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Reloading STEEL casings...


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#1 -Indy-

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 09:17 PM

Well, I went and done it... Some of the kind and generous folks from the CNY fun shoot left me a bunch of empty's. many of which were reloadable... I noticed while sorting that a few of the wolf were boxer primed steel casings... SO... I got the brilliant notion that... well... I should see how they act in the decapping die... a healthy spritz of lube later I held a surprisingly easily deprimed .223 steel casing...
So then I deprimed about 25 more... all deprimed VERY easily... except for the three that decided to be BERDAN primed... dont know WHY they were different, but they were... Also... the grey ones were mixed boxer/berdan, the greenish ones were ALL boxer primed...

Once I deprimed them... I primed them with the lee handiprimer... the grey ones primed like factory brass... like butter... nice as you please... The greenish ones... they were a bit sticky to prime... so thats something to note...

I filled the measure with some varget, and filled each case to the mouth... after loading a few, I decided to see just how much powder I was using... and they came out at 25 grains... Anyone who loads .223 and varget knows you cant overload a .223 casing with that powder as a dangerous amount wont fit in the case! LOL So overloading was not an issue... and 25 grains is 3 grains less than some max loads... again... no worries there...

I ran them through the RCBS case prep station and quickly reamed the inside and outside of the case mouth to allow the bullets to seat easier... Then, I topped them all off with a Hornady 55 grain FMJBT with cannelure, and seated so the cannelure was JUST a "C hair" below the case rim...

They look PERFECT! :up:

I loaded up 20 rounds... and will do some range testing with them ASAP... If I can get them to dial in less than an inch out of the DPMS I will keep them as a loadable option "for rainy days"... I have TONS of reloadable brass that I dont have to use steel casings... but it will be nice to know that should I EVER NEED to in an emergency, shall we say... that it is a viable and do-able alternative. :up: Even if its just for ONE reload... that one reload may be just the one you need...

I will update my range findings as I have them... :up:

Just thought I would share this with yall... :lol:

:smoke:
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
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#2 MD_Willington

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 10:44 PM

I've read similar, people reload the 5 to 10 times...
If it is called common sense, why ain't it too common anymore?

#3 Shandlanos

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 11:12 PM

Myself and my loading buddy have reloaded a few steel Wolf .45ACP casings and had no problem with decapping, sizing, and priming, but the Lee crimp die didn't like the steel and left some add scrapes on the shell. We ended up buying another crimp die, and problem solved. Never was sure if it was a purely cosmetic problem, as we pulled down all the ugly ones, tossed the shells and reused the components. The loaded ammo worked flawlessly in both a Kimber Stainless Number Two and a Glock 21SF. However, I've read in a number of places that reloading steel cases puts a lot of wear on your dies. Since we have a few thousand brass .45 shells laying around, we'll be sticking with those for the foreseeable future.
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#4 JK-47

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 10:42 AM

I had no idea any Wolf ammo was boxer primed, thats pretty interesting news! I think it would be useful to start collecting a little database on which versions are boxer primed. Are the green laquered cases "Wolf Millitary Classic" ammo, and the grey hulls "Wolf black box"? It makes sense to me that teh "Western" cartridges are the ones with boxer primers, perhaps .308 has some boxer primed steel as well?
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#5 555JM

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:48 PM

Was at the range today with my .223. Opened a fresh box of Wolf to get started and was dismayed to see the primer missing from one cartridge and powder granules loose in the box. Then I did a double-take. The case was drilled for a boxer primer.

This was both good and bad. It was good to have some cases I might be able to reload. It was bad that I spent almost as much time looking for the fired cases as I did shooting.

Hope the steel reload idea works out. The steel stands up to the beating much better than brass cases do.
Bob
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#6 -Indy-

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:50 PM

I didnt shoot these reloads... I gave them to a buddy to shoot :devil: :ph34r:

Well, really the reason is I didnt have time to test them out and he did... he claimed to get about a 2" group with them ( all 20 of them) at 100 yards... not overly amazing, likewise he noted that they didnt seem very hot... with 25 grains of varget, no, I wouldnt think so... thats just an average loading... Also... the bullets themselves were not conducive to extreme accuracy anyways... so with all these factors... Is it something I would do often? NO... is it something I would do for necessity?? ABSOLUTELY... :up:

If I ran out of BRASS casings, you can bet I would be scrounging steel boxer primed ones... only trouble is, they would have to be VERY fresh... they start to rust very quickly outside...


:smoke:
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
~ Thomas Jefferson


It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it, hath it not.
Jeremy Taylor
English prelate (1613 - 1667)


"The AG has determined that you're a potential terrorist, because only potential terrorists are interested in buying guns."

#7 Ronswin

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 06:36 AM

I've made "Mexican Match" ammo out of 62 grain Wolf steel cased .223 by pulling the bullets, dumping the charge, reweighing it to a more precise average and throw the charge back in with a 62 grain boat tail Sierra Matchking bullet recrimped in. I've had 1 MOA groups out of my STG-556 using this load and it is excellent for ranges/ matches where bi-metal bullets are not allowed and you cannot retrieve spent brass for reloading.

from my reloading notebook:

Wolf 62 grain "Mexican Match"

thoroughly deburr and lube neck of casing (factory bullets often show wide scrape from seating possibly affecting accuracy)
carefully re-seat match bullet to avoid damage (steel case not as forgiving as brass here, see above)
average out and re-weigh charges (factory powder charges can sometimes vary quite a bit)
measure overall length (no problems so far)
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#8 Nailbomb

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Do you have 7.62x39 dies? I would be more interested to hear how those reload...
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#9 Ronswin

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:05 AM

Do you have 7.62x39 dies? I would be more interested to hear how those reload...


