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Range brass


wingnut

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Keep any cases with a crimped primer, that way you know its once fired "OR" any cases that you know 100% are once fired. There are only two reasons people leave brass lay on the ground, they don't reload or its been reloaded too many times and not worth reloading.

The vast majority of once fired .223/5.56 brass I have was either purchased as once fired and has the primers crimped or was new and fired from my AR15s. If you are going to pickup .223/5.56 brass then be picky and just grab Lake City brass due to its higher quality and crimped primers that assure its once fired. Lake City brass has the highest Rockwell hardness in its base followed by Lapua, the two softest are Remington and Federal. Civilian contract ammunition made for the military "should" be made to the same specs as Lake City "BUT" I have a five gallon bucket of factory loaded Federal cases that have over sized primer pockets after their first firing.

So just because you find brass at the range doesn't mean its Christmas or the brass is made of gold.

I was given three five gallon buckets of once fired brass that I saw our local police fire for practice and some cheaper "blasting ammo" is made from lower quality brass compared to actual military Lake City cases. One third of the brass was Remington that had wide variations in case wall and neck thickness. One third was Federal that had soft brass and the best for uniformity (weight and case thickness) was the Lake City cases.

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After pooping a primer and having a case head separation, I only use brass with a crimped primer in it AND I inspect each one of those carefully. I will save the other brass for a bolt gun that I could buy one day.

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Many brands of 5.56 brass these days are crimped, not just Lake City. It's really interesting to see what I find on the ground these days, and I use it all in some capacity or another--if nothing else to cut down to .300 BLK for future use.

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Grab it all, clean it all, then sort from there and decide what you want to shoot.

You can find a primer pocket go/no-go gauge intended for checking if crimps have been removed properly, that can also be used somewhat to check for primer pocket looseness, or just use it to check and keep the cases still crimped.

To date, I generally use nearly all brass, but keep the LC for matches, and the rest, will load up when I get to a full box or jug of cleaned/inspected, and then will load up for practice.

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  • 1 month later...

I love my Dillon 600 swager too. BUt here are some visual indicators that they are military brass that has been crimped.

IMG_1063.jpg

the crimps circle and 4 corners.

IMG_1062.jpg

The circle with the cross inside a mil ord symbol.

IMG_1057.jpg

Not an indicator of mil crimp, but that the primers are sealed in and may reqiure extra to coke out. I have seen it in red, blue,green and purple. Some hand loaders use cleqar nailpolish too.

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Ah, well yes it's fairly straightforward to spot a crimp. What I meant to say was that it's hard to know if you've opened them up enough and/or if stuff you've picked up is too loose in the pocket. The gauge lets you know that. Combined with the swager I just zap everything once rather having to wonder. It beats the heck out of having to stop what you're doing on the press to deal with primers that wouldn't seat or find in the bin later a bunch of powder stuck to stuff because a primer came out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I sort brass that has crimped in primers. When loading,if the primer goes in too easy I scrap it. I FL and trim all my .223 brass each time.

I do the same. The primer pockets almost always wear out, necks split, or the case rings from being resized too many times before there is another type of failure.

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