.38/.357 case sorting

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Merlinspop

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
72
'Morning all,

I'm not a reloader at the moment, but if things continue as they are, I may become one eventually. In the meantime, I'm saving all the cases I fire from my new GP100 (LOVE that thing more every time I shoot it!). It's just so simple to keep them as opposed to an auto that spits them all over the place, with no sweeping or sorting involved!

Anyway, was wondering how should I segregate the cases? Obviously, keep the .357 and .38spl apart, but beyond that, is a case a case? Separate by brand? Within .38spl, are +p cases any different from standard .38 spl? Unless the box is labeled as reloads, is it accurate to assume that the cases are new (well, once fired by me, that is)?

Thanks!
 

MADISON

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 4, 2000
Messages
175
Location
Roanoke, Virginia, 24017
AMERICAN HANDGUNNER Magazine did a thing several years ago.
They found there is no need to sort handgun brass for accuracy.
Seperate the .38 Special from .357 brass and DO NOT load .357 in 38 Special brass or .38 Special in .357 brass.
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
Wow Merlinspop, that's a lot of questions. But they're good ones. I'll take the last one and let people with more knowledge than I handle the rest. Okay?
No sir, it is not necessarily "accurate to assume" that cases are new unless the box is labeled as reloads - at least not around here. I have 38 Special, 45 ACP and .223 ammo from 2 different commercial reloaders and none of the boxes are labeled "reloads". Actually, I think a lot of people call factory reloaded ammunition "remanufacture" ammunition. Nevertheless, it IS reloaded ammo, you're likely to find a mixture of several different brands of brass in each box, and it won't say a darn thing on it about it being reloaded OR remanufactured. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Like I said, I use ammo from 2 different factory ammunition "remanufacturers" in this area. Some of it's pretty decent quality and some of it's "good enough" for what I use it for.
Oh yeah, one more thing - in this area the place you're most likely to find "remanufactured" ammo is a gunshow. At the gunshows around here the commercial reloaders usually have at least a couple of tables.:)
 

edlmann

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
789
Location
lovely downtown Central Florida
Merlinspop":ourv6d79 said:
Anyway, was wondering how should I segregate the cases? Obviously, keep the .357 and .38spl apart, but beyond that, is a case a case? Separate by brand? Within .38spl, are +p cases any different from standard .38 spl? Unless the box is labeled as reloads, is it accurate to assume that the cases are new (well, once fired by me, that is)?

This is pretty much ancient history, but you want to identify and throw away any balloonhead cases.

Never heard of these? You're not missing much. Click here for an explanation.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Hi, and welcome to the forum!

One thing you'll learn about reloading is there are often many ways of doing the same thing, w/ the same end result, and each of us develops our own "routines" in some areas.

Having said that, I obviously separate .38s from .357s... but fom there, it depends on what I'm looking to achieve.

For "good" ammo--which to me means "minimize the variables" whether for chronograph testing, accuracy testing, "psychological advantage," etc.--I separate them by headstamp. In other words, at least by "family": Winchester can include "Winchester," "Win" and "WCC", Remington would include "R-P," etc. There will always be a "mixture" of oddball headstamps I don't have enough of to fill a box. They go in the "mix" box and get used for "blasting" ammo. As the magazine article suggested, they'll all kill cans equally well!

Brass for +P loads is identical internally w/ "standard" brass of the same brand. Some folks use it as an ID measure if they're loading special loads. For example, if you DO end up loading standard AND +P ammo in the future, you might wish to load your +Ps in +P stamped brass just to avoid confusion.

Regular brass and nickel plated brass are separated. Some loaders find nickel plated brass lasts as long as regular. Others find it splits a little earlier. I'm in the latter camp. Using nickel is another way to ID special loads if you wish.

Now all this is just MY drill, and you'll find people who've got many times my experience who do some of it the same way, but do some of it in other ways. "It's all good" as the saying goes.

Once you get into this "hobby" you'll find there are tons of "tiny" variables that may or may not prove to be important to you. "Testing, testing, testing" will become a big part of the "fun" of our addiction!

Rick C
 

Pal Val

Buckeye
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
1,548
Location
S.E. PA, USA
I have several boxes of "mixed headstamp. I keep them together in the same batch, so all get reloaded the same number of times. This keeps thing uniform enough for me.

I buy plastic boxes and label them. My labels go up to 10 lines. Once the label fills up, it's time to measure and trim (if necessary).

That's my system. Not a "school" solution.
 

BIgMuddy

Blackhawk
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
550
Location
Linn Creek MO
My answer is from my own experience...

For Mild shooting loads (45 Colt, 44 Spec. 38 Spec, 45 a.c.p) I have not found that separating brass makes much difference in practical accuracy. As pressures go up, the importance of keeping the brands separate seems to go up as well. I always use one brand for 454's and separate for 44 Mags, 45 Colt "heavy", and 357 Magnum.

