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How many reloads on brass? #13790361 05/03/19
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centershot Offline OP
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How many times can you reload a case? Cases in question are Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor. I have shot some of these a dozen times. After 5 reloadings I candle anneal them then shoot for 5 more reloadings. I have yet to see a case split, loose primer pocket or to feel a headspace issue with the bent paper clip trick. I do trim them at each reloading (minimal, mostly squares them up). This is starting to seem like a lot of rounds for a case. My current plan is to run them up to 15 reloads then toss them. What are your thoughts.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790399 05/03/19
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Jim in Idaho Offline
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Besides not loading petal to the metal, neck sizing each time - with minimal shoulder set back (bumping) only when needed - seem to be the two factors that have given me the longest case life. Some .243 AI cases that had been fired 25 times were finally retired when their primer pockets finally got too loose. Several lots of brass for .223, .270, .308 and .30-06 are on anywhere from their 15th to 19th loading with no signs of slowing down.

And that's apparently not even pushing the limit. I've read of some reloaders who have gotten 30, 40 or more loads on their cases although I forget the details on which caliber and their load levels.

When I first started reloading and didn't know how to set a FL die properly, and FL sized every time, cases would start showing obvious signs of incipient head separation on the 4th or 5th loading.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790413 05/03/19
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Neck sizing only with Lee Collet dies has gotten me almost 20 shots/case in my bolt .22-250.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790427 05/03/19
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I never kept track, I guess I shoot too much or don’t pay enough attention to those matters. I have never annealed and rarely trim. When the neck splits or primer pocket gets too loose, I chuck it.

Over the years I can say I have thrown out very few cases and reloaded a ton of ammo. I also full length resize as I will shoot the same ammunition in as many as 5 different guns and all of them seem to shot well enough to hit what I’m aiming at...


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790467 05/03/19
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260Remguy Offline
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Since you're checking for incipient case separation and not finding any and you're not loading at maximum pressures, I'd keep using them until you see the first sight of incipient case separation before chucking them.

If you're shooting them in the same rifle and neck sizing, you're probably not working the brass very much.

I have 100 cases for each game rifle and either 200 or 300 for each colony varmint rifle that I load until I see the first sign of incipient case separation and then I chuck them and start over.

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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790518 05/03/19
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tmax264 Offline
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Don't throw them away until you have a reason to. That can be after 2-3 loadings or 100. Sounds like you do a good job or inspecting so don't sweat it.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790523 05/03/19
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I have no idea what an adequate answer might be to the original question. I do believe that that there is no general answer beyond it depends.

FREX for .45 ACP with a #130 cast and 3.5 grains of Bullseye my answer would be many times until lost or the lot shows too many split necks. With annealing that moment might be a long time coming.

Agreed that even one firing with signs of case separation is the end of that case. I do use the Redding Instant Indicator and Wilson gages and the RCBS case master and even a Hawkeye bore scope to check inside. The one barrel I had that did have head space issues the cases were saved as curios and sectioned for conversation pieces while the barrel was being replaced under warranty.

On the other hand I do believe that regardless of any and all other factors no matter how good the case still looks there will come a time when enough brass has been lost to trimming - assuming the case is trimmed which straight wall pistol cases mostly are not - that I will give up on the case or at least shift to powder puff reduced loads.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: shrapnel] #13790526 05/03/19
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Originally Posted by shrapnel


I never kept track, I guess I shoot too much or don’t pay enough attention to those matters. I have never annealed and rarely trim. When the neck splits or primer pocket gets too loose, I chuck it.

Over the years I can say I have thrown out very few cases and reloaded a ton of ammo. I also full length resize as I will shoot the same ammunition in as many as 5 different guns and all of them seem to shot well enough to hit what I’m aiming at...


This exactly, I have multiples of several calibers. I don’t have the time or want to for keeping brass separate for Four 7 mags or several 264, 233’s etc

I shoot my belted cases 3 times, then cshit can them. The non belted I shoot until I get a loose primer pocket.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790527 05/03/19
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I started reloading in 2001. I decided not to try annealing until it became necessary.

It took until 2006 for me to get my first split case-- a 30-06. At the time, I was always full-length resizing, and I traced back through my notes and found out I had loaded these cases 4 times, and these had come to me at least 1-fired.

My first trick was to go back and estimate the number of loadings of all my batches. I had good notes, and I just traced each batch through its various loadings. I think 4 or 5 was the top number. I then made a rule: all brass got marked in its notes with a Roman numeral. Roman numerals are handy because IV is one less than V, IX is one less than X, and so on. When I had to add a 'I' in front of a number, I'd anneal.

