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  #1  
Old 11-18-2012, 7:30 AM
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Default Why "6" brass reloads?

Just curious as to why a brass case can only be loaded 6 times? I've read and heard from various sources that is the magic number..

So why 6? Who or when was this established? Just curious, as I'm pretty new to reloading and have been wondering this for some time.

Walls get too thin or something? Or maybe applies to rifle more than pistol due to the higher pressure??

Any insight?
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Old 11-18-2012, 7:40 AM
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Actually I only started collecting Milsurps 3 years ago. I think I might own about 24...They're cheaper than guns that will most likely never get the opportunity to kill somebody...

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Old 11-18-2012, 7:43 AM
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i have some that've been reloaded over 10 times. just keep an eye on them. when they're finished you'll get necks splitting. all depends on brass quality, how hot the loads are, how tight your chamber is....etc...etc....etc....there's no magic number.
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Old 11-18-2012, 7:44 AM
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I have pistol cases in .40, .38, .45 that have been loaded 8-12 times.

Rifle is a bit more tricky to get the max longevity out of. Case annealing, and/or neck size only for bolt guns will maximize case life. Depending on how cheap your supply of brass is, determmines how much effort you want to put into case prep, IMO.
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Old 11-18-2012, 7:52 AM
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Good to hear!

I literally just read that on a different thread here on Calguns.

They are basing a reload price formula on 6 brass reloads...

I know I reload my pistol brass more than 6 times, same goes for rifle??
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  #6  
Old 11-18-2012, 7:59 AM
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I don't think I could get 6 reloads out of any of my rifle ammo. Maybe though.
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Old 11-18-2012, 8:01 AM
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I am glad I never heard that "magic" number, I would have spent a whole lot more on brass over the years.
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Old 11-18-2012, 8:09 AM
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I have some .45ACP brass that's been reloaded so many times the headstamp is gone.
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  #9  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:16 AM
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There is no "magic number" that applies to number of times brass can be reloaded.

.45 ACP can typically be reloaded up to 15-20 times if the load pressure is light. 9mm can go 10+, again depending on load pressure. Rifle brass will usually have a lower lifespan, again because of the load pressure involved coupled with the amount of resizing done.

Also, no one person will get the same result as another due to many factors. Your firearm may damage the extractor area more or less than someone else's firearm. Your resizing techniques may differ. Your perception of when brass is done for will differ from another's perception.

The statement referred to here about 6x is truly FUD
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  #10  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:27 AM
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Depends on your gun and where you get your brass from. Shooting reloads out of Glocks in my experience tends to shorten the life span of the brass because of the unsupported chamber that causes the "Glock Bulge." I have had brass get sketchy on me after reloading 9 times even under lighter loads (147 gr "gaming" loads). But the issue is that when I shoot at the range other brass gets mixed in with mine and I am not sure if they have been reloaded before. Last year I started to mark my new brass and separate them from any other brass stock I have. I am going to see how long they last. But spot check the casings to be safe. Sometimes the brass just doesn't want to be resized and I find it safer just to toss it.

I can see the argument for rifle cases because the case stretches out and you need to trim the case so the material is slowly getting thinner, but I have no personal experience reloading rifle cartridges. I plan on starting to reload .223 when I get my AR complete.

Last edited by Dubels; 11-18-2012 at 9:29 AM..
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:29 AM
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ive not heard such a thing
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  #12  
Old 11-18-2012, 9:36 AM
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If one is trying to project their "savings" from reloading by using the same brass multiple times, I don't think "6" is an unreasonable number to use. It's neither too optimistically high nor too low.
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Old 11-18-2012, 9:41 AM
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My .223 and .308 brass get loaded 12-20 times. And that is with loads at and over max.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:46 AM
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I'm at 2 barrels and 9 firings on my current batch of Winchester 243 brass.
I started with 400 pieces.
In about a year and a half of matches, I lost about 135 pieces to stages where you can't recover your brass.
Then there are about 40 pieces that I can push a primer into with fingertip pressure.
I use those for practice, but not for matches as I worry that one of those primers might eventually fall out of the case and jam up the action when I least expect it.
Even though those primers are only in the cases with fingertip pressure, I still have not had one fall out of a case in practice use and I have fired them twice with fingertip pressure loaded primers just to see when they will eventually fall out.
All brass was full length sized with redding type s bushing dies adjusted for about 0.001" of shoulder bump and using a neck bushing that sizes the neck the minimal amount to hold a bullet.
I don't use an expander button.
I trim it every 3 firings.
None of the cases show signs of case head separation.
None of the cases have started getting split necks.

