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Thread: When to Change Brass?

  1. #1
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    When to Retire Brass?

    I'm experiencing a discouraging trend on some of my targets (100 & 200 yards) -- a nice 4-shot group and an unexplained flyer.

    I shoot slow (not equipped to shoot fast) and use wind flags. Although I'm not an excellent flag-reader, it's hard to believe that all of those flyers are caused by the wind (I guess it could be poor gun-handling). I'm wondering if some of those flyers are the result of "tired" brass. (Oftentimes, I resize and reshoot the same brass during a one- or two-yardage match; thus, when I do the brass does not get annealed after every firing. Nevertheless, I aslo get unexplained flyers on the first firing after annealing.)

    How do y'all decide when to change brass (I'm not talking about splits or loose primer pockets). I typically shoot my brass until it splits or primer pockets get very loose.
    Last edited by Hunter; 09-05-2020 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
    I'm experiencing a discouraging trend on some of my targets (100 & 200 yards) -- a nice 4-shot group and an unexplained flyer.

    I shoot slow (not equipped to shoot fast) and use wind flags. Although I'm not an excellent flag-reader, it's hard to believe that all of those flyers are caused by the wind (I guess it could be poor gun-handling). I'm wondering if some of those flyers are the result of "tired" brass. (Oftentimes, I resize and reshoot the same brass during a one- or two-yardage match; thus, when I do the brass does not get annealed after every firing. Nevertheless, I aslo get unexplained flyers on the first firing after annealing.)

    How do y'all decide when to change brass (I'm not talking about splits or loose primer pockets). I typically shoot my brass until it splits or primer pockets get very loose.
    Not saying it's what's going on or not, but several years back now, I was getting double grouping with old brass. I'm talking 50 hot firings with one annealing at about mid life of the brass. It shot well until it didn't and was hard to figure out. I asked Danny Hensley what he thought would cause it and one of the first things out of his mouth was..."how old is your brass." Well I prepped new brass and it was like a new bbl. Problem solved, for me.

    I quit trying to prove to myself how long I could make brass last after that. Brass is relatively cheap, when you think about it.

  3. #3
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    Old brass

    When You go to a match and add up all the expense of travel, entry fees and such. Not counting the cost of good powder and bullets youíre going to shoot during practice and in the match, an extra $20 for fresh cases isnít all that much for the confidence boost you will have taking old brass out of the equation.

  4. #4
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    The two attached targets are what prompted the first post above. The four-shot, 100-yd group on the left is .321, the four-shot group on the right is .219. Having thought about those two targets some more, the flyers may have been caused by a missed let-up or pick-up, rather than "tired" brass (although I did get some "hard" clicks a few times during the agg). The wind was breezy, with significant velocity changes and rapid switches from ~ 10 to ~ 2.

    In a 10-11 o'clock wind, would a significant let-up or pick-up cause those flyers?

    BTW, thanks to the three of you who responded; maybe I'll be a bit less frugal with my brass in the future.
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    Last edited by Hunter; 09-14-2020 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Change size of 4-shot group from ~ .375 and ~ .300

  5. #5
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by mwezell View Post
    not saying it's what's going on or not, but several years back now, i was getting double grouping with old brass. I'm talking 50 hot firings with one annealing at about mid life of the brass. It shot well until it didn't and was hard to figure out. I asked danny hensley what he thought would cause it and one of the first things out of his mouth was..."how old is your brass." well i prepped new brass and it was like a new bbl. Problem solved, for me.

    I quit trying to prove to myself how long i could make brass last after that. Brass is relatively cheap, when you think about it.
    your right how often do you change .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillBrawand View Post
    your right how often do you change .
    Depends ho hot I load. I recently had to change after the 2nd firing, but that was my fault and a bought lesson. Typically though, I use it for around 15 firings or so.

    I knew better but that didn't stop me from loading up there. The gun sure liked it but the brass...not so much.

    edit...Actually, the gun liked it on the ragged edge but when temps came up, tune left and I couldn't tune it back with a tuner.
    Last edited by mwezell; 09-09-2020 at 06:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
    The two attached targets are what prompted the first post above. Eyeballing with a ruler, the four-shot, 100-yd group on the left is ~ .375, the four-shot group on the right is ~.300. Having thought about those two targets some more, the flyers may have been caused by a missed let-up or pick-up, rather than "tired" brass (although I did get some "hard" clicks a few times during the agg). The wind was breezy, with significant velocity changes and rapid switches from ~ 10 to ~ 2.

    In a 10-11 o'clock wind, would a significant let-up or pick-up cause those flyers?

    BTW, thanks to the three of you who responded; maybe I'll be a bit less frugal with my brass in the future.
    I donít know, Bill
    Have you tried a different scope?
    One jumping that far out kind of regular seems like something may be loose or broken

  8. #8
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    Bullets

    In my IMO the bullets are not stable indicated by the ragged holes

  9. #9
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by rl weikart View Post
    in my imo the bullets are not stable indicated by the ragged holes
    wrong bullets wrong twist wrong load try others till your hole is right.bill brawand

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    65

    Wind velocity more than Instability

    I guess 10 shooters can look at those pictures of groups and you'll get 10 diff opinions. In the left group, I see distinct round, grey rings on a few of the holes. IMHO, looks like the ragged holes are more about the target paper not being flat on a backer which can cause all kinds of irregularities in a bullet hole. If the target paper is perfectly flat on a backer, be it cardboard, cellotex, whatever, it usually will show nice round holes. If target is wrinkled or influenced by something like background staples, etc, it can show some ragged tears.

    As to the flyers.....If you got 10 - 11 o'clock breeze with velocity changes, like is stated, seems to me those 2 flyers are on a line that that wind could influence. A pickup in velocity from 10 oclock will produce something low and right, see right target. If that wind lets up, gonna be high left. Those are pretty good groups and those flyers may be from worn out brass but velocity changes are a hard problem to deal with and wreak havoc on everyone.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Krause View Post
    I guess 10 shooters can look at those pictures of groups and you'll get 10 diff opinions. In the left group, I see distinct round, grey rings on a few of the holes....

    As to the flyers.....If you got 10 - 11 o'clock breeze with velocity changes, like is stated, seems to me those 2 flyers are on a line that that wind could influence. A pickup in velocity from 10 oclock will produce something low and right, see right target. If that wind lets up, gonna be high left. Those are pretty good groups and those flyers may be from worn out brass but velocity changes are a hard problem to deal with and wreak havoc on everyone.
    IMO, the holes are not as ragged as they appear in the pictures. I don't know whether I missed a pick-up or let-up on those two flyers, but I do have a clear memory of there being multiple, significant pick-ups and let-ups. Also, I acknowledge that the brass had probably been shot several more times that most serious shooters would tolerate.

  12. #12
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    Looks like an out of tune combo for sure, or bad bullets, brass, barrel etc.. When I'm in that place I try to look at what I know, eg. is it a good barrel? are the bullets good? is it a known good load given environmental factors?

    Recently shot a match in Kansas, started out with some new brass that I had doubts about, ruined my first three groups at 300yds, changed back to some old brass I'd annealed and prepped, problem solved.

  13. #13
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by hayscott View Post
    When You go to a match and add up all the expense of travel, entry fees and such. Not counting the cost of good powder and bullets youíre going to shoot during practice and in the match, an extra $20 for fresh cases isnít all that much for the confidence boost you will have taking old brass out of the equation.
    youi are so right i have been telling fellows for yrs we are using our brass to long at reg; matches it is cheapest bill b.

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