Fire forming brass



  • Do any of you get that first firing on brass using cheap bullets and powder?

    I have an old 700 hunting rifle I’m thinking about firing some of them in so I don’t burn the 600 dollar barrel in my target rifle.

    I want to load up about half of these 600 pieces of lapua I bought for my competition with some BLC-2 and hornady “match” bullets I got for free so I’m not burning varget and 175 match Kings.

    Is there a downside to this? I know conventional wisdom says same rifle same brass. I’m going to size them in the same die to fit my match rifle.

    ETA this is a .308. Not anything that needs fire forming in the same way as the AI or something



  • I would consider virgin Lapua brass to be better off in a custom barrel than once fired in a Remington chamber. Remington chambers, at least the ones I have loaded for, are quite large on the saami spec range and your custom barrel should be quite tight. I would just load up some 175’s and run them through your good barrel.



  • @tackyp "Fireforming" the brass to a different barrel than what you're going to be loading them for is more likely to cause you issue than be of any benefit. Good way to wreck it actually, especially if the base diameters on the chamber are greatly different.
    If you pop the base out too much, you quite often can't get it back and will always have sticky extraction in the smaller chamber regardless of full length sizing. The case head is harder and develops a memory easier than the top side of the case and there is no way of returning it to normal condition. You can undersize it to fit the chamber and it will snap back to it's largest prior dimension upon firing. One of many of my expensive lessons.



  • ^ yup.

    We've even seen brass get ruined when chambering two barrels with the exact same reamer. Sometimes the brass just grows too big in the original to function in the new without extraction issues.

    It's possible that the chamber actually physically grows a bit during firing. Possible, and logical actually, when you consider a pressure vessel and how it behaves under repeated exposure to 55,000 psi plus.



  • @orkan said:

    ^ yup.

    We've even seen brass get ruined when chambering two barrels with the exact same reamer. Sometimes the brass just grows too big in the original to function in the new without extraction issues.

    It's possible that the chamber actually physically grows a bit during firing. Possible, and logical actually, when you consider a pressure vessel and how it behaves under repeated exposure to 55,000 psi plus.

    I'm in the same boat, I have 300+ rounds of Lapua brass that was reloaded 8-9 times and fired in a factory 700P. I have a DT barrel and I was thinking to FL resize with my Forster die would get me where I need to be. Tossing that brass is going to be tough but Greg if you think I should, I will. Gonna hate it but I will....



  • @martino1 said:

    I have a DT barrel and I was thinking to FL resize with my Forster die would get me where I need to be.

    ... and it might. It's pretty simple to try it and find out.



  • @tscustoms said:

    "Fireforming" the brass to a different barrel than what you're going to be loading them for is more likely to cause you issue than be of any benefit....

    @tscustoms
    I’m having a hard time following this post and orkan's subsequent post how it specifically relates to the life of your “fireformed” brass lots, when you go to change out a “match” rifle barrel when it has lost accuracy to the point of no longer being useful and it is being replaced with another barrel of the exact same cartridge and reamer.
    Are you suggesting that you use a new lot of brass with every barrel change?

    I’m not doubting any of your suggestions or experiences for a second.

    However, I should probably explain that I (like many others) currently am contemplating the “best” way for me personally to fireform 6Dasher brass. Of the many options to go about it(hydro-form, false shoulder, cream of wheat, cheap component, etc)and their associated pros & cons, I guess I was under the impression that most of top tier PRS guys like yourself would just use an old toasted barrel to fireform and save the life/round count on their new replacement barrels?
    Is that not the case or at least not typical?



  • @tscustoms said:

    @tackyp "Fireforming" the brass to a different barrel than what you're going to be loading them for is more likely to cause you issue than be of any benefit. Good way to wreck it actually, especially if the base diameters on the chamber are greatly different.
    If you pop the base out too much, you quite often can't get it back and will always have sticky extraction in the smaller chamber regardless of full length sizing. The case head is harder and develops a memory easier than the top side of the case and there is no way of returning it to normal condition. You can undersize it to fit the chamber and it will snap back to it's largest prior dimension upon firing. One of many of my expensive lessons.

    Tossing that brass is going to be painful, but off it goes. I have a 100 brand new Lapua 308 brass.

    Debating whether I should get the write off the new 100 Lapua 308 and get 300 new Alpha Brass in 308. Alpha 308 large primer is out of stock right now. Orkan says Alpha is good stuff.



  • @midwestside said:

    Are you suggesting that you use a new lot of brass with every barrel change?

