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Is This Brass Safe?

by Scott E. Mayer   |  May 24th, 2011 5

Q:  Recently at the range, I was picking up .45 ACP cases after a heavy rain. I noticed that the cases had temper colors on them from falling into the puddles. Are these cases still safe to reload and use or should I just discard them?–Lynn, via e-mail.

A: Lynn, it’s important to be concerned about the temper of cartridge brass. If the head of the brass softens from annealing, it could result in a case rupture of your reloads.  That said, it’s not likely that firing a cartridge would cause it to heat up to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to soften the head.  If it was, then no fired brass would be useable for reloading. Quenching brass (as in your puddles) has no effect on the annealing. Provided there is no other problem with that brass, then it should be fine for reloading.–SEM

  • Carl C.

    When I was "fire-forming" cases for wildcat "improved" cartridges, etc., I put the cases upright in a pan of water…( water covering the lower portion ), heated the necks and throats with a small torch and then tipped them over into the water.

    This was done to "anneal" the portions of the case which was to be "re-formed"…resulting in fewer "splits", "wrinkles", and other deformaties. It helped a lot.

    I never had a case failure.

    But I didn't "overload" my reloads, either.

  • Jim S

    Best cases for reloading are usually from the same firearm. Use of cases of unknown history opens up a lot more variables.

  • Stevie D

    Hey Lynn, get you a pair of 2.00 power reading glasses(whether you need them or not) and check those cases up close. Don't see visible cracks? Load them suckers up! Brass stretches a little before stress cracks become a problem.

  • D.L.

    .45acp cases are nearly fool proof, I have been picking up some the ugliest used .45acp cases ever seen at my outdoor range here in the wet Pac N.W. and never had a case failure.

    The only .45acp cases I've ever seen fail are those shot through the infamous unsupported GLOCK chamber.

    I've found probably less than half a dozen split .45acp cases in as many years, not counting GLOCK ammo.

  • nutbustd

    My son and I pick up all .45 at the range. At our outdoor range many a brass is not pretty. However a good soak in diluted vinegar and water or Isso works great. Then tumble and polish tumble again. I sometimes use 2 tumblers. When we are done our brass looks like fine jewelery. Then inspect carefully and if A-Ok start to relaod and enjoy the savings big time.

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