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I am new to reloading and am wondering how many times I should use a case before I toss it. I am shooting .35 rem using 200 gr. cor lok with 39 gr of h4895. Also what will happen if one of the cases split when I shoot it?
 

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Hi

I shoot that same load and get over 30 reloads out of my Remington brass.I only neck size and have never had a problem with chambering.If you want to be on the safe side limit your reloads to 10-15 full power loads then use them for plinker loads

Riflemen10x
 

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I shoot them until the neck splits and then toss them. I dont count the number of times that I load cases, I just load them, shoot them and reload them again. :D
 

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Jb, for my own information, I have counted the number of times I have reloaded a case, and the answer to your question depends upon how hot or mild the load is, the quality and hardness of the brass, and how much headspace your gun has.

If your gun has headspace within the normal range, like my 2003 .35 336, I found I was able to get 21 reloadings out of my cases using a book SAAMI "duplication load" published by IMR using 37.5 grains IMR 3031 and the Hornady 200 RN. This is overstating case life, though, in that you should NOT be loading the case in this rifle with full power loads 21 times. This was for my own information, in my own rifle, and the 22nd loading would have produced a head separation. This was a single case, loaded repeatedly, until the faint ring of case separation was visible, internally and externally. It is easy to miss this ring unless you look closely. I replicated this several times with both Winchester and Remington brass, satisfying myself that this was representative with the lots of brass I have, and in this particular rifle. For the record, when I say "separate" I do not mean "split." They are two different things. A split is a crack that runs parallel with the long axis of the case. A separation is a perpendicular breaking of the case in two, near the head, or back 1/3 or 1/4 of the case near the primer.

For accelerated loads, 2350 fps, 180 Speer, various powders, 18 reloadings.

For accelerated loads, 2200 fps, 220 Speer, various powders, 12-13 reloadings. This is around 42,000 psi and the limit for this cartridge, if your intent is to duplicate what the 45-70 guys are doing, pressurewise. Actually, depending upon powder, the psi limit with the 220 is more like 2250 fps or so, but 2200 is close enough for me to call it good enough.

This is true for MY rifle only. My older 336, which came with greater headspace (tolerances weren't so tight during the 80's, it seems, as I documented the headspace when I received the rifle new in box) has considerably shorter case life. This doesn't mean the load is unsafe, but it does mean it is unsafe to shoot the load many times based on assumptions made on the performance of the OTHER rifle. There are ways to increase case life on rifles with known larger headspace dimensions. The stretching of the case occurs with the first firing of new brass or factory loads and is the greatest by far with the first firing on rifles with greater headspace. Thereafter the case is formed to the chamber, but the damage has been done. More powerful, high pressure loads accelerate case separation in rear locking rifles. In SMLE's (rear lockers), the combination of excessive headspace in brass and chambers often means cartridges have head separations after the 4th or 5th reloading. Case life can be improved in these guns if you know how to get around the problem.

Not knowing the headspace of your rifle, there is no way to know the case life your gun and sizing die technique will produce. I'd suggest you use the RCBS Case Master to determine if the cases are thinning at the web and subject to separation. Alternatively, you can use a bent, sharp pointed wire to feel for thin spots, or hold the case with light from an overhead lamp coming in over your shoulder and look for the ring visible inside the case when it starts to thin near the web.

The heavier the load, the shorter the case life. The greater the uncorrected headspace, the shorter the case life. If you don't know or don't care about the headspace dimensions of your rifle, or you don't have much practical experience, it is better to be safe than sorry and stay conservative with the number of loadings for each case.

I'd suggest using the methods I've outlined to keep a handle on the status of your cases. Using these methods, you will be the best and only judge of when they should be retired. If in doubt, demote them early from full power firings and use them for reduced loads only. Even with reduced loads, you still must keep an eye out for case condition, so you should still be checking them with the bent wire trick or other expedient.

FWIW, if a case does separate, usually the rear half keeps gasses from escaping out the breech, and everything seems normal until you eject a case with no front end on it. Maybe not seriously dangerous, but you shouldn't expose your chamber to the cutting effect of escaping, high pressure gas. This has been known to etch or cut grooves in a gun's chamber, and enough of this can damage it.
 

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35remington, I don't usually post much, but I must thank you once again for all of your experience with this caliber. I'm a relatively new to reloading as well as a new .35 rem owner (my fathers '71 336). I love this rifle and with all of the info you have researched and posted for us to read, you have taught me an enormous amount.

I received a fair amount of reloaded ammo when I got this rifle without knowing it's history, ie. how often or how strong the reloads were. After firing it all off about half of the brass was split near the mouth. I figured it was probably better just to chuck it all and start with new brass. I've found that my rifle really likes 38 grains of H4895 with the 200 grain corelokts. In my Hodgdon's #27 book, 38.5 grains is the listed "max", where the Hornady manual lists 37.5 as the "max". Both are using the Hornady bullet rather than the Remington. I worked the loads up a 1/2 grain at a time checking accuracy as well as looking for pressure signs on the case's. The "ring" you describe, is it just a little spot where the brass is brighter in color down near the base of the case? I've noticed some of my case's exhibiting this. All are Remington brass. Should I maybe back off a little on the load or just keep a closer eye on the brass? What about the difference between the listed data in the 2 manuals? I know the Hornady is newer, but I figured the older Hodgdon book would certainly be trustful with their own powders etc. Any info or insight would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Splitting a case, especially the neck, will go unnoticed most of the time after firing You probalby won't notice anything until you eject the fired case and notice it later prior to the next reload. Sometimes there is a very slight puff of smoke from the receiver if the case bursts further back on the body or the split is abnormally long. A blown primer usually results in a puff of smoke, sometimes back into your face which could be just annoying in the best case, dangerous in the worst case with fragments and hot gas blown in, out, and around the bolt. Blown primers are usually a result of WAY too hot of a load. This is one reason why you should wear glasses while shooting and pay attention to what you are loading.

