Brass firing schedule

Jul 2, 2014
377
68
28
London, KY
#1
Silly question I imagine, but how vital is it to keep all your brass on the same number of firings for consistency sake? I have about 32 pieces of Lapua brass that are 2 firings/annealings behind the rest. My OCD brain tells me to load, shoot, clean, anneal, prep, shoot, clean, anneal, prep, shoot, clean to get it caught up to the rest of the lot. It also got me to wondering how important this was?

While were at it, I haven't had to trim the brass but once time after the 2nd firing. How unusual is this? I believe the current bulk of the brass is on it's 4th firing, and still doesn't need trimming.
 

Nodakplowboy

Online Training Member
Mar 4, 2017
395
361
63
South Central North Dakota.
#2
I run between 175 and 300 brass for 3 precision rifles. At about 50% fired rounds I'll process and reload all empty brass following a pretty strict procedure. It gets re-boxed (20 round cardboard ammo boxes) and shelved. When the remaining 50% loaded rounds are empty, shoot shelved ammo and repeat on empty brass. Two batches, same ammo.

When cases need to be trimmed I'll trim the first batch and make a note in the the data book as a mental bump the 2nd batch will need the same attention.

After the 3rd firing I don't keep track of how many times fired. Times trimmed, case inspections and primer pockets will tell when the brass has reached it's end.

Load the remaining 32 in what ever manner you normally would and throw them in the mix.
 
Likes: OzzyO20
Sep 6, 2006
2,349
497
83
Southern California
#4
Ive done exactly as Sheldon noted above, but generally i’ll catch up the newbies to the oldies. If you’re planning to maximize case life. It sucks when you have a case failure of some sort, and you can’t nail it down. Was it fluke, or is that just one old piece, or are they all about to go, etc.

Edit: As far as the trim, that’s not unusual at all. If all of your chamber/brass/die tolerances are playing nice together, case growth is minimal.
 
Apr 24, 2017
78
35
18
GA
#5
I'm quite OCD. I typically have lots of 100 though it's 500 for my .223 varmint rifle. All pieces of brass in each lot stay on the same # of firings.

I had several pieces of .375 brass develop a thin ring just ahead of the case head and I discarded the whole lot of 100 after only 4 firings. Rem brass.
I have a lot of Lapua brass for my 308 Win that's on it's 8th loading and I still use it for mid range F class. FWIW that lot has only been trimmed twice. It only gets neck sized using Wilson bushing dies.

I like knowing the history of the entire lot rather than having to guess about a particular case getting a split neck or other.
 
Aug 7, 2014
920
138
43
Gillette, WY
#6
I shoot all brass dedicated for the rifle, then process all of it. Brass counts are important to me. But I have 4-5 LR rifles and do not need a specific one at a given time. I lost track of firing counts when I first got into this, bugged me, it was all as simple as putting a sticky note in a box too. To me it's more about primer pockets failing than anything, culling brass when you are priming< is too late.
If I am shooting and gas a couple primers, it makes it so much easier to round the brass up and recycle it, done, all of it.
 
Oct 25, 2009
124
3
18
Southwest Michigan
#7
From the other end of the OCD spectrum, I sort by headstamp and I retire brass by inspection. For 308, when I see the dreaded shiny ring or I get a partial head separation, I toss that case, reach into the LC or Fed or Lapua or whatever bin and grab a replacement. Bins contain either unfired or once-fired. For LC I try to keep the replacement year the same but I am not crazy about it.

For 300 WM, I do the same except I also inspect primer pockets every time using gauge pins. If a PP is too big, I have a tool that crimps them down. The 300 WM Lapua seems to suffer the most, the military WW seems to suffer the least.

About 20-some years ago I bought a 100-count box of Lapua 308 brass. I have been shooting them ever since. I have no idea how many reloads - probably 20 or 30, could be more. One day when sizing, I screwed up (brain fart) and pushed the shoulders back too far on half of them. By the time I noticed it was too late. When I shot that box about 12 to 15 cases had shiny rings or partial head separations. Instead of sorting out the bad guys, I just put the entire bunch into my "gone to brass heaven" box to be examples to the someone. They served me well but I messed them up. Via con Dios. I am still shooting the other 50 from that original box of 100.

In my lifetime I had one full head separation and consequent failure to extract. That was in the 90's. At the time I thought that was caused by pushing the shoulder back too far. Nothing that I have seen since has caused me to question that conclusion. I have never had a failure to extract from a partial head separation. In my opinion that single event is not significant so I just keep shooting them. I have another concern for shooting until I get partial head separations - gas etching in the chamber. I don't know. I do not look. My guns extract just fine so I don't care. Maybe I should. YMMV.

My intuition tells me that the OCD-driven discard schedule has some merit but I like data. I cannot shoot well enough to see the difference on targets and I spend too much time and money on brass to toss them for such an arbitrary and unproven cause as fired count. For those of you who do coordinate your fired counts do you have target statistics showing that it makes a difference? For example, do your groups get bigger or smaller as the fired count increases? More or less flyers? Can you post those numbers?

For what it's worth, I cannot afford to throw away brass unless it doesn't work any more. I don't recommend my approach but it does work for me.
 
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