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I was just wondering how often, if at all, I should fully resize my brass? I've got about 150 or so shells in rotation and they've been fired 5-6 times. I was in AZ this past weekend and a friend of mine gave some once fired brass so I went through all that brass and resized it. It got me to thinking about my other stuff and whether or not I should resize and/or when I should do that.

Knowledge and suggestions appreciated!
 

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It depends what your gun prefers

I resize brass until it works easily through the rifle and holds a bullet securely. Since I have several rifles in the same caliber, I usually resize brass. When I have only one rifle in a certain caliber, I tend to neck size. So it depends. All the best...
Gil
 

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I was just wondering how often, if at all, I should fully resize my brass? I've got about 150 or so shells in rotation and they've been fired 5-6 times. I was in AZ this past weekend and a friend of mine gave some once fired brass so I went through all that brass and resized it. It got me to thinking about my other stuff and whether or not I should resize and/or when I should do that.

Knowledge and suggestions appreciated!
Resizing brass is an operation enabling us to make more ammo, so the number one rule is that the case has to fit in the gun after resizing.

Rule number two, since we're reloaders, is to make the brass last as long as possible. It is the most expensive component in the mix, so to get the best case life you have to resize correctly.

Some people insist on following the directions in the die box about how to adjust the sizer. If you're loading for several rifles in the same caliber, that's one approach that works. If you only have one rifle though, you should size the case for the tightest fit in the chamber consistent with reliable chambering.

To that end, I recommend doing what some call partial full length, and some call 'bump' sizing. That means that you set the sizer to push the shoulder back only .002-.003" from where it is after firing. You do that by measuring cases with a headspace gauge such as that made by Hornady. Cases will chamber freely, and case life will be maximized.

When done that way, you don't have to set the sizer to neck size, then reset it to full length size when they no longer fit, then reset back to neck sizing, etc. You can set the sizer once and leave it that way. Accuracy will often be a bit better because the case fits better. Another benefit of sizing that way is that you will have to trim cases far less often because they just don't grow like they do when using traditional full length sizing.
 

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When starting out with brass that was not fired in your rifle I consider it good practice to full length resize. The next time it goes through the full length resizing die is when the bolt closing starts to become stiffer. When resizing I prefer partial resizing to squeeze the case and bump the shoulder back a couple thousandths. With autoloaders , lever and pump guns this may be required each time you cycle the brass. With bolt guns a person can generally get 6 cycles and depending on the chambering, the rifle, brass and load intensity many times more than that.
 

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I was just wondering how often, if at all, I should fully resize my brass? !
As the guys responding so far have a pretty fair amount of experience, having read may of their typically rational responses, I'll take a slightly different tack.

If you consider:
Gil Martin response, it has to cycle in your firearm.
Rifter, brass life is a consideration, especially these days.
MontyF, if it wasn't fired in your rifle, FL is minimum on the first pass.

All excellent advice.

I find that brass fired in an AR, .223 or .308, usually requires a small base die to chamber easily in my precision bolt rifles. I usually make the first pass using a Trail Boss load to do that. I never use pickup brass or once fired brass for hunting loads until it's been fire formed. Because I've had ammo that wouldn't feed and chamber on a hunt when I failed to do that.

Most of my handloads are to test loads. Because I use an increasing charge to do that, I have non-uniform expansion to deal with, and that requires a FL die to get everything back to a uniform starting point. I do load "practice" loads though, and those go into brass sequestered for that purpose. Pressures are moderate to minimize barrel heat, and wear, and FL sizing doesn't work the brass much, because it's not stretched much.

Loads for a hunt need to function 100%, every time. I use a FL die to bring the brass to spec, and if a box of ammo only lasts five cycles, 100rds of hunting, that would be almost a lifetime of elk, or even deer loads. For my pump rifle, even the practice of using a SB die for every cycle is a non-issue.

There is not really a single answer, unless you have only a single goal. FL sizing Trail Boss loads, for example is not a issue, as even 100% loads go through the die like corn through a well fed goose. FL sizing hunting loads is not an issue as hunting brass isn't like practice brass, and even for a single rifle hunter, 20rds could well last a lifetime.

It depends.
 

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Thanks for the input! And Tman, nice recap! ;) Now TMan, am I to understand that any load that is over what my current one is I should resize the brass due to higher pressures? Or is it just any brass that's gone over the "Max Load" recommended? BTW, I'm shooting a .308 Remington 700 VTR, 22" barrel. I'm only reloading .308 for one gun right now so that makes it easy. I've found my load for the ammo I'm currently using, but from what I'm gathering I should use some brass for certain loads and the corresponding projectile. That way when I get to my hunting round I've got my 10-20 brass that I'll use for that. Then different brass for each of the target loads and rounds as well. Now once I've got that system going I'll only need to neck size until I start to have issues chambering the rounds.

