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Thread: Foreign Brass Thicker Than USA Made Brass?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    DonMountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Foreign Brass Thicker Than USA Made Brass?

    I have had trouble firing reloads in two of my foreign made guns. The first was a pistol in 380 and the present pistol I am trying to reload for is in 32 Auto. I purchased some Hornady jacketed bullets for this gun and they measure 0.311" with a micrometer. When I load them into USA made brass, they fire just fine, measuring 0.334" at the case mouth with the bullet seated. But when I use foreign made range brass they don't chamber and the cases measure 0.338" at the case mouth with these bullets seated. So, my question is, are foreign made cartridges in 32 Auto made with a thicker sidewall and a smaller diameter bullet so they chamber?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    lefty o's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    check 10 different brands, you will more than likely find at least 8 different thicknesses of brass.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man

    sandog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Arizona Territory
    I know Lapua brass is much thicker, the one time I used it, I had to reduce my usual load by almost 2 grains. Other foreign brass like PPU doesn't seem any thicker than say, Winchester or Federal. Thickness could vary between calibers too.

  4. #4
    Moderator Emeritus

    georgerkahn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    South of the (Canada) border
    DonMountain -- Your post has raised a question or two in my oft'-feeble mind! To wit, I had a Colt Mustang Pocketlite Semi-Auto .380ACP, for which I loaded quite a pile of ammunition. I later acquired a Czech pistol in this caliber, and this ammo I had assembled for the Colt worked nicely in the CZ24. But two or three years back, I added a Beretta 1934 -- and roughly more than one-half of the ammo doesn't "drop in". I have done the "safe no-no!" of sizing some to enable it working -- and, interestingly, to my (Starrett) micrometers, complementing their dropping in a L. E. Wilson gauge -- they ARE meeting SAAMI specs.
    I think I am going to put on my "do it!" making chamber casts of the CZ24, and then the Beretta with some Cerrosafe. The thought you inspired is (duh!) foreign firearms are not necessarily made to SAAMI specs -- which is moot re my Czech pistol which was made ~1936.
    Anyhoos -- my "new" thought is, "Might it be the firearm chamber size, rather than the diameter of ammunition?" If/when I get to it -- albeit it IS a task I do wish to perform -- I'll advise the results.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    mattw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    East Central Illinois
    32ACP, short answer... yes import brass is often thicker. I sort all of my 32ACP by head stamp. The US brass gets sized by a Lee size die with the "U" designation, that means it sizes the brass smaller. My Euro brass gets a standard sizing. This results in the sized brass being basically the same diameter after sizing. This becomes important when the bullets are not retained well at seating and allows the proper expander to set the dimensions of the neck and not an improper size die.

    There are a couple of 32ACP experts that will correct me if I am saying something wrong here, please feel free! The difference is in SAAMI vs. CIP chamber specs. You will also notice that the Euro brass has a more proper extractor groove. I have found that this can make a difference in my CZ70 when working with higher pressure loads. My CZ70 wants .312 cast bullets, I have found that they work very well in S&B brass and PPU is a close second. My little Keltec will eat any of the flavors of brass without issue, but it also does not get the higher pressure rounds! R-P brass has been some of the thinnest I have run across when comparing large'ish batches.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    over the hill, out in the woods and far away
    Some .32 ACP Euro brass has a different internal taper, which begins to thicken quickly at the location of the base of a 73-grain FMJ bullet. The purpose of this is to help prevent bullets from being pushed deeper into the case when they strike the feed ramp. If you are loading bullets of a different length and profile than Euro hardball, the base of the bullet may impinge against the interior of the case wall, causing a bulge. The Lee Factory Crimp Die or a Redding Profile Crimp die will profile the loaded rounds and size the bullet by compression inside the case, if necessary.

    Accurate has a number of designs for the .32 ACP which work well in most makes of cases.
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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