Nail,
I don't have any 7.62X39 rifles so I have never tried reloading that caliber. I'm not sure if Wolf 7.62 russian is Berdan or Boxer primed. Off topic, I have used Speer Russian 7.62 123-grain bullets to make some mid-range .303 British reloads.
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#10 -Indy-

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 08:14 PM

IF the wolf X39 is boxer I can give em a try... although I am thinking they are all berdan... :(


:smoke:
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
~ Thomas Jefferson


It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it, hath it not.
Jeremy Taylor
English prelate (1613 - 1667)


"The AG has determined that you're a potential terrorist, because only potential terrorists are interested in buying guns."

#11 555JM

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:39 PM

I got a 1000 Wolf 7.62x39 from Cabelas this week. The boxes still say they're Berdan primed. Was wondering how many times a size die could remove the neck bulge on a steel case before cracking started.

Noticed today that the boxes the Wolf .223 comes in now say Boxer primed. Also noticed that some Wolf .45ACP I bought this spring is Boxer primed....according to the box, anyway. Wonder how the tungsten carbide sizing die will like that stuff?

Sized and primed 20 steel .223 tonite. Very easy. The ring didn't even cause trouble. Will put some powder and bullets in 'em tomorrow.
Bob
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#12 -Indy-

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 03:25 PM

I would think the carbide dies would eat those casings right up... no problems...

The .223's should be good to go too... As I said up above... I would certainly consider these for "gotta have a bullet" use... but only after my stash of brass casings was depleted...

I suppose they would be great for loading to pack aside for another time... I dunno if you could take some nail polish or similar fluid... and "laquer" the cases to seal them...

:smoke:
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
~ Thomas Jefferson


It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it, hath it not.
Jeremy Taylor
English prelate (1613 - 1667)


"The AG has determined that you're a potential terrorist, because only potential terrorists are interested in buying guns."

#13 555JM

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 08:52 PM

Update on the steel reloads.

Put together 20 rounds this morning using a 50 gr. Hornady PSP and 19.8 grains of AA1680. Lee Handbook shows 19.4 grains as a starter and 20.5 grains as max. Ended up choosing 1680 after I stumbled upon some notes I'd made way back when developing a load for a Super 14 Contender. It seems the 1680 had much less muzzle flash and better accuracy in the Contender than some of the more accepted powders. I figured it was because the somewhat fast powder was a good match for the short Contender barrel. Since the Saiga's barrel is only 2" longer, I thought it might work the same.

This afternoon didn't go as planned and I ended up at my "backup" range shooting at only 30 yards....with a Savage 24 instead of the Saiga. (the Saiga was there, but the grass was too long to reliably retrieve the cases) Anyway I fired 5 rounds in the Savage. Couldn't say much about accuracy at 30 yards other than it was good as you'd expect at that range. All 5 fired normally and showed moderately flattened primers. One of the 5 was hard to extract. Tomorrow, if weather allows, I'll try to get to the "main range" and shoot at 100 yards. Besides the Saiga, I'll try them in a Ruger 77 Mark II. The Ruger's pretty accurate, so it may tell the story.

Think if I load anymore steel for the Savage using a 50 gr. bullet with 1680, that I'll drop down to 19 grains or less.
Bob
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#14 555JM

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 09:59 AM

Shot the remainder of my steel cased reloads yesterday. This time in the Ruger 77 and the Saiga at 100 yards.

Five rounds through the Ruger yielded a 2.5" group. One went a bit wide and may have been my fault. If not for that, it would've been slightly under 2". What was significant is that there was one cracked neck in the five rounds fired.

Ten rounds through the Saiga went into a 6" group. Eliminating the two widest brought the group down to around 4". Of the rounds retrieved (there were only 6 or 7), there was no evidence of cracked necks or any other problem.

I think the copper shaving from the bullet shank that occurred when bullets were seated harmed accuracy. I also think that steel cases will probably be good for only limited reloading before neck cracking gets serious. Probably two reloads at most. What I like most about the steel reloads is that they stand up to the abuse of Saiga ejection better than brass.

I expect to follow this further using different powders and loads to see if performance can be improved and what case life might actually be. However, the primary value of reloadable steel cases appears to be as a hedge against future brass scarcity. Reloaded, they appear to produce inferior ammo. If you have good brass, why waste good powder, bullets and primers on crap? Still, we don't know what's coming and inferior ammo is better than none. So, if you reload, you might want to grab whatever empty cases you can at the end of each session and build up a stash.
Bob

Edited by 555JM, 29 August 2009 - 10:02 AM.

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#15 snake54

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:06 AM

Have been reloading Wolf .223 and 45acp for about 2 years. Work well in my Stevens 200 bolt and my Bushmaster. XD45 eats wolf like candy.

Number of reloads per case varies. Some will get split necks on the first reload and others will go 10+(.223). Make sure you chamfer the neck to minimize brass shaving when seating the bullet. They don't seem to stretch much, so I have not had to trim any. I think I would just toss any that needed it. Currently am using 24gr TAC with 55gr fmj, mostly for blasting.

Have not benched them outside of sighting in, but will hit a 6" gong at 200 yds everytime with the Stevens.

45acp with 239 lead rn and 5gr AA #2 is a nice load for the XD. Cases can last many loads, but it seems a few split during any range session.

The most pathetic part of this is that I will spend as much time looking for Wolf cases as I do for good brass cases.




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