Am I picking up what you're putting down?
 

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Now TMan, am I to understand that any load that is over what my current one is I should resize the brass due to higher pressures? Or is it just any brass that's gone over the "Max Load" recommended?

Am I picking up what you're putting down?
What I think you'll find, is brass is very good at rebounding, but every cycle it tends to recover a bit less. That discussion wanders off into plastic and elastic properties, dynamic modulus, stress and strain etc.

The stress and strain eventually accumulates to the point where the round will no longer chamber easily. If you shoot low end loads, that may take a long time, or even never. If you crank the loads way up there, it can happen in as few as two or three shots. If it happens on shot one, and it can, it means you are way over the top, and need to back things down. I have a set of .30-30 cases that only get Trail Boss and a 150gr Magnus cast bullet. The load is mild, and runs cool in the barrel. It's been neck sized at least 20 times, and cycles smoothly. The same lot of brass with a 150gr Sierra over W748, gets FL sized every cycle, and if it goes three cycles, it's tight on two, and won't feed without excessive force on round three.

Like my last comment on the previous post, it really depends on the load, in your rifle, and the brass you are using. All brass is definitely not equal, in many different ways. Even with brass with the same headstamp, there will be enough variation from time to time to make a noticeable difference.

Keep notes, and measure cases from time to time, and you will get a better feel for the requirements of your favorite recipe. It's part of the learning curve.
 

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Resizing brass.

I once bought 1200 rounds of 30-30 once fired ($88. The guy does not reload, but, buys all his ammo from a dealer friend.

I bought them all and the first thing I done was check to see if they would chamber in my three 30-30s without resizing.

My, my, my, they chambered easy and I figure his gun has a tighter chamber than any of mine.

So I partial sized the WW and R-P, full sized all the others and offered them up for sale.

After firing in one of my guns, they get tossed in a can with that guns name on it.

Easy enough. I got lucky on that deal.
 

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Thanks for the input! And Tman, nice recap! ;) Now TMan, am I to understand that any load that is over what my current one is I should resize the brass due to higher pressures? Or is it just any brass that's gone over the "Max Load" recommended? BTW, I'm shooting a .308 Remington 700 VTR, 22" barrel. I'm only reloading .308 for one gun right now so that makes it easy. I've found my load for the ammo I'm currently using, but from what I'm gathering I should use some brass for certain loads and the corresponding projectile. That way when I get to my hunting round I've got my 10-20 brass that I'll use for that. Then different brass for each of the target loads and rounds as well. Now once I've got that system going I'll only need to neck size until I start to have issues chambering the rounds.

Am I picking up what you're putting down?
The bump method I talked about above will eliminate any worrying about sizing, regardless of what you use the brass for. Brass life is an important consideration, but not the only one. Reliable feeding and chambering is critical in an AR because it doesn't have the camming power of a turnbolt rifle to make the case go in to lock into battery. That's why the bump there is .003". A bolt rifle only needs .002".

Brass is ductile and will resize without too much effort, though it may take more than one pass initially if it was fired in another gun with a slightly different chamber. Anneal your case necks every so often to eliminate work hardening of the neck area. The bump method is sort of like when Goldilocks is sampling the porridge. Papa Bear's was too hot (that's where you size following the die box instructions). Mama Bear's was too cool (that's neck sizing only). Baby Bear's was just right (sizing just enough every time to ensure a good fit). You don't have to keep track of which cases are used for what. You size the same way, every time, and they all fit every time. As I said, side benefits are much longer case life, and much less trimming, and maybe even an improvement in accuracy.

I use that method on my .280 Rem bolt rifle, my M1 Garand, and three ARs. I can't remember the last time I trimmed a case in any of them, I've never had a jam on feeding due to sizing issues, and some of the brass has upwards of twenty reloads and is still useable.

In the end, you'll have to decide what works best for you. I try to keep things as dirt simple as I can. I got over having to tinker with the intricate aspects of reloading a long time ago. These days I use what gets me to my goal as quickly and simply as possible without sacrificing performance. Bump sizing is one such method. If I was shooting 1000 yd matches or benchrest matches, I would likely be doing things differently. All my rifles will shoot an inch or less, except the M1 and even that one shoots groups half the size of typical M1s. When I do my part, of course.
 

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I neck size if I can get away with it. You have to FL size if the shoulder is too far forward to fit the chamber. I always check fired brass with a case comparator before deciding whether to neck or FL size. Then if the diameter of the case near the web is too big you may not be able to chamber a case because of that. I've only had that problem with 300 win mag cases and fired cases from some other rifle. So if you get any fired brass from another rifle you have to FL size it. For the 300 win mag I check the case diameter with a Larry Willis collet resizing die. If I need to I then size the case body with that die before FL sizing it.
 

