Nickel brass


September 26, 2012, 11:14 AM
I recently read that nickle plated brass is "harder" than regular brass and may crack/split at the mouth when they're "opened" up for reloading....

Any truth to this from y'alls experience?


PS: I'm still new to reloading and I just resized and opened the mouth on some .38 special brass, the ONE nickel plated piece I had DID split when I opened the mouth...The regular brass ones did just fine.

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The Bushmaster
September 26, 2012, 11:27 AM
Oh hell!! Just send me all your nickel plated brass and I will dispose of it in a proper manor.

September 26, 2012, 11:32 AM
In theory...

The nickel plated brass will work harden and crack sooner than non-nickel plated brass.

How many cycles will that take? Who knows?

I've reloaded both 9mm luger and 45 acp nickel plated brass multiple times (I don't count) and have yet to observe any problems.

If you size a case and see a stress crack form... it's time to throw the case away.

September 26, 2012, 11:36 AM
Nickel is harder & may split sooner than brass. Some times it will peel. Will not trim as smoothly. Its more prone to gas leakage between the primer and case in high pressure rounds. Send it all to The Bushmaster. :D

September 26, 2012, 11:38 AM
I reload plated brass in 38 special primarily because it fits my Ranch moon clips the best. I do have to be careful not to overbell the mouths because they do split easier. I think after they have been resized a handful of times the plating is work hardened and less flexible. It seems to be the trend. Plain brass seems to be more forgiving after numerous reloads.

September 26, 2012, 11:46 AM
Nickel plated cases have a shorter life than brass cases, in my experience. With 357 Magnum and 38 Special, failures are split (pun intended) between mouth spits and body splits.

In the days of steel hand gun resizing dies, the nickel was harder on the die and extra care was needed to prevent scratching the die. Not so much an issue with carbide dies, which are the norm for hand gun resizing dies these days.

When I buy new cases, i generally avoid nickel plated cases although I have purchased some for particular reasons. Primarily rifle cases to distinguish the loads from other loads. For used cases, i don't worry about nickel cases and load them as my other cases.

September 26, 2012, 11:55 AM
My nickel plated 38 spl. have been reloaded so many times the nickel is almost
gone off the case---still no cracks.

September 27, 2012, 07:10 AM
I use nickle plated 32-20 brass for my nagant revolver, and i do have to make sure that i don't split the brass, i just size slowly and use wax as a lube to help prevent the cracking, most of my problems happen while seating the bullet, but 32-20brass is pretty flimsy to begin with, it does allow for smoother reloads in my nagant

September 27, 2012, 11:25 AM
Nickel plated cases have a shorter life than brass cases

unless you happen to have been perspiring heavilly an soaked your cartridge belt on the last cattle drive :)

September 28, 2012, 02:47 AM
I load a lot of nickel and haven't noticed any such issues with it. But I don't bell my mouths on any of my brass, so I suppose it may split being possible it may be a bit more brittle? Doubt it though since it is only nickel plated.


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