Any advantages to nickel cased shells?


September 6, 2008, 02:13 PM
I'm planning on eventually reloading and was wondering what are the advantages of nickel cases over regular brass?

I'd think they would been stronger and offer more reloads but I am not too sure.

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September 6, 2008, 02:15 PM
My personal experience is that there is no advantage except as a way of segregating loads, i.e. load the cowboy stuff in brass and load the "Ruger only" loads in nickel. Not that the nickel are any stronger, or last any longer, but as a reminder not to stuff a hot load in an SAA.

September 6, 2008, 02:21 PM
My "gut" tells me, just from years of pulling the handle on a reloader, that they are a little slicker and they seem to go in and out of the resizing die the tiniest bit easier but I wouldn't have any idea how to actually measure that.

With straight walled pistol cases it seems even more noticeable.

They don't seem to last any shorter or longer than regular brass though.

September 6, 2008, 02:22 PM
IIRC, nickel plated casings came about because cops used to carry their ammo in leather loops. Leather will cause brass to corrode pretty quickly so nickel plating was used to prevent that from happening.
Other than that, I have found that nickel plated casings don't last quite as long as regular brass. The ones I've used have developed splits sooner.

September 6, 2008, 02:25 PM

One very big advantage.

They don't turn green when you keep them in storage for 20 years. Also, for some reason, when brass or copper is kept in the vicinity of leather, it "greens up" about ten times faster. It doesnt' even have to be touching the leather. Knives with brass pins and such in the handles will grow green fuzz if kept in a leather sheath. In fact, if they are merely in the same box as a piece of leather, they will grow green fuzz.

Same with bullets.

And holsters tend to be made of leather. So there ya go. Use nickel plated cartridges if you plan on keeping a gun for a long long time loaded in a leather holster and almost never ever shoot it.

Bwana John
September 6, 2008, 02:49 PM
I have found nickle plated rifle cases get brittle faster from work hardening, resulting in less reloads before the neck splits.

Float Pilot
September 6, 2008, 06:17 PM
I reload ammo about once or twice a week. About how often I go shooting.

I have noted that the plated cases clean up much faster in my case tumbler.

They seem to take a little less lube to resize as well.

And they do not go green in leather belt loops.

September 6, 2008, 10:17 PM
Alright. Thanks guys.

Guy de Loimbard
September 6, 2008, 10:21 PM
In my limited experience with nickel cases, they are alot easier to find after the shot. Even though both brass and nickel plated cases are very shiny when polished, it seems the nickel stand out more. YMMV.

September 6, 2008, 10:22 PM
They DO wear and look funny after the tenth or so time loaded. Half nickel, brass around the neck. Long term shiny though. :)

September 6, 2008, 10:31 PM
I believe it was G&A that had an article saying that nickeled cases tend to spit lower, toward the middle of the case. In their experience, brass cases tended to split at the neck--and with smaller splits. These were .357 Mag cases.

Ahh, so that's why my Buck 110 keeps turning green!

September 6, 2008, 10:34 PM
I bought some nickel-plated cases to experiment with. Thus far, I find nickel-plated cases slightly stiffer to resize, but I've heard of future problems with nickel-flaking. Yet, so far, I experienced no such problems. I like the looks of nickeled-cases. They certainly specify which loads are which at a glance. cliffy

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