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Interesting range brass pickup


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Don't think I've ever run into this.

Picked up some brass at the IDPA, and as I'm sorting brass, ran into three or so 9mm brass with no primer. Since these went straight into my "range bag" which was completely empty before the competition, I'm 99.99% sure this somehow didn't come from my stock. The brass looks perfectly normal, and doesn't appear to be reloaded. I have no idea how primers would not be present in shot brass.

2nd wierd one, primer appears to not even be struck, but literally almost wiped/smeared flat. I have two of these. May take one and throw it in the gun and see if it's still live, but it was empty brass??? !!!

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The filled in primer indentation can be seen on cases with normal pressure that had a soft primer and were fired in a Beretta 92. Most 92's I have seen have a camphor milled out around the firing pin hole on the surface of the breech face. This seems to often cause primer flow that will fill the indentation. My 92 will do it with S&B small pistol primers in a normal pressure load. Over pressure loads can do it in about any gun. In your case given some "missing" primers the above post by b1gcountry is most likely.

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If I see a case without a primer I use a go/no go gauge to verify that the primer pocket hasn't swollen to the point it won't hold a new primer. I use the Ballistic Tools "Swage Gage Primer Pocket Gauge". Here's a link: http://ballistictools.com/store/swage-gage-small-primer-pocket

The second scenario is normally a 9mm Major load. In some cases it's a combination of a softer primer (Federal) with a very high power factor load that cause the primers to look like this. The main issue with cases shot at these power factors is that it wears out the primer pockets. Again, the go/no go swage gauge is used to verify that the primer pocket will hold a primer.

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the brass doesn't seem to exhibit any other signs of over pressure... and why in the world would someone shoot over pressured loads at an IDPA? I'm trying to get right down to the minimum PF.

Unfortunately, I didn't set them all aside, only kept the last one I came across. They don't look like a reloads... not that I can really tell :)

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What head stamp do they have? I ran acrossed some at the range last week that looked the same as you described. They were a brand that I have never heard of. Some of them had pierced primers and smeared primers but none missing.

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I ran across a strange case this weekend, was sorting brass and saw a black one. I figured it was steel cased something, but before I threw it in the trash, I looked at the headstamp and it was WIN 9mm LUGER??? Got the magnet, non magnetic. The black was shiny, but I scraped a bit off and it looked to be nickel plated underneath. I did a Google search and found a report on Hornady making black brass for a promotion, but that was it. I suspect this was the same thing by Winchester. Maybe it's for those evil black rifles, really tacti-cool? Anyway, it will go on the shelf of "oddities"




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It could be one super hot loading, or a series of loadings up at max. With rifle brass at least, the primer pocket definitely has a lifespan.

Pistol primer pockets definitely have a lifespan as well a rifle. Federal and Blazer brass in 9mm has pretty loose primer pockets from the start and do eventually wear out; especially if they're loaded to high power factors.

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I've had primers fall out of my loaded rounds before. Years ago I was at a match, I used to put my reloaded rounds in a zip lock baggie. I picked up the bag and noticed what looked like dirt in the bottom. It was unburned powder, I also noticed a couple of loose primers on the bottom too. They had just fallen out of the pocket. I remembered during loading that a few went in easy, too easy... Hasn't happened since.

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I shoot 9mm major and smeared primers is fairly common. When I started shooting my brass more than once, had many primers fall out during the match. I had a few missing from picked up brass to start with and then when I had a few jams I stopped. Now I recycle my brass at the metal recycler and only shoot once fired. No issues.

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I usually inspect my brass, and toss any with flattened or pierced primers into the recycle bucket. I was priming some 9mm brass a few nights ago, and ran into some brass where the primer fell right back out as I seated it. It was marked L Y 93, looked it up and it appears to be Norinco brass. It looked pretty clean and I didn't notice any flattened primers in it while I was resizing, so it may have just been out of spec brass.

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This is some info I have collected:

Bad brass:

aguila - brass alloy forms ring near head after repeated reloading. Causes case head separation.

A Merc - Bad quality metal

Ammoload - interior ledge. Case head separation

IMT - Interior ledge case head separation.

L Y (Norinco China) - Primer pockets too lose

Para (Norinco China) - loose primer pockets

Triangle(Norinco China) - case head failures

Thick cases:

CBC (Brazil) - Hard to resize. Thick case walls

Tight or crimped primer:






Win NT

Good brass:




GFL (Fiocci)


*I* (Independence - Speer)






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