If you own a WSSM rifle you know that finding ammunition and brass has been impossible for years now. To
my knowledge Winchester is the only company that has ever made brass for the WSSM cartridges. Rumors that Winchester (Olin Corporation) would manufacture more brass have been passed around for years now. There are many thousands of rifles out there so why wouldn't Winchester make brass to support those that purchased Browning and Winchester rifles? The WSSM cartridges were developed by Winchester. It just doesn't make sense... but wait...
243 WSSM Brass - The piece on the left I have reloaded numerous times. The piece on the right is a reformed piece of 325 WSM brass from Hill Billy Brass. It has been fired in my rifle once and has been prepped, ready to be loaded up for use.
A year and a half ago I placed a stock watch for Winchester 300 Win Mag brass on midwayusa.com. Probably over two years ago I placed a stock watch on 270 WSM brass on midwayusa.com. I never got notified that Midway USA ever had any in stock until a few weeks back when I got a notice that Midway USA was no longer carrying Winchester brass in these cartridges. I did a quick tour of the website and found almost all Winchester brass had been removed. A trip to brownells.com and they only have 30-06 and 308 Winchester brass. Hmm...
This has got me thinking. It is interesting that Winchester has the resources to launch a whole new line of ammunition in 2016 with the new Browning Ammunition line but hasn't made any or very little brass as a component for who knows how long? If I was a betting man I think Winchester makes more money off loaded ammunition and selling brass as a component just isn't part of their business plan anymore. But what do I know. Anyway you look at it, it is looking more and more like WSSM brass may never be manufactured by Winchester again. Just unbelievable.
So what is a WSSM rifle owner to do? Well, thankfully Hill Billy Brass has stepped up to help us. They are taking WSM brass and reforming it into WSSM brass. I recently received some 243 WSSM brass made from reformed 325 WSM brass. Upon inspecting the brass I was surprised that the neck thickness was exactly the same as my factory WSSM brass. I thought I might need to do some serious neck turning to get the thickness down but that wasn't the case.
Because I like to shoot long range and tight groups I am fire forming the brass by shooting at a 100 yard steel target just for fun. I'm know that the accuracy isn't going to be right where I want it until the brass has been formed to my rifle's chamber.
The brass looks great after firing it. I can still see that the transition from the body to the shoulder is still slightly rounded some whereas the brass I have reloaded several times has a sharp transition. This shouldn't be anything to worry about, just a slight cosmetic difference. I'm sure over multiple reload times this brass will loose it's roundness on that transition.
If you don't already anneal your brass I highly recommend that you learn how to if you are a WSSM reloader. I anneal the necks of my brass after every firing to get consistent neck tension shot after shot and to keep the brass from hardening to the point that it splits the neck. I have brass that I have lost count on the number of times I have reloaded it.
I think I will load up my pet 105 A-Max load for my next load in this brass.
243 WSSM brass next to a reformed 325 WSM piece of brass now 243 WSSM.
Well used 243 WSSM brass (left) next to reformed 243 WSSM brass (right) prior to fire forming it in my rifle.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!