View Full Version : LC brass. Fire and Forget?

June 28, 2007, 08:46
OK, I'm two weeks into loading LC brass to feed the FAL and the M1A. It's top quality, once fired military. I'm reading the brass warning sticky and I see this:

"Originally posted by W.E.G.
For as long as I have ever used the stuff, machine-gun brass has never been reliable for more than one re-firing, and even then you are going to get some head separations. Just par for the course."

This sets off all kinds of alarms in my head since I'm a safety nut kinda guy. Some of the brass already has two firings through it and I already have some of the brass primed and ready for a third firing. With commercial brass I fire the brass 4 times and then toss it in the scrap can for recycling.

Now the question comes up, should I even be reloading the LC more than once? It would be a bit more expensive, but not as bad as having to replace one of those rifles. Not to mention any damage done to my once, long ago, pristine body. Even though I'm long out of warranty, I still want to keep running for a few more years.

So, load it once (after inspection), fire it, and forget it? Or, keep with my program of ditching the brass after the 4th firing?

I hope I'm not going to start a pee'ing contest here. I would just like good info.



June 28, 2007, 10:05
I'd start checking inside the cases with a bent paperclip, or similar, rather than just counting firings.

If you're going to get a seperation there will be warning signs ahead of time when reloading brass.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with the technique, so here's the quick & dirty 411.

Either bend the tip of a streightened paperclip at 90 degrees, about 1/8" long, or use anything you have lying around that's similar.

Run the pointy tip up and down the length of the brass on the inside, at several points round the circumference. If there is any indication of a groove then the brass goes bye bye. Even if just one case in the batch shows this then I dump the lot.

I've reloaded LC and several other once fired cases several times and have yet to have a case head seperation. Usually the cycling & ejection will beat the neck and mouth of the case to the point where it shows unsafe conditions there before I get a stretching brass warning.

I'm averaging 3~4 loads per case.

BUT YMMV:sad: :rofl:

June 28, 2007, 10:31
I agree with brownknees that the bent paper clip tool is useful...

Unfortunately, my sensitivity of touch must be somewhat lacking because I often have trouble 'feeling' the stretched indentation unless it's already extremely pronounced...

However, my vision is quite good (thanks to plastic)...

With 7.62mm NATO/.308 Win. cases, it's quite easy to see the stretch ring by just looking into the cartridge case using a penlight. The light shining in will leave a shadow in the stretched area all the way around the base of the cartridge case. As a matter of fact, you can see the 'ring' long before the case has become dangerously thinned...

This technique works best when the outside light is low (as, for example, in a darkened room indoors).

So just add the 'ole eyeball trick to the paperclip trick...


June 28, 2007, 18:48
Thanks. I was aware of the "bent paperclip" trick and all. But WEG's statement and a back up by another got me to wondering. The LC brass I'm using is roll formed and really looks good. No runout or any other nasties.

BTW, my Chrony came in today. Three guesses where old Groucho will be Saturday? (ok, after I mow the grass and get the truck back from the shop) sigh. Maybe I'll have to wait until Sunday.

Did I just hijack my own thread?

June 29, 2007, 08:19
Originally posted by W.E.G.
I don't think you need to be worried about this from a SAFETY issue.

A head separation is NOT the same thing as a head rupture.
Do you follow me on this point?

Head separations are still an inconvenience, and it does suck to load 500 rounds of ammo, only to find that every 20 or so shots results in half a case stuck in the chamber. AMHIK.

One way to approach this is to only load a small batch of "questionable" brass, and test it for head-separation issues so you don't get in too deep with a large batch of worn-out brass. If you can get through 50 rounds without a separation, the lot is probably OK for at least one more loading.

Watch for enlarged primer pockets too.

Yep, dialed in on head separation and head rupture. Thanks.


June 29, 2007, 08:45
Not as definative as the paperclip test, but a good indication of wether you need to test 2500 rounds one-by one with a paperclip:uhoh:
There will frequently be a "bright ring" (I see a lighter shade of brass colored ring) sharply defined round the circumference of the case as an external indication that this is headed your way.
I tend to look for this FIRST, then if I see this "bright ring" at all, probe, to confirm/deny the brass thinning just in front of the web.
Like a lot of things it needs to be seen to be recognized, just so you don't confuse it with the normal markings of a fired case right at the point where the solid base gives way to the drawn hollow section.
The first one you get will be fairly definitive, one of those "Well, so THAT's what I've been looking for!" type things.


July 10, 2007, 20:54
All the info you have received in this post is correct. ftierson is dead-on and I do mine the exact same way. I wish I was smart enough to add something else, but these guys have everything covered 100%.

July 10, 2007, 21:06
Just don't load to max pressure and you should get another 5 loadings out of it. Then sell it on EBAY as "once fired"...:uhoh:

July 24, 2007, 21:15
Hagar! so your the one that sold me that bunch of Brass! I knew I'd find you one day!......(lol)

Seriously, I do not think the 240 has as many headspace issues as the old M60 did, anyway we're not going to get any 7.62 LC brass that has not been fired in a machine gun. There is no more Match brass available anymore. I have some of it too and am going to watch it closely, and keep reloading it until I see a reason to junk it. Also am loading down slightly as well.

August 17, 2007, 21:29
over on culver shooting pages in the archives someone talked about WAXING the brass as this allows it to come out of the chamber easier and stretches it less. Also, with an "X-Die" he claims 16-20 reloads on his brass.
go to reloading at www.jouster.com and use the search feature.
put in m14 loads.

August 17, 2007, 22:22
Waxing your ammo sounds like a really stupid thing to do to me, whether others do it or not...

But maybe that's just me...


August 19, 2007, 11:40
Groucho... you can sell your "second" fired to poor college students..... (ME!)


August 20, 2007, 08:08
Originally posted by FAL GRUNT
Groucho... you can sell your "second" fired to poor college students..... (ME!)


Ummmm..... while I remember being a poor college student many, many years ago, my education is still on going. One thing I have recently learned is that this LC Brass is WONDERFUL!!!!. I'm getting three more firings before I 86 the stuff. The M1A and the FAL are really tough on the brass. Being a cautious type, I figure 4-total firings is enough. Anything more and I may have a modified bomb just inches from my thick skull and sensitive eyes.

Too bad you can't do like I did when I was in college. Before 1968 I could just buy and sell guns. I'd buy from folks out in the country side in SE Ohio, store the rifles and pistols in my room (ok, that was a little risky) and sell them as the need arose. I hate to think how many K 98's, M1's, Lugers, and various Walthers I sold for 20-30 bucks. And, I made a profit! Today, if you tried that, you'd wind up in jail as a gun runner. Back then, it paid for my books, paid for my beer and I had a ball. I even graduated (in spite of myself).


August 20, 2007, 22:00
Eh... kits have replaced guns... parts etc...

I can make a little money, not nearly enough to pay for books ...