Range Brass Prep

OhHeyThereBen

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At the local indoor range they sell (mostly) once fired brass at the front desk. I just picked up a batch of nearly all Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass, with a couple of Noslers thrown in there. Being a popular alternative to the .308 in semi-autos, I see that there are some dents on the walls (those will fire out) and some scratches on the case necks. After re-sizing, I washed them all with hot water and dish soap which made them nice and clean (I don't have a wet tumbler and figured that this would help break loose anything on the inside).

Is there anything special that you guys do with brass that hasn't been fired in your gun yet? The price is considerably cheap compared to new brass (1/3 the price) so it'll be worth it to me. Is there any way for me to tell how many firings are on the brass? There are a few case necks with some discoloration, but I doubt that is a sure sign of multiple firings. Is it worth dealing with annealing the entire brass to make sure?
 

Ben Lamb

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If they're from a semi-auto, you'll want small-based dies to bring the entire case back into spec. I'd also be pretty stingy with what I feed my guns when it comes to range brass. Weigh the cases, visually inspect them, etc.

I'm less picky about range brass for pistols, but I've had bad luck with 9mm brass, causing a kaboom in an old Sig.
 

VikingsGuy

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I am still learning too, but a few things that come to mind:

* I would full length resize and trim for sure
* I would be super anal about checking for any signs of pressure or overuse problems at the neck, shoulder, "belt" and primer pockets
* I would sort by weight (something I don't do when I buy Nosler, Norma or Lapua new in batch)
* I would be very liberal with throwing away off-brands or questionable cases
* I wouldn't use at all if my load recipe is above "book" or runs hot/fast in my gun
 

OhHeyThereBen

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Thanks guys. I'll give them another good once-over before loading them. Unfortunately I don't have a small base re-sizing die but they do seem to chamber alright after just using my Hornady FL resizing die. Maybe I'll go through and run them all through the die again after sorting by weight. I'm going to need to buy another batch anyway since not all 50 are the same brand like I thought they were at first glance. Got 47 Hornady and 3 Nosler. Hopefully I can find a batch with more Nosler to equal it out. Kinda doubt it though.

All I shoot in my 9mm is range brass. When you can get a tub of it for $30 I don't think you can really lose... unless you blow up your gun I guess. Never had any problems with mine though.
 

Don Fischer

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I don't use range brass other than once fired military. No real idea how many time's the brass was fired. But if I were to do it, I think I'd run each case through my action first just to see if I did need to FL size. Seem's to me that if the case's fit your chamber, no FL sizing is necessary. Then if you are firing them in a semi-auto, forget everything I said. I've never loaded for semi-auto's.
 

OhHeyThereBen

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Thanks Don. I'm loading for a bolt action Savage. I'd assume that the ones that did fit the chamber before I resized were shot from a bolt action as well. Probably 50% of them have dings in the walls, so I would assume that those were shot from semi-autos. They're not terribly damaged so I think I'll be ok loading them.

I've had no issues with 30-06 brass at all from the range, but then again, there aren't nearly as many semi-auto 30-06's out there anymore being shot regularly.
 

cahunter805

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Your FL die should size the case enough to fit your bolt gun chamber. No need for a small base die since your not shooting in a semi auto. Usually a small base die is used for semi auto guns.
FL size and trim the brass. Check a FL size piece of brass in your chamber and see if it fits before you start loading them all. Check primer pockets also. I’d use the 47 Hornady pieces and not the 3 Nosler.
 

OhHeyThereBen

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I'll be picking up some new brass eventually. But I figured for load development and barrel break-in the used brass wouldn't hurt anything. I was really surprised at the lack of 6.5 Schmedium brass options at Scheels. They had it in Hornady (sold out), but not in Winchester or Remington. They didn't even have a Lee case guage/shell holder for it.

Although, I was surprised to see about 30 different kinds of factory loads for the manbun. I haven't walked through that isle in a while but I swear nearly an entire row on the shelf was reserved for it.
 

JustJay

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Unless you're planning on shooting the world cup, or nationals with that brass. Full length size it, check the necks for signs of cracks and shoot it. If there are small dents in the case sides, they will fire form out the next firing. Weighing each case is an absolute waste of time if you're only shooting paper or animals with it. Just use the same headstamp when working up your load. Once you find the sweet spot, use a couple of different head stamps and look for accuracy change and pressure signs. Unless you're at the upper end of charge weight limits you're probably not going to see anything much different.... Load it and go enjoy it.
 

OhHeyThereBen

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Here’s the picture of the dings in the neck. 14/50 of them. Think someone just has a nasty burr in their chamber? Would you guys still use this brass?

111CCABE-2525-47AF-9DB5-16B7378F6F83.jpg
 

Millsworks

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That's superficial brass dings, as far as I can see.
Nothing wrong with that.

Run em a while and give em a good polishing. It will likely completely remove the blemishes.
 

OhHeyThereBen

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Just what I like to hear. As always, thank you guys for the insight.

The rest of them didn’t have neck dings and these are all in the same spots. That’s what made me curious. I’ve seen the dings from semi-autos on the body but not on the necks like this. They aren’t deep but had me a bit worried.
 
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Millsworks

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All brass should be treated the same.

Guilty until proven otherwise!
Inspect for cracks, verify a uniform primer pocket, be sure the flash hole is clear and open, and be certain it is of the right cartridge type.
Then size and trim to length.
Load, fire, and repeat until a defect is found.
I only throw out the bad apples.
 

OhHeyThereBen

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From what I can tell all are once fired. There has been no chamfer on the case mouths. And there are no deformities. I took the most uniform 30 and will use them as my primary. The others will need to prove themselves and will probably be break-in throways.
 
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ImBillT

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It depends on how you want it to shoot. At a minimum I would full length resize, trim to length, chamfer and debut case mouths and check for evidence of a case head separation in the near future. You can bend a sharp crook on a paper clip and run it into the case and feel for it. There are some articles out there on how to do it for a much better description. Most likely if the case isn’t over length it hasn’t been fired too many times. For better accuracy I would sort by brand and weight, and anneal case mouths. I don’t make a big deal of annealing brass, but I do anneal when I combine various batches. Weight sorting is not as important with premium brass brands when you buy new, but I’ve found a lot more variation from batch to batch than within a batch, so you’ll probably find that you get bigger spread than you expected even from the top brands. I debur flash holes if there’s a tab inside. Usually there isn’t on once fired brass, and there won’t ever be on Nosler/Norma, Lapua, or RWS. I would by 2-5 times as much as you need to get a decent sized batch of well sorted brass. You’ll still benefit because you’ll have 2-5 batches of good brass at a discount.
 
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cahunter805

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Those nicks/dings don’t look to bad and may fire out. So in the end you have 30pcs of brass to use and others that are somewhat useful. You still don’t know how many times they are fired. How much did you really save over new brass that you would know all the history of? I’ve been down the range brass road and won’t anymore for centerfire rifles.
 
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