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  #1  
Old 04-07-2021, 11:09 AM
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Default Aluminum Cases

I bought a bunch of Federal 9mm that is in aluminum cases (didn't realize it until I got home) Walmart was selling off all of their handgun ammo at discounted prices.

I have read that these cannot be reloaded. I can't find out why.

Anybody know?

Dan
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2021, 11:24 AM
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I heard some people can. Never bothered as regular brass 9mm was everywhere.
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Old 04-07-2021, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabascoz28 View Post
I heard some people can. Never bothered as regular brass 9mm was everywhere.
Yeah, I have thousands and thousands of 9mm brass cases for reloading so no worries there. I ended up with 1,500 loony-yum cased ammo and was willing to try reloading if it is feasible.

I don't want to get a case stuck in the resizing die and that may the crux of the issue but can't find reliable info on the subject.

Dan
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:44 PM
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Okay, I did some more searching and found that there was some success in reloading aluminum cases but there is a very good chance that the case will split either during bullet seating or during firing. Even the most successful reloaders had issues after only one reload and decided to quit the process.

So, that is good enough for me, they will be going on the trash (after shooting of course).

Dan
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:56 PM
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They are good for a couple of reloads...just don't load them to Max.

I've never had one stuck, but I lube my 9mm cases anyway
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Old 04-07-2021, 1:34 PM
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I would imagine that aluminum cases don't like being stretched and resized. Aluminum is not very bendy, and doesn't take reforming very well.

I've never tried reloading it though - grass 9mm casings are literally lying around just about everywhere I shoot.
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Old 04-07-2021, 4:26 PM
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I've reloaded a few for instances where I was not going to recover my cases. Much easier to use brass and in the calibers I shoot, brass is plentiful anyway. So, why bother for one reload unless you intend to leave it?
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Old 04-07-2021, 4:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert101 View Post
I've reloaded a few for instances where I was not going to recover my cases. Much easier to use brass and in the calibers I shoot, brass is plentiful anyway. So, why bother for one reload unless you intend to leave it?
I do like some level of experimentation (within safety parameters of course). I reloaded .45 Schofield cases for my .45 Colt SA revolvers and found a nice 50 fps increase in MV. I also loaded .357 Magnum cases with a +P+ .38 Special load to try in my new Kimber revolver with excellent accuracy results.

So, this is along the same lines although I don't think I'm going to try it. Too many reports of split case failures to make it worth it.

I was just curious after all.

Dan
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Old 04-07-2021, 5:54 PM
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The key is Berdan primed vs boxer primed...


You CAN drill flash-holes, and buffer different primers sizes, but it isn't the same for the same seal to be made...
but I am sure there are exceptions, but as I understand it, most aluminum and steel cases are Berdan primed?
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Last edited by the86d; 04-07-2021 at 5:56 PM..
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Old 04-07-2021, 6:20 PM
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I tested reloading 9mm and 45 acp once shot aluminum cases as a test. I did it with steel as well. Only light loads. I did it as a learning experience in case I ever “had to”. Both worked ok. Most split after firing, but it worked. Light 231 load for both. Aluminum was the easiest to work with. Not worth the hassle but good too know it can be done.
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Old 04-07-2021, 6:34 PM
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from a former life as someone who cared about bicycle frames, aluminum is more susceptible to cracking from metal fatigue than either steel or titanium, and presumably copper and brass are better than all of the above, so i'd imagine if you want to reload aluminum you would need to think about annealing pretty frequently.
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Old 04-07-2021, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekeye View Post
...... i'd imagine if you want to reload aluminum you would need to think about annealing pretty frequently.
Good luck annealing aluminum.
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Old 04-07-2021, 8:23 PM
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I've reloaded aluminum cases of 9mm and .45 acp in medium load. There's no issue. The cases look normal after being fired. I don't see there's much stretch of the case if you only flare out the mouth just enough to put the bullet in.
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Old 04-08-2021, 7:54 AM
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I've only shot CCI Blazer 9mm, which IIRC is berdan primed (15 years ago).

