A couple new guy questions

jLorenzo

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Feb 20, 2017
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How do you know when to throw away brass? I have a ton of Federal blue box brass and usually go 4-5 firings before moving to a fresh batch (had lots of 150gr .308 ammo from walmart). Is it mostly the primer pockets or is there stuff to look for in the neck/shoulder also?

How often do you (if at all) do you take apart your dies and clean them? Haven't wanted to crack mine open since theyre all set perfectly but have a good deal of loads on them at this point.
 

spife7980

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Neck/shoulder? The only thing to watch for is cracks. Usually if you don’t anneal you’ll see where the neck has a vertical split that may run down into the shoulder once it gets too hard to flex after a few cycles. They are usually fairleasy to see light shining through.

Other than primer pockets since I anneal: My main concern is case head separation where the brass is getting sized too much and then growing to much with each fire/size cycle again and again and right above the base of the case you’ll see a crack going around the body where it gets thin and breaks just like when you flex a paper clip too much and snap it only it’s squishing it down and pulling it out but with 60k psi behind it.

Google image splitting case neck and case head separation and you’ll see plenty of examples on what it looks like.
 
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pmclaine

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    Ive had 30-06 brass going on its 6th or 7th firing and Im surprised the necks seem to be fine.

    I am noticing primers are starting to back out a little now though so pockets are opening up.

    If you load Federal brass dont use Winchester primers.......they seem incompatible for being at opposite ends of the primer pocket/primer size specifications.
     

    pmclaine

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    PS - If you use lock rings that incorporate either a set screw or a "squeeze screw" than you should be able to remove your dies and replace them with about zero loss of setting.

    Investing in die lock rings like those from Sinclair/Brownells with this feature is well worth the money. Makes it much easier to adjust dies when setting up or to tweak small adjustments without totally blowing your starting reference.

    For cleaning your dies on the machine soak a long q-tip in acetone and give the die a prostate check with the soaked q-tip.
     

    pmclaine

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    One other thing to check on your brass.... @spife7980 s comment about the paper clip reminded me.

    Take a paper clip.

    Bend it straight.

    Take a set of side cutting pliers and sharpen one of the ends of the paperclip wire with a side cut.

    Bend that side cut end 90 degrees to the rest of the wire.

    As you are processing your brass do some QC checking by running this little tool inside the brass and along the wall down by the case head.

    If you feel the little "feeler" tool catching on a "ring" inside the brass it could be an indication your brass is going to suffer a case head separation.

    Usually this occurs from oversizing but I guess time could also start to weaken that joint where the heavy case head and thinner brass case wall meet.

    If in a "lot" of brass I found one with this Id probably suspect the whole lot and chuck it or Id cut some open and increase my QC checks.
     
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