The 500

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The 500

Post by sungazer » 16 Feb 2018, 7:07 pm

Up until now I have be a bit of a brass snob and only used Lapua. Then I decided to make a zombie gun and practice some plinking for those zombies. And just in case the doomsday ever comes I wanted to be well stocked. :)
I had a bit of a look out for once fired brass after Bladeracer seemed to have got a good deal. I was looking around and in general it wasnt that much cheaper than the ADI stuff. So I sat it out for a while then checked out the price of some Buffalo River Factories loaded with Sierra Gamekings or Sierra Blitzkings. They were about a $1 a piece and if you bought the 900 you got the ammo crate and a bit more of a discount. So I went home and did the numbers of buying the new ADI Brass, powder,primer and projectiles. I couldn't make them for that much or it was only cents in it. So I went and got 250 of each and thought well I can put my own projectiles in them once fired. Then I saw a deal of 500 Sako shell offered on FacePalm. I jumped on them as things seemed to be selling fast. Anyway I got them delivered and home. Ohh boy
500 Before.jpg
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They were once fired alright but from the us and in a Semi at least a lot of the necks were badly bent and nearly every case had extraction dint's in them.
I gave them all a measure and thought ok a FLS and a trim and we will see how we go. Then a tumble to get them shiny.
Tumbled.jpg
Tumbled.jpg (150.91 KiB) Viewed 1457 times

Shiny pile.jpg
Shiny pile.jpg (117.79 KiB) Viewed 1457 times

So at this point I had FLS and trimmed 500 and tumbled them all. I thought I better check them to see ho they cycle through the gun and they were pretty tight. I mean in some cases it was hard to push the bolt in and then it was hard to very stiff to close.
Bugger I thought I better do some measurements on my once fired factory rounds and compare them with what I thought I had brought back to specs.
Turned out that the shoulder was still long at the datum point. I checked the setting of the die which all seemed good so I took a few thou off one of my shell holders. At this point I think I needed to take the shoulder back about 5 thou so that what came off the shell holder I tried one case and it was better but not great. I thought that to make this process easier that the brass could do with an anneal it didn't look like it had been done at the factory certainly no colour change like the ADI brass so it was 500 to be annealed. They also measured a little bit larger in the bottom part of the case. Having experienced this before and thinking of the chamber size of a semi auto I thought I need a small base die for this job. It will reform the sides and bump the shoulder back. So the all went through the process again a resize with the small base die which pushed the shoulder back nicely after the anneal which ad really changed the colour of the annealed section. another trim and another tumble. Leave to dry. Today I put the 500 into a box and had 20 container to weight batch sort them into. That turned out pretty well with just a few really light outliers and the rest divided up into lots of 50 by weight quite well.
There was a lot of work to turn that brass from once fired to bolt gun specs. I learn t that once fired is not always once fired. Dont jump on a deal. The chamber size of the Semi Auto can be and is made a lot larger than what we normally encounter in bolt guns. When you see that Field gauge spec in the go no go gauges that is where semi autos are
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Re: The 500

Post by lee_enfield223 » 16 Feb 2018, 7:29 pm

wow thats a heap of time and work,,,did you use walnut media ir one one those stainless steel pin tumblers ??? anyway the brass looks nice and new
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Re: The 500

Post by marksman » 16 Feb 2018, 8:46 pm

once you fire form it will be perfect :thumbsup: :drinks:
you are going to have some good brass there
have you thought about weighing volume instead of case :unknown:
I have found it more realistic for consistency although it would be a hell of a lot of work :drinks:
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Re: The 500

Post by wanneroo » 17 Feb 2018, 1:14 am

If it's once fired brass and from the USA, it's possible it may have been fired in a belt fed machine gun, if not a privately owned one, then military. Here in the USA you can go to government auctions and buy this brass by the thousands of pounds and then resellers sell it on the market. Looking at those case necks and case bodies it looks like they were shot in a M-240 machine gun, not a semi auto.

The problem with machine gun fired brass is two fold. One of which is these guns usually have a bit of excessive headspace and two, the firing action of the brass being rammed in there and extracted before pressure drops and all that causes the brass to get stretched out quite a bit. You'll find a little bit of that in a semi auto depending on the gun but almost never as bad as a machine gun.

Small base dies for this type of brass is usually what you want to smush it back into shape. If you have quality brass usually you can get about 10 firings out of a semi auto with it.

