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Reload once fired (from a very hot load) brass?

Discussion in '10mm Reloading Forum' started by Kegs, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Kegs

    Kegs Ol 8 fingers ;)

    Oct 26, 2009
    Cold side of conus
    At what point do you reload brass cases?

    Do you reload brass cases that have been fired from really hot rounds?

    Lets say you have some fairly flattened primers - but everything else looks decent - do you reload those?

    I mean the real money savings comes in RE loading (even though there is some in loading with new brass too).

    I just would like to know some of your personal opinions on this matter.
  2. AJE

    AJE Grumpy Old Man

    Apr 5, 2004
    SW Ohio
    If it looks OK, I'll load it.

    I bought some "reloads" from a local indoor range (I thought I was lucky enough that I found brass cased 10mm for $17 a box). I believe they were once fired, mostly FC cases.

    My 10mm "plinking" load is typically a max load of Blue Dot under a FMJ. I think I've got three loads on those cases now, and I did notice that some of the primers didn't feel quite as tight the last go around.

  3. MakeMineA10mm

    MakeMineA10mm * * * * Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Feb 13, 1999
    Central Illinois
    This is a really good question that is addressed fairly infrequently. Here's my take on the situation:

    I do load development in brand new cases, without reloading them during that development cycle.

    I load max loads in new or, at the most, twice-fired, cases. Any more reloads than that on a 10mm case, and it becomes "range ammo" brass. I load those with 5.6grs of W231/HP38 and a 175gr LTC, which is not a max load, but it's not a whimpy load either. (Does about 1100fps on a warm day and let's you know you're shooting a big bore.) Probably around 30k -32k psi.

    I started off loading 9mm, 357, 44, and 45. The 45 is such a low-pressure auto pistol round that conclusions with it do not carry over well to the 10mm. The 357 and 44 magnums run at very close to 10mm pressures, but because they are not auto-pistol rounds, again, it's hard to transfer over usable experience in regards to case life. (I have some 44 Mag brass that has been loaded >20 times with full-power loads of 2400.)

    The "full-power" 10mm loads as we 10-Ring load developers use probably operate at 35,000psi to 42,000psi. That's a LOT higher pressure than even the 357 and 44 Magnums operate at. Then, throw in the issue of an auto-loading pistol action, with it's unlocking with pressure still present and the hard knocks received by the loading, extraction, and ejection cycle, all of which are exasperated by high-pressure loads, and the cases start to really get a beating.

    The 9mm (the way I load it) is the most-comparable round to transfer experience from. When I was developing my very warm (European-style pressures) 9mm loads, it would take between three and seven loadings for the primer pockets to loosen up. Occassionally, I'd get battered rims and heads as well during those initial 5 loadings.

    Combining that 9mm loading experience with the even-higher pressures the 10mm operates in, and I just set the routine at 3 full-power loads. It has saved me from ever having a brass failure and I've not got any loose primer pockets in my 10mm brass... I'm sure, with diligence, I could squeeze another loading or two of full-power ammo, but at that point the case nears uselessness for range ammo. The way I see it, by stopping at three, those cases still have enough life left in them to be reloaded many, many times with my lower-powered range load...
  4. _The_Shadow

    _The_Shadow Ret. Fireman

    Jul 23, 2007
    Southeast, LoUiSiAna
    I inspect the cases, looking for compromised areas, splits, smiles "no go" bulges which are't to bad I'll load them up. The Lee FCD(when used as a pass thru die) irons out the stuff which the RCBS dies can't reach. Using a Lyman case gauge does help with judging the proper sizing of the case.

    I have loaded my used stuff many times at my hot load levels...but as shot from my S&W1006 (22# recoil spring) and Glock 29 (21# springs wolff recoil rod), I'm yet to see any smiles or bulges which would cause me to toss'em. Have seen some split and crack with many loadings, some extractor rims get beat up from use. In working with the 9x25Dillons made from 10mm cases I have only had a couple split during the initial case forming. Some loads I use do show slightly flattened primers...I did have a used federal casing which I tossed, the primer was too loose and leaked.

    Therefore careful inspection and knowing your equipment, can pay dividens to building custom quality handloaded ammunition to the upper performance levels safely.

    Best regards!
  5. Kegs

    Kegs Ol 8 fingers ;)

    Oct 26, 2009
    Cold side of conus
    Thanks a lot guys - anyone has any more advice or information, keep 'em coming! :thumbsup:
  6. Taterhead

    Taterhead Counting Beans

    Dec 13, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I do reload brass fired from maximum pressures without trouble. As I have settled on running with a stock G20 barrel, I run max loads only in new brass. I also do load workups only in new brass. I then relegate them to the "volume" assortment. My volume load is a 180 grainer @ 1050 fps. Some of the loads have exceeded 10 firings.

    I measure all brass expansion during load workups. Anything expanded beyond my known max is tossed - as is the recipe. Also, anything that prints a smile (EXTREMELY rare for me) is tossed. Not coincidentally, every time I've encountered a smile, the max expansion exceeded my limit.

    Of course, every case is thoroughly inspected performing the usual checks - no matter what load was fired through it previously.