Case Reloading Life Expectancy - MP-Pistol Forum

Case Reloading Life Expectancy

This is a discussion on Case Reloading Life Expectancy within the MP Reloading forums, part of the Smith & Wesson MP Forum category; Okay all you reloaders: how often can you reload brass cases for 9mm and .223? I've been reloading both (mostly 9mm) for five years or ...


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Old January 18th, 2016, 08:16 PM   #1
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Case Reloading Life Expectancy

Okay all you reloaders: how often can you reload brass cases for 9mm and .223? I've been reloading both (mostly 9mm) for five years or more and have no idea how many times any particular case has been reloaded. At first I heard it was three reloads then toss, then it was five times, etc, etc. I tried keeping track early on but it became a logistical quagmire-too confusing! I do check my used brass for damage prior to reloading and I shoot only quality ammo when using new store-bought stuff. I've gone through two Lee presses which I replaced with a Dillon 650 and have probably reloaded thousands of 9mm rounds w/o issues. (Well, there is the occasional squib but we're talking one squib out of 300-400 or less.) I do case-gauge my .223 brass occasionally while going through a batch and Super Swage all primer pockets. And what about those nickel/steel (?) cases? Are there resizing issues with them? All my powder loads are close to max allowed by manufacturers' data.

Incidently the 9mm run through MP 9 & Shield 9. The .223 through MP AR15-Sport. Thanks all!
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Old January 19th, 2016, 03:29 AM   #2
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The 9MM cases should last just about forever. Maybe, every now and then, a case mouth will split/crack, but I've not lost on yet. Straight walled cases can be reloaded many, many times.

The .223 cases, on the other hand, won't last for the maybe 5 to 7 reloadings before the neck cracks/splits on them. Tremendous (compared to the 9MM) pressures, more heat when fired, and more pressure/wear on the base when resizing leads to reduced life.

I save my cracked ones to turn into .300 BO brass.
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Old January 19th, 2016, 07:17 AM   #3
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You may want to reconsider when in your reloading process you check your cases for cracks. I now do it at the end of my reloading session since if a case is going to crack, it will most likely be during the stress of the reloading itself. I just don't want to fire a cracked case in my chamber. If I have to pull down a loaded round because the case cracked, then so be it.
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Old January 19th, 2016, 01:51 PM   #4
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9x19: Until I lose the case
.223: Until the case, usually the neck, cracks. Cases too inexpensive for cost of annealing and I'm not shooting 600+ yard competition.
I check for cracks when I get back from the range. I inspect, deprime, and sort.
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Old January 19th, 2016, 02:05 PM   #5
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I've heard some crack when resizing, if I don't have the radio on making noise. Sometimes, you can feel it, too. The expander comes up out of the neck much easier when it's just spreading a crack vs. expanding the whole circumference of the neck.

Sometimes, you can feel the bullet seat with very little effort and that is a crack, sometimes.
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Old January 19th, 2016, 02:10 PM   #6
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9mm until I lose them or the mouth splits. I have some that I'm sure I've reloaded at least 15 times. 223, 10 at the most what usually happens is you'll get a case head separation if you reload them too much. If you insert a paper clip into the case and run it up and down the case wall close to the head you can feel the place where the wall is thinning out.

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Old January 19th, 2016, 04:48 PM   #7
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Usually the cases are lost, especially pistol, long before signs of potential failure or failure.

.223, like others stated prior, I see the neck crack first. How many tines reloaded, I do not keep track for what I shoot.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 09:10 AM   #8
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Can not speak to .223, but 9MM - i have safely reloaded over 10x. Despite rumors to the contrary, new once fired CCI aluminum cases have been reloaded as well and shot by the hundreds without fail.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 11:30 AM   #9
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Most pistol caliber brass will last almost indefinitely if loaded at moderate levels, I have 9mm, 38 special and 45 acp that have been reloaded dozens of times, some of them have been reloaded so many times the writing on the bottoms has faded away. I've got some 38 special cases that have probably been reloaded 100 times. I quit keeping track of how many times pistol brass has been reloaded a long time ago.

Rifle cases are a whole different ballgame. I have a lot of experience with reloading 223/5.56 cases for AR's. AR's are very rough on brass, all my rifle brass is segregated by how many times it has been fired, it is VERY important to do this! I have found that AR brass stands up to about 5 firings before you start getting a lot of case failures. ALL rifle brass is carefully inspected after each time it is fired, they can usually go through 5 firings without much trouble, each additional time you will see more and more with neck and shoulder cracks. You have to keep an eye out for case head separation, but that's not a big problem. With that experience I have decided that the useful case life through an AR is 5 firings.

NOW I have found a good way to recycle those cases, since the typical failure mode in the neck and shoulder...what gets cut off when you convert it to 300 blackout? BINGO! Neck and shoulder, so far I've taken 5 fired 223/5.56 cases, converted to 300 blackout and fired another 5 times without any signs of failure, so I don't know the ultimate case life after conversion, but they are good for at least another 5 firings after conversion.
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Old January 20th, 2016, 04:40 PM   #10
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If the rounds or mild or factory speeds, the case should last a LONG time. Bottle neck maybe a little less but still.. should last a good while.

EB
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 07:53 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the excellent advice! Checking for cracks, etc after loading along with looking at the empties prior seems best. Agree with all the rifle case advice also; looks like I'm back to labeling used case containers...
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Old January 23rd, 2016, 11:29 AM   #12
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I dont segregate my cases based on fire count.. I inspect each case by hand before they are loaded, at some point, I feel every case or see every neck during the process so if something is wrong, Ill eventually find it.

Sorting your cases just adds another step of frustration and work that works for some, but not for me.. To each there own but I want to keep it simple and sweet.

EB
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Old January 24th, 2016, 02:46 AM   #13
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Watch the .300 BO cases made from .223 brass. I've had, maybe 3??, over the last few months that ended up with neck walls that are too thick.

Sitting here, at 0630 in the morning, I can't seem to remember how I discovered those cases were different.

I do remember that I had to set them aside because my case trimmer runs out of adjustment range before the shaft can move far enough to ream the necks out.

Darn, I might have to write my name/phone number/address on a sheet of paper and put it in my wallet one of these days, so I can find my way home.
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Old January 24th, 2016, 05:59 AM   #14
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As others have said, 9mm cases will last a very long time. Lke G56 I've reloaded them until I could hardly read the writing anymore. At some point I start checking to make sure they hold neck tension as I've had batches that ceased doing so.
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Old January 27th, 2016, 12:21 PM   #15
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I agree with G56 on the 9's & 45's. I keep a close eye on the 5.56 after 5 or 6 reloads. After that they're segregated into number of times fired. If there's any doubt, it's flattened and recycled.
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