Range brass to Precision/Hunting Reloading?

Discussion in 'Shooting & Fireams Training / Skills' started by Paycheck, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    I recently thought about reloading 7.62x39 because Hornady discontinued their SST steel cased ammo (my CZ 527 loved them). Then came an idea about a MK 262 clone.
    I started noticing a theme. Here's the thing: I don't case-prep at the moment (new to reloading), so I probably wouldn't be reusing casings. I also don't care much for buying casings online unless I find them dirt cheap. I thought it might be practical if I reload from once-fired factory brass, and since I have practice/range/drill guns that shoot 5.56 NATO and 7.62x39, I could save by cleaning and re-priming fired casings from drills. The cheap 7.62x39 casings I use for drills could be reloaded into SST rounds for my CZ527, and my practice 5.56 brass could be loaded with 77gr bullets for my SPR project. 2 questions:

    1. Should I be worried about using once-fired cheap brass for reloads if I'm only going to use it once. Is this a viable idea overall?
    2. What other cartridges do you know that have cheap range/surplus ammo as well as precision/hunting applications. For example: .308 Win. It has dirt cheap surplus (7.62x51) and higher end match rounds.
     
  2. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    What case prep do you do? Resize right?
     
  3. Solo

    Solo Member

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    There has to be a full process to re-use brass. Clean—resize/deprime—trim.

    Some lazy folks skip the clean but the hey are not getting the full potential. Anyone skipping anything in reloading worries me. What else did you skip on? Reading the full ABC’s of reloading manual? Skip building up a load to max powder? Skip on finding the accuracy load for you rifle?
     
  4. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    Currently, I buy cheap ready brass in bulk for my 300BLK, so I don't touch it. When I said I'm new, I'm talking about buying the brass, bullets, powder, primers, and putting them together.

    I don't know if I'll be trimming once-fired brass (I'll have to measure it next time I shoot to see just how much longer it is). But yes, I plan on cleaning them.
    Also not sure if I'll be resizing them, either. I guess it depends on whether or not it chambers properly and whether I'll use it on same gun or different (again, I'm not planning on just using random brass I find at the range, it will be brass that was fired from my rifle). If it's expanded too much, I don't mind resizing it, but if it chambers reliably in the intended gun, I don't see the point.

    I'm not lazy, I just want to be efficient with it. A lot of people figure their cost/round based on materials only. You always hear them, "I load my rounds at $0.06/round." Yet when you watch what they are doing, they are casting, swaging, coating the bullets, scrubbing brass they dug out of dirt, etc. It's a very time consuming process. Yeah, they spend $0.06 on materials, but none of them say how long it takes them. It's almost as if time is of no value. How one values his/her time is subjective, and it is an important cost to include.

    Right now, it takes me about 15 mins to prime 100 casings (haven't measured, just a ballpark figure) and I lose about 4-5 in the process. Then it takes me about 30 secs per round to weight the powder correctly (scale fluctuates 0.1gr here and there sometimes, so I give it a few seconds to settle just to make sure), and about 10 secs to load in the bullet and measure the seating depth. So on average, it's about 50 secs per round or 72 rounds/hour.
    It costs me about $.40 in materials. If I were to buy something similar, let's say Remington UMC 120gr OTFB, it would cost me about $.92/round after tax or around $66 for the same 72 rounds as opposed to $29 if I load mine. So, I save $37/hour, and I'm happy with that.
    Let's say if I do a full case prep, however, my material costs would be roughly the same, but my time would increase by a lot. With measuring, sizing, cleaning etc., let's say it takes me 2 mins per round. Now I'm making 30 rounds/hour. At $.30/round (excluding brass cost since we are reloading those), they costs me $8 while factory ammo (same 30 rounds) costs me $27.50. Now, I'm saving $19.50/hour. Big difference unless I learn how to do it faster.

    This is just a rough example, I don't know how long case prep usually takes, and I guess a lot also depends on the size of the casing, how you choose to clean it, how you measure, how you prep the primer pocket etc. But my point is that I'd like to get into the next stage as I'm ready to do it efficiently. I don't mind hard work, I mind slow work because I value my time.


