Experience with different brass? Best longevity?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Matt_WY, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Want to start reloading for my 416 rem and 375 H&H. Brass prices vary widely.

    Most available seem to be Hornady, Nosler (at least for the 375), and Norma; the Nosler and Norma are around twice the price.

    In small bores I typically use Lapua if I can, but I don't think the consistency quite as important her as we are not talking long range accuracy.

    So is there a significant difference in number of reloads you are going to get out of something like Norma or Nosler vs Hornady? Something else that makes some of this brass worth 2x the price?

    What do folks here use/like for mid-bores and large-bores?
     

  2. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    I just recently got schooled up on this topic. . My AH friend who is helping me get started is high on Norma brass. Just bought some Norma 470NE brass that was a good bit more expensive than Hornady but Im told it should last longer.
     
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  3. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I have not found any brass to outlive Winchester in general, when it can be found in the caliber of choice. Having said that I do get great service life with Remington in my .375 Whitworth. In other calibers much less so.
     
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  4. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    But will it last twice as long? :)

    Thanks for the input! One vote for the Norma.
     
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  5. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    Lapua & Norma in that order.
    ( just a note *** heard Lapua was going to do a production run of 7mm rem mag brass in 2019)
     
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  6. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Only time and trips to the range will tell.
     
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  7. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    lengevity is one thing, but consistency is quite another.

    a brass case starts life as a round disk that is pressed into shape over several steps. i use Hornady for my 308 and find it very consistent. Consistent = the same thickness/same weight, piece to piece. when the brass sheet was initially rolled out, was it thicker in some places, thinner in others? Since the external dimensions have to be the same, what you find is that with inconsistent brass, the internal dimensions can vary enough to alter performance, though not necessarily to a dangerous degree. thinner brass, even if it is consistent, won't last as long. but will also not produce the same amount of pressure as slightly thicker brass, which affects velocity. if the thickness is consistent, it isn't a problem. if the thickness is not consistent, pressure, and thus velocity, can vary from cartridge to cartridge, even with the same primer, powder charge, and consistent bullets.

    if you're making a 100 yard shot on a cape buffalo, slight brass inconsistency isn't a terribly big deal. that same 100 yd shot on a crocodile or hippo can make a very big difference in outcome.

    I use Nosler for my 6.5x55, Norma for my 9.3x62, and Starline for my 45-70.

    considering the kind of game you will likely hunt with your 375, stick with Norma or Lapua. Would it really be worth the 50-75 cent difference in price that might cause you to muff a shot on a 15' croc?

    One of the things that can affect brass life is your loads. Are you running your loads right up to the edge of safe? Or are you staying well within the normal pressure curve? You don't HAVE to get your bullets to 2600 to be effective. 2450 with a TSX or A-Frame will do the job you want it to do.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019

  8. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    It pretty much well depends on intensity and how much you overwork the brass.

    I have re sized and fireformed loads of psycho rounds like the 30-378, simply cause I had tons of 378 cases. After they were heated and tipped in cold water they were pretty soft and easily formed, but after throwing 3 4000fps. + Loads in each case they needed to go in the trash.

    9mm cases can get slapped with the carbide about 7 times with target loads and 5 with +p. 3 times maybe at +p+ or when the primers go in too easy.

    Definitely not brain surgery, but my loads that I hunt with only get used twice. After that they are for targets.
     
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  9. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Ok. You guys convinved me. Norma it is!
     
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  10. cmk

    cmk AH Veteran

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    I have used Norma exclusively, but maybe not so surprising since that is the domestic brand. I've only been reloading for a few years, but I have yet to have a case fail on me. I think I have about 10 reloads in the most heavily used cases. After that I discard them, since it is easy to find once-fired brass from training ammo in the more common calibres (6.5x55, .30-06 and 9.3x62). Not more than 10c/each, or even for free.

    For the 404 I recently got hold of some RWS brass, but I have yet to load some up and shoot it.
     