In my experience, the cartridge that is adversely affected by mixing brass the most is the 357 Magnum.
 

Merlinspop

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
72
Thanks to everyone responding so far.

I guess I'll go with two buckets at first, .38 and .357. Won't really think about reloading until I have several hundred of each anyway.
 

GaSidewinder

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
32
Location
Northeast Georgia
I read all the posts and I believe everyone had some good information. I especially liked the detail Rick C. put in his answer and will have to second that.

I want to add one comment. When you are approaching maximum loads in whatever gun you are loading for it is wise at that point to segregate cases. The reason for this would be the case capacity itself. When loading a case that has a larger volume of space and then using a case with lesser capacity if you are at the max with the larger then the pressure could possibly spike to an unsafe level with the smaller.

When I load for myself I don't segregate the brass unless I am approaching max loads.
 

gmaske

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
78
Location
Colorful Colorado
What I do with my wheel gun cases is put the emptys back in the box. It's real easy to keep track that way and storage is a snap. I bought a bunch of the plastic 50 round reload boxes from Midway. Diffrent colors for 38's, 357's and 45 ACP's. I'll pickup all the brass that is laying around at the range too. I have enough 38's to keep me happy for a long long time.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
9,534
Location
Woodbury, Tn
yep,
When I was in Tx and shooting at the range on Ft. Hood I always perused the casing box for my caliber. Others did also, so you had to be there at the right time. I also picked up lead from behind the targets, but you had to be fast, There wasn't much time between a Hot and cold range.
gramps
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
Location
Georgia
A general rule, at the ranges I've been to, is that if it hits the ground, it belongs to the range. They don't cotton to folks picking up brass off the ground. They have no problem with you keeping yours, just empty your cylinder in your own can.... If you have a semi and want to keep brass, better get a bag.
 

GaSidewinder

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
32
Location
Northeast Georgia
I have never been to an organized range. Our range is forest service land set aside for shooters. 110 yards long approximately 40 yards wide. Brass on the ground is trash and is free for all.
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
Location
Central Washington
i have coffee cans full of .38 and .357 that i use for general plinking. all mixed. but i do have brass in its original box for "special" reloads.
 

1ruger

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
151
I sort my 38 Special brass into three different lots.

First is what I call common brass US commercial brand.
These are Federal, Winchester and Remington.
I find these to be very consistant and will be used for most of my reloading. I sort out once fired brass from this group and use them for my "match" ammo.

Second is all nickel plated brass.
I use these to load "specialty" loads like for warm/hot loads or "shot" loads, etc. I sort out once shot brass from this group and use them to load "serious" loads like hunting ammo, self-defense ammo or SHTF ammo for long term storage.

Third is non-common US brands and imports. These do vary from brand to brand so I use them for "plinking" ammo or "blasting ammo".

One thing I have noticed is that when I load my full wadcutter ammo in 38 special where the bullet is seated deep in to the case some non-common US brass and import brand brass have lower walls that are too thick and will bulge too much with such bullet.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
10,228
Location
So. Florida
When it comes to re-loading I always sort by headstamp. When I do a batch of 50 or 100 they will all be the same kind. ...And I keep track of how many times they have been re-loaded by putting a color code on each shell with a Sharpie. Works for me. :D :D

...Jimbo
 

RugerSP101

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2008
Messages
146
tomiswho":2a6qnhi0 said:
A general rule, at the ranges I've been to, is that if it hits the ground, it belongs to the range. They don't cotton to folks picking up brass off the ground. They have no problem with you keeping yours, just empty your cylinder in your own can.... If you have a semi and want to keep brass, better get a bag.
Huh.
The range I go to doesnt care at all. The guy running it even told me to pick up all the brass I wanted because theyd have to sweep it up and toss it anyway.
 

pps

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
306
Location
PRK
The only reason I sort is because the Rem and Fed brass fit perfectly iin my .357 moonclips. The Starline fits OK but is a little to big. The rest of the brass is big enough to damage the moonclips.

If I didn't use moonclips, I wouldn't do anything other than seperate 38 from .357.
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
Location
Georgia
I don't keep track of how many times I've loaded brass. I use a single stage press and inspect each piece several times and have tossed very few because of splitting. I do sort by mfr. and separate nickel plated. I also have a large quantity of military .38 brass, which I keep separate. The military brass seems heavier and definitely takes more effort in and out of the dies. I also have a bag of unusual headstamps that I haven't been reloading, but keep more as a collector type thing.
 

BrokNAirow

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Messages
18
Location
Florida
Jimbo357mag said:
When it comes to re-loading I always sort by headstamp. When I do a batch of 50 or 100 they will all be the same kind. ...And I keep track of how many times they have been re-loaded by putting a color code on each shell with a Sharpie. Works for me. :D :D

I've found that works the best on my single stage and on dies..trim length is always the same, col is always the same....plus my grand-daughter like to sort brand names before we load....it's a girl thing i think LOL.

I'm Brok :mrgreen:
 
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