Nickel plated brass question


May 6, 2008, 02:36 AM
Does anyone know or have experience with flakes from nickel plated brass damaging your dies or barrel? I like to buy some onced fire for my 357 mag.

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May 6, 2008, 05:21 AM
Never heard of this problem. The usual take on nickel brass is that it doesn't last as long as plain brass cases, ie., fewer reloads before case cracking.

Grandpa Shooter
May 6, 2008, 09:43 AM
I have used both brass and nickel plated brass for years. Unless you are setting up monster loads, I doubt you would see a difference. Pistol cases like 38, 357, and 45 will last for years.

What can potentially damage you dies is reloading dirty brass.

You may have trouble finding 357, it is back ordered most everywhere.

The Bushmaster
May 6, 2008, 09:48 AM
No problems here.

May 6, 2008, 10:26 AM
No problems here either.

May 6, 2008, 10:36 AM
Not too much flaking. I've not experienced a shorter life with nickel plated brass over normal brass. I've got nickel plated brass that has taken 15 nuclear loads and is still going strong.

May 6, 2008, 10:42 AM
I've never seen the plating flake off but I have worn the plating off .38spl and .357mag brass.

May 6, 2008, 10:48 AM
Have had nickel brass ruin sizing dies. RCBS replaced it and told me over the phone NOT to use nickle brass in standard dies, to use carbide for nickle. After that incident and reading of damage to barrel steel from nickle cases I stopped using nickle for reloading.
Unless a bore scope was used by a expert I doubt barrel damage could be seen and not by the average shooter. The scratches in sized brass after the die was damaged was easy to see, some deep enough to feel with a fingernail.

May 6, 2008, 09:07 PM
Thinking of the Rockwell hardness scale, it's hard for me to grasp the notion of nickel scratching tool steel. I've heard it from a couple of folks and just assumed it was a defective die.

May 6, 2008, 09:18 PM
I load 38 spcl nickel cases for my wife because she "likes the way they look" and I haven't had any problems either. I have some nickel brass that has been "refilled" at least 20 times, too.

May 7, 2008, 11:51 AM
Nickle flakes (as used in cartridge plating) are too soft to damage a reloading die.

If you are getting scratched cases, it is caused by brass galling and sticking to the steel or carbide dies surface.

It can be easily polished out with some 600 black paper on a slotted dowel rod. Chuck it up in an electric drill and have at it!

(Or use the same copper solvent you use to clean your rifle barrel with.)

Once you get the brass out of the die, use enough case lube and it won't happen again.

Nickle cases will not hurt your reloading dies, or your handgun or rifle barrel.


May 9, 2008, 04:36 PM
why do they nickel plate the cases then? i thought brass was already nice and self lubricating.

May 9, 2008, 04:47 PM
In the beginning, they did it to prevent the green verdigris that grows on brass when carried in cops leather shell loops and drop boxes.

Later on, it was used on .38 Special wad-cutter match ammo to aid extraction of the low powered rounds in target auto-loaders.
(Nickle is slicker then brass)

Then it became a feature of "premium" SD ammo.

Now, I think it is just a selling point.

"Mines shinier then yours!
"Well, mines got black plating on the bullets!"
"But mines still shinier then yours!"
"Now it ain't! Mines got nickle plating now, AND black bullets!"
"Well mine comes in a 20 round box, AND, costs as much as a 50 round box of yours, so it's way better!"
"NO Tain't!"
"Is too!"
"Is not!"
"Is too!"
"Nanny nanny naw naw!"


The Bushmaster
May 9, 2008, 04:51 PM
When the police began carrying revolvers they had a problem with brass cases corroding (turning green) when carried for an extended period of time in leather loops on their gun belts. Nickel plating solved that problem. Now days nickel plated brass usually denotes a premium cartradge. I still use nickel plated cases for my field and hunting cartrides as corrosion will not happen and moisture is easily removed at the end of the days hunt...

The Bushmaster
May 9, 2008, 04:53 PM
Well darn you rcmodel...Ya beat me to it. That's O K 'cause I can never remember the name of the green corrosion (verdigris).

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