Nickel plated vs. brass shells


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TheProf
July 9, 2010, 09:10 PM
One brand of ammo boasts that their shells are nickel plated...thus giving them more reliability than regular brass shells. Is this just hype? Or is there a reason for the nickel plating making the gun cycle more reliably?

I find that the regular brass shells tend to "get dirty" quicker (tends to feel stickier faster.... the humidity and dust on the brass outer shell) than the nickel plated shells...and this may affect the gun's reliability. Any truth to this observation?

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Arkansas Paul
July 9, 2010, 09:56 PM
I see no difference except the nicklke ones are pretty. For handloading purposes I prefer brass. The nickle is harder and tends to start flaking off before the brass wears out.
As far as getting dirty quicker, so what? That's why you tumble them. I have some nickle stuff, but they were in a bunch of mixed headstamp stuff I bought cheap. I wouldn't ever buy just based on them being nickle.

The Lone Haranguer
July 9, 2010, 10:51 PM
It doesn't hurt anything. The nickel may help case extraction and does prevent corrosion buildup. Nickeled brass is however poor for reloading, cracking more quickly after fewer resizings than plain brass.

I find that the regular brass shells tend to "get dirty" quicker (tends to feel stickier faster.... the humidity and dust on the brass outer shell) than the nickel plated shells...and this may affect the gun's reliability. Any truth to this observation?
Perhaps. I don't know how much. A police officer's magazines are carried openly for long periods of time and the cartridges within would be exposed to the elements.

Skylerbone
July 10, 2010, 01:56 AM
Truly depends on the case manufacturer when it comes to nickel. I've bought Starline in nickel and had it flake on its first go round when expanding for bullet seating. Some of my Federal nickel is on a fourth load with no such problem.

I've found they take minimal effort to clean, sometimes needing no attention between loadings, they tend to expand less or extract easier from hot revolvers and they are harder than standard brass which may come in handy if you're shooting high pressure SD loads through an autoloader with a mean extractor (think torn rim and jammed in the chamber here).

I have had brass expand in a cylinder before to the point it needed the ejector rod tapped against my hand several times and I've torn rims completely off with a shellplate before. My M&P extractor can be rough on lesser quality brass though I have yet to have one stick. I do feel nickel feeds better, especially with ammo that sits in a mag awhile as it remains slick rather than oxidizing.

GLOOB
July 10, 2010, 08:01 AM
It's generally true.

Extraction is one thing. But magazine feeding is also a factor. Do extra power magazine springs make a gun more reliable? Sometimes. A slicker cased ammo will have the same general effect. This might be especially noticeable in hi cap double column magazine that is getting filthy, shot in a gun that cycles very fast.

But the difference is pretty small. There's a much bigger difference (in the other direction) with aluminum and steel cased ammo.

Manco
July 10, 2010, 03:07 PM
Like sealed primers, nickel-plated brass isn't necessary, although it does provide a little bit of extra insurance against adverse carry and/or storage conditions over time. For some folks, this provides peace of mind regarding ammo designated for critical applications.

Pizzagunner
July 10, 2010, 03:23 PM
I insist on nickel plated cases and sealed primers for my carry ammo, which is regularly subjected to rain and salt water. In every other application plain brass is just fine.

JellyJar
July 10, 2010, 05:07 PM
I believe that brass cases were first nickled because tannin in leather tends to react with brass and cause it to corrode, so nickled brass cartridges carried in leather loops on gunbelts won't corrode like the plain brass one will.

If you notice you will see that very few brass cases for autos are nickled but lots of 38SPLs and .357mags are.

duncan
July 10, 2010, 07:21 PM
Nickel cases extract slightly easier - really do.

For relaibility, I prefer to carry my self defense ammo in nickel cases.

TheProf
July 11, 2010, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the responses!

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