Nickel shells?


October 29, 2012, 09:48 PM
Are there any advantages to loading brass over nickel shells? I have picked up 200 to 250 nickel 38special from the range. Why do some shooters buy the nickel shells? Marty

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October 29, 2012, 09:49 PM
They're shinier... That's the only reason I've loaded some. I also heard you can't get as many reloadings out of them.

October 29, 2012, 09:54 PM
load 'em til they crack.

October 29, 2012, 09:54 PM
No to to run them through a tumbler to clean, just wipe them down and load.

Magnum Shooter
October 29, 2012, 10:03 PM
Nickel tends to crack before plain brass, also the nickel “can” flake off sometimes and scratch steel dies. Nickel is not effected by contact with leather loops on cowboy shooter gun belts. If you don’t want the brass you can send it to me.

October 29, 2012, 10:04 PM
I have some that the nickle is worn off them everywhere but the headstamp. No idea how many times I have reloaded them. Yes with the bottlenecked brass anyway the life is a bit shorter before the necks crack. There are a lot of reloaders that do not bother to clean it as it stays cleaner than the brass only shells do. The principle reason in the past was that they would not corrode as fast as standard brass when put into leather cartridge loops for long periods.

October 29, 2012, 10:32 PM
Nickel cases and Winchester Silvertips make a really pretty round.

I segregate them from plain brass after tumbling, but I don't have a really good reason other than aesthetics.

October 29, 2012, 11:06 PM
Nickel 38 Special cases load and shoot just fine, just like brass ones.

Like folks already said, nickel may have a little shorter life than brass, nickel is harder on steel resizing dies than brass (but who uses steel handgun resizing dies these days), nickel cases won't be corroded by leather shell loops and to some folks they like the looks of nickel cases better.

If I have a choice, I buy only brass cases, but if I end up with some nickel plated cases, I just add them to the mix and discard them when they fail. New nickel cases do tend to be a bit more expensive than brass ones.

Miata Mike
October 29, 2012, 11:32 PM
I avoid these things like the plague. I had a .45acp today that galled the die. I cleaned the sizing die with Hoppes #9 and it took almost 50 pieces of brass before all of the scratches went away...

I had a bunch of .38 special work fine for me, but one of the boogered up my sizing die and I refuse to use another one....

b money
October 30, 2012, 12:53 AM
load 'em til they crack.
Couldn't have said it better... Mike I(and I'm sure others) would gladly take all the nickel you have. I personally have never had a problem with nickel other than shorter life span, but with low pressure rounds such as the mentioned 38spl and 45acp who cares the brass lasts a loooong time anyways.

October 30, 2012, 11:30 PM
I load them for 38spl and other than the shorter life span mine have had a noticeably shorter span on the case holding neck tension. Which means that even after resizing it may not hold the bullet.

While I will not buy them, I will load them until they do not work anymore. But then again I reload aluminum and steel cases as bastard that I am.

Disclaimer-this is my opinion and yours may vary.

October 30, 2012, 11:53 PM
I L.O.V.E. nickel cases for my .38 spl. They seem to be a bit smoother though my sizing dies, both steel and carbide (although I tend to only use the carbide now). I have a handful that I have loaded so many times the nickel plating is almost worn off of them, and still no splits. Granted, I'm not running max loads through them either, but I have decently powerful target/plinking loads that I load them with. I'll run them till they split, then toss 'em in the recycle bucket.

October 31, 2012, 02:57 AM
Two of the primary benefits of nickel plated cases are :

1. Corrosion resistance. Especially regarding verdigris from long term storage in leather belts. Nickel plated cases are much more resistant to common causes of corrosion that untreated brass.

2. Identification. Especially in low light situations, a bright shiny nickel case sticks out like a sore thumb. Much easier to help segregate highpower self defense and hunting loads from your standard fare with a simple glance. As an example, when I take a sleeve of 20 rifle rounds with me out and about, I will have 15 common or plinking rounds, and 5 nice premium hunting rounds in that sleeve.

When I store handgun target ammunition in 100 count boxes, I often have 6, 7, 10, or whatever magazine or cylinder size is most common for the ammunition type as high performance or at least jacketed rounds in Nickel.

This way, whatever box I happen to grab, I know that at least a few of the rounds in any box are the primo stuff, and can spot them without flipping all of them point side up to determine what I need, if I should need it in a hurry.