Last edited by USM0083; 04-08-2021 at 7:55 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-08-2021, 9:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
I bought a bunch of Federal 9mm that is in aluminum cases (didn't realize it until I got home) Walmart was selling off all of their handgun ammo at discounted prices.

I have read that these cannot be reloaded. I can't find out why.

Anybody know?

Dan

I've reloaded 10's of thousands of these.


The majority of blazer aluminum cases are berdan primed. You CAN punch through this and seat a normal primer, but you're compromising the case structure doing so. I would NOT RECOMMEND using these.


There are boxer primer variants. This is what I use when I use them.


Things you want to know (using 9mm as an example)

1) These can only be reloaded once.
2) These WILL crack. Inspect and case gauge every single one you reload.
3) You CANNOT use an undersizing die.
4) You CANNOT use over diameter bullets. (.356 = ok 0.357 = cracked case)
5) You should not clean these with stainless pins. Walnut is good or don't clean them first.

Finally, be prepared for brasswhores at the local range to give you stinkeye.

This is the #1 reason I reload aluminum, to give the middle finger to brass gophers and hoes at competitions.



ETA:

These are 230g 45ACP moly coated lead sized 0.451

As you can see, there is a slight bulge in the case when seated.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 45_aluminum.jpg (87.9 KB, 146 views)

Last edited by Corbin Dallas; 04-08-2021 at 9:37 AM..
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:47 AM
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If I'm seeing the bulge you reference, that is not a "feature" of aluminum, it's a feature of the sizing die.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbin Dallas View Post
I've reloaded 10's of thousands of these.


The majority of blazer aluminum cases are berdan primed. You CAN punch through this and seat a normal primer, but you're compromising the case structure doing so. I would NOT RECOMMEND using these.


There are boxer primer variants. This is what I use when I use them.


Things you want to know (using 9mm as an example)

1) These can only be reloaded once.
2) These WILL crack. Inspect and case gauge every single one you reload.
3) You CANNOT use an undersizing die.
4) You CANNOT use over diameter bullets. (.356 = ok 0.357 = cracked case)
5) You should not clean these with stainless pins. Walnut is good or don't clean them first.

Finally, be prepared for brasswhores at the local range to give you stinkeye.

This is the #1 reason I reload aluminum, to give the middle finger to brass gophers and hoes at competitions.



ETA:

These are 230g 45ACP moly coated lead sized 0.451

As you can see, there is a slight bulge in the case when seated.

Great post, thank you!

Dan
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Old 04-08-2021, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofbak View Post
If I'm seeing the bulge you reference, that is not a "feature" of aluminum, it's a feature of the sizing die.
Nope,

That's a feature of seating the bullet in the case.


You can disagree with me all you want, but after loading probably 50k of these or more (lost count), I consider myself a bit of an expert from experience.

That picture is from 2012.
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Old 04-08-2021, 12:00 PM
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"That's a feature of seating the bullet in the case".

Correct, but it's due to the case diameter your sizing die imparts on the case. Same or similar effective occurs with brass cases.

edit to add: It may be that aluminum case wall thickness are greater than brass case walls, which would make the effect more pronounced......but still a result of the sizing process and die diameter, and not intrinsic to aluminum material used.

Last edited by sofbak; 04-08-2021 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 04-08-2021, 2:34 PM
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FYI for the panickers... last shortage I treid something...
If you can't get 9mm NATO/Luger, then .380 ACP seems to shoot fine out of my M9 (92FS for MEN), and an SR-9 (projectile is the same diameter as 9mm (.355-.356). I can't remember if they cycled every time, but they shot accurately, but the case-neck split...

Sooooo if you can't find the 9mm, .380 ACP is all you have, you at least got one accurate shot in the stuff I tried it in... last shortage/panic.
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Old 04-08-2021, 4:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
Good luck annealing aluminum.
Annealing is the easy part.

