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Just HOW Important is Using Matched Brass?

shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior MemberPosts: 5,862 Senior Member
Title says it all. I am working up a hunting/LR handload for my 7mm Rem Mag this winter, and am questioning just how critical matched brass is or isn't.

Or, in other words, is it worth my effort to separate the bag of mixed, once fired brass that I bought online?

If it matters, I'll be shooting the gun out to 1000 yards in practice, with the ultimate goal of being comfortable shooting at game out to 500yds from field positions. Fortunately, there are some local 600yds matches that allow magnums that will let me practice this next summer.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
- I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
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Replies

  • PFDPFD Senior Member Posts: 1,553 Senior Member
    From what I understand, even brass from the same lot can vary.
    I read about people who buy 100 pieces of new brass and weigh each one.  Set aside the 25 lightest and 25 heaviest for practice and use the middle 50 for when it counts.
    If 2 pieces are dimensionally identical externally but have different weights, they probably have different internal volumetric capacity.
    Try checking various pieces that you have now for different internal volume.  Weigh a few cases then fill them with water and record the difference to see how much they differ in internal capacity.

    That' my thoughts on 1,000 yard hand loading but sadly, it's based on very little experience.
    .223 for AR plinking, I pick it all up, clean it, trim it, look for cracked necks as I shove them into the RL550. 😋
    That's all I got.

    Paul
  • PFDPFD Senior Member Posts: 1,553 Senior Member
    I'm curious to hear how the real experts regard truing/de-burring the flash hole, Neck thickness and the like.
    That's all I got.

    Paul
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #4
    The longer the distance, the more important it becomes. Differing internal dimensions/capacities have the same affect as differing powder charges in that they alter velocity.  The further you're shooting the great the effect of the velocity difference on vertical POI
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #5
    Just running some numbers through "QuickTarget" which is QuickLoad's ballistic software.

    All projections are based on a 162gr Hornady ELD-M with a 1.5" scope height and a 100 yard zero also using the G1 BC
    MV 2775 is 305.3" low 
    MV 2800fps.  299.2" low @ 1k
    MV 2825fps is 293.2" low

    A 50 fps ES isn't unusual in a magnum using "matched" cases. So imagine the difference mixed cases can cause


    Edited to put the ballistic outcomes in order from slowest to fastest
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    I re-ran it using the G7 BC and the difference were minimal (less than 0.5")
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    Re-ran everything on Hornady's online 4DOF calculator and the numbers were:
    MV        Trajectory
    2775     -298.01"
    2800     -291.55"
    2825     -285.29"

    So 2 different ballistic programs put the differences in POI at ~12" for a 50fps ES


    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,464 Senior Member
    If 1K yards is for "practice" and 500 yards is for "blood"......keep everything consistent. Fire form your new brass so it's consistent in your chamber. Don't change lots of powder, even if the same kind/brand. Same primer, all the time.

    We often speak lightly of "long range" here, but honestly.....any first shot hit on anything at 1K is exceptional shy of a good bit of practice, great load development, and good conditions. "Blood" at 500...is a mite more difficult.


    At these ranges.....consistency REALLY matters.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    Adding on to what Linefinder said, Knowing the EXACT range is CRUCIAL. 
    Years ago I used a quote  from him for my sig-line, "Pretty much any shoulder-fired chambering has the flight path of a Craftsman toolbox at the 1K mark. 
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,456 Senior Member
    knitepoet said:
    I re-ran it using the G7 BC and the difference were minimal (less than 0.5")
    What is the difference between the G1 and G7 number in that software?
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,464 Senior Member
    knitepoet said:
    Adding on to what Linefinder said, Knowing the EXACT range is CRUCIAL. 
    Years ago I used a quote  from him for my sig-line, "Pretty much any shoulder-fired chambering has the flight path of a Craftsman toolbox at the 1K mark. 
    You're right, Paul, I forgot to mention that, and I should have my **** whipped.

    Even with an accurate rifle, hi-$$ glass, perfectly tweaked handloads, and decent conditions....at even 500 yards, a 10% miscalculation of range practically guarantees a miss with most common chamberings.. or worse.....bad hit. depending on the size of the target, of course. A pick-up, you'll probably hit. A P'dog...you'll miss. A deer.......I'll have to leave that decision up to you.

