My brass is ‘clicking’. What should I do?

Dear Tony

I have found that when my brass starts to ‘click’ I will replace it. By ‘clicking’ I mean when the bolt hesitates at the top of the stroke when unloading a spent round. My question is what has happened to the brass that creates this ‘click’? I shoot a 6×284 and this happens often. Does it mean that I fired loads that were too hot and the brass is now ruined?

Dear Larry

Thank you for your question. This is an important one. Essentially your brass is “dead”. It has lost its ability to spring back. This is influenced by three main factors, (1) the quality of your brass to start with, (2) the loads you are using and (3) very importantly your sizing dies.

I have noticed that different batches of brass will ‘work harden’ quicker than others and I don’t think there is anything you can do about this. The hotter you shoot your rifle the shorter the lifetime of the brass but if you are sizing your brass the minimum necessary every time, you can make your brass last much longer. Overworking your brass during re-sizing is something you can control with a die that has been cut to match your chamber dimensions.



  1. Will annealing and minimal resizing bring the brass back to life or should I scrap the old and buy new

    • Dear Ed,

      Thank you for your question.

      If your brass is “clicking” then this is almost certainly due to brass at the end of it’s life or brass that has not been resized properly. I can wear out a barrel (or several) with 20 cases of Lapua brass for 6PPC. I went through many sizing dies before I found the one that works properly and I exercise the amount of sizing.

      If your brass is clicking you can throw it away and start anew. You can try sizing the base with a small base die but the case is beyond its useful life at this point as it has stretched and expanded (work hardened) too many times. You will only get a few more cycles out of it and then you will be back to clicking.

      Most important is that you ensure you have a good sizing die and set it up properly. This will go a long way to lengthening the life of your brass but most importantly, allowing you to cycle your weapon smoothly during matches.


      • Thanks Not what I wanted to hear but you can’t argue with truth or experience Thanks again ed

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