8 grains of AA#9 under 180 gr XTP. Doesn't split all the way, just in the middle. It happened with brand new cases, and has happened less as the bad ones have been weeded out. I am into my 4th reload with a batch of 500.
     


  3. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    4,130
    67
    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    IIRC, this could be an annealing problem with the brass.... a defect of sorts. It happened to some of the late Swampfox's ammo months back and I heard of people having that happen to brass that was new and mildly loaded.

    What brand of brass? Top Brass / Sharch, by chance?
     
  4. OregonG20

    OregonG20

    629
    165
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oregon

    They were both Starline.
     
  5. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    4,130
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    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    yikes....
     
  6. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    3,595
    106
    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Once in a while this will happen most likely due to improper annealing. It is a bit of a defect. I see about 10 out of every 1000 new Starline cases do this. Load strength doesn't seem to be matter. It is not a dangerous problem, but I do hate to toss brass.

    When they split as you have described, I have typically seen them in the first 1-2 loads. Otherwise they typically last about 9 reloads before shrinking below specs.

    I reload for a G20 with a stock barrel.

    EDIT: I do not reload max book more than twice. After that the brass is relegated to my range brass assortment. That would typically be a 180 @ 1150 fps.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  7. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

    3,463
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    Nov 12, 2011
    PRK
    OK, thanks guys. This was what I was hoping to hear.
     
  8. Kwesi

    Kwesi

    1,449
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    Sep 23, 2006
    TX
    My loads are near the 1200 range. I've found Starline Nickel to last longer than their brass. I don't keep track but I'd estimate 8ish loads before the vertical split.
     
  9. dm1906

    dm1906 Retired SO

    428
    0
    Sep 7, 2010
    PRK (Kalifornia)
    I agree, about the nickel brass, which I use almost exclusively. Almost, because I have some brass-brass, and they seem to be culling themselves. They only go about 1/2 the loads of the nickel before failing, for one reason or another.

    Chamber pressure is a factor, with brass life. I load/shoot primarily 180 gr. bullets for target, and vary the loads. Some for paper punching, some for gong/spinners, and some for maximum hydraulic effect on water targets. I use R-P, Starline, and DT brass, and they all seem about equal. Federal brass, either Federal or FC head stamp, are the most inconsistent. I don't mess with the "off-brand" stuff, as they are much less reliable. Winchester is among these, in my experience. In the end, higher pressure loads yield less reloads. Typically, I can get 8-20 reloads from modest pressure, and about 1/2 that for full power or nukes. 1/2 that again if I use the OEM barrel, which is the major factor. If you want longer brass life, use a tight chamber, fully supported aftermarket barrel, especially with heavier charges. Case splits seem to be limited to OEM barrel use. High pressure loads with fully supported barrels usually cause circular case etching, at the bullet base seat area. I've actually separated a few cases like this (came out in 2 pieces), which is more prominent using my BH revolver with a tighter chamber.

    Bottom line, about 2-4 reloads with full power and OEM barrel. 4-8 loads with modest power and OEM barrel. 8-10 loads with full/nuke loads and LWD barrel. And, 20+ reloads with LWD barrel and modest loads (retired brass due to elongation and primer pocket loosening, but no failures). This is my experience with only a few thousand rounds. YMMV
     
  10. WeeWilly

    WeeWilly

    3,463
    327
    Nov 12, 2011
    PRK
    Thanks again guys, really helpful.

    I have to admit, this 10mm stuff is so addictive. At first I was thinking, hells bells, $.14/case? Then I was thinking that $.14/case isn't so bad if I get a dozen loads out of a case. Today I was thinking, man, even if 4-5 loads is max, that is no big deal.
    Now I am thinking, it is so nice loading that new brass, who cares about $.14...

    The human mind is one big rationalization machine, especially when you find the right caliber.
     
  11. OregonG20

    OregonG20

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    Sep 5, 2011
    Oregon
    I can vouch for R-P nickle plated brass. It is pretty solid stuff. I would have bought a bunch of it if I could find somebody who sold it. In the end I went with Starline, and I am not disappointed.
     
  12. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    3,595
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    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Guys, watch that neck tension on the nickel-plated brass. I have a whole bag of nickel brass shot 3-4 times that I can setback bullets into with my thumb with fairly light force (150 grain JHPs). I can push them all the way into the case. 180s setback with a bit more force, but neck tension is pretty much shot. Yes these are properly re-sized. Regular brass hasn't had the same problem. With regular brass, I can turn a round upside down and push it into my workbench as hard as I can and it won't budge.

    I beleive the setback issue is the result of 1) nickel being slicker and less grippier on the bullet and, 2) more easily work-hardened.

