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  #1  
Old 03-19-2020, 5:32 AM
swift swift is offline
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Default Reloading machine gun .308 brass

I have a bag of once-fired .308 lake city brass that took noticeably more effort to full-size resize than my two-times fired .308. Most cases are 2.02 long. Based on these observations, I believe the brass was fired in a machine gun.

How much shorter a lifetime should I expect relative to brass fired in a manual bolt action? Am I correct in thinking accuracy will not be affected or, if so, the difference would be minor for a non-competitor?
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2020, 6:14 AM
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Almost all once-fired LC brass is through a machine gun. Accuracy wise you are correct, it's a non-issue. Check them with a bent paper-clip for any potential case separation and treat like any other reloaded case.
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Old 03-19-2020, 8:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swift View Post
How much shorter a lifetime should I expect relative to brass fired in a manual bolt action? Am I correct in thinking accuracy will not be affected or, if so, the difference would be minor for a non-competitor?
Assuming you got it sized to fit your chamber, there will be minimal other effects. As stated above, the loose machine gun chamber may cause some initial stretch in the case, but if it is not apparent on inspection, and you size so it doesn't get worse, it shouldn't be an issue. Lifespan will depend on how you use it more than its first firing - minimal shoulder bump, less than max loads, working the case mouth as little as possible; all these will help to extend case life.

That said, it's used 308 brass. Don't look at it like it's near and dear; it's a consumable. Use it til you can't and toss it.
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Old 03-19-2020, 8:33 AM
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Quote:
I have a bag of once-fired .308 lake city brass that took noticeably more effort to full-size resize than my two-times fired .308
I have no ideal how many cases are in a bag. I have purchased cases in barrels, one purchases was for 24,000 cases. There were 2 suspect cases in the lot, both were Berdan primed.

I want to know something about a case before I start, I have purchased fired cases from firing ranges, before purchasing I measured everyone of them for length from the shoulder to the case head. My favorite cases are cases that are long from the shoulder to the case head and short from the case head to the end of the neck.

I have purchased 308 W cases in lots that were too large for the bolt type shooter. Out of all of the 308W cases I have never had one that refused to be sized. Most of my case sizing has never required a lube beyond RCBS roll on. On occasion I have formed cases that resisted sizing, long before I ever thought someone would care what I was using I found a lube with no-name. I use the no-name lube to size cases with an excessive ability to resist sizing.

And then there is the unknow; that would be covered in the explanation of what happened to the case when fired. Forum members do not want to know what happens to the case when fired; forums members want to tell everyone what happened to the case when it was fired. I do not know but when I examine the case I am trying to determine what happened to the case when it was fired. FIRED IN A MACHINE GUN? I want to know what happened to the case when it was fired in a machine gun. I suggest the reloader start by measuring the case, and then I ask; who owns a bolt rifle with a machine gun barrel?

F. Guffey
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Old 03-19-2020, 8:44 AM
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Quote:
minimal shoulder bump
I have a leaver policy, when the case is fired and it forms to the chamber I apply the 'leaver policy'. I leaver the way I founder. Problem: reloaders are sizing cases for chamber with an unknown length from the shoulder to the bolt face. If machine gun fired cases are long from the shoulder to the case head they go straight to the top of my favorite cases because manufacturers do not sell cases to people like me. People like me determine the length of the chamber from the shoulder of the chamber to the bolt face first.. If the case is tuff to size I do not struggle with returning the fired case back to minimum/full length sized. Again, I have a leaver policy.

F. Guffey

I have never found information from a reloader that has measured a machine-gun fired case. I can not believe reloaders believe 'machine gun fired' covers it all. Reminds me of 'neck tension' that is all a reloader has to learn when typing' neck tension' that is it.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2020, 9:44 AM
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Also, don't forget that military rifle brass is typically thicker than commercial brass with less case capacity. I would start with reduced loads (by a few grains) and see how they work.

Dan
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:33 AM
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Brass fired in an oversized MG chamber might need to be sized twice in order to get it to chamber properly. Brass will "spring back" after sizing. If it was too much oversized to start with, the spring back may be enough to prevent easy chambering.
If (IF) that happens, usually a second sizing will fix the issue. My normal procedure, if I'm dealing with known MG brass and since I'm using a progressive press, is to size using a standard die. Then use a Dillon sizer/trimmer setup, and that usually takes care of that problem. Doing two jobs at once.

Last edited by Sailormilan2; 03-19-2020 at 3:27 PM..
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2020, 10:41 AM
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A Redding small base body die works great on M/G brass. The die sizes the body and shoulder, no neck. Because of this, it runs smoothly through the die. I run the brass through twice (two bumps) and give the brass about 2 seconds into the die.

You will have to size the neck after this. you can run it through your regular F/L die.
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:55 AM
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When I loaded some of that stuff I had about a 50% incipient head separation at the next firing in my gas gun. I will never waste my time again with machine gun brass again.
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2020, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Also, don't forget that military rifle brass is typically thicker than commercial brass with less case capacity. I would start with reduced loads (by a few grains) and see how they work.
Do not forget: Reeloaders do not measure, they repeat what they have read on the Internet. When responding they go into auto response. I don't, I was told military cases were heavier and then they add the 'therefore' part, The case is thicker therefore the case is heavier. And then there is the part they assume, they assume the case has less capacity.

