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John Boy
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The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Oct 15th, 2013 at 4:49pm
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* 40 Bertram 25-21 brass cases from Graf & Sons
* All came in a plastic bag so a lot number or numbers were unknown
*  Loaded with 5.0gr Unique - 85gr LFP RB--20-8 bullets, 0.258"
*  Remington 7 1/2 SR Bench Rest Primers
*  Loaded length - 2.30" with CH4D FL-Expander & Seating Dies
* Loading data verified to 2 sources ... 1500 fps
Shot the rounds in the CPA with a new Douglas 1:12 barrel.  On the way home from Ridgway, had Paul @ CPA verify the chamber & head space for issues ... None!

Results:
3 - Bertram cases OK
2 - Cases heaved in anger into the woods
35 - Cases that look like this primarily from above the mouth to the  bottom of the webs ...
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Graf RMA coming by FedEx for their "testing".  In the meantime, sale of the 25-21 brass is frozen ... $4.28 a case ... FOR JUNK!

  

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John
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Bent_Ramrod
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #1 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 5:57pm
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I annealed all my .25-21 and .25-25 Bertram brass as far down towards the heads as I dared, so have not gotten the immediate percentage of splits you have.  Learned my lesson from my first box of Bertram .43 Spanish, where 8 of the 20 body-split on the first firing.

But the body splits on the long .25s do show up, one by one, as the cases continue to be fired.  The .25-25's always split well down into the body, so I can't trim them to .25-21.  You may have noticed that the rims go all the way from undersized to oversized, with many of them being elliptical or egg-shaped so they only go into the shell holder one way, or not, or slip out of it.  The .25-25 shell lengths especially would delight a Diversity Facilitator, with none of them, IME, being the standard length, but all of them being different lengths short of that.  The .25-21s at least don't seem to have this fault.

I heard that some problems occur when extreme deep draws are made on small diameter shells or tubes, which is why Bertram never tried to make .22-15-60 Stevens CF shells.  On the other hand, the US ammunition companies could make the shells over a century ago, so the excuse hardly washes.

Bertram's stuff is very weird; maybe the QC department is on a part-time or "temp" basis.  I have 20 Bertram .405 cases that I reformed to .35 Winchester.  I got them cheap, since they had a hideous scaling pattern on the outside of the shells, looking like the brass was peeling away in a hundred places.  At the price, I figured one shot each would still put me ahead.  Those cases have outlasted a box of Bell basic cases, full length sizing both after every firing.  A bunch of Bertram .40-90 SS cases, annealed and jealously watched after each firing, have held up well, although the lengths do vary.  But buying Bertram's product is throwing darts at a board, for sure.

Rocky Mtn. Cartridge's stuff has the virtue of being the right dimensions, but being lathe-turned, it does not handle resizing very well.
  
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #2 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 6:32pm
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Would be nice if Starline could make a run, but it has to be economically feasible to do so.

  

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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #3 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 7:34pm
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Wow! Sagas can be so fun! Can't wait for this one to unfurl. 

    Joe.  Smiley

  

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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #4 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 7:57pm
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I'm guessing that the brass has been so work hardened in drawing that it is just ready to crack.  It would be interesting to do a dye penetrant test on some unfired brass.  One might find cracks. 

Annealing would seem a very good idea but normally one would not anneal too close to the base. 

Given the small volume of modern powders I've wondered why brass isn't manufactured a bit thicker.  It might be a problem if the brass would not seal to the chamber but that seems unlikely. 

As Joe says, we all love a saga.

Dave
  
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John Boy
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #5 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 9:17pm
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Quote:
It would be interesting to do a dye penetrant test on some unfired brass.  One might find cracks. 

Hmmm, looks simple.  Wish I had a new case ...
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Anyother Bertram brass will be tested!
  

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John
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #6 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 9:28pm
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John,,

If you have an ultrasonic cleaner I'd use that on a new case.  Another trick you can do is to try to etch off some brass using ammonia or acid.  This might expose cracks that are smeared over during the forming (drawing) step.  You might test a cracked case to really scare yourself. 

Have you cut one in half lengthwise?  The walls must be thin.  I can have one of my metallurgical colleagues look at a cracked case if you send me one.  Sort of a cheapo second opinion.  If you don't have access to or want to buy the dye penetrant spray I can probably find someone at work with the full kit. 


Dave
  
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #7 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 10:09pm
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I built the wife a 28-30 stevens several years ago, the only brass available at that time was Bertram, other than its odd & varying rim size it has held up well. I annealed it about half way down. The rifle is shot schuetzen style with a single case, so no resizing. Not working the brass is probably why it has held up so well. I have emailed Rocky Mountain Cartridge, but they have not made a run of 28-30 for awhile. Hopefully they will soon.
Mike
  
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waterman
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #8 - Oct 15th, 2013 at 10:40pm
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In my experience, what John Boy described is par for the course with Bertram (& BELL) brass in any of the long .25 calibers, from .25-20 SS to .25-25, and in .28-30 caliber. I have had the same experience with .25-20 SS and .28-30. Annealing the few survivors is about your only option. 

A person who knows an immense amount more about metallurgy than I explained it to me as an artifact of the manufacturing method employed.  He said it was because the cases are extruded rather than drawn. IIRC, BELL was supposed to stand for Brass Extrusion Labs Limited or some such.  Apparently extruded cases are OK for short straight pistol cases that are not supposed to be reloaded, but that's about it.
« Last Edit: Oct 16th, 2013 at 10:49am by waterman »  
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #9 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 12:48am
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That's a shame.  I had some .45-110 Bertram brass that split like that.  That was the last Bertram brass I'll ever buy.   

Can you get RMC to make you a set of cases?

Chris.
  
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #10 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 2:52am
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Also shoot at Ridgway.  I have used the 25-21 for a number of years, it is the CPA. Have used it on Squirrel and Turkey, along with target.  Had RMC make up some brass, I have not had any split, works great.
  
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #11 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 2:57am
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"4.28 a case for junk" . Jeez Johnboy. RMC brass has to be cheaper than that.   

The saga thickens.

    Joe.
  

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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #12 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 8:44am
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I've been using Bell Brass in my .45-90 with Black Powder for a couple of years and have lost none yet.
I've reloaded the hundred I have at least 15 times each. I just annealed them about an inch down and don't resize them after firing.

Terry
  

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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #13 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 8:52am
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I am really surprised that you managed to load this brass without the cases splitting when neck expanded. All Bertram brass should be annealed before using. I have been using Bertram in .300 Sherwood---another long thin case---- for about 5 years and have not lost a case yet after what must be 20+ re-loads. I annealed them first. The only thing wrong with bBertram brass is that they sell it before they have quite finished making it!
Fred
  
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John Boy
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Re: The Saga of My 25-21 Bertram Brass ...
Reply #14 - Oct 16th, 2013 at 10:04pm
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Dave, thanks for the offer but I wish I had a new case to send you but I don't ... so, I put 2 of the cases that I fired in the ultra sonic which didn't open up like a can of beans.
Ran the sonic for a half hour to clean them thoroughly and than looked at the cases with a 20X lope.  Both of them had hairline cracks that if I shot them again would open up wide.  This whole batch of brass is defective.

Now, here's the smack in the head - I paid Graf $171 for 40 cases ($4.28 per case).  Why I never looked at Rocky Mountain's website don't know but I should have. RMC has 25-21 brass listed for $42.00 per 20 ($2.10 per case) ... half the price of the Bertram's.  Turn around is 2 -4 months but I sure as hell will call RMC in the morning for a 100 cases
  

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John
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