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The trouble with military surplus brass.

I laughed as I read Lane Pearce's April column on salvaging military surplus brass because I personally did most of what he warned against. And I suffered for it.

I started reloading about 25 years ago. I had just received my CMP Garand and bought some imported Greek surplus JOOS. I shot my way through 2,000 or so rounds of the Greek ammo, and then the Greek ammo dried up.

I had saved every case, so I had lots of brass. I bought a single-stage press and proceeded to reload. I did the same case prep as Lane describes. I sat in front of my TV with a powered case-prep machine for hours.

Then I went to the press and started to reload. I had no idea how to do it, so I relied on books. It wasn't long for me to discover that reloading all my brass would take a century. So I only loaded 100 cases and headed for the range. With the Greek ammo, I could hold 1.5 inches all day, but using my reloads, I couldn't hold an 8-inch group.

I called Hornady tech support for their diagnosis of the problem. I called Accurate Arms for their ideas. The tech expert at Accurate invited me to send him 10 examples of my reloads, which I did.

He called in a few days to tell me that he couldn't test any of my reloads because when they arrived, all the bullets had fallen out. That's when I learned about neck tension. He had measured the hardness of the brass and discovered it was like steel and did not apply enough pressure on the bullet to even hold it in place. He told me to buy some virgin Winchester brass or heat-treat the neck of every Greek case. Obviously, that didn't sound like fun, so I bought some new brass.

The pressure required by the press handle was significantly less, and I came to understand that all .30-06 brass is not the same. I also learned that military surplus brass is not designed to be reloaded, so the manufacturing process is designed to produce a round for one-time use.

So my two cents on reloading military surplus brass is: "Don't!"

Buy new brass and handload it.

Larry Elliott

Orange, CA

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Author:Elliott, Larry
Publication:Shooting Times
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 1, 2017
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