    But....500 yards in the field, for big game blood, given normal time constraints......is a hell of a farther than these interwebs make it sound.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,635 Senior Member
    Save the random stuff for 200 yard rock busting.  There's not only internal volume differences on mismatched brass, but likely case neck tension as well

    If you're serious about playing the target game, bite the weenie and get yourself enough Norma or Lapua cases from one lot to serve your needs.  There's a bit of monetary sting there, but it pays off in that the stuff is consistent enough that you're likely be DONE at that point for any application short of true benchrest matches
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,871 Senior Member
    Extremely important.  The difference between Win and Fed brass max loads might be 2-3 gr charge.  At those distances the key is consistency.  You're talking about inconsistencies that could be flat out dangerous let alone accuracy issues.  
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,227 Senior Member
    The best 3 shot group I've ever shot measured .080 inches, center to center.  I shot it from my Savage Model 10 .204.  For that particular group, I weighed at least 10 rounds of brass, and selected the 3 that were the closest in weight.  All of the brass I measured was from the same 100 round bag of new, unfired brass, and I was surprised at how much variation there was in weight among those rounds that I weighed.

    For most of my reloading, though, I do not do that, as I simply want what I consider hunting precision.  I do, though, keep track how many times any particular round of brass has been used, and keep it in a lot of others with the same number of firings.  Doing that also makes it a bit easier to identify brass that's outlived its usefulness.

    I do not mix brass from different manufacturers, and try to keep brass from the same 100 round bag together.

    I used to think that the amount of powder in a given round was the main factor of precision or accuracy.  Now I know that it's only one factor, and may not even be the most important.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,789 Senior Member
    (snip)I am working up a hunting/LR handload for my 7mm Rem Mag this winter, and am questioning just how critical matched brass is or isn't.

    Or, in other words, is it worth my effort to separate the bag of mixed, once fired brass that I bought online? (snip)
    I don't shoot or reload for belted magnum calibers.

    For my match ammo (F-class  LR and MR), I usually buy 500 pieces of Lapua brass specifying that it must be the same lot.  Lapua packages it brass in cardboard boxes of 10 blue plastic boxes of 100 pieces each.  Powder Valley usually ships me the brass in a folded Lapua cardboard box.  They are always of the same lot.  I do my usual minimal prep and shoot them all once to get close to my chamber dimension and then it's off to the races and my usual brass prep from that point forward.  The brass is at perfect size for my chamber after the second firing.

    I also buy powder in larger quantities, again from the same lot.  I do the same for primers and bullets.

    I do not know anyone who has a shot at winning or placing well on the line who mixes brass lots, let alone brands.  Nobody wants to leave points on the reloading table.

    Past 4-500 hundred yards, there are demons in the air who like to do strange things to your rapidly decelerating jacketed lump of lead that you just launched toward the target, the one item in the shooting equation which does not lie and is immune to flattery or wishful thinking.  The last thing you want to bring into this fragile and painfully assembled firing solution is the randomizing element of unmatched brass.

    On the other hand, if you want to live vicariously through your screen name here, then by all means, use brass from various manufacturers and lots, that has been used in a variety of rifles and allow me to introduce the concept of patterning your shots, instead of measuring groups or shooting for score.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 13,292 Senior Member
    Questions, if the case weights vary out of the package, and you are not loading the case to a max load, what difference does it make if your powder charges are uniform? Does fire forming new brass to your chamber change case capacity? Does case capacity with different weight new cases become more uniform after fire forming? 
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,789 Senior Member
    1-  My loads are pretty much at max or even above.  That's the reason I use small primer Lapua 308 brass.  They call that "Palma" brass.  The case is stronger than normal around the primer pocket because there's more meat there.  I also use a small base resizing die to **** case expansion.  My powder load is to the kernel of powder.

    Our range uses electronic targets which have the terminal velocity of the bullet as a by-product on the display.  The SD of my ammo at 1000 yards is in the single digit range.  I believe that is a testament to consistent brass, consistent powder load and consistent bullets.

    2- I believe it does a little bit as I allow my case to grown a small amount.  Virgin brass is usually shorter than you chamber, so that it can be chambered smoothly in a variety of chambers.  I use a Redding indicator to measure the distance from base to datum point on my brass.  I can see that virgin brass is several thous short of my twice+ fired brass.  After the first firing, it gets close and the resizing only fixes the neck and slightly squeezes the base.  After the second firing, the base to datum is spot on and I only kick it back .001-.002.  From that point forward it's a matter of controlling the expansion of the base to retain the primer.  SRP-primed cases last longer than LRP-primed cases.