One thing I recommend you do is the paperclip test. Especially if it was fired in a machine gun this is important. As the brass gets stretched out quite a bit and smushed back into shape, often it will create a thin wall near the bottom of the brass and you are on your way to case head separation. Unwind a paperclip, bend the end into a little L shape and drag that tip along the inside case wall. If you feel a depression or ridge, you've got a problem coming. Often you can see a faint line on the outside of the brass as well.

I've been in your shoes with this once fired brass. A lot of it can be bought back to life and give great service but it's a lot of case prep work, resizing and trimming to do so. I'm just going to buy new Lapua brass from now on and reload commercial ammo brass I have shot.
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Re: The 500

Post by Stix » 17 Feb 2018, 6:14 am

Wow...a great effort. ..i hope its all good brass for you...!
The man who knows everything, doesnt really know everything...he's just stopped learning...
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Re: The 500

Post by sungazer » 17 Feb 2018, 7:51 am

Yes it went through a wet tumbler twice. I have already done the weight sorting after all the prep and cleaning so the are as uniform as possible and the comple spread most batched into 0.01gm lots to get 50 cases some went to 0.02gm to get 50 for what I have intended for this brass no further is warranted I have gone past what is really needed.
Not sure if it would be military it was Sako brass all of it. Would that be a brand that they buy. I was thinking it may be a gun range that sells it cheap for there rentals and then collects it and on sells. Who knows all I know it was bought from the US then onsold. Yes all those dints and bangs will straighten themselves out.
I will give the inside of the case a check but I wouldn't expect to find that on a first firing perhaps. Anyway from now on it wont get worked much same gun neck sized only barrel will wear out before the brass most likely.
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Re: The 500

Post by juststarting » 17 Feb 2018, 11:30 am

LOL

Image

:)
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Re: The 500

Post by Gamerancher » 17 Feb 2018, 11:46 am

So, you size your brass before tumbling?
Try doing it before sizing, keeps the crud out of your dies.
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Re: The 500

Post by JimTom » 17 Feb 2018, 1:22 pm

juststarting wrote:LOL

Image

:)



Bwahahaha that is funny. :-)
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Re: The 500

Post by wanneroo » 17 Feb 2018, 2:36 pm

sungazer wrote:Yes it went through a wet tumbler twice. I have already done the weight sorting after all the prep and cleaning so the are as uniform as possible and the comple spread most batched into 0.01gm lots to get 50 cases some went to 0.02gm to get 50 for what I have intended for this brass no further is warranted I have gone past what is really needed.
Not sure if it would be military it was Sako brass all of it. Would that be a brand that they buy. I was thinking it may be a gun range that sells it cheap for there rentals and then collects it and on sells. Who knows all I know it was bought from the US then onsold. Yes all those dints and bangs will straighten themselves out.
I will give the inside of the case a check but I wouldn't expect to find that on a first firing perhaps. Anyway from now on it wont get worked much same gun neck sized only barrel will wear out before the brass most likely.


The US military buys lots of ammo from everywhere from Lithuania to Taiwan to Australia and so on. I think I have seen some Sako brass before. Could be a gun range or some other source, but certainly I would do the paperclip test since you don't know the exact history of it except it came out of the USA. The case mouths/necks and the dents look familiar to machine gun fired to me. Once cleaned and case prepped I'm sure you'll get plenty of service out of the brass. With this type of brass you can save some money but it's more work. I've picked up 1000 pieces of once fired 7.62 for $40.
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Re: The 500

Post by SCJ429 » 17 Feb 2018, 3:29 pm

I was talking to a bloke at a local competition about his Bat actioned bench rest rifle in 6.5 Lapua and I was shooting a 223. He told me he only used Lapua brass and asked what I used. I told him I used range scrap brass and to prove my point I scooped a couple of 223 cases out of the bin and said "who throws this stuff away, there's a dollar right there". The look on his face was priceless. He thought I was from another planet. He did beat me but my free OSA cases didn't shoot too bad. I clean them, clean up the kernel of brass from the flash hole, trim them and skim the necks on the neck turner. Then run them through a small body die and shoot them. Yes using Lapua brass is far less work but I never have picked up any for free.
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Re: The 500

Post by sungazer » 17 Feb 2018, 7:36 pm

Gamerancher wrote:So, you size your brass before tumbling?
Try doing it before sizing, keeps the crud out of your dies.


Could definitely do that if just a neck size and no trimming. Other wise it would be through the tumbler twice to get rid of oil and brass shavings. I think it will be a long time before any of my brass needs a FLS again. I made sure of that by buying another Hoyty toyty FLS die the other day probably never use it :D
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Re: The 500

Post by Gwion » 19 Feb 2018, 12:16 pm

I used an FLS die once...

:lol: ;)
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