October 31, 2012, 10:08 AM
"Galled the die." Hard to picture.

The Bushmaster
October 31, 2012, 10:14 AM
I agree with moxie. Nickel plating is softer then even steel dies, let alone the dies with carbide steel sizing rings. You probably just wiped them off (like one person stated) instead of tumbling them.

I've been using the same dies for the last 26 years and have resized thousand of nickel plated cases (I like-em. Shinny and all) and have no damaged dies.

October 31, 2012, 10:28 AM
Like Bushmaster I've been reloading nickel plated brass for a long time, just 24 years in my case, and have had nary a problem. Many handgun and rifle calibers. Mostly range pickups. Sand or grit can harm dies. So it's prudent to rinse/wash brass with water (maybe a drop of soap) to eliminate any grit. Dry. Then tumble.

October 31, 2012, 11:08 AM
I had a .45acp today that galled the die. I cleaned the sizing die with Hoppes #9 and it took almost 50 pieces of brass before all of the scratches went away...

What kind of dies are you using that something as soft as brass can polish scratches or galling out of them?

October 31, 2012, 11:16 AM
I love the nickel, shiny, stay's a little cleaner and it seems when resizing it is a little smoother on the press.

October 31, 2012, 11:22 AM
What are "pieces of brass"? Cases? Don't know how brass can remove scratches from steel.

October 31, 2012, 11:25 AM
Nickle on copper creates more friction than brass on copper, so using Nickle brass in some applications where you have little case tension or a very short neck will help you to hold on to that bullet better than just plain old brass.

The Bushmaster
October 31, 2012, 09:15 PM
Never heard of that, but even with 30 years left I still have lots to learn.

Nickel plated brass, for me, is used for my carry weapon (.45 ACP), anytime I am carrying one of my single actions (Colt and Ruger) and have rounds in leather belt loops and my hunting rifles when hunting. (.30-30 and .30-06)

October 31, 2012, 10:15 PM
I've got a BUNCH of nickel cases in .38Spl. For the most part I just reload 'em the same as the brass ones. But as some of you have suggested my CAS rig wears a ring of nickeled rounds just so the casings don't go brown over time where exposed and green under the leather.

Every loading cycle there seems to be one or two out of the 1500 or so nickeled cases I've got that have cracks in them. But I'm frequently finding decent looking casings in both brass and nickel at the ranges so I have no idea if the cracked ones are my originals or the range pickups.

Ky Larry
October 31, 2012, 10:19 PM
I use Winchester nickel cases for social work ammo. It just makes it easier to identify. They don't seem to do anything better than regular brass. Just clean 'em, load 'em, and shoot 'em until they fail.

P.S. I have some Win nickel brass for .243 Win that I've loaded at least 10 times without annealing. YMMV.

October 31, 2012, 10:21 PM
Just in case y'all were really curious, that green stuff on brass that's been in belt loops or exposed to sweat is called "verdigris."

November 1, 2012, 09:29 AM
reasons TO use nickle shells, they do not tarnish if left in a leather holster (gun belt), they feed slicker, attract less dirt, and they do look nice. the down side is they have a lot more friction sizing them, they do chip sometimes, but for me, case life seems to be the same. overall, i would not go out of my way to get nickle plated brass, unless it was for self defense in an automatic, or i was going to leave them in a leather holder.

November 1, 2012, 02:17 PM
The nickle platting is hard enough to grab on the steel die when it flakes off the brass and than scratch every subsequent shell.

You polish the nickel out of the die to stop the scratching.

November 1, 2012, 06:57 PM
Never heard of that...

Me neither. I discovered it on my own.

The Bushmaster
November 2, 2012, 10:06 AM
I have a hard time remembering when I last saw a nickel plated case "flake". Yup...I have worn the nickel off the brass by many reloadings and resizings, but flaking? Not in a long time.

November 23, 2012, 11:46 PM
I have a .280 that has been getting a steady diet of Winchester nickel cases. However, from what I have read, nickel/chrome cases will scuff bullet shanks, and also dispense chrome particles in barrels when fired, doing harm. I've always taken a copper brush to inside buff the necks of my cases to make it as smooth as possible. I'm hoping this step in my reloading will have prevented any damage or scoring to my rifle bore. Going to use brass only case components from now on. I thought I would share that with some of you afficianados. Good Shooting!!!

November 24, 2012, 12:29 AM

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