Starline once made only pistol brass, but a few years ago Starline added rifle brass to their product lineup. Now Starline has introduced 30-06 brass to their offerings! Due to popular demand, Starline introduced this brass just about a month ago, and since I heard it was available I knew I needed to do some testing with it. This time I’m bringing in a friend and respected colleague to help tell the story!
30-06: As Classic As It Gets
Designed in 1903 and adopted by the US Military in 1906, the 30-06 cartridge has a long history. Designed as a military cartridge, the 30-06 saw action during WWI (in bolt-action rifle platforms), in WWII (including with the semi-automatic M1 Garand), and beyond. 30-06 has been in continuous mainstream use since its initial adoption for the following reasons (and more):
- Prolific use in two world wars
- Availability of inexpensive military surplus rifles (with some models now fetching big dollar prices)
- Use in long-range rifle competitions
- Effectiveness and versatility as a big game hunting cartridge
The last reason listed above is worth some discussion!
30-06: Big Game All-Rounder
When I got my hands on Starline’s new 30-06 brass, I decided it would be important to celebrate and acknowledge the amazing success that 30-06 has attained as “North America’s #1 big game hunting cartridge”. Not just for now, but since the early 20th century!
In oreder to demonstrate the effectiveness of 30-06 against North American big game animals, I invited my friend Guy Miner to come over to help tell the story. Guy Miner runs a company called GMM Defense, served in the Marines, and was a police officer for many years. Guy also has taken quite a few big game animals with (you guessed it) – 30-06.
Guy tells the story of each of these kills in the video, but to review, here are the highlights:
Washington State Black Bear
Washington State Cow Elk
Alaska Grizzly Bear
Oh, and Guy took all of those big game animals WITH 30-06 since 2016! WOW. I think that proves how awesome 30-06 is for big game hunting, but what about the quality of Starline brass? I decided to put Starline 30-06 brass through my first set of “brass lab tests” let’s see how it did!
Here’s a picture of Guy’s Remington 700 chambered in 30-06- the rifle used to take all of the game shown here:
Starline 30-06 Brass Tests
In my ongoing “TESTED” content series I’m taking a look at components, guns, and other equipment through a “data-driven lens”. With this article I’m expanding this series to include the analysis of brass cases, something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. What better way to start than with a new cartridge offering from Starline?
For testing weight, I used an A&D FX-120i laboratory-grade scale (see my overview story HERE) that’s accurate to 0.02 grains. For this test (and all tests in the article) I used a sample of 10 cases randomly selected from my box of Starline 30-06 brass.
Here’s the results of the weight consistency test:
With a standard deviation of 0.21 grains, I’d say this brass is very consistent in terms of manufacturing process. I expected weight to vary more than that!
Case capacity is literally the internal volume of a brass case to the top of the case at the mouth. The simplest way to measure case volume is to measure the weight of water required to fill the case- up to the top flush with the case mouth. For this test, I again used the A&D FX-120i scale, this time with a syringe and water to precisely measure case capacity for fired cases, and also a brand new case for comparison.
Here are the numbers:
Here we see another really interesting and compelling figure: the measured case capacity for Starline 30-06 brass was different from the SAAMI spec by only 0.18 grains! Wow. For the fired cases I’ll need to collect more data from other brass cases (brands, cartridges, etc) in order to quantify how good or bad these figures are. I’ll also note that I didn’t clean the cases after firing. I’m doubtful it would make much difference if I had cleaned them, and there may be the risk of altering the weight slightly- something I’ll be investigating!
Case Length Consistency
Case length consistency is not a critical factor for rifle cartridges. But it is a measure of the quality of the manufacturing process, so I decided it would be good to include in these tests!
Here’s the data:
Again the Starline brass turned in come great numbers- with an SD of overall length of only 0.0006″, I’d say that’s very consistent.
Case Neck Thickness Uniformity
Unlike case length consistency, case neck thickness uniformity IS a critical factor for precision rifle ammunition. So I made sure to take careful measurements for the 10 sample cases in the testing. I used a ball micrometer with resolution of 0.00005″, and accuracy of 0.0001″ for these tests. Each sample case was measured in four places spaced 90 degrees apart around the case neck.
Here the Starline brass performed quite well- with an SD of case neck thickness of 0.00037 (equivalent of TIR, or Total Indicator Reading), that puts Starline brass into the “excellent” category here!
If you are loading 30-06 for a Military Surplus rifle, a hunting rifle, or a target rifle, Starline brass would be a great product to use.
You can get yours here!
And here’s a direct link to the Starline 30-06 Product Page
Have thoughts on this brass? Please leave a comment!
Don’t miss out on Ultimate Reloader updates, make sure you’re subscribed!