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  #1  
Old 04-28-2011, 09:13 PM
Col. Mortimer Col. Mortimer is offline
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Sorting by headstamp




Having learned the hard way, I now carefully inspect all headstamps to cull out military crimps and brands I don't care for. This got me thinking, guys that sort by headstamp. What do you guys do, sight-in your pistol each time you switch headstamps or you sort until you have huge number of one headstamp. Or do you do something else.
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2011, 09:25 PM
FLSlim FLSlim is offline
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My only sorting is to put mil in scrap/recycle and to pick out those needing SPP. Otherwise, it is a wild mix for range use. If I was into competition shooting, then I would sort or use only one brand.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2011, 09:32 PM
john16443 john16443 is offline
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I work through my brass by headstamp in alphabetical order for the four headstamp groups I maintain (Federal/Speer/CCI - PMC - RP - Winchester). Like you, toss anything that isn't one of the above groups. After each weekly range session I'll clean that weeks brass and toss it into a holding bag. When I load up my last group of Winchester, I'll sort the cleaned ones again and start the process over. Probably overkill and totally not necessary, but it works for me.

I don't site in with each different headstamp, but will readjust dies as necessary for my desired flare and taper crimp.
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  #4  
Old 04-28-2011, 10:01 PM
BHP9 BHP9 is offline
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Other than rifle, pistol isn't sorted by make.

45ACP is sorted by primer size only.
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2011, 11:55 PM
Bret Bret is offline
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I'm pretty anal about sorting pistol brass by headstamp. The primary purpose is to ensure case wall thickness is the same. This allows for less variation in the belling and taper crimping steps. Overall quality is better, although it's highly unlikely that my shooting skills could tell the difference. It would just bother me to no end if one of my reloads was the cause of a pistol malfunction.

I'll point out that you shouldn't assume that all cases from the same manufacturer are the same. I've found 7 different versions of Speer 40S&W cases. Fortunately, Speer is pretty good about making the headstamp slightly different for each, so telling them apart is pretty easy. I've found three different versions of Winchester 40S&W cases. I can tell these apart by looking inside the case around the flash hole and by weight sorting. Some old ones were really light. Since 40S&W has evolved over the past 20 years, it seems that they've changed the cases often. However, I find the same thing happens with other cartridge cases. Changes just are not as frequent with the more mature cartridges like 9mm and 45ACP.
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2011, 11:57 PM
punchmaster punchmaster is offline
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I haven't noticed enough of a difference between brands of empty cases in pistol cartridges to worry about. Now it's true that I only reload .45s with large pistol primers and throw out all the military bergin and small pistol primer cases as next to useless to me so take that for what it's worth. But Remington vs federal vs winchester who cares?
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  #7  
Old 04-29-2011, 07:24 AM
thedub88 thedub88 is offline
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Why sort by head stamp? first I ever heard of it
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2011, 07:54 AM
boblenaere boblenaere is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedub88 View Post
Why sort by head stamp? first I ever heard of it
Different mfg's exhibit different thickness in the brass (most importantly with regards to case neck tension in the neck area of the case). For instance Winchester & Federal brass tend to be thicker than R-P. When you set your dies up switching from one kind of brass to another can impact neck tension on the bullet along with seating depth due to different brass neck thickness amongst the different mfg's. You can feel this difference for instance when you taper crimp 45 acp, 9mm etc. There will be more resistance with Federal cases than R-P. The difference is noticeable enough that I can tell what brass case I am running based on "feel". The importance: Setting dies for one type of brass then running other types through can result in differences in case neck tension (how tightly the case neck grips the bullet) which can be significant enough to result in bullet setback and cartridge pressure differences. All can impact accuracy and bullet setback can in some instances result in dangerous pressure spikes. Bob
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2011, 08:10 AM
Arkie Arkie is online now
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When I feel the need to sort pistol brass by headstamp I'll quit reloading!

Bob
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2011, 09:09 AM
BillD BillD is offline
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I've reloaded over 80K .45 acp. I've never sorted brass by headstamp, unless it's to weed out AMERC. My loads shoot good (good enough to take a couple state championships), don't suffer setback or pressure spikes.

If one prefers to sort by headstamp and believes they have valid reasons, then by all means....

However, I don't see the point. I'm not looking to find things to LENGTHEN the reloading process. My reloads function great, shoot very good groups, make power factor and run in my guns.
I'm not sure what else I need them to do.

But, reloading is a funny thing and has a funny effect on people. Some strive to make the absolute best ammo possible and view the process as a scientific endeavor.

