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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I started load development today with my new 1872 8x58RD. I was using Bertram brass, 185gr rem. Core-loks and AA5744 powder. Starting off very low at 20 grains, a full 6 grains lower than the AA listed as a starting load, I had a mild pop not much louder then a 22LR.
At 22 grains the pop was a bit louder but still very mild considering I was pushing a 185gr Rem. Core-lok out the barrel. At 24grains the rifle started to sound more like a rifle and the brass was still looking fine so I continued up to 26 grains, the starting load recommended by AA. At 26 grains the rifle had a bit more zip on the first shot. The second shot cracked the case about an inch, half way between the shoulder and the case head webbing. This was a bit disturbing and I was glad I had my safety glass on but the recoil was still mild, less then a 6.5x55 Swede so I did not feel it was a heavy loading for the rifle. I decided it was time to get out the chronograph and chech velocity while backing back down to 24 grains. I loaded up two more cases with 24 grians and fired the first one and it measured approx 1500fps, on the second round the case split just like the loading at 26 grains. Now I am thinking this brass sucks so I loaded up two more cases with 26 grains and fired them through the chronograph. The first round clocked in at 1702 fps and on the second shot the Chrony failed to measure the velocity, battery dying or cloudy day, who knows.

Any way, the reason for this post is to ask if other people have had problems with the Bertram brass being to brittle? I have heard that you need to anneal the neck and shoulder before you size the brass after firing but this was new brass straight out of the box. Normally I would run the brass through the sizing die but these were going to be chamber fire forming/ test loads so I did not bother running them through the die set. I did standardize the flash holes with my flash hole tool but that was the extent of the case prep.

Smokepole50
 

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Smokepole,

You have to anneal Bertram brass before you run it through your sizing die or it will do what it did to you. So far, I've gotten three loadings out a group of 20 and no sign of splitting. Annealing is easy to do and doesn't require any specialized equipment other than a hand held propane torch.
 

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Hmmm,

I didn't love Betram Brass myself in my 8x56R Hungarian Mannlicher. I still have it and load "fun" loads in it, but it cracked as you describe. I should try annealing it. It was all I could get for a while. I have better brass now, but I was working on using up the Bertram.

Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Annealing cases

How far down do you anneal? The proceedure I have heard mentioned envolves filling a pan with water and putting the cases in it with the case shoulder just above the water level, heating the cases with the torch and tipping them over in the water to quench the case. These Bertram cases split half way down the side wall. A full 1 inch crack placed half way between the case head web and the lower part of the shoulder. The case neck and shoulder were fine. Will annealing the shoulder affect the hardness of the metal in the middle of the case length?

Regards, Smokepole50
 

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I have 20 of the Bertram 8X58RD brass. Fired all 20 with a load producing about 1700-1750 fps. One of them cracked just as described by Smokepole50. This rifle has a reasonably tight chamber. Have not fired any the second time yet. I did not anneal and am hoping not to.

What I hear about Bertram brass is that one batch can be fine, the next gives a bunch of split cases.

The other brass I have been using is 7,62X54R Russian brass neck expanded to 8mm. Using this brass only for loads giving about 1300-1400 fps. Get some splits where the neck must expand to size of shoulder area. The cases do expand just ahead of the web, but, since resizing in 8X58RD dies does not reduce this much at all, I am not worried about head separation. The short neck does not seem to cause any serious problems. May try some of the Privi 8X56R Hungarian Mannlicher that Grafs sells, at least for lower velocity loads.

Niklas
 

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Smokepole,
The method you describe should work fine. I just hold them on a screwdriver and get them nice and red just a little farther down and then drop them into the water. Also, you may want to look into the formed brass that Buffalo Arms makes out of American made .45-70 brass. I have some, but haven't loaded any yet. It does get some good reviews.
 

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The Buffalo Arms 8x58RD also needs annealing when new. However they form it really work hardens it. But the rims are turned and the length is perfecto mundo.

Somebody I don't know offered me a full new box of the Bertram brass but I've not ever loaded it yet. I think after reading this thread I'll anneal them as well and keep loads moderate in the 1,500 to 1,700 fps range with cast bullets.

