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  #1  
Old 04-03-2020, 08:09 AM
Fishman33 Fishman33 is offline
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Brass Quality

I have had the "luck" of getting into reloading just before this virus came to town. So lots of time on my hands to read, learn and test some loads. My testing just came to an end as my private club range finally decided to close.

I have a stockpile of .45acp 230 fmj Fiocci factory ammo that I have been shooting and collecting the brass. I also have new starline brass that I purchased. Recently, I bought 1000 once fired brass - it is all Speer. From my collecting at the range , I have picked up some PMC, Winchester, and Federal brass as well.

Is there any "ranking" of brass from highest quality (I assume it is the new Starline stuff) to lowest based upon manufacture? Or is all of it compatible as long as they are in good shape? I did note some different "feeling" when seating primers in the Winchester brass but no issues when firing.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2020, 08:17 AM
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There have been a lot of threads on this Forum about "brass". This is another one of those topics that many have strongly held opinions. I have never seen anything that "ranks" the quality of brass. But, I do think almost all will agree that Starline is about as good as it gets.

Not counting Starline, I happen to like TZZ (Israeli military) the best. Fiocchi, Federal, Winchester & R-P are second tier. PMC & other foreign brands are usable, but it doesn't break my heart if I lose them at the range.
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:32 AM
flechero flechero is online now
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I also put Starline at the top. Like you, I had a full case of Fiocchi that I saved brass from. I think it's up there in the top few, I really like it. I disagree slightly with Rod in that R-P [for me] ranks lower than any other "name brand." In both 9 and 45 it seems thin and generally soft, as the headstamps even seem to wear off faster than others.

As well as 45 brass lasts, you should be set for a long while.... assuming you have the other components in bulk.
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  #4  
Old 04-03-2020, 09:04 AM
jjfitch jjfitch is online now
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In reloading straight wall cases at "normal" and "target" pressures cases will last quite a few sizing operations. I don't even track reload cycles any longer for "range" use ammo.

For reloading match ammo I will set aside like head stamps for each batch of 2-300 or so of once fired brass!

It's interesting to see some brass split after reloading while boxed and stored for any length of time. Due diligence for Q/C is always necessary in all steps in the reloading process including loading mags and speed loaders!

Just about any head stamp that you recognize will be OK for reloading however your purpose, guns, equipment, bullets, powder and primers will determine which are best for you.

The only brass that I set aside for "later" is R-P bottle neck rifle brass. It seems a little thin to me.

Other more experienced reloaders may have a difference of opinion. I've only been doing this stuff since 1966! This isn't "rocket surgery"!

Smiles,
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  #5  
Old 04-03-2020, 09:05 AM
robertrwalsh robertrwalsh is offline
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In my experience, you want to avoid AMERC. I also have a little more trouble inserting primers into S&B than with most other brass. Nothing wrong with the brass. I get the impression their primer pockets may be just a tad tighter than others and maybe the shoulder to the primer pocket a little more square than some.
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2020, 09:30 AM
GySgt 7291 GySgt 7291 is offline
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As far as range brass in .45 goes the biggest thing I've found is primer cup size. For example S&B can be very tight to the point of deforming the primer and RP (Remington) can feel like no resistance at all and the case material seems lighter or thinner. As you go cull the ones that give you trouble or you don't like.

I use range brass for shooting where I don't expect to be able to recover most if any brass, IDPA and places like that. Using my GBW and Starline in those places seems like a waste of money.

For new brass a couple years ago I bought 1000 GBW, made by remington I think. They've been consistent with primer seating, sizing, and all have been reloaded at least a dozen times with very little visible wear. I recently bought 1000 Starline but haven't gotten around to doing anything with them. Ones I've loaded previously lived up to their reputation.
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertrwalsh View Post
In my experience, you want to avoid AMERC.
Thanks, Robert. In my original post, I forgot to add AMERC as the bottom of the barrel, worst ever, do not use, brass. It immediately goes in the split brass container for sale as scrap.
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Old 04-03-2020, 12:39 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRod View Post
Thanks, Robert. In my original post, I forgot to add AMERC as the bottom of the barrel, worst ever, do not use, brass. It immediately goes in the split brass container for sale as scrap.
Some Federal .223 brass is a little thin in the head.

