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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to load for my rifle using good used military ammo. I know I'll have to do additional prep on the primer pockets, etc., but no problem: I understand it's tougher, thicker brass, etc.

Another related question though: does military brass ever or always require neck turning to ensure an easy fit (and easy chambering) in a possibly slightly tighter commercial chamber?

And: if a person is going to all the trouble to properly prep new brass, would it be a good or reasonable idea to ream the primer pocket just a "thou" or so deeper in my one-time brass prep, along with trimming the cart. OaL to, let's say, the middle of the recommended length (after first-time firing of course...)?

I will be using RCBS's X-Dies to control brass growth, as well as slightly reduced loads. (Why go for your own personal Chernobyl, after all?)

Finally, does anyone here take the time & trouble to anneal their brass after 3 - 4 firings? If I'm going to limit my brass to a maximum cycle of 5 reloads (since this rifle is notoriously hard on brass...*), I'm wondering if annealing is worthwhile It may be: you guys are the experts.

Still looking for CCI #34 mil spec primers. Any other prime maker have a mil-spec large rifle primer?

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* Back then I didn't know any better and owned a match-grade polygonal-bbl'd match-grade H&K G3 up in socialist Kanada. Before the nation-wide recinding of common sense and the banning of that particular rifle, I reloaded it's brass, as I recall, about 8 - 10 times! I didn't anneal (couldn't even spell it!), but did give up on a particular batch of brass when the heads started coming off, primers fell out or the cartridge necks split.

The carbon fluting marks on the brass didn't bother me, and I had one of their rubber ejection port buffers in place, but still: people now say you shouldn't even consider reloading this brass at all, since it goes through such a thermal and physical hell in those rifles!

Sure was an accurate succa though! < 1" always, with most any ammo!). I wonder who has it now, spirited away in their basement awaiting TEOTWAWKI...
 

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I anneal my brass and although many people throw out their cases after 4-5 firings I go by what the brass is telling me. I have at least 7-8 reloads on some brass. I use a jewelers saw and cut a brass case in half to check it. Somebody else just posted their pictures of doing the same thing and they had 10 firings out of them.

I would anneal cases when the anneal marks wear off which would be about two to three re-loadings. A good way to test a case is to drop it from about waist high onto a solid hard floor (Concrete is best) mouth downward. If the mouth hits the concrete and you pick it up and there is no noticeable damage or only very slight out of roundness to the mouth the brass needs to be annealed. An annealed/soft case mouth will easily deform doing this same test.
 

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Check here

Www.gibrass.com

Last I checked he had non-MG once fired LC brass. Good guy to deal with.

Neck turning never necessary.

I'm also not one who thinks the #34s are necessary nor warranted. I use CCI 200s and have never had an issue in either my Garands or M1A. The key is to make sure the primes are seated below flush. Annealing is also not needed, the cases don't last long enough to warrant it, IMHO.
 

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Don't deepen the primer pockets....just remove the crimp. I have used Winchester large rifle primers for M-1As and Garands and have never had an issue with slam fire. I check each re-loaded round to make sure the primer is seated below flush.

Unless you have some type of bench rest chamber, don't bother turning the necks for any load up to 400 yards at normal sized targets. If you are shooting gophers, maybe the .308 isn't the best round anyway.
 

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I use CCI 34s. Always found them at Powder Valley. If not CCI 34s then I would use Wolf Large Rifle (LR) primers b/c they are cheap and folks have fantastic results with them.

I prefer LC NATO once-fired from Bartletts or some other source. Full-length resize and purchase a cartridge case gauge to set up your dies. Best $20 you'll ever spend in relaoding for the M1A. It is picky about case sizing. After that everything will be cake for a technically competent person like yourself. Don't bother with all the gadgets and being overly technical. Perform every step as consistently as possible. This is what generates small groups, especially pertaining to gas guns.

Trim length within 0.005" is a good benchmark. OAL variance from 0.005-0.007". These are for 100 round sets. This is what I strive for. This is about the best I can get with the case lip distoration from extraction. Some folks even grind them back to square. Not worth it to me. I can generate MOA handloads. Maybe not MOA 10 shot groups for me (dreaming), but I can do 190+ at 600 yards so I know my loads are running around an MOA.
 

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dont waste your time neck turning. only time its worth wild is when your BR gun has been reamed with a "tight neck reamer". the so called tight chamber on an M1A of M14 is in reference to the depth of the chamber (how far in the reamer was run), the "tight chamber" being closer to minimum specs.
 

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Powder Valley does have #34 primers in stock as of yesterday (5/27). I've been loading 7.62 x 51 for many years and never felt the need for #34 primers. I think it's a way for them to charge more for a product that's more of a solution in search of a problem anyway.

I have probably loaded 60,00 rounds of 7.62 over the past 20 years, maybe more. I always have used standard Remington or Winchester primers and never had the first problem. Lately I have switched over to Wolf because of the cost. I understand that Wolf are slightly harder than Winchester or Remington but they have performed very well for me.
 

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Mil brass (LC, IMI) is great for an M1A because it is so tough and thick. But it is also very inconsistent when compared to premium commercial brass - one of the side effects of being so tough. I've measured LC brass where the neck wall on one side is 50% thicker than on the opposite side. If it was intended for a bolt gun, I'd definitely turn the necks (actually, LC would be my last choice for a bolt gun, whether it's a tight-chambered BR gun or not).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"Raise your hands and drop the ammo!!

I anneal my brass and although many people throw out their cases after 4-5 firings I go by what the brass is telling me. I have at least 7-8 reloads on some brass. I use a jewelers saw and cut a brass case in half to check it. Somebody else just posted their pictures of doing the same thing and they had 10 firings out of them.

I would anneal cases when the anneal marks wear off which would be about two to three re-loadings. A good way to test a case is to drop it from about waist high onto a solid hard floor (Concrete is best) mouth downward. If the mouth hits the concrete and you pick it up and there is no noticeable damage or only very slight out of roundness to the mouth the brass needs to be annealed. An annealed/soft case mouth will easily deform doing this same test.
Very INTERESTING test technique. The Anneal Drop test! I can see the YouTube vid now! Maybe we could also incorporate the sound into it as well, assuming it's dropped from standardized height onto a concrete floor of some pre-measured hardness GI3

"BING!!!!!"

Soon as I receive my several gauges and such, I'll set off in the Grande Reloading Experiment!
 

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GI Brass has once fired WRA 68 nato brass for 15 cents ($150 per 1000). I love 60's brass since it was drawn and annealed, drawn and annealed, etc. rather than moderen brass, which is impact extruded (like a Coke can). He says "not machine gun fired" which is a big plus for maximum case life. I'm getting some of it for my stash.
 

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How Cartridge Brass is Made

Precision shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’ methods).

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

The headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2007/06/how-cartridge-brass-is-made/
 
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