Love shooting sports? Want to know how many times can you reload brass? Needless to say, it’s a piece of crucial information and if you Google it, you would find many answers about the life expectancy of different types of ammo. Sometimes it’s confusing.
In reality, it depends on various factors and varies from person to person. So, to prevent potential danger it is best if you can determine the brass life on your own.
One cannot define a fixed number to reloading a brass. For example, by few, .45 ACP brass can be reloaded for more than 30 times, while many often do not exceed using it for more than 10-15 times. You can try reloading brass by handloading and you can reload brass as long it is safe.
How Many Times Can You Reload Brass?
And while safety measures play a significant role here, many other factors also heavily influence the usage rate of any bullet casing. Some of the key determining factors in the life expectancy of a case are:-
- Quality Of The Case
The quality of the case is an important determining factor in the reload capacity of a brass. Naturally, the higher quality brass lasts longer than the lower quality ones. But it is to be noted that the materials affect the brass reloading capacity a lot as well.
Typically, you can use brass made cases more times than steel cases. It is because steel cases are not suitable for general resizing. And if the brass made ones are nickel-plated, they are likely to be sturdier. But aluminum made bullet case is wholly inconsistent for reuse.
This is where a good quality case prep center comes handy. Their good quality may increase the lifespan of brass.
- Intensity Of The Load
The power of the load is vital, and it creates a difference in how many times can you reload the brass. The hotter your load is, the lesser times you will be able to use the bullet casing. It is because the more the power and the higher the velocity of the shooting is, the more the pressure the brass faces.
A top quality case trimmer might be a good option for proper brass case length control here.
- The caliber of The Brass
The larger the caliber, the more pressure (especially neck pressure) it undergoes during firing. As a result, it expands the casing each time it gets fired. In the end, the case wall gets thinner, and the brass either fails to fit the bullet properly or split.
- Primer Pocket Preparation
You need to regularly clean the primer pockets if you want your brass to last longer. Otherwise, it is most likely to cause gas loss by getting loose.
- Case Thickness
A sturdy and comparatively thicker case is more likely to last longer than a case that has a thinner wall. It is because the thicker cases can support more firing as they can withstand more friction.
While opening the case mouth or resizing it using a reloading die be careful not to damage the thickness.
- The Equipment
The intensity of lead depends on the used equipment in a great deal. The high-intensity rifles, sniper rifles, etc. put heavy pressure on the brass while revolvers, pistols, and handguns put the brass into much lower loads.
And these are the main reasons behind the death of a bullet case. Due to the variety of uses, the brasses last differently for everyone.
Reusing Bullet Casings Depending On Ammo Type
There are never any fixed limits in using bullet casings. Besides the factors mentioned above, the life of the case also depends heavily on the ammo type. Their size, length, material, etc. affect their reloading rate. To give you a general idea, I have included the optimum usage rate of some bullet casings in this article. Please try to keep in mind that the figures are not absolute and they may change due to other reasons.
9mm: 9mm brass can be safely reloaded for about 15 to 30 times depending on the chamber size.
.45 ACP: A .45 ACP is very sturdy and long-lasting. One can easily use it 20-25 times and more. Some have reported that they have used these cases over 40 times. But it is best to stop using them before the 30th use just to be safe.
.223: .223 is a popular brass for usage. Each brass can be used generally for 15-20 times. But more substantial use can cause crack after five reloads.
.30-06: Many people have used .30-06 cases about 15-20 times depending on the loading pressure and resizing size.
308: Depending on the load, generally, one case can be used over 20 times.
.340: This brass is ideal for more forceful uses and thus has an intense cartridge. Therefore it is best to remain cautious and discard it after 5-6 uses despite it being in good condition and having tight primer pockets.
A Proper Way of Reload Frequency Test
It is imperative to test the brass before using it to avoid dangers. A brass usually shows some signs when it approaches the end of its utility period. It is best to check your brass each time before usage lest you use a nearly expired one. Some of the most common signs of an expired brass are-
- Split neck
- Short neck
- Stretched and thinned case wall
- Impending case head separation, etc.
Now, let’s try a method to test how many times can you reload the brass. It is straightforward to apply. Suppose you are trying to find out the .45 ACP reloading limit for your gun.
First, you will need to put a brand new 45 ACP brass in your firearm. Before firing, don’t forget to measures its neck size and primer pocket depth. Then again measure after each firing, and you will find out that the length and the depth will shorten gradually.
By measuring these, you can determine the ideal number of times you can safely use the brass without getting in danger or affecting your shooting for yourself. My recommendation would be to avoid using them before they reach the threshold margin.
Here’s an article on reloading mistakes and ways to avoid them so that you can reload brass more.
Later regrets can never return one back before an accident. As you can see, how many times can you reload brass depends on multiple factors. So, I think it is better to find out the limit of your case life for yourself rather than just depending on a few opinions.