30/30's and other rimmed cases sometimes separate near the base after repeated firings. I've had this happen several times and the front of of the case is left in the chamber while the rim is extracted. I've only had to reach in with a cleaning rod and pull out the broken piece. On some cases you might begin to notice a slight ring around the case, just up from the base. This is the case stretching and thinning. Time to throw it out.

A truly catastophic failure can burst a receiver or barrel. This is usually the result of a very fast powder mistakenly loaded into the case, an oversized bullet for the bore, or a blockage in the bore. This is pretty rare if you pay attention, shoot, and reload carefully. A word of advice and common sense- Never have more than one can of powder open or in reach or sight of the reloading area while you are reloading.

Use care but I wouldn't worry too much if you are careful. 10- 15 loadings out of the 35 Rem case is not unusual if loads are kept sane.

Good shooting.
 

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YoYo, as it's late, I'll reply in more detail later, but if I understood you correctly this might have more to do with the expansion ring of a normal fired case rather than an impending head separation. The change in color of the brass is often due to the fact that the brighter part has expanded to grip the chamber, which sort of burnishes it. The duller part near the rim is thick enough to resist expansion and retains its color. You should notice, if measured by a micrometer, that the brighter part of the case, well forward of the rim, is larger in diameter. That's normal case expansion. Is this what you meant?

A head separation is a very faint line in the brass when it's getting bad, and it can be irregular-that is, somewhat wavy around the periphery of the case. The cartridge case often separates somewhere other than where the expansion ring starts.

I'll get my digital camera going and post some pictures of separated and nearly separated cases.
 

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I think we are all digressing somewhat from the original question which was:

How many times can I fire a 35 Rem case? And,

What happens when a case splits?

As far as my post, I was talking about head separation. I do know the difference between case head expansion (normal on firing) and case head separation (resulting from weak, stretched, worked brass.)

Hopefully, we are not confusing the original poster too much.
 

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I have wondered about the same thing as YoYo and jbadams66. YoYo's question is a direct expansion of jbadams66's question and so properly addressed in this thread, I believe.

35Remington, I would like to see those digital pictures. I've noticed the same bright burnished area just above the web and speculated that this might be the pressure ring I've been told to watch out for. But then, having noticed the bright ring on once fired factory loads, I figured it couldn't be a sign of excessive wear or thinning of the brass. Still it always made me wonder what I was seeing.
 

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GLC, sorry for any obfuscation of the issue that may have occurred. It is apparent to me that you know the topic, but my reply was mainly intended for YoYo.

As regards case life, from what I've seen, I can't state that life will be X reloadings unless I have the rifle in hand, know its headspace dimensions, know how warm or mild the loads are, and also know something about how the cases are full length sized. Oversizing can shorten cartridge rather than rifle headspace and also result in shortened case life.

Too many variables to pin down to give any absolutes when talking about someone else's situation. No really accurate prediction is possible, I think. Maybe a lesson not to squeeze every last iota of life out of a reloaded case.

Regarding splits, well, they occur from brittle brass, which could be overworked from too much belling of the case mouth or crimping or repeated sizing. Or it could just be plain old age hardening. Most splits are due to cold working of the brass, but the Winchester case in the following picture on the far right split at the shoulder on the 4th firing, well under par for what usually happens with Winchester .35 cases. Sometimes it just happens.

Usually, splits mean it's time to toss that lot of cases, but the other Winchester cases in the same lot as the split one in the picture are still going very strong. Usually cases should be annealed well before they split if case life needs to be prolonged. If you anneal afterward it's usually too late, and cases may continue to split.

As long as you're not regularly splitting cases when you fire them, and you toss split cases as soon as you discover them (the splits almost always occur on firing) you'll come to no harm. We all do it occasionally, and I don't think I've ever damaged a gun from split cases. Just don't let it happen a lot. Be aware that case splitting could mean your cases need replacing.

As for head separations, here's the thousand words picture. Note that the separation crack is ABOVE the expansion ring, both visible in the photo. I can't recall ever seeing a separation crack below an expansion ring. In some of the cases, the crack is NOT present - it's a very faint, brighter line, visible only in strong light, and does not yet break through the brass. Which is why the best detection method is the Case Master or a simple wire coathanger, straightened with a perpendicular bend near the end and sharpened to a bevel or point. When you can feel a "dip" in the case when you drag it inside the
case along the wall, you have thinning at that point, which will lead to an eventual separation. In the short .35 caliber Remington case, a strong light over your shoulder will also show this ring inside the case.

Look carefully, and inspect your cases at every reloading, no matter the power level you load them to, or how old they or the rifle are. Then you've covered all the bases, and you're reloading safely.

All of the .35 Remington cases in the photo are about to separate except for the cracked one on the far right.

 

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jb & GLC, sorry for any thread drift, I just thought it all went together. I was just looking for a little more info about what to look for as you're reaching maximum loadings for brass while trying to stay safe. I was just unsure of some of the signs I should be looking for.

35remington, thanks for the insight and the great pic and explanation. I appreciate your efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I dont really think anything drifted to far off. Everything that can be added helps. .35remington thanks for those pictures they are exactly what I needed to see.
 

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35 remington-

Those pictures are really great! Nothing like seeing what one is talking/writing about.

Great post.

Good shooting.
 
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