I have 40 rds of reformed .45-70 that's short but I've loaded it twice with no problems. I also annealed it before firing.

Dutchman
 

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Bertram brass

I have about 200 cases of various calibres in Bertram brass and always anneal new cases before use and every third reload there after and I must say that I am very pleased with his cases as I have had very few failures, I think his brass gets bad press from people that never anneal. Bertram cases are faithful copies of obsolete antique cases and as such are usually very thin just as the originals were. I have had over ten reloads with his 577/450 cases and have only had one failure due to neck splitting so far, so those who use Bertram brass just need to get into the habit of annealing I use a propane torch hold the case in a pair of pliers and heat the neck and shoulder to a dull red, best done in a darkend area so you dont over do it then drop in a bucket of water.

I have been following the reloading of the 8x58RD in this forum with great interest as I expect a rolling block I just purchased to arrive any day so will need all the help I can get with view to a safe load. It seem that the slow powders may be the better choice from what I have read so far, but keep the post going as the more information we can get on this calibre the better.
 

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I have Bertram 43 Mauser I annealed after reading that others have had splits. Haven't had a problem in 5 or 6 reloads so far. Probably time to anneal and trim again. The discoloration polishes right out.
Dennis
 

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Please help me understand; how is annealing the case neck going to prevent splitting of the side of the case?
 

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Annealing

Hi Steve,
Think you already know this, but anyways;
Annealing is also called "normalizing" and it's a process used to relief the internal stress of metals (and some other material). Normalization is the state where the metal is the smoother and is normally worked under this condition. You anly anneal the "mouth", neck and shoulder of the brass, because the head need a certains hardness to be effective under pressure.

by heating to a certains point, you slightly change the structure of the "grain" of the material and it becomes more homogenious. Quenching stops the process in the form it is at the moment. By annealing a part of the body, you uniformize the structure and the brass, being softer will tend less to crack.
But usually, it will not compensate for a bad chamber or headpspace.

Hope this helps....
 

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Baribal;

Does that mean that the root cause of Smokepole50's brass splitting problem is more likely an oversized chamber and not bad brass? His splits are occuring closer to the head than the shoulder in an area that wouldn't be normalized in the process as described (getting the neck and shoulder area hot and then quenching).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Splits....

I guess I need to take some pictures of these cases for everyone to see. I'll try and do that tomorrow. The case split is approx 1 inch long and centered between the shoulder and were the case web starts. A nice straight line. I have measure the cases at the split and they are not any larger then an unfired case so I don't believe the issue is a chamber problem.

Smokepole50
 

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I am really stunned - STUNNED - how complacent and obsequious Americans of the year 2007 are in face of blatant lack of quality. Whatever crap you are fed, you devour it with happy grunts of gratitude and deep bows.

Can't imagine such self-abasement in any other country.

Carcano
 

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Guess Carcano might be right....about poor quality...
A cracked brass can have different meaning. It can be too thin sides (wich should not happen if the cartridge is STANDARDISED, wich is not the case, here).... it can also means bad or wrong alloy... or may have been cause by a "scratch", a weak inside the cartridge... A residue of washing product can also make the brass properties change...

In fact, when annealing, you are not supposed to go lower than were the brass wall gets thicker...

I have seen funny things happening with steel cases.... but it's really uncommon with today's brass... If I understand well what Smokepole means, the crack follows the axis of the cartridge... Can you cut the cartridge and look inside for green stuff? or measure the thickness of the wall in two, three places?

Pictures might help for sure... so could be a chamber cast .... but I'm not sure the reasons are that clear and easy....
 

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I am really stunned - STUNNED - how complacent and obsequious Americans of the year 2007 are in face of blatant lack of quality. Whatever crap you are fed, you devour it with happy grunts of gratitude and deep bows.

Can't imagine such self-abasement in any other country.

Carcano
Carcano;

Not all the participants in this particular thread are "Americans". If you have nothing constructive to add to the thread, please refrain from posting.
 

