Once-Fired Brass Can Be Just As Good As New
Once-fired brass is the metal from casings from spent ammunition that has been fired once. That may seem oddly specific, but once-fired brass is a very good addition to your metal supply. These casings offer a few advantages over new brass — both are very good to use, just with different purposes — and are often more cost-efficient to buy than new brass. Learning more about once-fired brass helps you determine if it's a good choice for your casing supply.
Why Is Once-Fired Brass Sold by Firearm Type?
One thing you'll notice is that once-fired brass is often organized by firearm type or model. When a bullet is fired, the heat and pressure created in the gun's barrel can reform the casing to better fit the inside of the barrel. It's like water coursing through a hose; the water mass reshapes itself to fit the inside of the hose. In the brass's case, you have metal softening and reforming in a split second, rather than becoming liquid. If you have a particular weapon and want to get once-fired brass for reloading, finding brass that has been fired out of that particular type of gun gets you metal that likely already fits your firearm better than new casings.
Do You Really Have to Use Once-Fired Casings?
You don't have to use once-fired casings, of course. In addition to new casings, you can find casings that have been fired more times. However, the more a casing is exposed to that heat and pressure, the closer it comes to failing and providing you with defective ammunition (and that's simply dangerous). Metal becomes fatigued, and if you have casings that have been fired several times, the quality of the metal is not going to be that good. Plus, it's very hard to tell if a casing is once-fired or been fired more than once unless you know for sure that it was bought new, loaded and shot once, and then given to you. Aiming to buy once-fired brass makes it more likely that the brass was actually fired only once.
One more advantage of using once-fired brass is that it's a form of recycling. Yes, metal can be melted down and reused in other ways, but reusing a formed casing for more formed casings is one of the simplest and faster ways to get that metal back into use. Collecting the casings saves the metal from possibly ending up in a landfill or being left on the ground, where it would just be litter.
A lot of companies are now selling once-fired brass, so take a look at the offerings and ask about how they acquire the casings. Find out what quality control they have, too, to ensure the casing is as close to truly once-fired as possible.