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Sorting Headstamps for 9mm


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#1 echase1

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:47 AM

I sort my brass by headstamps, particularly for large matches where I want to make sure the case volume is roughly the same. In the past I have sorted in categories of 1. Win 2.Federal 3.R-P 4.Military Brass 5.Everything Else.

I typically use the "Everything Else" brass for practice or maybe local matches and have had to start sorting within this category because of the wide array of headstamps.
That is probably too much information, but it leads me to two questions...

1. How do you sort your headstamps?
2. Are there headstamps that you refuse to put through the loader and simply through away because of your past experiences?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

#2 Pensfan

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:05 AM

My process is very similar. 1) WIN, 2) FED, 3) R-P, 4) Mixed Brass. If loading for practice I grab the mixed brass load a batch. If loading for a match, I load only 1, 2, or 3 but never mix them.

I have heard people hate S&B brass, but I haven't had a problem loading it so far. I load any brass.
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#3 markcic

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:59 PM

I sorted my 9 by headstamp to see if it made any difference in performance. I can't find any difference in performance between any of the different headstamps. It all runs through my 9mm STI/SVI open gun, 9mm glock, and HK P7. Since I have a large supply of Federal NT I do sort that out for major matches since I know it is once fired but it is more out of being anal that any actual difference.

#4 warpspeed

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

for 9mm

1) no

2) no

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#5 Sarge

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:16 PM

I sort by headstamp for a few reasons. Like you said, I also want consistent chrono readings because of similar case volume. In my experience each brand of brass will result in different oal's and hence different velocities, etc.

Another reason is during reloading. Some brands have a distinct feel during priming and I know what each should feel like when I prime it. If I'm going along and then feel something out of the ordinary I'll pitch the case.

But that's just me. Probably overkill but then again I don't have ammo issues in my gun.

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#6 sroe3

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:11 PM

I don't sort and haven't found any particular brand so poor it needs tossed.
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#7 KentG

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:42 PM

when I start shooting well enough that it MAY make a difference but till then I just load em.

#8 rhyrlik

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 01:33 PM

I have some 9mm WCC brass that weighs 61 grains.

I also have some FC brass that weighs 51 grains.

There is a huge difference between these in neck tension. The WCC brass needs a different load to gimmie the accuracy I want.

I sort my brass.

#9 RePete

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 05:58 AM

The only time I sorted pistol brass was when I was shooting PPC.

Now I only sort for Berdan primed. I clean it and load it.
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#10 kevin c

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 05:44 PM

I still sort most of mine, but I freely admit to having more than a little OCD. :D

Practice and club match ammo, not so much any more, especially since it's mixed brass of variable vintage.

Major match brass is still sorted, inspected single headstamp once fired.
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#11 CocoBolo

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 05:44 AM

My response is for 9 major 170+pf.

I don't sort by head stamp it isn't worht the time.

The process:

Tumbled Clean

ALL BRASS FIRST GETS CHECKED WITH A MAGNET. Some of it isn't brass, looks like brass, taste like brass, smells like brass, but it is steel washed in brass. It will jam up an open gun tighter than dicks hat band. Never knew about that in minor.

Goes thru the CasePro roll sizer. I catch a few crimped primer pockets whilce doing this and GECO is thrown out if I see it.

Loading - I have learned to feel a Berdan Primed case before breaking the decapping pin, and also learned to feel a crimped primer pocket before smashing the primer.

I have had no problems other than crimped primer pockets or steel cases in 60k rounds of 9 major. Keep in mind I shoot it once and leave it for the yard birds, after being shot 9 major it is just scrap metal.

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#12 carbonman556

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 05:47 PM

I still sort most of mine, but I freely admit to having more than a little OCD. :D

Practice and club match ammo, not so much any more, especially since it's mixed brass of variable vintage.

Major match brass is still sorted, inspected single headstamp once fired.

I do the same as Kevin....You do have to watch for the brass that has 2 primer pocket flash holes. Those are bad....

#13 roostershooter

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 06:25 PM


I still sort most of mine, but I freely admit to having more than a little OCD. :D

Practice and club match ammo, not so much any more, especially since it's mixed brass of variable vintage.

Major match brass is still sorted, inspected single headstamp once fired.

I do the same as Kevin....You do have to watch for the brass that has 2 primer pocket flash holes. Those are bad....



I sort all of my brass. Some people think it's ridiculous, but I've never had a Nato primer pocket foul up my works. I usually cull the Nato and S&B brass and take them to have them swaged locally. Then I reload them in one sitting so that they don't get mixed in with my Winchester, RP, FC, Speer, and Starline brass.

#14 RePete

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:34 PM



I still sort most of mine, but I freely admit to having more than a little OCD. :D

Practice and club match ammo, not so much any more, especially since it's mixed brass of variable vintage.

Major match brass is still sorted, inspected single headstamp once fired.

I do the same as Kevin....You do have to watch for the brass that has 2 primer pocket flash holes. Those are bad....



