My editors keep telling me that articles have to have a point. Apparently, I don’t listen too well as this article doesn’t have one. Well, if it does, I don’t yet know what it is, so we’ll all find out together by the end.
The other day, I was at my desk clawing my way out of endless distractions from my writing. Between fits of topic inspiration, I was sorting obscene amounts of .223 Remington and 5.56mm brass by headstamp. When I say obscene, I’m talking multiple five-gallon buckets. I wasn’t sorting everything, I was just throwing Lake City brass into one bucket and all other types into another. My logic was simple. I knew I had a ton of Lake City in my stash from a couple years of range pickups, so I figured it made sense to have a supply of “same headstamp” brass available when I wanted to make accurate and consistent loads. From my experience, the Lake City stuff is good, meaning pretty consistent and strong. I planned on using the mixed headstamp brass to load practice and plinking ammo.
As I tossed my 40 millionth case into one of the buckets, I started to wonder if this was sorting thing was really worth it. When fired from an AR-15, which isn’t the most accurate rifle anyway, at least compared to bolt gun standards, would it really matter? Was I completely wasting my time? I decided to find out.
Just to be clear, I know that using identical cartridge cases is a big deal for bench rest shooters and anyone else concerned with improving groups by tenths or even hundredths of inches. You’ll get no argument from me that meticulous sorting by size, weight, concentricity, and global community membership is essential for maximum obtainable accuracy. My informal experiment simply intended to figure out whether brass sorting was worth the trouble for training, plinking, hunting and other less accuracy-critical uses. Before anyone gets all worked up about the hunting use for less accurate ammo, I’m just saying that it doesn’t really matter if this stuff shoots groups that are a half-inch larger. In most scenarios, it just doesn’t really matter if a given ammo groups into one or two inches at 100 yards – that’s good enough to hit the important parts.