Often only lasts a few reloading cycles.
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Old 04-03-2020, 01:23 PM
Oldfut808 Oldfut808 is offline
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For 45 auto everyday practice shooting, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

I only concern myself with sorting if I'm testing loads or maybe a shootin' match with substantial prizes.
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2020, 03:19 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Originally Posted by Oldfut808 View Post
For 45 auto everyday practice shooting, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

I only concern myself with sorting if I'm testing loads or maybe a shootin' match with substantial prizes.
It is rather tolerant of cases.

For match shooting even length is not all that important.
Uniformity in COL sets distance to rifling, not case length.
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2020, 04:33 PM
Chris1971 Chris1971 is online now
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Starline is my favorite but I only buy it for my revolvers and my new 350 Legend. I like Winchester 45 auto brass a lot and Federal 9mm. Probably not much difference between Winchester, Remington and Federal though. I have been picking up a lot Blazer in 9mm lately but haven’t needed to use it since my Federal 9mm has held up for so long.
For rifle I really like Lapua and then Norma. Again I think Winchester, Remington and Federal are probably going to be pretty similar? I did notice that for my new Ruger 350 AR the Winchester factory brass is absolute GARBAGE. I hope this isn’t the new normal for Winchester. The Hornady brass was okay but to be honest neither hold a candle to Starline. Curious to see what other folks experiences have been lately, particularly for new factory brass.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2020, 04:59 PM
Nitro.45 Nitro.45 is offline
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I cant believe I'm the first one to point out the correct order.

1) Starline
2) Just about any name brand case.
3) Just about any non-name brass
4) Split Starline
5) Aluminum Case
6) Steel Case
7) AMERC
8) Small Primed .45 of any name!!!
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Old 04-03-2020, 05:35 PM
Fishman33 Fishman33 is offline
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Now that's funny right there..
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Old 04-03-2020, 06:37 PM
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Nitro, you are one funny guy.

(But there's always truth in your humor.)
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:28 PM
flechero flechero is online now
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Nitro, you are one funny guy.

(But there's always truth in your humor.)
Pretty funny always... and really funny when he's had a cocktail or two!
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:11 AM
JayhawkNavy02 JayhawkNavy02 is offline
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Starline is a copy of military match case dimensions during the bullseye era. If you can get true military match ammo (or better issued for free) you can take it apart and measure. Well documented on the Bullseye forum. The best stuff is Starline, and true military match 45 ACP from WCC and FC. TZZ is pretty dang good, but I've seen some lots with primer holes that were not perfect, still pretty good stuff.

Below that, IMO, it really doesn’t matter as your arguing about who makes the least worst cases, not the best. What you can do to help get the best from what you have (mixed head stamp) is sort mediocre brass for 50 yards to ensure they’re consistent in the press and that does help. At 25 yards and closer it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s quality stuff. US made brass cases are probably safe for that, Fiochi, S&B, Magtech at 25 yards and closer are fine as well, and I'm sure there are others, I just don't really pay attention. AMERC, and some asian imports IMO are not so great. Federal, Winchester, Remington, etc are usually fine for short line work and club matches IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brickeyee View Post
For match shooting even length is not all that important.
Uniformity in COL sets distance to rifling, not case length.
Not quite. That depends on your “match” for Precision Pistol aka Bullseye aka Precision Pistol, it can be important assuming your shooting is up to task, however if you're doing action games from 25 yards and in I would agree. For precision sports that value marksmanship the game is different and small differences at a certain level can be relevant or at a minimum provide the mental comfort/confidence you need to perform.