Paint with some sharpie, hit with the torch till the sharpie disappears. Now your case is annealed.
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Old 04-08-2021, 5:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
I would imagine that aluminum cases don't like being stretched and resized. Aluminum is not very bendy, and doesn't take reforming very well.

I've never tried reloading it though - grass 9mm casings are literally lying around just about everywhere I shoot.
Don't use such technical words here. Malleable is what you want to use.

A number of indoor ranges won't allow you to shoot aluminum cased shells.
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Old 04-08-2021, 6:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
Good luck annealing aluminum.
^^^FOR SURE^^^

Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
Annealing is the easy part.

Paint with some sharpie, hit with the torch till the sharpie disappears. Now your case is annealed.
^^^SORRY NOT NEAR THAT EASY PEASY^^^

Once brought up to annealing temp. Which varies as to alloy. It takes several hours under closely controlled temperature lessening steps to anneal aluminum.

All Al alloys require different specific annealing temps. And incremental temp/time steps. Without knowing the specific alloy it is impossible to ascertain which initial temp is required. And the annealing stabilizing temp steps needed.

Without the "stabilizing heat steps". Al reverts back to its original T rating after cooling.
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Old 04-08-2021, 6:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JagerDog View Post
Don't use such technical words here. Malleable is what you want to use.
"Bendy" is on the list, I checked
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Old 04-08-2021, 6:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacrat View Post
^^^SORRY NOT NEAR THAT EASY PEASY^^^
Well I'm no expert but....

The sharpie trick seems to have worked for me when I've bent, hammered, or otherwise shaped aluminum for knife bolsters. I'll chalk it up to being lucky.

Would I do that with crap not-brass meant to be entirely expendable? Hell no.
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Old 04-08-2021, 10:46 PM
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Corbin Dallas made the comment;

Quote:
The majority of blazer aluminum cases are berdan primed. You CAN punch through this and seat a normal primer, but you're compromising the case structure doing so. I would NOT RECOMMEND using these.
I would not recommend doing so either. You have to do a lot more than just "punch through". Look at the pic in post #9 that 86d put up.

Firstly Boxer and Berdan primers are different diameters. And in Berdan priming system. The anvil is part of the case.

To make it work at all. You have to have an end cutter that is the proper diameter for boxer primers. This is to remove the anvil and open the dia to accept a boxer primer.

Then even after you drill a central flash hole for the boxer primer. You now have 3 flash holes. A REALLY BIG PROBLEM, for anything other than ultra light bunny fart loads. Because one function of the flash hole is to LIMIT the pressure pulse of back pressure into the primer cup.

Any load hotter than "ULTRA BUNNY FART". You're gonna blow every primer.
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Old 04-12-2021, 4:32 PM
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Converting from Berdan to Boxer is so much easier than most think. I've done quite some brass of 7.62x54 by drilling out the hole that fits the diameter of the Boxer primer, then another drilling for the small hole in the center. I've shot and reloaded them without issues.
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Old 04-13-2021, 7:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corbin Dallas View Post
Things you want to know (using 9mm as an example)

5) You should not clean these with stainless pins. Walnut is good or don't clean them first.
I suspect they will clean up fine in a wet tumbler with SS pins, as long as you don't use the normal acidic solution (i.e. no LemiShine, lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.) Acid will cause corrosion of untreated aluminum in a hurry (same reason you don't run raw aluminum cookware through the dishwasher.) Just use the soap, though they'll probably require much less run time than brass.
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Old 04-14-2021, 8:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divingin View Post
I suspect they will clean up fine in a wet tumbler with SS pins, as long as you don't use the normal acidic solution (i.e. no LemiShine, lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.) Acid will cause corrosion of untreated aluminum in a hurry (same reason you don't run raw aluminum cookware through the dishwasher.) Just use the soap, though they'll probably require much less run time than brass.
They will clean up fine.

What I've found when cleaning these is the cases I've loaded after cleaning have lost their exterior coating that makes the cases slick and not get stuck in my carbide dies.

This is the prime reason I recommend not to clean with stainless pins and either load them as is, or run them through a vibratory tumbler with crushed walnut.
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