Marking Your Shells

This is a discussion on Marking Your Shells within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Well, I am well on my way to being a reloader of metallic rounds. I have a question for you guys that already reload for ...

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Thread: Marking Your Shells

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    Marking Your Shells

    Well, I am well on my way to being a reloader of metallic rounds. I have a question for you guys that already reload for autoloader pistols. How do you mark your cases so you can find yours.

    I mostly shoot at either a public range or my club's range. In both cases, the likelihood of finding my brass and only my brass is pretty remote without some marking system. I was thinking of using a magic marker on the headstamp to put a slash or dot on the case. I am curious how you deal with identifying your brass and if there are drawbacks that I am not seeing to my proposed course of action. Obviously, this is a much smaller issue with revolver brass.

    I appreciate your input in this matter.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Magic marker sounds like a good idea. Get one of the wide black ones and color the whole head of the cases. More easily done if you pack your reloads back into commercial ammo holders bullet down. One by one might be rather tedious. In the commercial ammo holders with bullets facing down, you could just do it with an ink pad and roller. 50 in one swipe would be even faster.

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    Senior Member Array Chevyguy85's Avatar
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    When I used to mark my brass I just used a think black magic marker and ran it up and down the rows while they were being held in a 100 round ammo box.

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    Senior Member Array CCWFlaRuger's Avatar
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    Why mark? Just take everyone's brass home :D
    "You will not rise to the occasion and you will not default to your level of training. You WILL ONLY default to the level of training you have mastered."
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    For the most part, brass is brass. Just inspect it and reload it.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    For the most part, brass is brass. Just inspect it and reload it.
    True. Pistol brass is pistol brass. All of my reloads are for rifle and they come out one by one and I know where they land. Most pistol brass you'll find on the range should be spec. I could still see the need to identify if I were particular about my cases. Lots of folks I know won't use specific cases for reloading no matter what. Still, marking your own cases is a good measure since you won't know if some of the brass left at the range has already been reloaded several times and left lying because of that. If they are reloads, then most usually the reloader will be sure to pick up their own brass. If it's left on the range there's one of two reasons it's still there. If you don't want to go through the trouble of inspecting each and every case, then you'll want to identify the ones you'll reload from the rest. I don't reload for pistol myself, but if I did, I could truly see the need to identify. Stray brass would be saved for inspection and possibly put into play as needed.
    Many years ago I got privy to one of the local police ranges and picking up the used brass. IMO.......good for scrap prices per pound. Be careful what you pick up at the range.

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    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    I don't mark it. I just pick-up all the 9mm brass I see and insect it when I get home. I did see a few rifle re-loaders at the range who wanted their specific brass back. The kept what looked like a fishing net next to the rifle and used it to catch the brass as it was ejected.

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    Member Array OldLincoln's Avatar
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    My range resells brass but will allow you to pick up your own but only your own. You cannot even make up the difference if you miss one. So I get the end booth against a wall, squeegee all existing brass way out front. I mark my own a bright red with a "Brite-Mark" Dykem Marker in the V Groove at the base. I also read some info on staining brass various colors and will likely try that with the idea that it will last better than a paint like marker. Additionally I am experimenting with a brass catcher.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    most people use different color markers so they don't get brass mixed up when they shoot
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    I tryto mark my 9mm Makrov cases, most of which are made from trimmed 9mm Luger cases. Magic marker is quick and easy to use, but comes off with tumbling, so You'll have to reapply after each loading. Red markers tend to stand out better. Brass Black is more durable but still comes off after 2-3 tumblings. You can also use "lay-out" die that machinists use and which comes in different colors.

    Like others have said, just pick up brass in massive amounts and don't worry about it. The .40 S&W may be an exception if you're overly concerned about the infamous "Glock bulge" but I've never found a case with one--and I pick up every empty casing I can get in all calibers. The only headstamp I won't use is "CBC" which always seems to have split mouths.