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There's a lot to this. 50 yards is a completely different animal from the short line (25 yards). I am an advocate of near zero head space for long line ammo (50 yards). The gun fit, chamber dimensions, throat, leade angles, magazines, and headspace all play a part. A barrel tester can show marked differences in ammo more readily by eliminating the gun in addition to the shooter. Al Bacon and I once conducted an experiment, with 460 Roland brass for 45 ACP. A fixture was fabricated and used to machine brass to a consistent length to achieve zero head space. The improvements out of the barrel tester, and a gun of known group size showed a distinct improvement. It is not practical to machine all your long brass, but Starline is the longest of all current reloading component manufacturers available to the public. Starline brass is the best longline brass available. It is closer to the old military ball match length.

I have some very old military match ball ammo. The case length is in the low to mid 890s. There's a reason for this. Headspace is a factor that contributes to accuracy at 50 yards. The old armories were aware of this way back then. It is important to note that if your extractor is influencing the cartridge case in anyway while in battery, it is not adjusted correctly. The three big ammo manufacturers mostly keep case length in the low to mid 880s. This is too short, even for a .898 chamber, you can have .018 + headspace. Now, there is belief that is conducive to 50 yard accuracy with some, and we are not on the same page. Regardless, the gun should be chambered for the ammo. A chamber depth of .898 or less is possible, providing the shooter heeds reloading. Short line (25 yards) is not that critical, and standard factory ammo can be mass loaded without much concern of an over length case. I have never seen any over max length cases from Remington, Winchester or Federal.

First step to setting headspace. WHAT IS THE CHAMBER DEPTH...????? It’s important to note that all chamber designs are not the same, unless, a standard SAAMI reamer is used, which is designed for the masses, not Bullseye target shooting. What is the leade? SAAMI standard is 5 degrees? Why not use a 1-1/2 or 1 -1/4 degree leade angle, which is proven in every venue of the target world to be beneficial, regardless of caliber. Would a Bullseye chamber benefit from some free-bore? Absolutely, and how about the negative affect of sloppy chamber dimensions? Minimum wall taper, the smokin' hot guns with around 1 inch groups at 50 yards have well designed chambers, but the extractor must be adjusted correctly. The hook must not touch either the rebate angle or the groove, and pulled back to permit the case to seat flat against the breech face when in battery with very little tension when properly adjusted. The bottom picture is typical of the industry standard, and has a negative effect on reliability and accuracy both.





If your barrel has not been set up initially for minimum headspace, you will need to experiment, and adapt. In other words, if your chamber is .910, the only way to minimum headspace is make your own brass, which of course is not practical. There is nothing available near that length. On the other hand, when setting up a new barrel, the chamber can be cut to .898 or .900 and if the brass is .895 - .897, which many batches of Starline are, you have a very good workable headspace compared to a guesstimate which most factory guns are. When shooting short line (25 yards), the accuracy requirement is much less, any good brass like Federal, Remington or Winchester will work fine . The test gauge below is adjusted to zero at .898 and makes checking a large quantity of brass less painful. Even many after market "match" barrels have large chamber Inner Diameters (ID). When the brass expands from the pressure, the material has to come from and go somewhere. Thus, the case shrinks in length. This is minimized with chambers under SAAMI spec.



I cut most chambers at .900 and some less, depending on the shooter's expertise and attention to ammo. Reasonable case length does not result in detrimental accuracy at the short line, but as mentioned has a greater benefit at 50 yards.

When reaming a chamber, it is very hard to control the depth and finish by hand. Standard SAAMI spec off the shelf reamers leave a lot to be desired and are lacking when bullseye accuracy is the goal. All reamers for target use should have no more than a 1-1/2 degree leade, and I personally have found a small amount of freebore beneficial.
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Last edited by JayhawkNavy02; 04-04-2020 at 02:42 PM.
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2020, 09:35 AM
Nitro.45 Nitro.45 is offline
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Jeeze Jayhawk, I’m up here bowing to the crowd and you inject a sensible post!
Buzzkill and I was one minute away from a cocktail!
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2020, 11:14 AM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayhawkNavy02 View Post

Not quite. That depends on your “match” for Bullseye it’s very important, however if your doing action games from 15 yards and in I would agree. For precision shooting sports that value marksmanship the game is different.
Never noticed it all that much and I competed at state level.
MS out an end to it all.
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