What Makes Brass Good/Bad?

What Makes Brass Good/Bad?

This is a discussion on What Makes Brass Good/Bad? within the Reloading forums, part of the Sniping Related category; I see a lot of people talking about how lapua, winchester...etc are great brass for reloading, but I'm failing to understand why. Is it that ...

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Thread: What Makes Brass Good/Bad?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2015

    What Makes Brass Good/Bad?

    I see a lot of people talking about how lapua, winchester...etc are great brass for reloading, but I'm failing to understand why. Is it that good brass is more consistent in dimensions? Keeps it's shape between rounds better? More durable?

    I just bought 200rounds of S & B match ammo and after reading mixed reviews I'm beginning to think the brass won't be any good for reloading.

  2. #2
    Sponsors Orkan's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    In a word: Uniformity.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2015
    That makes sense. So if I understand correctly bad brass is going to shoot slightly worse groups and probably wear out faster?

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  5. #4
    Member Blanco's Avatar
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    Feb 2016
    FT. Worth TX.
    I read an article a while back and the author tested about a dozen different brands of brass for consistency.
    Norma and Lapua were in the test also. I think Lapua was the worst of all that were tested. The surprise was the winner Remington!

  6. #5
    Senior Member Cliffy's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Blanco View Post
    I read an article a while back and the author tested about a dozen different brands of brass for consistency.
    Norma and Lapua were in the test also. I think Lapua was the worst of all that were tested. The surprise was the winner Remington!

    Would you have a link to the article? I would like to read that to see what kind of testing was done.

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  7. #6
    Senior Member scrmblr1982cj8's Avatar
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    May 2014
    I agree with Orkan. The key to accuracy is eliminating as many variables as possible. Good brass eliminates a lot of potential issues. Good brass lasts longer than lesser quality brass if you take care of it and treat it well.

    I think another important item to consider is what is your intended use of the brass? If you are wanting long range precision, then I would definitely recommend buying the best brass you can find. If you are wanting to make rounds for plinking or close range hunting, I think your options open up.

    For example, I live in South Carolina and love to hunt deer and hogs. We literally have millions of pine trees in the state. Any hunting area on can find within a 90 minute drive of my house has been cleared of pine trees. We don't have vast open areas that isn't farm land. Spotting and stalking doesn't exist around here. I have access to over 2,000 acres to hunt, which is divided into over 25 spots. My longest shot would be about 375 yards. I don't think I need the ultimate precision round for what I do.

    I use mainly 7.62/.308 for hunting and make my rounds out of once used NATO brass since I purchased 500 count boxes for $49 each. It takes a lot of prep work, but I enjoy it. I can get cloverleaf groups at 100 yards. Is used NATO brass comparable to Lapua brass? Probably not. But for where I live, what I shoot, and how I hunt, it is perfectly acceptable for me. I have 10 boxes of brand new Lapua brass at my house, just waiting for the time when I can shoot longer that what I can currently access. I'm not going to waste Lapua brass on a 75 yard head shot on a hog.

    IMO, if you can get a good deal on brass, think about it. It may not win you a 1,000 benchrest competition, but you might be able to use it for hunting rounds or rounds you can let family and friends use when they want to plink.

    Just my $0.02.
    mamalukino likes this.

  8. #7
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    Jul 2015
    Remington hands down...shot em all and best results came from Winchester and Remington..Remington being the best! Remington must=Uniformity
    jmck1737 likes this.

  9. #8
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    Aug 2015
    Top Bullets, Brass, Primers & Powder - What The Pros Use - PrecisionRifleBlog.com

    Reloading Like A Pro - Tips From Top Precision Rifle Shooters - PrecisionRifleBlog.com

    I have a really hard time believing that Remington brass is somehow better than lapua or norma brass.

    I'm not discounting your results (best groupings I assume) but I doubt that lapua and norma would have the following they enjoy if people could get the same results from Remchester brass at half the price.
    str8shot likes this.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Brass hardness in the base and how the base is constructed has a great deal to do with case life and primer pocket longevity. As you can see at the link below Lake City has the hardest brass followed by Lapua.

    How Hard is Your Brass? 5.56 and .223 Rem Base Hardness Tests

    Below what alloys are in your brass.


    I buy a lot of once fired Lake City 5.56 brass because the base is harder and stronger. Many of you may have heard that Federal brass is soft but that is not the entire answer. Below is a Federal .223 case on the left and a Lake City 5.56 case and commercial contract ammunition made for the military. The Lake City case on the right has a thicker flash hole web that adds strength to the base of the case. Meaning the Lake City cases are better able to withstand higher pressures and larger diameter military chambers.

    Below is my scrap brass bucket and 95% of the cases in it are factory loaded "once fired" Federal .223 cases with over sized primer pockets.

    Bottom line, each brand of brass has its individual stress limits, and once you know these limits do not push your cases to the point they fail early. Meaning if you do not load "hot" your brass will last much longer. And I can buy once fired Lake City brass for .08 cents each and Lapua .223 cases are .84 cents each.

    Simple Trick for Monitoring Pressure of Your Rifle Reloads

    Below .223/5.56 case capacities, and as you can see the brands are very uniform with Lake City having the most capacity.

    Below case weight uniformity.

    Last edited by bigedp51; 03-03-2016 at 10:34 AM.
    scrmblr1982cj8 likes this.

  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2015
    Wow. Ton of great info here. Some I've already read and several I haven't. Thanks guys.

    At this point I'm just plinking metal working my way out to 1000 and it's very unlikely I'll ever be into competing. I don't want to be passing up a 500yd shot on an elk on a calm day either. It seems as if I can get away with picking some mid range brass and fair just fine.


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