    I also gave up separating cases long ago after never finding any signs of problems with mixed lots. I never load to the max (never any more acurate, usually less so), use my reloads for practice only, so the minute differences in case wall thickness and capacity don't affect the loads.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldLincoln View Post
    My range resells brass but will allow you to pick up your own but only your own. You cannot even make up the difference if you miss one. So I get the end booth against a wall, squeegee all existing brass way out front. I mark my own a bright red with a "Brite-Mark" Dykem Marker in the V Groove at the base. I also read some info on staining brass various colors and will likely try that with the idea that it will last better than a paint like marker. Additionally I am experimenting with a brass catcher.
    Unless the range is providing the ammo "free of charge," the brass is the property of the shooter until "donated" by dumping the empties into the collection bucket. I'll collect my brass as well as that of any other shooter who allows me to collect his. It does not "belong" to the range.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    I guess I am more curious as to HOW you collect the brass. I don't reload, and I just got my first semi-auto so saving all my brass from my revolver was no problem. I now have quite a bit of 38 special Brass.
    First time I shot my Glock I dropped a round while loading the magazines. Luckily it didn't roll to far out in front of the firing line. I was able to get a broom and pull it back (along with a lot of spent brass). There was a lot of mixed brass laying out in front of the firing line though that would require getting in front of the firing line to retreive, even with the broom. How do you guys manage to retrieve the stuff that goes out front? Also, come spring I'll be shooting in my mother's back woods. Do you guys put a tarp out to catch the brass so it isn't lost in the grass?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedBeau View Post
    I guess I am more curious as to HOW you collect the brass. I don't reload, and I just got my first semi-auto so saving all my brass from my revolver was no problem. I now have quite a bit of 38 special Brass.
    First time I shot my Glock I dropped a round while loading the magazines. Luckily it didn't roll to far out in front of the firing line. I was able to get a broom and pull it back (along with a lot of spent brass). There was a lot of mixed brass laying out in front of the firing line though that would require getting in front of the firing line to retreive, even with the broom. How do you guys manage to retrieve the stuff that goes out front? Also, come spring I'll be shooting in my mother's back woods. Do you guys put a tarp out to catch the brass so it isn't lost in the grass?
    At the indoor range I use the broom method. When shooting at my club's outdoor range, they have concrete to shoot from, so picking up brass is easy. I occassionally shoot with a friend at his club's Friday night steel events and they allow tarps to the right of the shooter and this helps, but it is not fool proof.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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    There's a device (Sorry, don't know the name) that looks like a a hamster cage on a broom handle that will easily pick up cases without bending over. It's about $40 but worth the money if bending over is an issue. Broom and dust pan works; most ranges have them on hand. Most pistols eject to the right rear where it can be found. My biggest gripe is the inconsiderate people who step on my brass without a second thought. I try to keep my cases swept up as neatly as possible.

    Brass forward of the shooting line I generally leave for the range scrap bucket. It's rare that no one else is there and I would feel safe going after it. The outdoor range I use has a PVC frame with a screen laid out forward of the line that does a pretty good job of catching most brass slung forward. You pull it up with the attached rope and it dumps the cases at your feet.

    Collecting spent cases is something of a crap shoot. Some days you come up short a few; some days you get a bonanza of freebies.

    Outdoors, if you can avoid tall grass and weeds, usually you'll find most of your cases. Each pistol tends to toss them to a specific area.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    For the most part, brass is brass. Just inspect it and reload it.
    OK, another, probably stupid, nooby question. If brass is brass, why do the reloading manuals call for a specific manufacturer of brass for a recepie? I have the Lyman 49th Edition and it clearly stipulates what type of brass is specified and where there are exceptions, they are footnoted. I have reloaded shotshells for decades and the make and model of shell makes a huge difference and reloading recepies are for the specific shell. Further, I understand that the military brass has less interior volume than commercial brass and, using the same recepie, would have more pressure. I am just curious if a recepie calls for Remington brass and you use WWB brass or Federal brass, will the pressures be different?

    I may be overly anal about this, but I am not interested in a Kaboom.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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