    3- I do not bother to weigh the brand-new cases.  I used to at some point, but I rely on Lapua now and from the same lot.  That's why I pay extra for that brass compared to Winchester.  If I competed in F-Open or BR, I would probably weigh them for anal retention purposes.  What I do find is that the trimming operation tells a tale now.  Let me explain.

    I have a Giraud trimmer and after every resizing operation, I run the newly-cleaned brass through the trimmer. I have found that after a few cycles, the trimmer removes virtually nothing from the neck and essentially polishes the rim of the case to allow smooth bullet seating.  In ordinary brass, like Winchesters, I get cases that need more trimming than others, sometimes substantially more.  It just doesn't happen with Lapua brass.  Now translating that to your last question, does that mean that the extra trimming takes care of the extra weight that could represent the shifting of extra brass?  Simple answer:  I have no clue.  Maybe.

    We all know that brass flows when firing occurs, that's what powers the principle known as obturation.  Also, if your shoulder is pushed too far back, the body will stretch too much and you get case separation, an exciting event when it occurs.  I haven't had one of those in the last 35 years of loading, but that's why I use an indicator and monitor closely.  I usually get 8+ loadings from my match brass and I don't want to take a chance on that.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,789 Senior Member
    I should also add that different brass manufacturers simply have a different geometry for their products.  The base can differ in profile, weight, thickness, etc.  That's probably where you will find the most variation brand to brand.  Then the thickness of the body wall is a real thing.  For instance, I have a resizing bushing for Winchester brass and it's several thousands smaller than the one I use for Lapua brass, because the Winchester brass is a lot thinner than Lapua's at the neck.  Probably elsewhere also.

    Some sites will publish reports on the quantity of water that each brand of brass holds.  This measures the internal volume of the brass.  Weighing the brass is one thing, weighing the water capacity is another.  I hear that dedicated BR shooters will put in a lot of work on a small quantity of brass that they use over and over again.  I work on a quantity of 500 pieces, enough to take me through a National competition without having to handload on site.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    I can answer part of it. Since the cases are pretty much dimensionally the same externally, the weight variation  means differences in capacity. 

    Lets take it to and extreme, take a comfy 30-06 load and let's say it pushes your 168gr bullet at 2700fps.
    Now have barrel reamed to 30-06AI,  the exact same load is going to have a lower MV JUST because the brass has more capacity. Now, you can increase the powder charge, or change powders to compensate for the difference in capacity in my scenario. When it's case to case differences, it's pretty much impossible to do.

    Since fireforming moves brass around, but doesn't add or remove brass, I, personally, don't see how it could make any difference in the fact that case "A" has "x" amount more/less material, making it weigh more/less than case "B"
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #20
    Uncle Fester said:
    What is the difference between the G1 and G7 number in that software?
    Sorry for taking so long to reply, just got home from a 16hr shift (7p-11A)

    Quicktarget (QT) lists the g7 as 0.313 and the g1 as 0.627

    You can't just compare the numbers between a G1 and G7 BC.
     The G1 model is a flat base and the G7  has a boat tail

    Edited to add: Kestrel Meters does a much better job of explaining it than I can
    https://kestrelmeters.com/pages/g1-g7-ballistic-coefficients-what-s-the-difference
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,236 Senior Member
    The best group I've ever shot was out of a Colt AR using factory GMM...5 shots in about 1/4".  A 16 x scope.  Routinely less than 1/2 MOA with the same ammo.  I found out I couldn't load any better than the GMM ammo so I quit trying.

    If I was competitively shooting at 1000 yards, I'd definitely scale my brass.  i'd shave the case mouth, too, at least the first time I loaded them.

    There's no way I'd shoot at an animal at 500 yards from a field rest...I know my limitations.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,464 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #22
    To cut to the heart of the matter.....once you reach the range that simple "holdover" makes it an iffy shot against your particular sized target....it's become long range. Pdogs to moose..22LR to 50 BMG....take your pick. And regardless of target size, the farther out you get....the worse it gets. The difference between 200 and 300 is noticable. Between 300 and 400, eyeopening. 400-600......jawdropping. Past 600.....you better have a really consistent load and a range estimation that's damned near dead on.

    Don't even get me started on wind. 

    Long range requires a good platform, consistent ammo, and a bit of practice. Long range for blood requires a bit more.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,704 Senior Member
    Title says it all. I am working up a hunting/LR handload for my 7mm Rem Mag this winter.
    You are starting a fun journey.
    What kind of accuracy do you get with this rifle?