Many years ago I started measuring and weighing cases; My military case head thickness was .200" thick from the top of the cup above the web to the case head. And then I measured the case head thickness of my R-P 30/06 cases. The thickness of my R-P case heads measured .260" from the top of the cup above the web to the case head.

It was then I decided if there is any truth to what I read on the Internet it can only be a half truth because my commercial cases had a thicker case head than 1,000s of my military cases. And then I took the liberty to think about it.

If my Remington cases have a thicker case head and weighs less than my 30/06 military cases the case body must be thinner. If the case heads on my military LC type cases have a thinner case head than my R-P case heads my but are heavier the case bodies of my military cases must be thicker.

What does some of this mean? It means the powder column of my military cases is smaller in diameter and longer than the powder column in my R-P cases.

And with the thick case head my R-P powder column is shorter with a larger diameter powder column than the powder column in my military cases.

F. Guffey
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2020, 1:40 PM
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Well, my Lyman 49th edition states the following (page 219):

"Shooters should also stay one to two grains below the listed maximum charges due to the smaller volume of GI brass."

This is on the chapter for 7.62 x 51mm, 308 Winchester.

I have read this on other manuals as well.

Dan
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Old 03-19-2020, 2:25 PM
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Quote:
"Shooters should also stay one to two grains below the listed maximum charges due to the smaller volume of GI brass."
I believe it is a bad habit to go straight for the listed maximum charge. If the reloader knew the minimum and maximum and understood the 1/2 in the middle difference they would start 2 grains below maximum and 2 grains above minimum. I can not remember the last time a reloader measured the effect firing had on the case, I can not remember a reloader measuring the case before firing and I have never read where the reloaders stated what he was looking for.

They just want to talk about tension.

F. Guffey

Last edited by fguffey; 03-19-2020 at 2:26 PM.. Reason: add gr to make the word grains
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Old 03-19-2020, 2:42 PM
robert101 robert101 is offline
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I agree with many posts here and can relate to posts 7 & 11. I've had good results with what I thought was "machine gun" used LC brass. I don't load often to published maximum loadings and have LC cases with many uses.
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Old 03-19-2020, 2:50 PM
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If your sized brass does not chamber, try a small base die or a roll sizer.
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Old 03-19-2020, 7:41 PM
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Sizing a mg fired case in a small base die is hard. A better approach is to size it in a regular Redding body die, then in a small base die. This two pronged approach reduces sizing effort because the regular body die sizes the case minimally. The small base version sizes the case a lot. This is both at the bottom and at the shoulder. You don’t want a stuck case or a broken press.
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Old 03-19-2020, 7:41 PM
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Thanks, everyone! I learned a few tips today.
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Old 03-19-2020, 8:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
Also, don't forget that military rifle brass is typically thicker than commercial brass with less case capacity.
I would start with reduced loads (by a few grains) and see how they work.

Dan
For 308 Winchester loads, it's normal to reduce powder charges by 1 (one) grain to accommodate the reduced case volume of 7.62x51 military brass.
A "few" is too much.
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  #18  
Old 03-20-2020, 5:01 AM
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1.5 grains is more like it. Powder lots vary in burning rate.

Secondly, in 308 brass, military vs commercial is too blurred. Many commercial cases are just as heavy as military. FC and LC are a good example. They have the same capacity. PMC, CBC, Starline, some Hornady, some a Winchester, etc are the same as military. Some military cases are the same as commercial. You can’t just assume. Weigh the cases.
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  #19  
Old 03-20-2020, 5:35 AM
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I had the same issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elk hunter View Post
When I loaded some of that stuff I had about a 50% incipient head separation at the next firing in my gas gun. I will never waste my time again with machine gun brass again.
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Old 03-20-2020, 8:18 AM
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Quote:
I had about a 50% incipient head separation at the next firing in my gas gun
Suddenly and without warning: Reminds me of neck tension; in the world of reloading it is not possible to measure, there is no gage to measure neck tension, with one exception. I have a tension gage, my tension gage does not measure tension it measures bullet hold in pounds. The largest tension gage I have used was face size, it measured tension in thousands of pounds, it was possible to convert thousands to tons but all of that drill pipe was weighed in thousands of pounds.

No one ask how much tension do we have on the bottom of the hole. Read the indicated weight on the pie size gage and then multiply the indicated weight by the number of cables.

Again, I ask; does anyone have a machine gun barrel? Does anyone in the world of reloading measure before and again after firing? Does anyone know/understand the sequence of events necessary to have case head separation? I was told I was going to have case head separation and I wondered; what had to happen before the case suffered case head separation. I knew my cases were not going to have case head separation when I measured the case after firing the first time.

And then I tried to determine if it was possible to suffer case head separation before firing, test indicated I was not going to have case head separation; and then I thought, if I can do the test anyone can do the test, after that I rationalized, if I can why can't they?