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As Baribal stated, longitudinal splitting isn't uncommon in old steel cases fired in SKS and the like. My books are all still in storage but if someone has Hatcher's Notebook I recall that the Ordnance Dept had problems with splitting when they lot tested some new production back in the teens or '20s. Their study, off the top of my head, came to the conclusion the brass was thinner and harder on one side. The harder side was more brittle, as worked brass gets, and since the soft side stretched and the hard side couldn't, it split on the hard, thin, brittle, side. Had something to do with the machines they used. This, again, supports what Baribal stated. I can only add some historical notes and speculate.
Dennis
 

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Carcano;

Not all the participants in this particular thread are "Americans". If you have nothing constructive to add to the thread, please refrain from posting.
sbhva;

Note that the erstwhile producer of these crap cases is Australian (though Buffalo Arms indeed are [US] American).
If you have nothing destructive to say about bad quality, please refrain from bitching about those who still maintain and defend a constructive expectation of good quality.

Alexander
 

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I think this thread is getting off topic. Let's get back to the issue at hand.

I've seen numerous things happen with Brass. Even well regarded Norma Brass for the 7.5x55 doesn't hold up as well as the Prvi Partisan recently produced. And brass when it gets old tends to get brittle.

Betram fills a void that until recently other makers haven't, and I must say I don't particularly like their cases, my experience being for 8x56R Hungarian. Their necks crack, are brittle, crush necks in proper dies, etc, that doesn't occur with the Hornady Brass in 8x56R. I would be more concerned about body cracking near the case though!

What I am glad to see is manufactures like Hornady (and some others like Prvi, which I think makes some of the Hornady Brass, Starline, Etc.) stepping up and making obsolete brass for our antique and custom caliber firearms. What we need to do is support the quality makers by buying their product.

I feel that here in the US, it was difficult to get brass for uncommon calibers here, and in many cases Norma was the only brass available, importation was erratic, and you could end up without brass. Many fine Drillings used to be dirt cheap, particularly something like 16ga over 9x62R (not 9.3) because brass and bullets wasn't easily available and dies were expensive. Now those guns are enjoying more popularity because of component availability.

I agree we should support quality makers.

So maybe some pictures of the Brass and let's get back to the issue. If it turns out to the brass, then that is it, and people here will benefit by knowing not to purchase that brass.

JW
 

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When it come to brass (metal itself) quality, there are two main factors that can be in play;

The alloy (or to a certain point, the mix of all the components).

The manufacturing process.

The alloy itself is standardized and there are no way to get out of there; let's say a company is asking for C260 copper-zinc alloy.
ASTM, AISI and ISO are the main sources for setting standards for metal alloys.
CIP and SAAMI are setting standards for the type of alloy to use to fabricate the cartridges.
Then, they also set the standards for the thckness of the walls, head thinckness and hardness. And minimum - maximum dimension sizes for the brass to be used under XXX pressure (in fact, they set the play).

Now, they don't set standards for the manufacturing processes.
There are different way to make a brass brittle, some of them being; chemical reaction (including natural oxydation), the work done on the brass.
Regarding the chemical reaction, it can normally be found by visual inspection; enclosed you can see two unfired .280 Ross, USC Co. wich are suffering of the same syndrom, but at different stages; the powder / primer have reacted with the metal, causing corrosion (you can see it clearly).. Cleaning products, acid of basic will do the same type of damages, but since the outside of the cartridge is cleaned, it will happen inside.... and might not be seen by the reloader.... (and, usually, you can see a green line inside the cartridge when this occurs...)... so, improper wash, rince process is involved in this case...

Then we come to the forming process; brass, in it's standardized condition is soft (ductile), and that's the reason why we can work it up. To fabricate a cartridge, they use extrusion processes, but not in the way we first think of; it's not extruded like (steel or iron, or even plastic pipe) but by applying pressure on cold material on one point (the center) leaving the excess on the outside to stretch... Then, by pressure forming, you get the elasticity you need for the head (more pressure you apply, more will be the hardness and elsasticity limit will go up, too (but it will be less ductile)). If too much pressure is applyed on the walls, they will end up "brittle", and little pressure will be needed to break it. By heating the walls, you give back the "original property" of the brass, it will be more ductile and will be ready to be "reworked" many times, instead of cracking. Since you don't want the head to be softer, you don't heat it.

So, I doubt material is involved; it is, to my humble point of view, poor manufacturing processes (or quality control) wich are the cause of these failure...
 
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