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Thread: Beginning: Brass

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Beginning: Brass

    I am just beginning in the paperpatching of black powder cartridge(45-70 in a Shiloh Sharps 74). I have an assortment of (once-fired?) brass as well as some brand new brass... I want to do things the right way and want to lay out a plan for the brass prep... I'm not sure if it is the old age kicking in, or just the recent life events that have affected me, but I am a little confused... I would appreciate it if you could review my plan, add or change the sequence of steps that I have laid out... the best way to learn is to ask from others that have experience so here goes.

    1. I sorted the brass by brand.
    2. Removed all primers(spent and live) with a Pope(IIRC) style tool
    3. Cleaned and dried(still in process) all brass, keeping them separate by brand
    next steps is where I get fuzzy;
    4. Full length size(none of the brass I have has been fired in this rifle)
    5. Inspect brass for cracks and discard bad ones
    6. Trim to length
    7. Chamfer inside and outside of case neck
    8. Sort each brand of brass by length(no idea of acceptable +/- tolerance) sort then by weight
    9. Expand neck with .460 expander ball to accept paper patch bullet...

    Does this look right? What did I miss or get out of sequence? Thanks to all for your help.

    Kindest regards,

    Perhaps my learning skills have diminished in my senior years.. 50 years ago I could read something once and then "have it"... Now I read it about three times, do it a couple of times and then... "have it" only about half the time.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Hell Gap Wy
    Unless your bullet is 458 patched diameter or larger expanding those cases to .460 will cause you no end of problems. You want to expand those cases to just over the diameter of your patched bullet.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    heres how I do new brass
    Deburr flash holes inside case
    uniform primer pockets to flat and square
    full length size
    trim to length and deburr case mouths.
    for bore riding Paper Patched bullet the sizing die wont size down to the .450-.451 dia so expanding isn't needed

    I use starline brass and they recommend annealing for BP loads. I also am loading for 3 45-70 rifles so full length size. The unifom and flash hole deburr isn't necessary but I find it adds a little more consistency to my loads.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    For comparison, I prep new brass (Starline usually), by expanding the neck with whatever the diameter is on the neck expanding stem in my Lyman or other reloading die set and then chamfering the inside and outside of the case necks. Then, I prime and load and shoot. I do not anneal or trim.

    expanding the neck serves too purposes. 1. Half the cases aren't quite round at the mouth. 2. it makes it a hell of a lot easier to seat a 0.06" poly wad.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    NJ via TX
    for PPB's it all depends on the chamber of the rifle, whether it was cut for greasers or PPBs. for me, greaser chambers absolutely require a .460" straight expander plug for NEW brass in order to slip in a bore rider PPB, after which the cartridge mouth is squeezed (not crimped) to keep the PPB from falling out, yet it will turn in the case and can be removed with fingers. for a tight PPB chamber, there are typically some unique concerns that need to be addressed for possible case reforming, possible neck expansion, there may be wad issues and other fun stuff that's unique to a true PPB chamber.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Southern Arizona
    I don’t trim to length until I’ve fireformed the brass to the chamber, then I try to get as close to 2.100” as I can. (The last setting on the Forster trimmer got me 2.096”, IIRC.). Cases are checked for length after firing and cleaning, and before sizing, from then on.

    I had been full-length sizing until I got this current lot of Swiss powder, which is slightly less dense than the old lot. So now I neck size for additional powder capacity so I can continue using my”classic” 🙄 load.

    I guess if you’re going to shoot groove diameter paper patch, that .460” expander might be needed. If you are going to shoot bore diameter, no expansion is needed after neck or full-length sizing. I made an M-die insert that slips into the sized case mouth and puts a slight bell on the end, and another that irons out the bell and slightly reduces the case mouth after the boolit is inserted. It’s (generally) in there just tight enough so it doesn’t fall out being carried around in a box and with normal handling.

    I keep the cases together by headstamp, using W-W and Starline for paper patch and R-P for grease groove, simply so I can open the box and know what I have without reading the load sheet. I used to separate weighed cases and keep them together, but never saw any difference in the shooting, so quit doing it. My cases have been gathered together at random, but once they are put together in a batch, I try to process and load them together as a batch from then on.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    NJ via TX
    everything about BPCR/TR stuff is objectively subjective,

    and thus we will always have sundry good ways of skinning the PPB cat ...

    or at least attempting to skin said varmint.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check