I'm about to rebarrel the 243 again so I'll probably retire this batch of brass as I don't think it will last through a 3rd barrel.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:36 PM
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.357 and .44 magnum can only be loaded once. I can dispose of your junk brass.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:52 PM
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To stay problem free I case gauge everything, do a good visual inspection after loading and tap the head at an angle against a hard surface to see if I can unseat the primer.
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  #17  
Old 11-18-2012, 1:07 PM
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I lose my semi-auto brass at the range before I could ever dream of loading it 4-6 times...
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  #18  
Old 11-18-2012, 2:36 PM
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this is a topic you're going to get a lot of different experiences and opinions on. here is my experience.

Pistol brass in general can be reloaded many more times than 6. Glocked brass are problematic but not all Glocks do that. I believe this is a defect in the barrel and it's the single most compelling reason for my dislike of Glocks nowadays. I'd chuck those when I find them. I believe the over stretching of the case head area weakens the brass and next time it may not hold the pressure. And the 'donut'ed' case head causes reliability problems.

I'm more concerned with the straight wall case rim's health for reliability reasons. Extracted too many times causes rim damage. bad rim can mean feed & extraction problems. Primer pocket gets loose with higher pressure loads but that's mostly rare in pistol cases.

Rifle brass is more complicated. the bottle neck shape has much more room to stretch during resizing and 'work harden'.

During resizing, you're really stretching the brass into shape. the brass mass doesn't change. so if it stretches, it means somewhere is getting thinned. The case head area not supported by chamber gets stretched thin. which is why 'case head separation' and loose primer pocket. both situations can cause hot gas and/or debris or a flier at the least.

here is 1 factor most shooters don't see, chamber quality. the more room a chamber allows the brass to expand length & OD wise, the more stretching of the brass during resizing. the more full length sizing you do the less brass life you'll get.

I've see chambers large enough to cause case head separation with 2 firing of new brass. this is also why a 'match chamber' and neck sizing would allow for longer brass life.

My FN A3G, Savage 10FP have less than .001" head-space tolerance and the diameter of the chamber is at a minimum. The brass i use in them are loaded more than 10 times without problem signs (mostly neck-sized).

My old Ruger M77 30-06 would start to cause case head separation after 5 reloads of the same fire formed neck size brass.

work harden - brass gets brittle the more it's pressured during firing and sizing. you'll see split case mouth, case rupture when this happens. which is why some reloaders 'anneal' their rifle brass to normalize the neck tension and extend brass life. work harden can happen to both straight wall and bottle neck cases.

there is not a hard and fast rule how many times a brass case can be loaded but we know its life span is finite. If you reload, pay attention and learn to watch for pressure signs, brass fatigue signs for safety.
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  #19  
Old 11-18-2012, 3:02 PM
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The life of reloaded brass depends upon how hot the load is ,the quality of the brass and the resizing of the brass.
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Old 11-18-2012, 4:41 PM
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For bottleneck rifle cases, I've used the rule that after four case trimmings, cases are disposed of. Seems to work for me and with the cost of brass, why push your luck?
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Old 11-18-2012, 6:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief-7700 View Post
I have some .45ACP brass that's been reloaded so many times the headstamp is gone.
This....^^^^

On the other hand when I reload hot 10MM, I keep good notes and I sort the brass by groups based on how many times they have been fired.