    I first noticed the problem when I was loading magazines during a match. Pushing a round down into the mag caused the bullet to pretty much disappear into the case. What-the-heck? Turns out all of the nickel rounds had the same problem.

    The limitation for Starline regular brass, in my experience, has been that they shrink below minimum lenths after a while. I virtually never see splits, and get about 9 loads on average. Stock G20 barrel.

    Most of the nickel brass I have loaded has been R-P headstamped. I have also worked with the occasional Double Tap (Starline) range pickup and noticed the same phenomenon.

    I like the concept of nickel brass for SD loads where slick feeding and corrosion resistance are beneficial. Running a lot of 10mm brass side-by-side with nickel, I certainly wouldn't buy nickel for my reloading assortment. I especially wouldn't pay extra.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  13. dm1906

    dm1906 Retired SO

    428
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    Sep 7, 2010
    PRK (Kalifornia)
    Midway carries R-P brass, but it's brass. I collected the ones I have when Cabela's had a sale. I got 20 boxes for about $18/ea (180 gr. FMJ, ~1100 FPS, chrono'd). More for the brass, to be sure, but it was good shooting ammo I didn't have to load. I'm still reloading most of them for moderate target rounds, and cull stressed cases as necessary. If I could buy these new, I would in a heartbeat, even for more $. Good stuff. I also prefer R-P for my magnum and rifle rounds. Very reliable and consistent. Availability is the problem. Starline, otherwise.
     
  14. dm1906

    dm1906 Retired SO

    428
    0
    Sep 7, 2010
    PRK (Kalifornia)
    I hear ya Taterhead, and you're right. I have seen this many times, and I size/crimp/post size accordingly. Lee FCD's make it easy to avoid, when used correctly. Most of my high power rounds are either complete case fill, or compressed (proper powder selection and testing, NOT just cramming more powder in them), so setback isn't a significant issue. It can be a real problem with .357M and .45LC, so proper crimping is essential. Auto's are a little more tedious, requiring a taper crimp vs. a roll. As I have repeated often, what works for me (or those I instruct) won't work for everyone. You do what works for you. YMMV
     
  15. dm1906

    dm1906 Retired SO

    428
    0
    Sep 7, 2010
    PRK (Kalifornia)
    All brass will do this with a very generous chamber. Variations depend on the pressures involved. OTC factory rounds (NOT including Underwood, Swampfox, BB, etc.) and similar reload pressures shouldn't do this. Ultra-high pressure loads have the opposite effect. I've stretched cases out to 1.002", which is beyond the chamber length of any of my guns (.995-.998" is the longest that will chamber/rotate with a little effort, .995" is typical max, .992" is trim length, .983-.988 is typical new length). As I said in a previous post, I've separated cases (not KB, just extracted them in 2 pieces) in my BH revolver, which has a very tight chamber, but the mechanics are very different than with a Glock auto. I trim very few 10mm cases. They either stay within spec, or push out so far, trimming is not advised (case is used up by that point). That's what 37K+ PSI gets ya. It's the same story with .454's and the other big mags.
     
  16. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    3,595
    106
    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Modest pressure loads do shrink brass in my G20 chamber too. It just takes a few more reloads to get to the go/no-go mark. I do imagine that a revolver cylinder does have different dynamics.
     
  17. Kwesi

    Kwesi

    1,449
    4
    Sep 23, 2006
    TX
    All my nickel brass is Starline. I'm shooting mostly in a EAA Witness Limited. Some in the G20. I do get occasional vertical case split. These are easy to spot after tumbling. They emit a different sound as you transfer to the load bench. I only load 180 FMJ. Have not had a setback. Thanks for the heads up.

    So much easier to find on the floor at my indoor range.
     
  18. Jitterbug

    Jitterbug

    870
    5
    Aug 27, 2002
    I gave up on the nickel brass awhile ago, one solution is to segregate it for .401" cast loads prior to retirement.

    I had some 155 grain Hornady Hollow Points, some old stuff, it give me a wake up call, when loading some mid to warm mixed loads, I thought the recoil was excessive for a mid-range load, so I stopped, checked and sure enough bullet setback in the nickel cases.

    Another thing to watch is reloading a lighter bullet in a case that was originally loaded with a heavier one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  19. nickE10mm

    nickE10mm F.S.F.O.S.

    4,130
    67
    Apr 13, 2004
    Wichita, KS
    Excellent info, guys... thank you. I need to get more organized with my brass. Not sure where to start as I've got brass from several sources and never bothered to keep them separate other than "once/twice fired" and "multiple fired". And also that I know "about" how many times my brass has been tired. When all this brass is gone I'd like to start fresh with a lot of all new brass from one company ... but the way this brass is lasting, that will never happen. :)