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who makes the best brass?

This is a discussion on who makes the best brass? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I've never seen any written opinion on who makes the best reloading brass. ..did hear some SAS shooters say they preferred Starline over all else, ...


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Old April 7th, 2009, 07:51 PM   #1
 
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who makes the best brass?

I've never seen any written opinion on who makes the best reloading brass. ..did hear some SAS shooters say they preferred Starline over all else, and these guys were some old timers with alot of experience. Is there enough difference from one mfgr to another to mean much?



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Old April 7th, 2009, 09:12 PM   #2
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diesels dad, Here's my written opinion on brass cases: Without a doubt, Lapua makes the best brass, followed by Norma. Both are quite expensive. The absolute worst brass is AMERC, with PMC close behind. Some of the American ammo brands are now made in Israel or other foreign countries and are not up to par with American made brass. Of the big four ammo makers, American made Winchester brass is good as is Federal. CCI is made by Federal and is also good. Remington (R-P headstamp) is "iffy". Some batches are great while others are not. The R-P brass with the small letter headstamp is foreign made and is not very good. Frontier is decent but it has small flash holes that like to break decapping stems. Federal brass with "NT" in the headstamp (non-toxic) have large flash holes and are not recommended for reloading.

US Military brass has a 2 or 3 letters and a 2 digit date in the headstamp (ie: WCC 86, LC 97, or FC 06). All GI brass is very good but it has staked primers so you have to swage the primer pockets the first time before reloading.

Starline does not make loaded ammo ... just brass. They also make brass for several smaller ammo manufacturers but with different brand headstamps. If you are buying new brass, all things considered, Starline is the best bang for the buck. It is typically cheaper than Winchester or Remington but it is better quality with fewer rejects. It is not uncommon to see new Winchester or R-P brass with no flash holes, split mouths, and grossly irregular lengths. I've had as high as 10% rejects with both. With Starline, 1 reject per thousand is about normal.

Brass is an alloy, primarily of copper and zinc. Not all brass has the same alloy content, in fact some companies add other metals to their brass to make them harder. Hard brass is prone to case mouth splitting after just a few reloads. Soft brass, such as AMERC or PMC will wrinkle when sized or when seating bullets. Starline seems to be an excellent alloy for extended case life.

Nickle plated brass (all brands) is typically brittle so it won't stand up to reloading as well as regular brass. Besides, the walls on nickle plated brass are thinner so they tend to split sooner.

No matter what brand of new brass you buy, it's always a good idea to size them then trim them to a uniform length before loading. Nearly all brands of new brass are a tad short of optimum and seldom are perfectly uniform in length.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #3
 
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...thanks for the education

...Iowegan, and with your permission I'll print this for my reloading reference library. I've got a nice supply of Proload nickle along with the above mentioned headstamps also, and along with cosmetically looking better than all the other mfgrs (after tumbling), the Proload headstamps look more consistent and precise...speaking of nickle, these should be lubed before running them thru sizing, right? ...and do you know much about the Czech brass made by Sellier & Bellot?
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Old April 8th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #4
 
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I havn't run the S&B brass hot in reloads, but I've reloaded 45 ACP many times, never worn out a case, and .357 has got to be 6+ times now, and will have to start to fail from work hardening?

My $00.02.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #5
 
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I believe that Federal makes the best handgun brass and as Iowegan said; Lapua and Norma make the best rifle brass.
Starline is good and easy/cheap to acquire.
Also, Lake City makes the best military brass. IMO
I really like their 308 match brass.

Last edited by comanche; April 9th, 2009 at 12:49 AM. Reason: add Lake City comment
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Old April 9th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #6
 
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As always, Iowegan knows the stuff! I threw out all my nickel plated .357 r-p brass. Too many split mouths. Many of them were just barely starting to split, and this stuff was only on its third round. No more nickel plated brass for me, even though my Starline nickel plated .45's are still healthy. I replaced the .357 with 500 new unplated pieces from Starline. This can be purchased direct at starlinebrass.com, and when I ordered, they didn't charge tax or shipping. I got 500 pieces for $67.00 OTD.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #7
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diesels dad, There's a ton of different brands of brass. What you'll find is most foreign made brass cases (except for Lapua & Norma) aren't as good as American made brass. S&B typically has tight primer pockets but otherwise isn't too bad. Another exception is Israeli made IMI and TZZ (mostly 9mm, 45 ACP or 223 Rem). It's pretty good stuff but the Israeli made Winchester and R-P brass is junk.

The reason I bought carbide sizer dies is to eliminate case lube. It doesn't hurt to lube regular brass or nickle cases but it isn't necessary unless you have standard steel sizer dies or rifle dies .... then it's required. I always clean my spent brass in a vibratory case cleaner before sizing and depriming. This pretty much eliminates the risk of damaging the sizer die from carbon deposit and makes sizing much smoother. If you don't clean your brass, case lube does help with nickle cases.

comanche, Don't know if you are aware but Federal has two different brass alloys. The standard Federal loads have excellent cases but the "American Eagle" brass is quite soft. Don't even think about reloading American Eagle 40 S&Ws. It's OK for other cartridges but you do get some wrinkles now and then.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 06:29 PM   #8
 
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I've never used "American Eagle" and I won't now.
Thanks for the warning.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #9
 
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I reload for .38 and .357 and MagTech hasn't been bad to work with.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #10
 
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...thanks for the education

Good comments from all, and Dr. Iowegan. One of the benefits of reloading is that you never stop learning !
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Old April 9th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #11
 
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What so you mean about having to swage the primer pockets before reloading military brass? Have reloaded pistol ammo before never rifle ammo, want to load for 223.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #12
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BrimsonJoe, If you get once fired GI brass, the primers are staked in place by peening. When you deprime a case, a new primer will not seat properly (probably will bend out of shape) unless you remove the peened area around the rim of the primer pocket. There are a couple ways to do this. You can use a tapered reamer like a deburring tool or you can use a RCBS or Dillon primer pocket swager.

If you get GI brass that has been reloaded, the primer pockets have already been swaged.
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Old April 10th, 2009, 01:10 AM   #13
 
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Footnote to Iowegan's last post: The exception to primer crimping in GI brass is match brass. I use 7.62 Lake City Match brass and there is no primer crimp. From what I've heard it's because it was never to be fired in automatic weapons and was designed to be reloaded for AMU and snipers for custom loads.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 04:16 AM   #14
 
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Starline works well for my 44
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