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Reloading Blazer Aluminum - Public Service Announcement


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Over the last week I got to shoot and then had the pleasure of working the Noveske Area 2 Multi-Gun Championships in Byers, Colorado. The match was amazing and all the great shooters were amazing to watch and learn from. This was a "lost brass" match so we as the RO's, got to keep the brass shot on our stages. As a result we got some good chuckles out of what we found related to reloading. I think the most striking and worrisome is there was one shooter who appears to have been reloading Blazer Aluminum 9mm cases. Not sure why this was done. Maybe a complete lack of knowledge or maybe on purpose in an effort to not "waste" brass at a match where you were not allowed to retrieve it. Besides the damage to the cases as an indication of reloading, in person there's a definite look to the case that it's been through a sizing die. We were not able to ID who the shooter was or even what squad they came from. But I figured I'd get to word out and maybe they would notice the post.

If this is a common and safe practice please let me know. Maybe I'm just missing some new high speed ninja reloading trick. But from my knowledge this is not an acceptable or safe practice. Please post up your opinions and experience with this subject.

The photos below are just a sampling of what was found. We didn't find a single one that was not cracked.

8635340847_bd1e1e11f4_b.jpg

Untitled by FriedChickenBlowout, on Flickr

Untitled by FriedChickenBlowout, on Flickr

Edited by Fried Chicken Blowout
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I would call it as you have but with this…

They still are Berdan primed? Correct? That takes real effort using an extraction tool, or hydraulics, or the caveman… punch a center flash hole in them to get the primer out.

Beyond that I use a bunch of Al cased ammo and I have experienced "flame cutting" or more correctly gas cutting of cases and chambers with factory ammo. Those lots were exposed to the manufacture and are to my knowledge long gone. or are they?

These cases look far more severe than mine looked for splitting.

Hmmmm

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Holy Cow! No, in fact HOLY CRAP!!

Pretty much... And if you look close by zooming in on the center case that has the huge crack... There's a separate little crack that was venting gas just above the rim that eroded the rim some. Pretty impressive stuff. I wonder if this cases any chamber erosion over time or what. We shot about 200 round of pistol during the match. I would have like to know if there was ejection issues as well.

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I was scrounging brass after a USPSA competition in Virginia a few weeks ago and saw the same thing. Every case was split and most had even worse erosion in the "unsupported" area then the middle case in the photo. I had always wondered what would happen if someone reloaded aluminum cases.

Greg

Edited by Gregflier
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These are all Boxer primed. It was brought to my attention after we found these that Speer switched to Boxer primed aluminum cases recently to unify their primers across lines.

I was under the impression that the aluminum Blazer line deliberately used Berdan priming specifically to avoid the temptation to reload the cases, saving the company from explaining in court why it's not their fault that Johnny blew hesself up 'cause he can't be bothered to (or can't) read the "nonreloadable" labelling on the box.

I'd say Speer dropped the ball on this one (though it's still, IMHO, Johnny's own doggone fault).

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When the aluminum cases first came out I reloaded one, just to see what would happen, it didn't look anywhere near as bad as the above, but I decided it wasn't worth the effort. Or worth the risk if you tried to load one more than once.

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I Googled "Blazer Aluminum Primers" just to see what was out there...

There's plenty of foolishness from people who have reloaded them. Here's my favorite from another (unnamed) forum site:

"The only practical reload I've found for them is to drill out the flash hole to 1/8", push them into a 1/2" cake of parafin, stuff a magnum primer in them and shoot them in the garage. I wasn't willing to sacrifice shootable brass for quick draw practice. If you try it, make sure you have a sturdy backstop. Wax bullets will play hell on sheetrock. And I shot a mouse in the garage with them once."

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Those cracks appear to originate from corrosion.

Aluminum corrodes with small pits going into the material - unlike brass that corrodes across a larger surface area.

The two types of cracks we commonly saw when I was with CCI-Speer were straight line cracks and jagged cracks. The jagged cracks - such as sen in the photo - came from the small pits being connected. The straight line cracks came from scratches of other damage to the case.

In and of themselves, the aluminum cases can withstand being reloaded. The reasons not to reload them come from the sizing die scraping through the protective coatings on the case, exposing the base aluminum - which can then corrode. Also, the internal volume can be very different than brass cases, meaning the powder charges may not give the same results. Resizing dies are designed for brass, and the springback displayed by brass. They may or may not work well with aluminum with its different springback rate.

When they started changing to Boxer primer pockets some years back (some 6 years now, or so) I thought it a mistake, but then, they didn't ask me and I no longer worked there at the time. The Berdan primers were specifically to deter reloading because of the above reasons. I suspect I understand why they have changed, but I don;t agree with the change.

The problem with shooting them, and experiencing cracks is damage to the chamber - and breech face - but the chamber damage is the killer. Looking at the photo it seems almost certain that the person that shot them has had damage to his chamber.

I understand that components are hard to get and expensive, but I have no intention of shooting reloaded Blazers - damaged guns cost even more.

I was also against their naming the brass ammunition "Blazer Brass" too, since i felt it would confuse things more.

Guy

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I know guys that reload the Blazer aluminium cases, but only once.

I WAS going to give it a try but stopped myself. I thought about the laqueur being damaged during resizing and what that would do to the chamber. Then I thought is it worth it? The answer was NO!

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