New vs. Remanufactured
Posted by Spiro Nixon and Justin Whitman - Lead Load Developers on 22nd Mar 2019
All over the internet you can find people arguing over New vs. Remanufactured ammunition. However, how many of these people can legitimately speak about this subject? Are they coming from a larger manufacturing perspective or a personal loader who may not understand that many processes will not translate well to large scale manufacturing? You’ve come to the right place for an honest distinction between the two products. This will help you determine what ammo you will most likely want to use in your different firearms.
First off there is a distinction between reloading and remanufacturing. It is important to know the difference, as the quality between the two are vastly different. When someone is reloading, typically they are taking brass shot from a specific firearm replacing the primer, powder, and projectile and shooting it from the same firearm again. This is mainly done with precision rifles and high end race guns, its known as fire-formed brass and helps with accuracy. The issue here is that this brass is only meant for that one particular gun and would probably not even work in a different serial number of the same model.
Remanufactured ammo, on the other hand, is processed to bring the brass back to SAAMI specifications for that specific cartridge. This way it can be shot from any firearm chambered in that caliber just as new brass would be. There are many processes and quality control measures that come into play with remanufacturing brass. Even after all the work is put into the cartridge, remanufactured ammo is still much less expensive to produce over new ammo. In an effort to keep this synopsis from becoming War and Peace, we will quickly go over what is involved in remanufacturing…
- Mixed Caliber dirty brass is sorted by cartridge type
- Sorted brass is washed
- Roll size the brass
- Deprime and Full Length size
- Ready to load like new brass
The loading process is where the similarities between new and remanufactured begin. If you’ve ever had “crappy” reloaded ammo before, they most likely cut corners and did not remanufacture the brass properly or they did not load properly. If a company has shoddy loaded reman ammo, chances are their new ammo won't be much better. This is in no way putting down companies who make both products; we are one of them. What we are saying is to do your research and make sure the company has a good reputation for ammo and customer service before you buy. Sooner or later when shooting reman ammo you will run into a problem.
The largest difference between new and reman is that no matter how good your remanufacturing processes are, not all the brass will be structurally the same. The first time brass is fired, depending on what load it was, what firearm it was shot from, and its metal composition the brass will have stresses at different points. Even after reworking the brass back to SAAMI specs different brass manufacturers have varying tolerances for their wall thickness and primer pockets. All these tolerances can stack up and lead to brass cracking, blowouts, and in extreme cases; case-head separation.
When it comes to factory new brass, you will find that a lot of these issues we just mentioned rarely occur. However, there are instances of blow-outs and case head separations happening with new brass. We have had a case head separation happen with a highly reputable brand of new ammo. It was a one time occurrence that we cannot explain. In general, the odds of these things happening are highly reduced with new brass. Does that mean you should never shoot remanufactured ammo? Well of course not.
You have to be sure that your gun can shoot that ammo reliably, safely, and consistently. When you are trying to decide reman versus new, consider a few things. How high-quality is your gun? Basically what we are getting at is that if you just bought a brand new $100,000 car, you wouldn’t go to Walmart and put the cheapest tires on it. The same thing is true with ammunition. Think about what you're overall objective for the firearm is (training, self defense, etc.) and buy accordingly. Are we saying that remanufactured ammo won’t run properly in an expensive gun, no. What we are saying is weigh the risk vs. reward and see if it is the best fit for you and your firearm. Of course, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us!