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I am continually amazed at how many people who reload, refuse to base decisions on accurate measurements. It's very easy - see the 7th picture down in this thread.

Beartooth Bullets > Tech Notes > Setting up Full Length Sizing Dies
Good piece, Mike. I like your homemade headspace guage. Part of the problem comes from the fact that new reloaders who are unsure of what they're doing put too much dependence on the directions that come in the box. They don't realize that those directions are a kludge trying to cover all bases, and thus succeeding in covering none.
 
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I generally use a combination of the above approaches for bolt action rifles. I only have one rifle per cartridge, so I set the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002-.003 after being fired in my gun (full power). New or pick-up brass goes through this die before being used. Then I neck size only using a neck die for 6 loadings. At this point, I anneal the necks and the cases go through the pre-set FL die, I trim them (generally pretty minimal), and the process starts over. I get good case life. I've gotten 20+ full power loadings with WW .338 Win. Mag. brass, a cartridge which is notorious for short case life.

On lever rifles (a .348 Win. and a .300 Sav.), I do not use a neck sizer, always using the pre-set FL die that sets the shoulder back .003 on a case that was fired with full power. I still anneal the necks at loading # 6. I also have one pump in .223, follow the same procedure.

Many folks don't like to invest in a neck sizing die, but I feel it pays off in case life, with accuracy being an added bonus. With most rifles, 100 cases is all I ever need, some only 50 (the .223 an exception). In the .270 and .30-06, which I shoot the most, I have 200. That's upward of 4000 shots each.

Regarding hunting loads--all my rifles are for hunting (except the .223)--I generally have 20 cases set aside, so they see much less use, but are treated the same way. All hunting loads are always cycled through the gun after being produced, always!

No experience with AR type guns.

Works for me.
 

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Good piece, Mike. I like your homemade headspace guage. Part of the problem comes from the fact that new reloaders who are unsure of what they're doing put too much dependence on the directions that come in the box. They don't realize that those directions are a kludge trying to cover all bases, and thus succeeding in covering none.
rifter, I totally agree with you on both points!
A very nice piece of work by Mike, and the fact that depending "solely" on the directions that come in the box can sometimes create heartaches.

ITSAVTR's question may have appeared a bit on the simple side, especially for those with over 50 / 60 years experience, but the great answers he received should serve well as a gentle reminder......ask lots and lots of questions, and then compare "your own results" with the answers you got from others.
It's as simple as measure 'trice', but only cut once.

Respectfully, Russ
 

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resizing brass

Once you shoot it in your firearm do neck sizing only until you case length is at max. Also since you are neck sizing only the brass does not stretch as much as a full sized case. Most of the time Neck sizing fired rounds will work in your firearm but not in another of the same caliber. Then when the fired rounds need trimming it should be on the way to the nearby recycling facility . Used cartridge brass brings good money.
 

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To some degree, it depends on the weapon type

I've found semi-automatic weapons are more finicky with this than bolt/lever action weapons.

I have a bolt action .223 I use only fire formed brass in. On the other hand my AR feeds more reliably when I full length resize.

My most recent experiences with this are with my DEagle .44 mag. When loaded properly, it is a very reliable weapon. But it is typically the "first to complain" if things aren't right.

I've found the DEagle needs it's brass full length resized every other reload to insure it feeds reliably.

The resizing process makes the case narrower and the case grows in length as a result. But firing
make the case wider and the length becomes shorter as a result. So although the case DOES slowly grow as a result of being reloaded/shot. The process is a bit slower/more gradual than is observed as the result of case length stretch from a single resize. Cuz it gets shorter again after it is fired...

Hope this helps!
 

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The process is a bit slower/more gradual than is observed as the result of case length stretch from a single resize. Cuz it gets shorter again after it is fired...
I have cases that stretch, then I have brass that flows. I am going to wait for someone to explain:

Cuz it gets shorter again after it is fired
My cases have different artifacts, I have cases that have no memory of what they were before I fired them. There are times sorting cases by head stamp does not work, take yesterday for example.

F. Guffey
 

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I neck size the majority of reloads. Granted they are for my guns only so they matchup to my chamber. I trim when needed. I have 30-30 brass that is way beyond 5-6 reloads. Just take care and watch your brass. It speaks to you.
 

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If one anneals after each 5 to 6 loadings, using the shoulder bump technique at that time (and usually a cursory trim), neck sizing for the 5-6 loadings between using the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002-.003, 15-20 loadings is easily obtainable. After 5-6 loadings, it just time to anneal, bump the shoulder with a FL die, and start the process over.
 
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