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#12265328 - 09/12/17 Recognize "once fired" brass?  
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fjlee Offline
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A friend of a friend.......a young man.........works part time at a rifle range.

A series of swaps, and I wound up with maybe 200 Winchester 30-06 brass empty cases........that he had picked up from shooting bench areas.

A quick glance at primers told me that a large percentage of these cases were once fired factory loaded cases. Perfect!!!

However, a bit later a "family member", thinking they were doing me a favor, punched out all of the primers!

My question is this: Is there any way that I can examine each de-primed 30-06 case and discern whether or not it is truly "once-fired"....? I want to use the once-fired WW cases, and will scrap the rest.

I am a retired machinist, so have measuring tools......micrometers, calipers, etc.

"Thanks, folks"....

FjLee

Last edited by fjlee; 09/12/17.
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#12265339 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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KenMi Online content
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What caliber? If it was a public range, and the person didn't bother picking them up, chances are very good it was factory ammo, and the person does not reload.

Even if it was twice fired, there would be lots of life left in it. Look for obvious signs of brass weakening, like a thin ring about the case head. Beyond that, not much that measuring will show.

#12265347 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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Pappy348 Offline
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Assuming they're all the same caliber....

Check for defects and sort by weight.

I rarely pick up brass unless it's clearly factory. Too many hotrodders out there. I do like to get a few to use for dummy rounds so I needn't waste one from one of my lots, and also for setting up dies and trimmers, and to drill out to make hillbilly cleaning rod guides.


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#12265537 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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As long as you're not getting case thinning just ahead of the web, odds are you can just anneal and trim and treat it all like once fired.


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#12266007 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: Pappy348]  
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Prwlr Offline
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Originally Posted by Pappy348
drill out to make hillbilly cleaning rod guides.


Great idea especially for those actions which require a specialized guide such as CZ527 and CLR. I am going to get off my duff and make some. Thanks.


Ed

A person who asks a question is a fool for 5 minutes the person who never asks is a fool forever.
#12266013 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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Occasionally, you will see a mark where the extractor has grabbed the rim of the case. You might be able to determine how many times it was fired based on the "flat" marks under the rim. This is not a sure fire way.

Another thing to look for is whether the case neck has been chamfered and deburred. Some factory brass is flat across the case neck.

#12266076 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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Jim in Idaho Offline
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Off topic but a helpful and efficient ex-housewife did the same to my piles of linotype and #2 alloy ingots. I had melted some 25 lb pigs of linotype into Lyman ingots and had also mixed up abut 30-40 pounds of #2 alloy poured into the same Lyman ingot molds. You couldn't tell them apart by looks. In hindsight I should have marked them somehow, but had piled them on opposite sides of the garage to keep them separate. Came home one day to find a newly clean garage with one big pile of ingots all mixed together. "Oh, that other pile was in the way so I just moved them all to one place." Need a facepalm icon here...


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#12266592 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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Visual inspection is key when you reload

I look at every case before I reload it no matter how many times I think it was fired.

#12266677 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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If you can still primer sealer around the primer pocket it's probably once fired.

That said, I wouldn't worry too much about how many times it was fired. If the primer pockets are still tight and you can feel no groove above the web of the case using the bent paperclip technique I wouldn't see a problem reloading them. By the way, you should check for the groove AFTER resizing.

Consider that depending on things like chamber versus sizing die die dimensions, pressures generated in the cartridge, etc., some cases can go 20+ reloadings before they're no good.


















#12267138 - 09/12/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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venator Offline
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The primer pocket of a case that was fired only once looks shinny except for 2 or 3 radial black marks. If it was fired several times all the primer pocket looks black.

#12268383 - 09/13/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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MuskegMan Offline
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I'd be looking at the case mouth myself. Once fired will not show any signs of chamfering. Most handloaders will add an inside and outside chamfer to once fired factory ammo. Also looks for signs of crimping.

#12269688 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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I anneal all mystery rifle brass in the processing of it before loading but after full length sizing. I do that when buying supposed once fired brass too.


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#12269698 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: MuskegMan]  
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Sharpie, Jim! Ugh. I'd be holding that against her for a day or so....

Last edited by HuntnShoot; 09/14/17. Reason: wrong quote

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#12269712 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: MuskegMan]  
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fish head Offline
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Originally Posted by MuskegMan

I'd be looking at the case mouth myself. Once fired will not show any signs of chamfering. Most handloaders will add an inside and outside chamfer to once fired factory ammo. Also looks for signs of crimping.


^^^ What he said. The case mouth on WW factory brass is very uneven and will show no signs of being trimmed or chamfered. The factory crimp will also be very noticeable and not have been smoothed out by repeated firings and resizing.

I turn the necks on WW brass to clean up the uneven thickness left by the crimp plus trim and chamfer.

#12269963 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: Jim in Idaho]  
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RiverRider Offline
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Originally Posted by Jim in Idaho
Off topic but a helpful and efficient ex-housewife did the same to my piles of linotype and #2 alloy ingots. I had melted some 25 lb pigs of linotype into Lyman ingots and had also mixed up abut 30-40 pounds of #2 alloy poured into the same Lyman ingot molds. You couldn't tell them apart by looks. In hindsight I should have marked them somehow, but had piled them on opposite sides of the garage to keep them separate. Came home one day to find a newly clean garage with one big pile of ingots all mixed together. "Oh, that other pile was in the way so I just moved them all to one place." Need a facepalm icon here...



I've noticed that harder alloys sound a little different when dropped on concrete. The harder alloys seem to "ring" at a higher pitch. I dunno if there would be enough difference between your two alloys, but you might give it a try.

#12270673 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: fjlee]  
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leftybolt Offline
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from Utah/ living in Mississip...
I've noticed that most once fired brass still has a slightly rounded shoulder vs brass that's been shot and run through a sizing die a couple of times which leads to a nice sharp corner on the case shoulder.

Also, measure length. New brass usually comes from the factory a few thousandths shorter than reloading manual's "trim to length" suggestions for a given cartridge. I know as a reloader my least favorite part of case prep is trimming. So, if I can get away with not having to trim for a couple of firings I'll usually do so. If the brass OAL(over all length) is still shorter than the maximum allowable case length(as stated in your reloading manual) and if the case neck isn't chamfered or smooth/shiny on the top edge from trimming, chances are it's once fired or at the most twice fired.

Good luck,

Leftybolt

#12270808 - 09/14/17 Re: Recognize "once fired" brass? [Re: Jim in Idaho]  
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Boogaloo Offline
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Originally Posted by Jim in Idaho
Off topic but a helpful and efficient ex-housewife did the same to my piles of linotype and #2 alloy ingots.Came home one day to find a newly clean garage with one big pile of ingots all mixed together.

There is a noticeable difference in color, hardness and sound when struck. That should be easy, but I stamp all my ingots with a set of stamps with the exact alloy of various lead so I can at least create batches that resemble a consistent alloy.

As far as the brass goes, if the primer pockets are tight and there is no separation ring they should be fine. Brass with the same headstamp should be reasonable consistent after prep. There have been group tests done of mixed brand brass and they are not so different from segregated brass as one might think.

My basic rule is don't touch or move my stuff. If it's moved I don't know where it is. I told one ex gf if she ever touched my stuff again I wouldn't let her back into the house. It's basic human respect...I don't go through her purse or hide her car keys.


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