New Brass vs. Once-Fired Brass - What’s the Difference?

New Brass vs. Once-Fired Brass - What’s the Difference?

Top Brass specializes in the remanufacture and reconditioning of ‘Once-Fired’ brass cartridge cases. The differences between our cartridge case and a newly manufactured one are both small and large – small when considering the actual specifications associated with the final product, and large when compared to the price.

Overall, commercially remanufactured cartridge cases are produced under federally licensed and insured manufacturers. Following strict quality control processes that ensure all SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufactures Institute) specifications are complied with, finished products include all material and dimensional standards established by SAAMI for safety and functional operation within the appropriate firearm.

Once-Fired: All seasoned reloaders know that the key to purchasing reconditioned brass is to get ‘Once- Fired.’ The simple reasoning is that quality brass cartridge cases have a reusability of 10 to 15 reloads (quasi-benchmark) before they are worn out. ‘Once-Fired’ brass ensures that the brass has not been ‘work-hardened’ or near stress failure over the course of multiple reloadings under unknown conditions. Who knows what level of neglect, misuse, and abuse a cartridge case has been through when picking up brass out at the range? ‘Once-Fired’ brass from a reputable manufacturer guarantees the cartridge case has been discharged through a firearm once in its product life.

Specifications: Bearing in mind that new ammunition is typically mass produced in large quantities – with the dictate to keep within SAAMI specifications – dimensional variations within these SAAMI tolerances will likely exist across each given case. In other words, each round is different (thousandths). Remanufactured / reconditioned cartridge cases, on the other hand, are typically produced in lower volumes. In turn, the quality of tighter tolerances is much more easily managed. Truth be told, reconditioned brass from reputable manufacturers likely have better specs. than those manufactured new.

Fire-Forming: All competitive shooters know, it is the ‘Fire-Forming’ of the cartridge case that creates accuracy. Fire-forming is the process whereby a cartridge case forms to the chamber of the firearm from which it has been previously fired from. The pressure exerted from the discharge expands the brass to fit the contours of the chamber, thus creating improved concentricity of the mouth of the case to the bore, as well as precise headspacing. Therefore, it follows that all precision shooting should use Fire-Formed cartridge cases. That said, what’s the advantage of using new brass?

Price: Reconditioned cartridge cases are substantially less expensive than newly manufactured ones. Discounts range from 30% to 60% off the retail price. In lieu of the above information, why pay the premium for new?