Views from a practitioner

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What do you mean a practitioner?

Experts are (mostly) infallible sources of information with expressive vocabularies that leave the most of us nodding our heads in agreement so we don't appear stupid.

No, by proclaiming to be a practitioner I allow myself the latitude to be in error and vehemently rebutted. Drs. and other "practitioners are expected to be knowledgable but also fallable and people realize they PRACTICE medicine. They have no stigma attached to them if they refer you to other practitioners for follow-up.

That is why I call myself a practitioner.

What will you cover in this section?

Every component to create a cartridge has a lot of science behind it's development and we will be giving you some of our less scientific verbiage to fill in some  of the questions you may have.

The Brass Case

We will talk about the brass case which is the most common for hand loading.

Aluminum cases are basically one time use unless you use them in a pistol, just a primer and wax bullets for quick-draw practice or such.

Epoxy and steel cases are hard on firearms and reloading equipment.

A case has a head and neck and holds a priming component. We will only talk about the typical centre fire  cases.

The most common method of creating a case is by extruding the metal through a number of steps to maintain malleability of the metal until the case is completed. The case is then designed as rimmed or rimless.

Here are the differences in cases from lot to lot or manufacturer to manufacturer:

1)  Variations in copper, zinc etc alloys.

2) Thickness in case walls (thicker at the base  thinning at the neck or shoulder).


This results in H2O capacity will be affected by these differences.

Heavier alloys may make you believe the case is thicker and will hold less powder when, in actual fact, it may hold more powder.

As cases are fired, especially at higher pressures, the metal migrates from the thicker lower portion of the case upwards causing case lengthening.

Resizing the case increases case hardening and annealing may be required eventually to prevent case splitting.

Some migration mat weaken the brass and result in head separation. Internal inspection using a "hooked tool" and / or visual inspection near the base will identify this situation before it becomes an issue. The brass will show a slight discoloration just above the webbing area of the base (or head).

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