I only reload because I have to to shoot as much as I like. So, for me, it's a 650 with casefeeder, one powder and one bullet type for 90% of my reloading.
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2011, 10:02 AM
Bret Bret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillD View Post
I'm not looking to find things to LENGTHEN the reloading process.
Actually, sorting by headstamp doesn't measurably lengthen the reloading process for me. If you're visualizing a big pile of brass and the time it would take to sort through it, then you're overestimating the time it would take. I get my brass from factory new ammunition, usually bought a case at a time. I keep it separated as I shoot it. Sometimes I take a couple of minutes to compare lots of brass from the same manufacturer just to make sure they're the same, but that's it.

boblenaere is spot on with his explanation. Setup your dies using one headstamp and the results will often be significantly different if you use another. Over the years I've read posts from many new reloaders who have trouble setting up their dies. If they used sorted brass, then they would find much less variation. Unfortunately, many just mask their problems by putting their cartridges through a Lee FCD and call it a day. I think it's best for new reloaders to start using sorted brass. Then after developing a good understanding of cause and effect, they can stop sorting if they find it unnecessary. Also, keep in mind that the cartridge you're reloading makes a difference too. It's more critical to sort and keep track of how many times 40S&W cases have been fired than it is 45ACP cases.
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  #12  
Old 04-29-2011, 10:07 AM
Gary Wells Gary Wells is offline
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I prefer only 1 brand of brass to help me identify my brass at the indoor range that I shoot at.
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  #13  
Old 04-29-2011, 10:10 AM
BillD BillD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bret View Post
Actually, sorting by headstamp doesn't measurably lengthen the reloading process for me. If you're visualizing a big pile of brass and the time it would take to sort through it, then you're overestimating the time it would take. I get my brass from factory new ammunition, usually bought a case at a time. I keep it separated as I shoot it. Sometimes I take a couple of minutes to compare lots of brass from the same manufacturer just to make sure they're the same, but that's it.

boblenaere is spot on with his explanation. Setup your dies using one headstamp and the results will often be significantly different if you use another. Over the years I've read posts from many new reloaders who have trouble setting up their dies. If they used sorted brass, then they would find much less variation. Unfortunately, many just mask their problems by putting their cartridges through a Lee FCD and call it a day. I think it's best for new reloaders to start using sorted brass. Then after developing a good understanding of cause and effect, they can stop sorting if they find it unnecessary. Also, keep in mind that the cartridge you're reloading makes a difference too. It's more critical to sort and keep track of how many times 40S&W cases have been fired than it is 45ACP cases.

Again, as I said, it's what folks think are important. You think it is important, I don't.

I've got well over 10K .45 cases. I'm not going to sit down and sort them for headstamp. And since I have never sorted them, why haven't I had problems?

And, I'm one of those guys who "mask" their "problems" with a Lee FCD and I love it
Each to their own, reloading can be an obsession. I'm obsessed with the shooting.
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2011, 11:08 AM
Bret Bret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillD View Post
And since I have never sorted them, why haven't I had problems?
It's a matter of variability. The variability in your reloading process still produces ammunition that is reliable. Although I likely have less variability in my reloading process, I can't produce ammunition that is better than 100% reliable. Still, I like knowing that if something goes wrong, it was the pistol and not my ammunition. For others, the extra variability combined with a less than good setup produces ammunition that isn't 100% reliable. For them, sorting might make the difference.

Quote:
And, I'm one of those guys who "mask" their "problems" with a Lee FCD and I love it
There's a proper way to use a tool and an improper way. I've read posts from far too many reloaders who can't manage to bell and taper crimp correctly and think just because they can put the cartridge through a Lee FCD, they've done a good job. I'm sure you'll agree that setting up dies correctly really takes no more time than setting them up wrong, as we know what we're doing.

The bottom line is if you're producing safe, reliable ammo that meets your accuracy requirements, then you're doing it right. We may not agree on the same methods, but it's hard to argue with success.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2011, 11:22 AM
Jerry944T Jerry944T is offline
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Yes I sort by head-stamp for a few reasons the primary one being that my bullseye gun has a very tight chamber and only will eat R-P brass reliably when even slightly dirty.

As has been noted R-P brass is slightly thinner than Federal.

Of course all this nonsense could be prevented by using A lee die which irons everything into one dimension but that would not solve by OCD problem.

I happily trade Winchester and Federal brass to friends for R-P brass. Besides having all one head-stamp just looks nicer to make just like nicely polished brass.

I'm sure there is a 12 step program for this.
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  #16  
Old 04-29-2011, 11:31 AM
340six 340six is offline
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I think we need a poll
Small pistol 45 primer brass ok to use? Yes? No?
Sort by head stamp? Yes? No?
Is "Lead Safe" to shoot handle? Yes? No?
What press should I buy lol
Do you like Ice Cream Yes? No?
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  #17  
Old 04-29-2011, 11:32 AM
birdadly birdadly is offline
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I've yet to reload one round of anything (just getting started out) but find it fun to sort everything by hand at this point, by caliber and then by headstamp. This is all stuff I pick up at the ranges and find it neat to keep things separate.

