Inspect Your Brass
often judge the success, or failure, of their loads using two prime factors;
the rounds accuracy and if there were any feeding failures.
reloaders with deeper pockets might even purchase their own chronograph to
determine the load’s velocity. While these are all excellent ways to determine
good your reloading skills are, there is another, less common, way that
involves having a keen eye for detail
the brass, referred to as reading the
brass, will tell you a ton of information
about your load. For example, if the load was consistent and accurate, but too
hot for the particular gun you fired it from, the brass will show excessive
signs of damage quicker than normal, in turn causing excess wear and tear on
your gun. In this article, we want to highlight a few points where reading your
brass will tell you the whole story of your load’s success or failure.
the primers are loose after being fired twice, that is a pretty good sign that
your loads are too warm. Factory loads have improved a lot in the last 20
years. If you try to exceed their velocities, you will be quickly met with a
challenge. The most obvious is
accuracy. The factories use powder that isn’t
available to the average
handloader so they have an advantage in that respect.
If you know what you are doing, you can approximate
them but seldom exceed
their velocities. Careful load development can result in high performing and accurate
are signs to look for with mild overloads. With many modern rifles, the ejector
is spring loaded. A mild overload will produce a
shiny round mark on the case
head. If you are using a book load that is listed as mild then perhaps the brass
is too soft. That is unusual but very possible. Years ago, some manufacturers
made their brass soft to be able to pick up pressure
signs but that trend
proved to be problematic and didn’t last very long.
are not a reliable sign because some are softer than others. Unless you have
additional info that it may be a warm load, disregard cratered primers. If you
reload your cases after firing warm
loads, your primers may be loose and
unusable. That is one good incentive to not use max loads on a regular basis.
Once the primer pocket is enlarged, the case is useless.
your loads are way too hot, the signs become much more obvious. If the case
sticks in the chamber, your load is excessively hot and should be backed off a
bit. If you have that ammo, you will be better served pulling it rather than
shooting it. If it is that hot, the primer will be blown out and the case
. Ammo loaded too hot is dangerous and shouldn’t be shot. Even a book
load can sometimes be too warm in some guns. There are differences in the
chamber and barrel dimensions of each gun.
a case is severely corroded or dirty, it can also cause it to stick in the
chamber. If that is the case, you will see small dents in the shell. The ammo
will be conformed to the chamber upon firing. A swelled chamber will produce
the same results. That is something that happens in older guns with soft
steels. If you shoot loads that are too warm over a period of time, the chamber
may swell and the locking lugs may be stretched.