Since 2006, I've not had a split case. I can't tell you offhand how many loadings I've been through, or what's the top number of loadings for any of my batches, but I'm happy with the result. Just guessing, I'd say it's in the neighborhood of 20 loadings for some of the 30-06.

I will also say that annealing 270 WIN before sizing into 25-06 makes the job much easier. It also feels good burning all those gay cases before knocking the queer out of them.

Most recently, I've started neck sizing with Lee collet dies on some of my most-used chamberings. That should drive the numbers up even more.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: Jim in Idaho] #13790533 05/03/19
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Originally Posted by Jim in Idaho
Besides not loading petal to the metal, neck sizing each time - with minimal shoulder set back (bumping) only when needed - seem to be the two factors that have given me the longest case life. Some .243 AI cases that had been fired 25 times were finally retired when their primer pockets finally got too loose. Several lots of brass for .223, .270, .308 and .30-06 are on anywhere from their 15th to 19th loading with no signs of slowing down.

And that's apparently not even pushing the limit. I've read of some reloaders who have gotten 30, 40 or more loads on their cases although I forget the details on which caliber and their load levels.

When I first started reloading and didn't know how to set a FL die properly, and FL sized every time, cases would start showing obvious signs of incipient head separation on the 4th or 5th loading.


Good suggestion. Just because it says full length sizing die on the box, that doesn't mean you cant adjust it to do a partial full length sizing. I also adjust my FL dies for just a minimal (.002-.003") shoulder bump back. Cases last a lot longer that way and your accuracy tends to be better. Win win... It sounds like the OP is doing right, with his annealing and checks for incipient case head separation. As we know, every rifle and chamber is different. The amount of firings can be different, depending on how sloppy or tight the chamber is....


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790658 05/03/19
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I'm anal retentive about this stuff...

I do the Lee Neck sizing, the Redding Body Die, the annealing every 4th time... show a little prudence on the power scale...

I did put this to the test one time, after reading on Lapua's web site they reloaded some of their brass on testing bullets etc, up to 300 times... that piqued my interest, so I thought I'd load 10 rounds over and over and see what I got...

So I took 10 pieced of range pick up Remington 223 cases... I had picked up 1000 FMJ 55 grainers for like $10 at a garage sale....so decided on a prudent load with 4198...this was over time...but I logged each time on a 3 x 5 card or two... would load ten, and go around the corner to some county property that was all wooded and shoot them into a pine tree...

After getting to being out of bullets, I had shot the cases 101 times.... I lost 3 cases due to operator error at the reload bench... but none to the brass giving up the ghost.... they looked like Schitt, but I still have them in a zip lock bag around here somewhere... they've been reloaded a couple of times since... just still testing the theory out of how long they will last...

oh and that one pine tree that served as a target, those thousand rounds weakened it enough that a stout wind knocked the top off the lower end a month or two after I quit the experiment...




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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790678 05/03/19
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I "retire" my rifle cases after 10 firings, not because I feel that they are worn out, but just because I do it that way. I size them and then put them away in boxes that I've marked as 10 firings. I would have no qualms about using them should supply dictate it at some point.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790699 05/03/19
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Interesting. As noted I don't shoot heavy max. loads but more of the 90% of max range. I have a few 20 round plastic boxes so I just keep the brass/ammo in the box and reload in sets of 20. Works pretty good and is easy enough to keep track of number of reloads etc. I guess I'll run them to 15 reloads and see how they look. May even go to 20. Thanks.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13790709 05/03/19
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I anneal. Don't recall the last time I threw a piece of brass away due to age or number of firing cycles. I have some brass that has been thru 20+ reloading cycles, and a small collection of brass that is over 20 years old...it keeps on working. I do not have any cartridges that spec at terribly high pressure, call it 50K or less and few that wander up to the top of that realm.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13791529 05/03/19
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I used to count, but after I ran a couple of batches of brass past 30 loading cycles I stopped worrying about it, and no longer bother. Included among that was plain-vanilla Winchester brass, though I use other brands too, like RWS and Geco, Prvi Partizan, Norma and Hornady. After a few loading cycles I neck anneal.

FWIW I don't tumble my brass either, though the work-hardening effect and wear due to that is likely to be small. I just don't see any point to it, nor to scraping residue out of primer pockets. After a while the cases go a bit brown with patina (which is actually slightly protective) but primer residue doesn't build up and I can't see any measurable effect on reliability or accuracy.