F. Guffey

Last edited by fguffey; 03-20-2020 at 8:46 AM..
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Old 03-20-2020, 9:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bergmen View Post
Also, don't forget that military rifle brass is typically thicker than commercial brass with less case capacity. I would start with reduced loads (by a few grains) and see how they work.

Dan
It's not so much that it its thicker it's harder. The old M1 30-06 brass and 7.62x51 brass is much harder to take the hammering it suffers when cycled. Normal 30-06 and 308 brass will have the rim torn up/off after a few reloads for an M1 or M14.
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Old 03-21-2020, 8:18 AM
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Quote:
I have a bag of once-fired .308 lake city brass that took noticeably more effort to full-size resize than my two-times fired


More effort to full length size: Why were you trying to full length size? You had cases that you had fired and sized twice, it seems you would know the length of the chamber from the datum to the case head.

The case length was 2.020”, a normal case length for the 308W is 2.015”, and then it should be decided when the measurement was taken; before or after sizing. When determining the effort required to full length size the reloader should consider the difficulty in sizing the case head above the shell holder (deck height of .125”)

In these matters I never remember reading about checking to see if the die made it to the top of the shell holder. I know, reloaders are so full of tension, moving the shoulder back, bumping and head space of the case; I guess ‘too busy’ could be a good excuse.

But it is possible if the cases had more resistance to sizing than your other cases I would think it would be wise to determine if the die made it to the shell holder. The case’s ability to resist sizing can prevent the case from being sized. Tuff t size cases can cause the press to flex. Press flex can be measured but never on the Internet. I have measured press flex; I have a tension gage that measures flex. Problem, the gage is not marked off in tensions; it is marked off in thousands and pounds like a strain gage. When it come to knowing if my press has more ability to size a case than the case has to resist sizing I measure the gap between the die and shell holder. And then there are methods and techniques for increasing the presses ability to size the case.

And then there are all of the reloaders that have case head separation, if I have case head separation I want to know why. I have never blamed case head separation on the case; I have blamed reloaders for what they did to the case.

F. Guffey

Last edited by fguffey; 03-21-2020 at 9:24 AM..
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swift View Post
I have a bag of once-fired .308 lake city brass that took noticeably more effort to full-size resize than my two-times fired .308. Most cases are 2.02 long. Based on these observations, I believe the brass was fired in a machine gun.

How much shorter a lifetime should I expect relative to brass fired in a manual bolt action? Am I correct in thinking accuracy will not be affected or, if so, the difference would be minor for a non-competitor?
I use these machine gun fired cases often for my M1a and AR10. Cheap and these two guns are gonna beat the crap out of the cases as well, so why not, the LC are tough and up for the job. As mentioned always check for separation, paper-clips work just fine, and for me after the initial resizing is done and trimmed to length, I love using my X-Dies to keep the growth of them in check. For me works really well, I usually do 4ish reloads on the case then toss them. Not worth any more risk, some can get more, the bolt actions definitely, but on these two semi-auto's they are harsh on them and not worth it.

https://www.rcbs.com/reloading-dies/rifle/356090.html
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:54 AM
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I use machine gun fired brass. I had to use the same technique Jcat mentioned about sizing first in a standard die, then in a small base die.

I tried just the small base die, but the amount of pressure on my press handle was getting stupid and it was putting a ring on the outside of the case near the bottom. I went to the two step method of a regular die, then the small base die and that made life much easier and I didn't get a bunch of cases with a ring at the bottom.

Can't say how many times the sized machine gun fired cases last, since I only used them in my HK-91. That gun has a fluted chamber and it crushes the entire case mouth on ejection, so I only use the brass once. Which is the reason I use cheap machine gun fired brass.
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Old 03-29-2020, 7:05 PM
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Default Was using small base die

Good point on the sizing die-I was using a small base 308 die and sizing in one step. Using a standard 308 sizing die first makes a lot of sense.
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Old 03-29-2020, 8:11 PM
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I've done thousands of military 308 and have noticed that you have to really lube them well before sizing. Have not yet had any issues with pressures ,or case head separation. Load mil brass about half grain less than commercial. Only issue I had with mil brass was they all had to be trimmed and the primer pockets deburred of the crimp. A real time consuming pain in the ***. Have several hundred ready for loading and several thousand already loaded. I'll probably never buy them again because of all of the extra work involved.
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Old 03-29-2020, 8:40 PM
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I use nothing but Lake City brass for my M1A. I use 41 grains of IMR 4895 with a 150 grain Hornady FMJ bullett. I also use a RCBS Precison Mic Gauge to make sure I don't over size the case.
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Old 03-29-2020, 8:52 PM
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I think you need 10 neck tensions, for machine gun barreled brass, i could be wrong
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Old 03-29-2020, 9:03 PM
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Originally Posted by freonr22 View Post
I think you need 10 neck tensions, for machine gun barreled brass, i could be wrong
Now you did it.
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Old 03-29-2020, 9:07 PM
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Well, that, and maybe bumping the shoulder back 300
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