    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,862 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #24
    Title says it all. I am working up a hunting/LR handload for my 7mm Rem Mag this winter.
    You are starting a fun journey.
    What kind of accuracy do you get with this rifle?

    So far it's been hit or miss. Some stuff 2", some stuff sub 1/2 MOA. HOWEVER, it's a 1974 Remington 700, and I recently went to town on it with copper solvent. It was vomiting blue the first few cycles. I'm hoping to get it out again and establish a good baseline soon. I've got a few different load of high quality factory ammo to try as a starting point.

    Full stats:
    - Remington 700 ADL, 24" bbl
    - HS Precision Sporter stock (action is glass bedded)
    - Tuned factory trigger
    - Hawkins 3-port muzzle brake
    - NIghtforce SHV F1 4-14x50 (will probably be replaced with a Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44 to save weight)
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,862 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #25
    Thanks for the input all. I have some long range shooting experience from NRA/CMP High Power and some PRS, but the level of detail when it comes to developing a load specifically for shooting up to 1000 is a whole new ball game for me.

    It sounds like my best course of action is to order 100-150 pieces of Norma or similar quality brass and use that for my loads.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,862 Senior Member
    Let me be clear also, that it is not my goal to become an "elk sniper" nor to base my hunting tactics around 500+ yard shots on animals. I've always enjoyed attempting to get as close as possible, and all but one of my shots on game have been 200 yards or less.

    However, I'm interested in developing the skillset, am willing to invest the time and effort into it, and I want the OPTION to put those skills to use should the conditions mandate it.

    I also have a good quality laser range finder (Sig Kilo 2000), and make use of shooting sticks, backpacks, etc to aid in stabilization. 
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,704 Senior Member
    Get a scope level.
    Do you have a chronograph, and if so, what brand?
    It may take more fouling shots for your peak accuracy to come back with a factory barrel (each has it's own way).  Copper is not really your biggest enemy, but carbon build up can drop accuracy quickly.
    Sounds like you have a good package put together. 
    What the barrel is actually capable of will be seen in the near future.
    1/2 MOA will kill game all day long at 500 yards, if you are good behind the gun in field shooting conditions and have conditions you are capable shooting tight in. 
    Be aware that your hunting contour barrel will frustrate you with sustained shooting, so be patient. 
    I know I am probably preaching to the choir on this one.
    Do load development from the bench with a decent front rest and rear bag.
    At least a decent bi-pod and good rear field bag.
    What dies are you using?
    What bullets do you have in mind for hunting?
    I would pick Lapua (They don't make 7RM brass) and either of these before Norma, but Norma would next in line.
    I use all four brands (Yes, I use Norma for several custom rigs) of the brass I listed, and with my rigs, they are capable of 1/2 MOA or better at 100 yards


    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,704 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #28
    PFD said:
    I'm curious to hear how the real experts regard truing/de-burring the flash hole, Neck thickness and the like.

    I buy quality brass to begin with.  It solves problems and it requires less prep time
    Custom chambers (match-No neck turn chambers) and good brass, then I don't turn necks on the majority of my custom rigs. 
    If I am going to go full r-e-t-a-r-d like F-Open or 600/1K BR (which is not goal in question here), then I would  have the reamer set-up so that I would do about 3/4 clean up on the neck.  Then I would run tolerances much tighter than you would want for a practical field gun.  I would also anneal after every firing of the brass. 
    Neck turning is not going to gain shotgunshooter anything with SAAMI chamber.

    Let's put things in context...
    Zee does amazing things with brass, that does not cost as much-Like Hornady.
    If I am using a cheaper brass, I will debur and uniform the flash hole.  I may also clean up the primer pocket depth some too. 
    It all depends on what I want to accomplish.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,862 Senior Member
    What dies are you using? Lee
    What bullets do you have in mind for hunting? 168gr Nosler Accubond Long Range



    See above.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,981 Senior Member
    edited November 2020 #30
    I'd suggest some higher end dies if utmost accuracy is your goal. 
    I don't splurge on high end dies for everything, however, for loads meant for accuracy, I trust Redding for less bullet run-out and if I was SUPER serious about it, (I'm not) Forster 
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,236 Senior Member
    Another limiting factor @ 500 yards is the target.  Most animals, it would be about 2-3 MOA. And that's a flat paper target, a deer or elk may be quartering, offering less than that.  Hmmm......it can be done, of course, and SS3 has the means and discipline to do it, but it ain't gonna be easy.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
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