    Right now, I have the basics of the basics: basic digital scale, single-stage press, die set, caliper, priming tool, chamfering/deburring tool, trickler, that's about it. It's set up for loading a round with ready ingredients. Now I'm trying to slowly get into reusing brass, so I'll get into loading once-fired brass. I'll need to get a case trimmer, but only if I need to trim, get case lube, cleaner/tumbler etc. Later, I'll get into reusing brass for the duration of its life.
    However, I want to learn to do it efficiently (time wise) as I go, which might also mean buying more efficient supplies (multi-stage press, bigger cleaner/tumbler, higher-end scale, and so on).
     
  5. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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  6. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    Another question: do you need to resize the neck after you pull bullets. Thinking of taking steel cased Tula 7.62x39, just pulling the bullets out (there is no cannelure) and loading it with SST. It's for a bolt gun, FYI. Obviously, I'll work up the load from min up in .2 gr increments (just so Solo is not worried :) ) and make sure the bullet is not shoved in deeper when chambered. Just wondering if anyone has a reason why it won't work before I spend any money on equipment and try it.
     
  7. Solo

    Solo Member

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    There is no scrubbing of used brass. Just stick it in the tumbler filled with walnut shell medium and a couple drops of turtle wax. Works while you sleep.
    https://www.brownells.com/reloading/case-cleaning/case-tumblers-accessories/index.htm



    Trimming takes just 2 seconds or less with the “worlds finest trimmer”.
    https://www.brownells.com/reloading...y&utm_campaign=itwine&utm_content=100-011-332



    With a JP case gauge tool that is just another second or two.
    https://benstoegerproshop.com/300-blackout-7-hole-chamber-checker-case-gauge-by-egw/

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nk...0%26rvr_ts%3D3490594716f0a4e8c7e7bc61ffd30706


    There are plenty of ways to speed the process.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  8. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    Right on, appreciate it. I'll need to save that list for down the road. I still would rather not if I don't have to, but if I do have to, I'd like to speed it up. I have a sonic cleaner, is that sufficient or do I need to spring for a tumbler? Also, would a FL sized brass make for a precision ammo or do I need to have it fire formed?
     
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  9. Solo

    Solo Member

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    I have had 1 moa loads with full length sizing dies.

    Sonic, if it works for you. I just got a used vibrating style tumbler for cheap so that is all I know. The walnuts and bottle of car wax has lasted me years so no need to change or experiment.

    The “world’s fastest trimmer” and JP case gauge have made loading much more enjoyable (speedy) and precise for the precision you and I are looking for.
     
  10. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    The sonic cleaner is just what case with the "starter kit". I will look into those, not nearly as expensive as the stuff I was recommended.

    I have another question. I was saving brass for my 6.5CM, and I cleaned it twice. I didn't want to run dirty brass through sizing die, so I cleaned it first. Then, after sizing, I cleaned them to get the oil off them. Is that normal or do you guys just clean them after they're sized?
     
  11. Solo

    Solo Member

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    How much oil is on the sizing die? There should not be much. Too much will distort the brass on sizing. It looks like worm tracks.

    I’ve cleaned twice sometimes. Other time I just wipe them with alcohol on a cloth. Even alcohol q-tip the mouth when it was dripping.

    The more time and attention you pay to prep, pays off in consistency and accuracy.

    The case checker tool. JP, Sheridan or Wilson will be the best investment for a round that indexes in the chamber by the shoulder. For .300 blk I’m pretty sure the index is off the case mouth. If you OAL is the same with different length cases you seating depth will be different. Pressures will change even though you have the same powder charge. Accuracy will suffer.

    There is a lot of detail to consider for precision.

    In .300 blk I think you want to crimp the neck. The same even tension is a feel thing. I use 1 finger on the handle, to try and stay as even as possible.
     
  12. Paycheck

    Paycheck Member

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    I'm not too worried about my 300BLK, I've loaded a few hundred by now, and never had an issue with the brass I've been buying online. Plus, I don't need much precision for it, although it's fairly accurate. I am planning on loading some 77gr TMKs for my 5.56 rifle or a future SPR project, and I'll be using once-fired brass for that. That's where I'll need precision and consistency.
     

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