I get up to about 8 on Hot 10MM....depending on if I run it in my GLOCK barrel (which has about 8 thousanths more expansion and therefore puts more stress on the case because I have to resize these fat cases full size down to normal size).

Or my aftermarket barrel which is tighter and doesn't take much to resize them back to normal. Less stress, less fatigue on my Starline brass.

I keep good notes and have them in marked boxes.

A big area of wear is actually the rim gets cut up by the extractor and after several loadings I end up chucking the case. Not worth any problems.
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Old 11-18-2012, 6:38 PM
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This *6 is all" may come from something out of Lyman's 49th, page 50. They say that for typical rimless cartridges, a good case life is about 8 firings. For max loads, it's more like 5. Belted magnums might get two or three, with rimmed cartridges (e. g. 7.62x54R, .30-30) seeing somewhere in between belted and rimless.

My guess is that someone came up with the number "6" as an attempt to somehow "average" all these possibilities.

.38 Special cases will very often last well over 20 firings (yes, I've done this, and those cases are still goin' strong). Remember that the .38 Spl round is a pretty low-pressure round. Same for .45 ACP. Now, .357 Magnum loads will reduce that case life.
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  #23  
Old 11-18-2012, 8:46 PM
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I reload mine without worrying... I just keep going until I see a problem... a light ring, a split in the neck... etc.
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Old 11-19-2012, 4:38 AM
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At the range the last time I went, I heard "a regular" that is usually there on the same day I am, talking about how he would not reload the cases from that batch anymore.

I queried him for more info, and asked to look at the brass he was not going to reload.

It had a definite ring toward the base of the case that looked... defiantly thinner than I would reload. I mentioned that I was planning on only reloading 6 times per recommendations posted here I have read multiple times. He said that he knows people that have reloaded .223 20-24 times before not trusting brass for another reload. I asked him if it damages your chamber if you have a case-head separation during firing, and he said that the only real issue is that if you don't have a broken shell extractor, your rifle would be out of service for the remainder of your range session, until you got home to pull it out.

I am going to go with what he said... I have reloaded with Varget all the way to the top of the case (~27 grains), and compressed the load with no overpressure signs on the #41s that I could see. The "ring of resizing" doesn't look bad at all yet (like it is getting thin), after like 6-7 reloads, so I will keep the once-fired collecting until I need them. I have a broken-shell extractor...

I have heard of resizing 9mm brass, but I have not seen the need, even after 10 reloads, and a co-worker never has resized his in the 10 years he has been reloading straight-walled pistol brass. He just chucks split-cases, and the any that "look unsafe".

My straight-walled pistol brass does not seem to have issues... yet with Unique and punchy loads.

I need to get a nut-wizard...
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Old 11-19-2012, 7:42 AM
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Great info fellas!!!
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Old 11-19-2012, 8:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the86d View Post
I need to get a nut-wizard...
I have nut wizards in Los Angeles if you are local...
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Old 11-19-2012, 1:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
I have nut wizards in Los Angeles if you are local...
I bet all you LA guys are nut wizards.

Sorry. Had to. I don't even know what a nut wizard is.


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Old 11-19-2012, 2:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the86d View Post
I have heard of resizing 9mm brass, but I have not seen the need, even after 10 reloads, and a co-worker never has resized his in the 10 years he has been reloading straight-walled pistol brass. He just chucks split-cases, and the any that "look unsafe".
Am I reading this correctly? You don't see the need for resizing 9mm brass?
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Old 11-19-2012, 2:20 PM
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Am I reading this correctly? You don't see the need for resizing 9mm brass?
I suspect he meant trimming, not resizing. I've never trimmed pistol brass.


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Old 11-19-2012, 4:46 PM
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Quote:
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I don't even know what a nut wizard is.
A rolling basket with a broom handle designed for harvesting nuts from the ground.
They also work great for picking up brass.
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Old 11-19-2012, 9:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kappy View Post
I suspect he meant trimming, not resizing. I've never trimmed pistol brass.


