How long does 45 Colt brass tend to last?

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Jayhawkhuntclub

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I'm going to start reloading 45 Colt soon. I've heard this does not last very long (<10 loads). I expect that I'll be loading mid-level loads with 250 gr cast bullets. Any thoughts? Also, what brand has good 45 C brass? Thanks.
 

J Miller

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I'm still using brass I bought 30 years and close to 20 loads now. As long as you don't step on it it lasts a very long time.
The .45 Colt mid-level loads are easy on brass.

Joe
 

jwr747

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I'm still reloading brass my dad bought 50 years ago.all mid to low range loads.don't see why the stuff won't last another 50.not much strain put on the brass.....jwr
 

btrumanj

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I've only been reloading .45 Colt for about 10 or 12 yrs. I was told the same thing as you but in my experience with regular full power (not Ruger only) loads is it just keeps on going and going. I've bought extra brass on sale through the yrs but am still using the original brass I bought when I first started. Maybe some day I'll use some of those unopened packages to try some flatgate type loads. I've had good luck with Win, Rem and Federal brass :)
 

Bucks Owin

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Jayhawkhuntclub":2ol7k5hs said:
I'm going to start reloading 45 Colt soon. I've heard this does not last very long (<10 loads). I expect that I'll be loading mid-level loads with 250 gr cast bullets. Any thoughts? Also, what brand has good 45 C brass? Thanks.
I'd say depends on the gun itself and the type of loads. My .45 BH has oversize chambers and tends to bulge the cases forward of the web with "stiff" loads so after I resize them 2 or 3 times I relegate the brass to lighter "cowboy" type loads. Sometimes though, I'll lose a case due to case mouth splits which develops after repeated heavy crimping and workhardening of the brass in that area. With light loads and crimps, brass lasts longer. I favor Winchester brass (and primers) but use Federal and other brands too. I don't like Remington anything including their brass....FWIW, Dennis
 

pvtschultz

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I'll let you know when my brass starts to develop cracks. I'm only on four years with my brass so I suspect that I have some time ahead of me.
 

Rclark

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I use StarLine brass. Bought 500 of them a while back, and so far so good. Up to 8 reloads on them and still going strong. I have two main loads that I use which are light and medium. I don't load heavy. Well, I did once, but decided that was no fun....
 

tomiswho

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Feb 2, 2008
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I started reloading Colt brass in June of 2006 (I looked in my book...) and had used brass with unknown reloads already through them then. I have maybe thrown out 2 or 3 cases total in that time. Most of my loads are 8g of Unique behind 250g RNFP which I consider light.
 

Sonnytoo

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The short answer is ten...more or less...or exactly. Most of my failed brass was due to cracked necks...where the crimp is. So it seems reasonable that the more you work the brass, as in crimping and belling, the quicker it will fail from "work hardening."
A previous post mentioned oversized chambers which causes premature case failure through more rapid work-hardening. True. Custom gunmakers normally machine their custom cylinders to minimum SAAMI specs to minimize case expansion upon firing.
Higher pressure loadings will also lead to expanded (enlarged, blown) primer pockets, which will lead one to disgard the brass as a new primer wiould not be seated and held with proper tension.
In terms of brand names, I believe that Federal may have the strongest brass...if "strong" simply means that a piece of brass weighs more than a competing brand.
Generally, in what reading I have done, Federal seems to be preferred by several gunmakers I have known or read about. Lots of folks (like me) use Starline also, but I have Hornady in .44 Special that is 6.4% heavier than Starline. I also know that Federal brass is heavier than Starline, but I don't know how it compares to Hornady. Is that relevant?
According to Wikipedia, "Brass is any alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties."
I guess that the "varying properties" part becomes very important, and I don't know whether heavier is better. Interesting, huh?
Sonnytoo
 

Bucks Owin

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Sonnytoo":2q9xcs6s said:
The short answer is ten...more or less...or exactly. Most of my failed brass was due to cracked necks...where the crimp is. So it seems reasonable that the more you work the brass, as in crimping and belling, the quicker it will fail from "work hardening."
A previous post mentioned oversized chambers which causes premature case failure through more rapid work-hardening. True. Custom gunmakers normally machine their custom cylinders to minimum SAAMI specs to minimize case expansion upon firing.
Higher pressure loadings will also lead to expanded (enlarged, blown) primer pockets, which will lead one to disgard the brass as a new primer wiould not be seated and held with proper tension.
In terms of brand names, I believe that Federal may have the strongest brass...if "strong" simply means that a piece of brass weighs more than a competing brand.
Generally, in what reading I have done, Federal seems to be preferred by several gunmakers I have known or read about. Lots of folks (like me) use Starline also, but I have Hornady in .44 Special that is 6.4% heavier than Starline. I also know that Federal brass is heavier than Starline, but I don't know how it compares to Hornady. Is that relevant?
According to Wikipedia, "Brass is any alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties."
I guess that the "varying properties" part becomes very important, and I don't know whether heavier is better. Interesting, huh?
Sonnytoo
Excellent post Sonnytoo. There are those who routinely shoot heavy loads in their .45 Rugers and want a lot of case tension ("grip") on the bullet who use smaller expanders than the norm. (Or perhaps use .454 Casull dies for the same result). The use of cast bullets in the .454" range need some additional flaring of the case mouth to seat bullets without damage to the base. Add a heavy roll crimp to the mix and you have a recipe for shortened case life due to mouth splits. No way around it. And the same applies to ANY case, .45 Colt or otherwise. I rarely lose a case due to a loose primer pocket but then again I don't load "full tilt" loads in a case more than a couple of times. Also, if a load was giving me loose pockets after one or two loadings, I'd back it off! Tighter chambered sixguns shooting lighter loads with a jacketed .4515" or .452" bullet (which need little or no flare to seat) with a light crimp are going to have longer case life than the previous scenario as the brass is "worked" less as Sonnytoo mentioned. Those who claim the use of decades old cases are not resizing them weekly either! :lol: As to the use of Federal cases, John Linebaugh claims they are "springier" than others and uses them or Win cases for his loads. (And he knows a thing or two about stout loads for the .45 Colt!). "Heavier" brass usually means less volume in the case BTW...........FWIW, Dennis
 

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