I bet as I go, years down, maybe only months down, I may get bored of it or find it too time consuming. But for now it's part of my new-found, relaxing hobby! -Brad
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2011, 12:47 PM
wilkersk wilkersk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 340six View Post
I think we need a poll
Small pistol 45 primer brass ok to use? Yes? No?
Sort by head stamp? Yes? No?
Is "Lead Safe" to shoot handle? Yes? No?
What press should I buy lol
Do you like Ice Cream Yes? No?
You forgot one for whether you use conventional or synthetic motor oil for lubing semi-automatics, and one for whether or not you should use dry nitrogen vs regular compressed air on your gun bench.

Also need another poll for how you pronounce "K-y-d-e-x".
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  #19  
Old 04-29-2011, 01:00 PM
Buddy54 Buddy54 is offline
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Large primer goes in one tub, small primer in another tub, military goes in the recycling buckets. I don't shoot competition and I can't for the life of me see a significant difference when I sort or don't sort for practice ammo.
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  #20  
Old 04-29-2011, 02:24 PM
NonPCnraRN NonPCnraRN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilkersk View Post
You forgot one for whether you use conventional or synthetic motor oil for lubing semi-automatics, and one for whether or not you should use dry nitrogen vs regular compressed air on your gun bench.

Also need another poll for how you pronounce "K-y-d-e-x".
Make sure it is dry nitrogen instead of nitrous oxide or no telling what kind of loads you will wind up with.
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  #21  
Old 04-29-2011, 02:52 PM
BHP9 BHP9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry944T View Post
Yes I sort by head-stamp for a few reasons the primary one being that my bullseye gun has a very tight chamber and only will eat R-P brass reliably when even slightly dirty.

As has been noted R-P brass is slightly thinner than Federal.

Of course all this nonsense could be prevented by using A lee die which irons everything into one dimension but that would not solve by OCD problem.

I happily trade Winchester and Federal brass to friends for R-P brass. Besides having all one head-stamp just looks nicer to make just like nicely polished brass.

I'm sure there is a 12 step program for this.
I found that bullseye shooters segregate brass by type, number of times fired etc.

The 12 step program is drink single malt Scotch, sort the brass and repeat as necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 340six View Post
I think we need a poll
Small pistol 45 primer brass ok to use? Yes? No?
Sort by head stamp? Yes? No?
Is "Lead Safe" to shoot handle? Yes? No?
What press should I buy lol
Do you like Ice Cream Yes? No?
Also "Where are the cookies"?
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  #22  
Old 04-29-2011, 03:17 PM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Sorting by headstamp

When I need to have the most consistent and accurate load, I will sort by headstamp, but prefer to use matching headstamp of once fired brass.

I always used matching headstamps when I shot NRA Convential Outdoor Bullseye compettion. And for big matches, I only used matching once fired or brand new brass.

My best reloads were used on the long line, where 50 yards demands the ultimate in accurate reloads. For the short line, I used mixed brass, but in major matches, I used all matching head stamps for the entire competition.
I always marked my brass with a Sharpie pen, so I could identify my own brass. I often used a black and a green to make an X mark with one side black and the other side of the X green.
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  #23  
Old 04-30-2011, 06:54 AM
boblenaere boblenaere is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillD View Post
Again, as I said, it's what folks think are important. You think it is important, I don't.

I've got well over 10K .45 cases. I'm not going to sit down and sort them for headstamp. And since I have never sorted them, why haven't I had problems?

And, I'm one of those guys who "mask" their "problems" with a Lee FCD and I love it
Each to their own, reloading can be an obsession. I'm obsessed with the shooting.
Bill: 45 acp is a low pressure load and is very "forgiving". More likely to see inconsistencies/pressure variations in higher pressure loads with those smaller cases 9mm, etc. However, if you want to most accurately work up any load for pressure, velocity best to use the same type of brass, primer , etc. to remove the "variables". I believe it all comes down to how much specificity you demand from your handloads. Bob
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  #24  
Old 05-01-2011, 12:27 AM
Emerson Emerson is offline
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Since I do not shoot Bullseye I think sorting by headstamp is a complete waste of my time.
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  #25  
Old 05-01-2011, 04:21 AM
Comp42 Comp42 is offline
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I shot IPSC for 23 years and loaded a quarter million 45 ACP rounds and never sorted brass. These days you have to check the range pick up brass for small pistol primers, berdan primed, etc. Military brass goes in a seperate can to have the primer pocket swaged.

I do shoot in lots of 1,000 and keep them seperate. They go to the bottom of the stack and wait thier turn in line for the next reloading cycle. FILO First in, Last out.
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