Stupid question, why can't steel cases be reloaded? [Archive] - Gunboard's Forums

: Stupid question, why can't steel cases be reloaded?

06-11-2009, 09:21 PM
I know I should be able to figure this out, but I'm missing something. Why can't steel cases be reloaded like brass cases?

06-11-2009, 10:28 PM
If you can find the primers.. they can... most folks don't bother with berdan primers.. and they are very hard to get here in the States.. it's pretty soft steel.. and if it was from corrosively primed ammo it will start rusting almost immediately... you shouldn't try to reload rusty cases.. but if you get them fresh and clean them quick and they have no rust and you have the right primers.. go for it.

Some steel cased ammo is boxer primed and non corrosive like some of the Wolf .223... if you have non-corrosive boxer primed steel cases, with no rust, then reloading becomes practical... most folks who reload steel case have a seperate set of dies as some feel the steel is a little harder on the dies.. thats up to you.

Comrade Antibiotika
06-12-2009, 12:33 AM
I'm pretty sure you can. You may run into case life issues but no one has done a comprehensive study on these things. I know one of the people i ran into at my shooting range said steel is reloadable, as he does it, and cci blazer aluminium could be reloaded once: they split on second firing.

According to wolf, their polyformance .223 remington, .40S&W and .45 ACP are all boxer primed. Makes sense to me- probably easier to just make boxer primers than redesign the cartridge insides to take berdan primers.

06-12-2009, 02:11 AM
I reload Wolf .223 and 45acp all the time. Most, but not all .223 is boxer primed. All Wolf 45acp is boxer primed. Keep the loads modest and they will be fine. Most common reason to reject .223 cases is split necks. They do not stretch, so case trimming is not an issue. Primer pockets do not seem to expand, no loose primer pockets. Need to chamfer the neck, otherwise they shave copper off the bullet. Current load is 25gr 4320 with a 55gr fmj. Shoot these out of a Stevens .223 and an old Bushmaster A1 AR15 with 100% reliability. Have gotten as many as 7 reloads thru an AR15 before 50% of the necks split, then I toss them all. I suspect I will get more with bolt action. Accuracy is ok, but not as good as brass cased loads.
45acp cases seem to last forever, both brass and steel. My XD 45 eats them like candy.
What is really pathetic, is spending as much time looking for Wolf steel cases as I do for LC cases.:D

06-12-2009, 03:54 AM
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06-12-2009, 05:17 AM
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06-12-2009, 10:47 PM
Thanks all for the explanations.

I figured if I'm paying for ammo I might as well start saving my cases. No sense wasting them. My last 500 rounds were Wolf steel cased and my 1911 likes it. I was deciding if I wound up going with steel cased again if it was worth saving.

What is really pathetic, is spending as much time looking for Wolf steel cases as I do for LC cases.:D

Precisely the reason I asked. We don't have to go *looking* for steel cases, just need to bring a magnet. :)

06-13-2009, 07:18 AM
... They do not stretch, so case trimming is not an issue...

Not sure how you came to that conclusion but I disagree with it.

I've been reloading Wolf steel cased .223 for quite a while because I dislike what my Saiga does to my brass cases. I can usually get a couple of reloads out of a steel case before it expands beyond the 1.75" recommended case length and then I toss them because I don't want to trim steel...

06-13-2009, 06:11 PM
The vast majority of my Wolf reloads have been shot in a bolt action with mild loads. Upto 7 reloads without trimming, then the case necks have split, and they all go. They do not last as long in a semi auto(AR15).
Just measured 10 cases known to have 4 reloads, mostly shot out of bolt action, avg 1.756, not ready to trim yet. I would not bother trimming steel cases, better to toss 'em.

Devil Dog
06-13-2009, 10:47 PM
I reloaded a batch of 100 "Wolf" steel cased .223 several times just for educational purposes. I found the once fired cases to be very unform in length, but trimmed them to my standard 1.755" length. After the first reload, case lengths did not move much at all. Only trimmed a few back to 1.755". Lost a few to split necks. Second reload did not show much case stretch either, and lost a few more to split necks. By now, out of the 100 original factory rounds, I was down to about 95 after two reloads. Perfect function, acceptable accuracy, but I noticed rust forming inside the cases. I tossed them and called the experiment complete. I would have no problem reloading steel .223 or any other caliber if needed, but will stick to brass for now because of the rust issue...


Dave Green
06-14-2009, 05:41 AM
I reload Chinese 7.62X39 copper plated steel cases. About 1 in 25 picked up is discarded due to split necks. Otherwise it is smooth sailing.
I have found it very helpful to swage the primer pockets prior to capping them. I have a special primer pocket swaging die to open the pockets for the .217" primers.

06-14-2009, 11:53 AM
They can, with the right primers

06-14-2009, 02:22 PM
One other thing to consider.
I would expect that steel cases would shorten the lifespan of your resizing dies.

06-14-2009, 02:54 PM
Greetings ! Are steel cases more wear prone on extractors than brass cases ?

06-14-2009, 03:19 PM
This give me an exuse to go shoot some of the wolf ammo I have been hording.

Like I really need an excus to go shooting.

06-14-2009, 05:41 PM
I thought Blazer aluminum cases had a non standard sized primer to discourage reloading?

Devil Dog
06-14-2009, 06:25 PM
Blazer aluminum cases used to be berdan primed to discourage reloading. I have now seen at least 4 different calibers in that line now using standard boxer primers. I've heard of guys successfully reloading the new boxer primed aluminum .45 ACP cases...


06-14-2009, 08:44 PM
These steel cases are very soft compared to your dies and extractor. I doubt they will cause any increased wear on these items. Embedded grit will raise cane with your dies, so wipe the cases before reloading, this goes for brass cases as well.

06-16-2009, 10:39 AM
I save ALL my spent cases. I'm known as a packrat over here. ;)

06-17-2009, 08:52 PM
I save ALL my spent cases. I'm known as a packrat over here. ;)

Even the .22lr? :) For some reason, except in my travels today, I rarely see Blazer aluminum cased ammo in my area anymore. And it seems on their website they don't make the blazer aluminum cased 9x19 jhp's anymore.

06-17-2009, 10:23 PM
Moonclip.. dont turn your nose up at 22lr casings... first and foremost brass is brass ...
Second .. You can use them to make jackets for .223-.224 bullets

06-22-2009, 05:35 PM
Will recyclers give you the same brass price for .22lr? I'd assume so. Heck it should be better, there is no spent primer like in the centerfire cases. I've heard of the corbin thing before but have never seen anyone do it.

When one of my local indoor ranges had a policy of not picking up even your own brass from the floor, on the rare occasions I went there, I dumped my empty .22lr brass in to my rangebag and threw it in the trash when I got home.

No way I was gonna give that greedy range owner a .01 extra.

06-23-2009, 08:14 PM
Will recyclers give you the same brass price for .22lr? I'd assume so...

Unfortunately, around this neck of the woods the local recycler has one price for red brass, another price for yellow brass and still a third price for shell casings. The price they pay for shell casings is a travesty. During the metals shortage last summer a 5 gallon pail of brass shell casings was worth over $100. Now you'd be lucky to get $15. It hardly pays to bend over to pick up your brass anymore. Of course, reloadable brass is always worth picking up but I'm talking berdan primed and basically junk brass cases....:(

06-26-2009, 10:57 AM
Yeah, when ever I see any .22 cases(ANY) I pick them up. You never know WHEN the time comes when you wished you did pick them up. Just my 2 cents. :D