One of the most common questions asked among reloading
newcomers is how many times you can reload a specific caliber. Often, this
question will be asked in online forums and answered by many reloaders who say
they can get “x” amount of reloads out of a specific caliber.
beginner will expect to get that same amount of reloads out of their own brass
only to have a good range day turn dangerous because they loaded the brass one
too many times.
The answer to that question, however, isn’t so easy. The
truth is there are so many variables that factor into how often you can reload
a specific casing that it can’t be answered with a simple number. Let’s look at
some of those factors.
The factors effecting how often you can reload a specific
casing are numerous. They include:
Quality of the brass: If you are buying the cheaper brass ammo, chances are
you won’t get as many reloads as you would if you purchased the higher quality.
caliber of the brass: The larger calibers undergo more pressure when fired,
thus expanding the casings further with each shot.
the reload is: The more powder, and higher velocity, you shoot at, the more
pressure that is put on the brass when firing.
equipment used: I.E. Full-length sizing resizes the entire casing while a
neck sizing die only reforms the neck. Though which is better can be debated
later, resizing the entire casing tends to put more of a wear factor on the
Pocket Preparation: If you don’t clean the primer pocket, or at the very
least inspect it, the primer pocket can get loose and cause gas loss and even the
primer itself to fall out.
And even the particular gun you are shooting
Examine the Casing
Reloading 101 states that you should be meticulous when
examining the casing before reloading. This ensures the casing is strong enough
hto withstand the pressure of another firing event. There have been times where
the casing was only fired once but still showed signs of failure and,
therefore, cannot be reloaded. Here are the points you want to look at when
examining your rifle casings:
Case Necks: You want to make sure that there is no splitting,
ragged edges, or any other signs of poor condition.
Case Rims: Signs of wear on this portion will be broken portions,
chips, or other damage that effects the integrity of the casing.
Primer Pockets: You
want to be sure the primers are still fitting snug, as well as making sure
there are flash holes have been thouroughly inspected, cleaned, and deburred if necessary.
Case Walls: This is the most important
portion, and often most overlooked, in casing inspections. Often, the outer
portion of the casing appears to be intact while the interior will begin
showing signs of thinning. This happens as the brass expands after each firing.
The best way to inspect the integrity of the inner portion is to take a bent
paper clip and run it along the inside of the casing. Do so softly and slowly
and, if there are thin areas developing, you will feel tiny ridges begin to