I sort all of my brass. Some people think it's ridiculous, but I've never had a Nato primer pocket foul up my works. I usually cull the Nato and S&B brass and take them to have them swaged locally. Then I reload them in one sitting so that they don't get mixed in with my Winchester, RP, FC, Speer, and Starline brass.



Whatever floats your boat.
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#15 Mitch Harrington

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

I sort all the brass for my 9major open gun. For minor, I don't go through the effort.
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#16 bobmysterious

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 08:11 AM

For Major I've had the best luck with FC, Blazer, PMC, WIN, PPU, and RP.

For Minor I'll use all of the above as well as S&B, Herter's, and a few others.

I have a box I toss the CBC, Amerc, Crimped, and NT in. I hate these headstamps. Whenever I drop check my loads and something doesn't pass, these are almost always the offenders. Berdan, of course, is trashed from the beginning.

As far as the Major vs. Minor thing, it's probably a function of bullet profile, seating depth, and my dies. With the garbage brass, somebody else may have great luck with it. But in my experience those are the cases that usually jam up my press, have a smiley, or won't drop check. Could be me, but my system works----> for me. It's evolved over 70,000 rounds or so, so I'm confident in my process. I don't sort them, but using a 550 with no case feeder, I can glance at the headstamp as I'm placing the brass. Like I said, works for me, keeps the whole process moving smoothly, and the ammo is bombproof.
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#17 noylj

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 01:09 PM

There is really only one reason to sort 9x19 brass--to find those few cases that are 0.750" or longer and save them for your accuracy/match loads.
Other than that, checking each case with thumb pressure for bullet set back will take care of any problems.
The 9x19 has never been a tack driver and time spent sorting cases can be better spent reloading and shooting.
If you are shooting a 6mm PPC benchrest rifle, then sort cases by head stamp and weight. If you are shooting a hunting grade rifle, then sort cases if it gives you a feeling of confidence. If you are shooting standard handguns, time behind the trigger will of much more benefit than any case prep steps.
I sorted a whole bunch of loaded rounds by head stamp and compared to really mixed head stamp cases (some I have no idea who the head stamp pertains to) and after several hundred 5 shot groups, the thoroughly mixed head stamp rounds gave a 0.28" smaller average group size (there was always a mixed head stamp and a matching head stamp 5-shot group for each load). I feel that "proves" that sorting 9x19, .38 Super, and .45 Auto cases does not make any difference on target.

#18 echase1

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:23 AM

For Major I've had the best luck with FC, Blazer, PMC, WIN, PPU, and RP.For Minor I'll use all of the above as well as S&B, Herter's, and a few others.I have a box I toss the CBC, Amerc, Crimped, and NT in. I hate these headstamps. Whenever I drop check my loads and something doesn't pass, these are almost always the offenders. Berdan, of course, is trashed from the beginning.As far as the Major vs. Minor thing, it's probably a function of bullet profile, seating depth, and my dies. With the garbage brass, somebody else may have great luck with it. But in my experience those are the cases that usually jam up my press, have a smiley, or won't drop check. Could be me, but my system works----> for me. It's evolved over 70,000 rounds or so, so I'm confident in my process. I don't sort them, but using a 550 with no case feeder, I can glance at the headstamp as I'm placing the brass. Like I said, works for me, keeps the whole process moving smoothly, and the ammo is bombproof. Posted Image

Thanks for the responses. After looking at all of these experiences, I must say that my experience seems to follow Bob's. I think I may simply start looking at this as usable (FC, Blazer, PMC, WIN, PPU, and RP) and unusable (CBC, Amerc, Crimped, and NT) sorting.....at least for me. YMMV.

#19 RePete

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:51 PM


For Major I've had the best luck with FC, Blazer, PMC, WIN, PPU, and RP.For Minor I'll use all of the above as well as S&B, Herter's, and a few others.I have a box I toss the CBC, Amerc, Crimped, and NT in. I hate these headstamps. Whenever I drop check my loads and something doesn't pass, these are almost always the offenders. Berdan, of course, is trashed from the beginning.As far as the Major vs. Minor thing, it's probably a function of bullet profile, seating depth, and my dies. With the garbage brass, somebody else may have great luck with it. But in my experience those are the cases that usually jam up my press, have a smiley, or won't drop check. Could be me, but my system works----> for me. It's evolved over 70,000 rounds or so, so I'm confident in my process. I don't sort them, but using a 550 with no case feeder, I can glance at the headstamp as I'm placing the brass. Like I said, works for me, keeps the whole process moving smoothly, and the ammo is bombproof. Posted Image

Thanks for the responses. After looking at all of these experiences, I must say that my experience seems to follow Bob's. I think I may simply start looking at this as usable (FC, Blazer, PMC, WIN, PPU, and RP) and unusable (CBC, Amerc, Crimped, and NT) sorting.....at least for me. YMMV.


Save the crimped and NT brass for trading.
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