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Perhaps. Ive never trimmed a single piece of pistol brass and don't know why anyone would.
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Old 11-19-2012, 9:51 PM
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Perhaps. Ive never trimmed a single piece of pistol brass and don't know why anyone would.
because crimping is based off of the length of the case. cases differ up to .015" in 9x19 if i remember correctly. No way you get a consistent .002" crimp on all rounds. inconsistent crimp results in high SD and ES. in capable guns that causes accuracy loss.

of course plinkers, broadside of a barn and 7-yard shooters need not worry about trimming anything.

rimmed cases with roll crimp are especially sensitive to this if you're going for accuracy. I've chrono'ed my 38spl, 357mag and 44mag loads and uniformed cases make a difference when you're shooting for under 2" groups at 50 yards.

Cartridges head-space off of the mouth with light taper crimp is much less sensitive to case length. But if the crimp is too light, you'll end up with rounds with belled mouth that causes feeding problems. Ever wonder why reloaded ammo are so much less reliable? my trimmed cases have less ammo related hang ups and less 'fliers' in machine rest.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huckberry668 View Post
because crimping is based off of the length of the case. cases differ up to .015" in 9x19 if i remember correctly. No way you get a consistent .002" crimp on all rounds. inconsistent crimp results in high SD and ES. in capable guns that causes accuracy loss.

of course plinkers, broadside of a barn and 7-yard shooters need not worry about trimming anything.

rimmed cases with roll crimp are especially sensitive to this if you're going for accuracy. I've chrono'ed my 38spl, 357mag and 44mag loads and uniformed cases make a difference when you're shooting for under 2" groups at 50 yards.

Cartridges head-space off of the mouth with light taper crimp is much less sensitive to case length. But if the crimp is too light, you'll end up with rounds with belled mouth that causes feeding problems. Ever wonder why reloaded ammo are so much less reliable? my trimmed cases have less ammo related hang ups and less 'fliers' in machine rest.
Well, my ammo isn't for plinking, its for competing in USPSA Limited division. Its every bit as accurate and reliable as any ammo you can load while wasting your time with a trimmer. I can make A zone hits at 35 yards in the move with my ammo...but i guess if i trimmed my brass then i could hit the super secret A zone....

Ive yet to meet a serious competitive shooter that trims their pistol brass.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalTeacher View Post
Well, my ammo isn't for plinking, its for competing in USPSA Limited division. Its every bit as accurate and reliable as any ammo you can load while wasting your time with a trimmer. I can make A zone hits at 35 yards in the move with my ammo...but i guess if i trimmed my brass then i could hit the super secret A zone....

Ive yet to meet a serious competitive shooter that trims their pistol brass.
6"x11" A zone is not exactly my 2" groups at 50 yards statement. 6" machine rest group might as well be plinking. put it in a machine rest, which was my premise, and you'll see a difference. You and I both know shoot on the move is not about 'accuracy' it's about skills.

You're right, not many comp shooters trim their brass. I only knew 1 or 2 that did when I shot PPC and Bianchi Cup.

My point was logically, uniformed components yield more uniformed results. I have done it and seen the results. That's why 'anyone would'.
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Old 11-20-2012, 4:03 AM
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Originally Posted by CalTeacher View Post
Am I reading this correctly? You don't see the need for resizing 9mm brass?
Yeah, never "trim", not resize. Check the time of the post, and you will see that I was not all the way awake yet...
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Old 11-20-2012, 6:21 AM
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Originally Posted by huckberry668 View Post
6"x11" A zone is not exactly my 2" groups at 50 yards statement. 6" machine rest group might as well be plinking. put it in a machine rest, which was my premise, and you'll see a difference. You and I both know shoot on the move is not about 'accuracy' it's about skills.

You're right, not many comp shooters trim their brass. I only knew 1 or 2 that did when I shot PPC and Bianchi Cup.