    It's not so much that you "must" but that you shouldn't be surprised if you need to. Same reamer, barrel manufactured and purchased same time as old one, same brass, same same same same... but yet the new barrel will cause the action to have a hard click on primary extraction. No matter how "small" the sizing die used, and how much physically smaller the brass is than the chamber, upon firing it will retain the previous memory... and bind up.

    So you can go to a larger chamber, but not the same or smaller.

    Here's why: When you have enough firings on the brass, it fills out to form the previous chamber PERFECTLY. That brass will take a "set" somewhat. The brass characteristics change upon each firing. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that you must fire a piece of brass at least 3-4 times before it is a very close approximation of the chamber it was fired in. It's not until you see those shoulder/body junctions square off nicely that you are there. Also, the old barrel chamber does expand and change the more firings you subject it to. It will NOT be as small of a chamber as you started out with. So, each subsequent firing, the brass is filling a larger space... essentially. The material is becoming more brittle and not springing back as much. So it's not unimaginable to see a half a thousandth difference between a shot up barrel chamber and a freshly cut chamber in a perfectly stress relieved barrel.

    So you see, they are the "same," but also not.



  • @orkan said:

    No matter how "small" the sizing die used, and how much physically smaller the brass is than the chamber, upon firing it will retain the previous memory... and bind up.

    That’s interesting, I never thought about it like that, but it makes sense. A buddy gave me a handful of brass one time I was gonna try and use it for hunting loads. No matter what I did I couldn’t get it to size back down enough to chamber correctly. Had to readjust my die for shoulder bump but it was tight chambering. Had to have been in the case head area causing the issue. I just scrapped it.



  • said:

    No matter what I did I couldn’t get it to size back down enough to chamber correctly.

    A smaller die would remedy that problem... but extraction issues would likely persist even if you did. Obviously we've been able to size brass small enough to chamber just fine, but upon firing, they pop back out to the memory of the larger size down in the case web and stick.



  • Just anneal them. ;-) ;-D





  • I got some of my "buddies" 243 brass one time and wasted several hours trying to salvage it. This stuff must have been fired in old wore out pump or semi auto Remington rifles. He picked them up from a hunting club in Alabama and I got part of them. That's as far as I could get them to size without a cheater pipe on the press handle. G22eNVt.jpg



  • @orkan said:

    @midwestside said:

    Are you suggesting that you use a new lot of brass with every barrel change?

    It's not so much that you "must" but that you shouldn't be surprised if you need to. Same reamer, barrel manufactured and purchased same time as old one, same brass, same same same same... but yet the new barrel will cause the action to have a hard click on primary extraction. No matter how "small" the sizing die used, and how much physically smaller the brass is than the chamber, upon firing it will retain the previous memory... and bind up.

    So you can go to a larger chamber, but not the same or smaller.

    Here's why: When you have enough firings on the brass, it fills out to form the previous chamber PERFECTLY. That brass will take a "set" somewhat. The brass characteristics change upon each firing. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that you must fire a piece of brass at least 3-4 times before it is a very close approximation of the chamber it was fired in. It's not until you see those shoulder/body junctions square off nicely that you are there. Also, the old barrel chamber does expand and change the more firings you subject it to. It will NOT be as small of a chamber as you started out with. So, each subsequent firing, the brass is filling a larger space... essentially. The material is becoming more brittle and not springing back as much. So it's not unimaginable to see a half a thousandth difference between a shot up barrel chamber and a freshly cut chamber in a perfectly stress relieved barrel.

    So you see, they are the "same," but also not.

    That'll make it easier to toss that Lapua Brass. Thanks for the explanation.... Makes sense starting with a clean slate regarding brass and a new barrel.



  • Cheater pipe!? That’s a riot. One had never even crossed my mind in reloading. I think I’d be a little more worried about getting a case stuck in the die before ever resorting to that kind of force to resize.



  • @midwestside
    I wanted to see if I could do it but don't worry I didn't put the cheater on. I tried some of them three times with a good dose of case lube at the bottom but no luck. I had to put about as much pressure on the arm to get them out as I did to push them in the die and figured I was going to pull the rim off so I went through all of about three hundred pieces and discarded the bulged ones. These were pretty extreme and yet another lesson learned at the expense of my time.



  • @bigfoot
    Check this tool out http://casepro100.com/.

    The larger caliber inserts are made to order which can take several months.
    I've ordered one in November with inserts for three magnum rifle calibers (.300WM, .338LM and .375CT)
    I can't provide a first hand account yet. I'll post my experiences here once I've received it.


 

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