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Good article and....

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I wonder if annealing the brass from time to time would give it more longevity? I know a couple of guys that have been reloading brass, they got in the 70s..Straight walled 357 magnum.

thewelshm
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I try to flare the case mouth as little as possible since flaring & then crimping work hardens the brass. Since my 38 special reloads are generally a midrange load I don't need much crimp. I have only lost 12-15, 38 special cases to splits in the past 5 years and over half of those were from nickel cased reloads to start with.
 

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I find 38's will last forever.
Not quite. Somewhere between 10 and 15 cycles will stress out most .38 SPL cartridges, with standard loading. It may look strong, but the brass will become thin, and nearly all cartridges won't take any more heat treating or annealing. I have plenty of split .38 SPL brass to prove it.
Nickle plated brass is generally worn out somewhere between 5 & 10 cycles. Mostly because the nickle plating and the brass expand and contract at different temps, and at different shrink rates.
 

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My 38 brass is averaging 30 years old and have been reloaded a minimum of 20+ times. I don't worry until they split
 

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Like Jonesy my brass 38 special have been around 8 years and somewhere around 20 reloads. I use mostly light loads and use mostly 148 gr DEWC. Titegroup is the powder I use for them.
 

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I have some 38 spl that I quit counting at 20 cycles. I plan on using them till I can’t. They may outlive me.
 

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I have been using my bag of about 300-400 pcs of once fired brass 38 I bought for about 3 years now. I probably shoot about 200 rds a month. I of course check each piece before i sit to reload and so far haven't lost a piece. For information purposes almost all of it has been loaded with 158gr bullets over 4.5 gr of HP38

I will say though that I was using Straight side berry's bullets in the past and now I am using coated lead with a crimp groove and I wonder how that will affect longevity.

I have a friend who told me how he was so broke while going to college that he reloaded his brass so much the head stamps couldnt be read.
 

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When I began loading in 1986 I had 300 rounds of mil surp 38 brass. Still have about 100 left—the rest being gone to ranges. Never had one split and I can’t count the number of loads. Commercial Winchester is giving up at 15 to 20 trips. I just keep loading until I see a split, usually mouth, once in a while mid body, and twice a head separation and body split.
And I do examine my brass closely when putting it in th ‘to clean’ bin and again when I take it out of the polish.
 
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