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federal brass

4338 Views 23 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  kdub
I have searched high and low for Federal brass and it's not to be found, so I came up with this. Go to Wally World, purchase Federal hunting ammo for $18 you get 20 rounds, for $36 YOU GET 40, use them for foul shots and fireform them at the same time. Now you have 40 reloadable cases. If you were to by 50 brass cases you would pay just about that much and still have to load fouling rounds. Before you say anything I have been using the same ten cases for the 11th time and have not had to full length size them for my Rem 700 .308 only neck size, and am getting 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch groups at 500 yards. Just food for thought for those looking for Federal brass.
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Personally, I wouldn't use federal 308 brass if it was given to me free. I sell every piece I pick up. The stuff is an accident waiting to happen.

I've had more MAJOR case failures with Federal 308 brass than all other brass combined. 2-3 firings and the primers fall out if you're lucky. I've also had a case weld itself to the boltface of a 308 when using a moderate load. I had 6 complete case head separations in 3 weeks in 2009, and that cured me from ever using them again. The gun's chamber is perfect, the cases are perfect according to a Wilson case gauge, and NO OTHER brand has EVER had the same issues.

My 308 case of choice is Military brass, Norma, or Lapua. I get well over 20 loadings before the primers get loose and I've NEVER had a headseparation with those brands.
Federal brass softness comes up repeatedly. Dan Newberry flat out states that it is not suitable for reloading. Others have said they've had no issues with it, but you don't really know what pressures their loads had in their guns. So, even though they are not reliable pressure measuring methods, if I were stuck with reloading just Federal brass, I would be aim to be loading 5% below MAP and would be measuring case head expansion and pressure ring expansion (CHE and PRE), probing for a detectable pressure ring, and would be checking that primers were not getting easier to insert or decap with each load cycle.

Military brass, Lapua, and Winchester are my go-too's. The military stuff is rugged for the M1A. The Lapua, like Norma, are dimensionally very tight—match brass in a bag—but the edge goes to Lapua on toughness, IME, and both are expensive enough that matters to me. Winchester made its 1992 Palma Match case design become its standard .308 Win case design, and this has more case capacity than any other brand, and so is my go-to for long range loads. I do sort it, as its dimensional regularity is below that of any of the others I've mentioned.

When I started having the issues with federal 308 cases I thought it was something I was doing. Even with starting/minimum charge loads the case failures continued even though the cases were sized to spec.

The case that welded itself to the bolt face was the real scary one. It broke the face of the Model 7 bolt and destroyed the extractor. I sent some of the loads to Remington when I had the bolt replaced, and they told me "The cases were the cause of the incident".

I've advanced a theory as to why the problem only seems to exist with the federal 308 cases. Federal prides themselves on their 308 GMM ammo and it is the standard which others are measured to. My theory is that any case that doesn't make the grade for the match ammo is then put into the hunting ammo. Federal only cares aboout making the best case possible for the 1st shot, and doesn't care about the guy out there that reloads. So, the throw-away match cases are now being used in the hunting ammo and "Joe the Plumber" is trying to use them for his deer loads. So far, I haven't heard if I'm off base or not, but I'd bet I'm pretty close to being right.
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I'm sorry you had problems with Federal Brass.
I use my once fired 308 brass in an AR10 for five reloadings and retire them to the scrap can. I can't say how well other maker's brass will work, as I've not used them.


The problems I've had have occurred with 3 different 308 chambered guns. In my experience, the problem only seems to exist with the 308 cases. That's what leads me to believe Federal is sending the cases that don't meet GMM standards to the hunting ammo line.
As I've said before on this thread and others, I personally have only seen the problem with the 308 cases. I use Federal 243, 270, 30-06, 357mag, 41magnum, 45colt, and others with NO problems. It's the 308 cases I avoid like the plague.
Bandit, have you ever necked up 7mm-08 or 260 Rem cases from Federal, to shoot from your 308 rifles? Probably a silly exercise, but you feel very strongly about the 308 Federal brass, so maybe it would be something to check out?

I was given 60 Federal GMM 308 cases and used them to load ammo for my friend's semi-auto 308. He's used them for years with no trouble, but none of them will be loaded a 3rd time, so I wasn't all that worried about them until I read some of your posts. I'm still surprised that a company with a great reputation for ammo would let very many questionable cases out the door, but it seems like more than a few folks have the same impression of the Federal 308 brass as you do, so...?

I have so many Military, Norma, R-P, and winchester brass, I've never thought of neck sizing smaller cases up for the 308. I do run 243 cases up thru my 260 dies for my 260Rem.:D

Federal only really cares about making the first shot the most accurate, and I doubt they worry about case life after that. Like I said, other calibers seem ok, but the 308 is very troublesome.
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