  11. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Matt, may I throw in my $.02 worth? What I have done is purchased factory loads of all brands testing for what shoots best. In my 375 H&H for example I’ve tested 4 different Federal’s, 2 PPU (cheapest practice), 1 Barnes, 2 Hornady, 1 Remington, and Swift. In the 2 1/2 years I’ve owned the rifle, I have fired close to 2,000 rounds doing load development, practicing, playing. Because of the shape (long taper) of the H&H I have only neck sized and it always has fed. I have yet to see a split neck, but I cannot tell you how many times I have reloaded each.

    I have them separated by brands. The first failures have been the Federals all are nickel plated. The failures have been loose primers. None have blown when fired, only loose when repriming. They have never felt tight from the first priming. Federal brass has always stretched and seemed soft in every cartridge I have tested.

    Even cheap PPUs have worked for several reloads. I cannot tell any accuracy difference in any brand. I now have made all these my practice load brass.

    All that said, I reserve no more than twice fired brass for my hunting loads utilizing the same brand. In my case primarily Barnes (Norma made I think) or Hornady (less consistent thus more rejects). I highly recommend you do this what ever your brass choice is!

    Best of luck what ever brand you pick!
     
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  12. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    1. Starline
    2. Lapua
    3. Norma
    4. Winchester
    5. Hornady

    Winchester is at #4 only because it can be hit and miss. Starline is tops but Lapua is not far behind. Neither have as wide of a selection as the lower three but I mention them for the sake of those loading calibers which are available through either.

    As mentioned elsewhere, a lot of it comes down to the loads and how you work the brass.
     

  13. PARA45

    PARA45 AH Fanatic

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    I'll give you opinion using Weatherby brass which is made by Norma.

    Weatherby cartridges are pushed hard, and the brass (depending on how hot the load is) it is subject to the same punishment. I do not shoot extremely hot loads through my Weatherbys. I reload until my rifle lets me know which load she likes and when it's time to stop, staying within reloading manuals listed loads. I neck size after firing on the rifle, and then once in a while I'll bump the shoulder. I have brass that it is on it's 5th reloading (257 & 270 Weatherby)

    I believe that your reloading practice is more important than what brass you are using. If you are consistent and trim your brass, debur & uniform the primer holes, weight & sort out the brass. You can develop a good load and make any brass shoot real good in your rifle. If you are planning on using this load on your next hunting trip, paying double for brass is pocket change compared to the cost of a safari.
     
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  14. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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  15. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    I have also used RUAG / RWS with great success. Its a bit hard to find but very very good, every bit as good as Norma & Lapua IMHO.

    Regards
    Pat
     

  16. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    never had much luck with Starline the primer pockets always seem to wear out
     

  17. sgt_zim

    sgt_zim BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I'm on my 4th reload with my first set of Starlines for my 45-70. I haven't even had to trim them yet, and I do a full length on each reload (if there's a way to only do the "neck," I'm not aware of it). The primer pockets are also in good shape, and this is on fairly high pressure loads - 405, 425, and 525 gr bullets between 1600 and 1630 fps.
     

  18. Luvthunt

    Luvthunt AH Veteran

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    Norma mostly for the past 25/30 years. Except for the 458 Lott that is a mix of Bell-Superior -Barnes and A-squares. Still have most of the 458 brass but only shoot it less then 100 times a year.there was no commercial brass for the 458 in 1989.
     

  19. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Enthusiast

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    then we come to annealing fired brass correctly.
    bruce.
     

  20. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    For the belted cases I highly recommend the collet resizing die: http://www.larrywillis.com. I personally like Norma brass a lot but I save it for final hunting loads. I will use whatever else I can get for practice- but I do build a new load for each different manufacturer.

    I am comparing RCC brass and Qual-cart and I noticed they have different manufacturing processes. Does anyone know whether one manufacturing technique is better than another?
     

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