My point was logically, uniformed components yield more uniformed results. I have done it and seen the results. That's why 'anyone would'.
2" groups at 50 yards is not really shooting if it is being done from a machine rest. I'm not claiming to be able to shoot the best groups in the world, but when shooting against a timer, while moving, at a target 35 or so yards away, hitting inside the A zone twice means that you're pretty accurate. Furthermore, I could care less what my gun can shoot in a machine rest. I'd rather see what it can do in my hands, without support, etc.

I guess I just don't see the point of trimming if it brings you almost no practical gains. Primer pocket uniforming, trimming, etc., all sound like they will make your ammo into the model of accuracy, but at pistol distances with a human behind the gun, all those steps become increasingly meaningless the more they are adhered to. Great accuracy can be achieved without unnecessary steps like trimming.

I can see the benefit in, say, sorting brass by head stamp depending on the application, but anything further than that is getting into the realm of severely diminishing returns.
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Old 11-20-2012, 6:21 AM
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Originally Posted by the86d View Post
Yeah, never "trim", not resize. Check the time of the post, and you will see that I was not all the way awake yet...
Ah, makes sense. I've had those moments too.
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Old 11-20-2012, 7:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalTeacher View Post
2" groups at 50 yards is not really shooting if it is being done from a machine rest. I'm not claiming to be able to shoot the best groups in the world, but when shooting against a timer, while moving, at a target 35 or so yards away, hitting inside the A zone twice means that you're pretty accurate. Furthermore, I could care less what my gun can shoot in a machine rest. I'd rather see what it can do in my hands, without support, etc.

I guess I just don't see the point of trimming if it brings you almost no practical gains. Primer pocket uniforming, trimming, etc., all sound like they will make your ammo into the model of accuracy, but at pistol distances with a human behind the gun, all those steps become increasingly meaningless the more they are adhered to. Great accuracy can be achieved without unnecessary steps like trimming.

I can see the benefit in, say, sorting brass by head stamp depending on the application, but anything further than that is getting into the realm of severely diminishing returns.
You're talking about shooting skills and not precision ammo making. And you're proving my point of don't trim if best accuracy ain't the goal. Reloading is a hobby and a science. All I'm saying is I know for a fact from doing enough tests with 2" 50-yard guns that a certain uniformed case length helps accuracy with certain loads.

I don't do the primer pocket or flash hole on pistol rounds. My tests showed they don't help at all. I do separate head-stamps but only after they're loaded. And I don't trim all my pistol brass, just the competition rounds and test loads.

I'm not advocating trimming pistol brass is 'necessary'. All I'm saying is uniformed components will help produce uniform results. Here is one example of 'severely diminishing returns':

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/ta..._reloading.htm
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Old 11-20-2012, 7:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huckberry668 View Post
You're talking about shooting skills and not precision ammo making. And you're proving my point of don't trim if best accuracy ain't the goal. Reloading is a hobby and a science. All I'm saying is I know for a fact from doing enough tests with 2" 50-yard guns that a certain uniformed case length helps accuracy with certain loads.

I don't do the primer pocket or flash hole on pistol rounds. My tests showed they don't help at all. I do separate head-stamps but only after they're loaded. And I don't trim all my pistol brass, just the competition rounds and test loads.

I'm not advocating trimming pistol brass is 'necessary'. All I'm saying is uniformed components will help produce uniform results. Here is one example of 'severely diminishing returns':

http://www.leverguns.com/articles/ta..._reloading.htm
I get what you're saying. Trimming may produce ammunition that may be capable of more precision under certain conditions...like using a machine rest. What I'm saying is that A. Once a person gets behind the gun the person is now the biggest factor, and B. All that effort will have been for almost no real gain as a result.

I don't doubt that you've experienced better precision after uniforming your brass and while shooting your gun from a machine rest. But its just a waste of time for what you'll gain, IMO.
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  #40  
Old 11-20-2012, 8:03 PM
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Good article btw.
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