The usual determinant of case life for me is losing the case in the field, or the odd neck split if I've neglected neck annealing. I have had pistol brass which ended up with loose primer pockets, but that brass had had a lot of cycles - to the extent that the headstamps were getting unreadable - so it might have just been wear. As long as the primer pockets hold the primers, the necks aren't split and there's no evidence of incipient separation (which I do check) I can't personally see why I'd toss them.

I don't usually load right to the ragged edge of pressures. I'm more interested in accuracy and reliability than the last few fps of velocity. I also only ever neck size my bottle-necked cases, mostly with Lee Collet dies. I don't full-length size bottlenecked cases, and don't have issues with shoulders moving forward enough to necessitate pushing them back. I think that if you are seeing this it is a product of the way you are sizing them. It should be self-evident that when the fired case comes out of the chamber it must be able to fit back in, and indeed have some clearance, so if it won't chamber easily after you reloaded it, unless it is significantly out of round, it must be due to something you did to it in the reloading process.

I only use a given batch of brass in the one rifle - where I have more than one rifle in a given calibre I keep the brass separate. With rifles with large chambers (such as my Lee Enfields) I take a bit of care on the first firing to ensure they are fire-formed concentrically.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13792016 05/03/19
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Depends on the cartridge for me, 300H&H full sized maybe 5 times, neck sized kept in the same rifle 20+. 6.5X55 50+ even with hot loads. 38 special, 45APC I gave up counting. Toss them when the neck splits. Never annealed any but I will trim rifles. Some are more forgiving than others. If they have to go into different rifles then I have found it is up to the individual chambers. I had two 243's that would not load each others fired cases unless really full sized.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13792277 05/04/19
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It depends.

I've got over 30 reloads so far with a batch of 6XC cases. No anealing. "Light" full length sizing. No expander ball in the die. (I don't understand why they even make dies with expander balls.) My load has a calculated 42,000 psi.

On the other hand, I could only get about 5 reloads from new Winchester .223 cases using Remington primers before the primers would fall out. The old Wincnester primers, the plated ones that I suspect are thicker, were good for about 10 and then I got neck splits. The load was not a hot one: 24 grains of Varget and a 69 grain bullet.


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13792297 05/04/19
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I neck size all my brass except for hunting loads which are either new brass or once fired full length sized. Occasionally I’ll have to toss a piece due to a loose primer pocket but I don’t keep count. I don’t tumble brass, only clean in corn cob media in a vibratory cleaner. Any gunk around the neck I remove with 0000 steel wool before cleaning. Had some 7mm Rem Mag with early case head separations due to full length sizing and incorrect headspace. Happy Trails


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Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13792373 05/04/19
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Almost all of my centerfires are custom chambered to a very light crush fit on the go gauge. Years back I chambered my prairie dog guns to fit a full length sized cartridge from my RCBS dies....this didn't work out so well so I then went to the light closing of the bolt on the go gauge. Because of this I encountered very little loss due to case separation (except on belted magnums) and now most of my cases that I toss are due to neck splits or loose primers at installation. I'm not into annealing.

I don't keep track anymore how many times a case has been fired as it's not my goal....but it's likely more than 10 times at max (and sometimes more) loads per Hodgdon's data. I once had five rifles chambered for .223 and keeping track of cases became an impossible task.....I just ran them through the Dillon 650 again ....military brass was easily collected and worked well and I had a five gallon bucket full of them.

The one thing I do monitor is my primary hunting cases.....I only shoot new virgin brass ( or in a few cases once-fired) in my hunting loads that are actually used for hunting. All other brass is used for off season loads at the range or trying to find a more accurate load.....or just plain fun time!

It is very rare for me to buy new brass as a bag of fifty lasts a very long time this way and I've had no trouble in the field with issues due to brass cases.

All my rifles are bolt action except a .218 Bee in a Browning 65 lever gun.....the Browning throws fired cases all over like a semi auto and I'm going to lose quite a few so maybe just buy new each time. The Hornady cases work quite well for me.

In short, I believe more in controlled headspace than annealing....we all have our preferences and tools.

Re: How many reloads on brass? [Re: centershot] #13792469 05/04/19
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I have never annealed any brass but would like to. I have watched several videos but always put off doing it. I bought Lapua 6.5CM, 243 brass last year and plan to anneal . I was old school and always full length resize but now I have some body dies, Lee neck sizing dies, and plan to extend the life of the Lapua brass.
What's a good process for someone that doesn't want to spend a lot of money?


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