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1. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
Strange things happen when I can't sleep.

2. ### glock20c10mm

Dec 4, 2004
Out West
Brass Thickness x 2 + Bullet Diameter = ???What???

I don't get it. In reference to what, aside from telling me how much to taper crimp? If anyone could spell this out in oversimplified terms it would be much appreciated.

I'm sure the answer is much simpler to understand than I could ever imagine, but...

3. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
The thickness of one side of your brass wall (for example, .12") times two (one for each side) plus the diameter of your bullet. If you're shooting a .451" bullet, this would be taper crimping to roughly .69" measuring the outside of the case at the mouth.

4. ### glock20c10mm

Dec 4, 2004
Out West
I get that, but not what it's supposed to tell me to equal or compared to what.

Wait, I think I just figured out what I couldn't comprehend. So whatever the formula equals is what the case mouth, where it was flared before being crimped, should now equal after being crimped?

14,949
173
Nov 2, 2006
CO
Side 1 + Bullet + Side 2 = Final Crimp (outside diameter)
.120 + .451 + .120 = .691

If your bullet was .450 it would be .690"
If your case is .121 and the bullet .451 then your crimp is .693"

Or you could just hold it up to the light and look for a slight outward flare. Keep removing the flare by lowering the die a little at at time till the flare is gone. I never measure crimp. And everyone knows I like to measure stuff.

6. ### glock20c10mm

Dec 4, 2004
Out West
Crazy how the obvious can be so complicated. Thanks for your help!

7. ### Armchair

187
30
Sep 9, 2009
Missouri
"Trimming, Chamfering and Deburring: Its doubtful youll ever do it on brass for auto loading handguns."

Wait, so you're telling me that Lee sells pistol case trimming equipment just as a way to make money off of people who, like me, don't know better?

I want to get set up to reload, but do you guys seriously never trim cases? Do you just check them with a caliper every once in a while? I'd love to skip the trimming and save money on equipment, but I've got to say (not being experienced) that I'm suspicious.

Any further information/experience would be much appreciated. Thanks.

8. ### RinspeedJAFO

10,216
713
Feb 28, 2001
NY

I've reloaded for 15 years and have never trimmed pistol brass ever.

14,949
173
Nov 2, 2006
CO
Trimming is a total waste of time in pistol. Ignore it.

10. ### unclebob

7,479
405
Oct 14, 2000
Mary Esther FL
You only need to trim rifle cases. Yes, there are people that like to trim Pistol brass but it is not needed. I don&#8217;t even check the pistol brass length with anything. There just is no reason in my opinion to do so.

Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
11. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
I only will trim rimmed cartridges like .44 mag so that when I roll crimp them into a cannelure they are more consistent. When the brass is new, they're usually within a few thousandths of each other, so I don't usually have to do this until they've been fired a few times. I'll trim them once, and usually by the time they're out of whack again, they're usually near the end of their useful life anyway (depending on the load). I almost never will trim them a second time.

I never trim .45 auto or 9mm (the only two semi-auto cartridges I load). I have screwed around with it just to see. I got slightly tighter numbers over a chronograph, but nothing that I noticed in terms of accuracy. It really just doesn't matter.

12. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
Also - you can check them with a caliper after resizing if you'd like, or you can do the plunk test on the back end of the process (see my section on taper crimp) to make sure they aren't too long. Extremely doubtful they ever will be, but it never hurts to check.

Plunk test (not my photo, just found it online):

Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
13. ### Armchair

187
30
Sep 9, 2009
Missouri
OK, then. Well, that's reassuring. The plunk test definitely sounds like a good idea. (I'm only going to be reloading 9mm and .45 ACP.)

I appreciate the responses!

One other thing, however. Roughly how many reloadings do you guys estimate that you get out of decent brass, on average? Have you developed a rule of thumb about how many times you'll reload cases, even if you haven't yet seen any cracks, etc?

Thanks.

14. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
Well, Jack will load them even after they've split. Most not affected by dementia will tell you with 9 and 45 you're more likely to lose them before they go bad. Just keep loading them until they split. Of course, it depends on the load. Most likely the primer pocket will get too loose before anything else happens.

Magnum rounds and rifle are a different story IMHO.

15. ### Armchair

187
30
Sep 9, 2009
Missouri

Do you find that cases can generally be reloaded ten times before you have more than just the odd split here and there? I'm trying to get a sense of how much brass I'll need to keep on hand, how quickly I'll likely have to replace it, and how much I'll need to spend just on brass.

I realize the answer will depend on a good number of factors, but thought there might be a ballpark number for these calibers that could be used for calculation purposes? Please excuse if this is a stupid newbie question.

16. ### Zombie SteveDecap Pin Killa

18,083
19
May 31, 2007
Use ten as a nice round number.

You'll likely wind up with a 5 gallon bucket of brass after the crb gene kicks in. You'll be scrounging it everywhere until you have more than you can possibly use in a lifetime.

I've never bought .45 auto brass. I seem to find some every time I go out.

17. ### unclebob

7,479
405
Oct 14, 2000
Mary Esther FL
Other than rifle I do not buy brass. I use range pickup. I like to use Winchester brass. Because it is easier to tell if has been reloaded or not. I have a 5 gallon bucket full for the bass Im using at that time. When I come back from the range I put the brass in the tumbler with walnut. That then goes in the bucket in the garage. When the bucket gets low in the reloading room. I then clean the brass in the garage with corn cob media with NU-finish car polish and mineral spirits. That then goes back into the reloading room bucket. I reload this ammo 6 times. Then I put that brass in the match bucket since they are non-brass recovery matches. In the meantime Im always looking for more brass. Even though I have about 5 or 6, 5 gallon buckets full of 9mm once fired brass that I probably will never use.
The biggest thing with brass on how long it will last. Is how hot do you load them. And how hard is it to recover the brass you shot, at the range you shoot at. Some people have grass or rocks that make it hard to recover there brass.

18. ### Armchair

187
30
Sep 9, 2009
Missouri
Yes, not to be a pest, but you guys touch on another question that's been bugging me. I shoot at an outdoor range, and I'm trying to figure out how I can keep from spending five times longer picking up my brass than I spend shooting.

Is there a really expensive and complicated piece of equipment I can buy that will speed up brass collection? :embarassed:

I move around a lot when I shoot (defensive shooting practice), and seems like I stomp on half of the brass as it's ejected. I hate to get too obssesive about picking up up brass as I shoot, however. Probably everyone's heard of the story about the cop who was so conditioned to picking up brass at the range that he did so automatically during an actual confrontation, thus needlessly exposing himself to fire.

Any advice on spotting and collecting spent brass when outdoors? (Maybe you should start selling your 5-gallon bucket-fulls!)

19. ### unclebob

7,479
405
Oct 14, 2000
Mary Esther FL
http://www.harborfreight.com/10-ft-x-12-ft-mesh-tarp-96936.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/deluxe-gopher-pick-up-and-reaching-tool-2432.html

That aint going to happen. At least not anytime soon.

20. ### Armchair

187
30
Sep 9, 2009
Missouri
Great ideas. Thanks!