Nickle Plated cases


January 27, 2013, 11:10 AM
I have lots of nickle plated Winchester cases from once fired Winchester silvertip ammo. Is this good to reload? Can it be cleaned in a vibrator type brass cleaner?


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Steve H
January 27, 2013, 11:16 AM
Should be no problem reloading it. I do it quite often, The only thing I have found with nickle cases is that they are sometimes a bit more apt to be on the brittle side so watch for cracks.

January 27, 2013, 11:34 AM
Nickel plated cases work just fine for reloading. Resize, tumble and load just like any un-plated case.

I do find their life is a little shorter than un-plated cases, but not anything to worry about.

While not a problem with carbide handgun resizing dies, nickel plated cases can be hard on steel resizing dies if they are not clean and properly lubricated. Keep that in mind if you ever resize any bottle neck plated rifle cases.

January 27, 2013, 11:35 AM
My experience is identical to "Steve H". I do it all the time and they seem to be a bit more brittle but no problems.

January 27, 2013, 12:19 PM
I load nickel cases often. In handgun calibers I see no durability differences in standard brass or nickel plate. Most of the time you see the plating wear off and end up with funny looking brass cases with nickel heads. I have some where the only plating left is in the headstamp writing. Full brass cases with nickel lettering. I have some that have been loaded easily over 30 times.

In rifle I see similar results. Usually due to the taper of the die, the nickel wears off from about an 1/8 inch above the rim to the neck over time. The insides keep their plating longer than pistol as dry tumbling media does not seem to be as aggressive to the insides of bottle neck rifle cases. Overall I have actually always preferred nickel cases for ammo that will be stored a long time. It is more resistant to corrosion. I will often separate out new matching plated cases and use them for loads that are going into storage for a rainy day.

As to them being more brittle, I never have really noticed it enough to be an issue for most applications. That said, I track my rifle cases and according to caliber and duty cycle, if I start having any issues with a lot, they all go in my annealing machine. Once properly annealed metallurgically the brass is good to go through several more cycles.

January 27, 2013, 12:37 PM
Nothing wrong with shooting nickle.

I used to actually prefer the look, and bought factory nickle plated for a number of calibers.

Any more, though, I really don't give two squats how my ammo looks. It was a "phase" from my mid 20's.

Although, I still have some nickle-plated 22-250 that I made with the original (shiny) speer silvertips that are quite pretty. Can't get shiny silver bullets anymore, what a shame.

January 27, 2013, 12:42 PM
One thing worth adding, nickel "Extracts" easier than brass.

I found this out loading some nickle plated 223, with light loads.

Ammo loaded w/ the same projectile and bullet, but only difference was brass vs. nickle. The brass would short stroke and cause feed problems, the nickel extracted cleaner and didn't jam.

It was "starter" loads on two separate strings of incremental power, 5 shots per step (was testing how the cases "grew" in comparison to one another).

100% of the starting load of the brass case 223 failed to eject, 100% of the nickel plated brass ejected fine. It was an obscenely underpowered load, could barely feel the recoil on the AR...

January 27, 2013, 12:53 PM
I load my .357 in nickle, just to easily tell it from .38. I do the same for other calibers that are similar. It is more brittle though.

Mike 27
January 27, 2013, 02:01 PM
I use it a lot. I have had some 30-06 flake off on the first reload. Handgun stuff lasts a long time. Use it, works just fine.

January 27, 2013, 02:37 PM
Yeah it works fine but does seem less durable. Every split .38SPL and .357MAG case I've ever seen save one was nickel plated.I have not done much reloading with NP semi-auto cases, mostly because there just seem to be fewer of them in the brass I acquire.

January 27, 2013, 04:04 PM
Great, thanks for the input. These are 270 WSM cases. Hopefully I can get a few loads out of them.

January 27, 2013, 04:17 PM
I load a bunch of nickel brass. Some claim it is more brittle, but I've been usng it for many years with no noticable shorter life span, other than the nickel flaking off around the mouth some times.


January 27, 2013, 07:19 PM
I load my .357 in nickle, just to easily tell it from .38. I do the same for other calibers that are similar. It is more brittle though.
This is what I have done for years! .38, .44 specials in Brass, .357 Mag and .44 Mag in Nickel.

Also my .45 Colt reloads that are "Ruger Only" loads are in Nickel, the "normal" .45 Colts are in Brass.

Just my scheme that has worked for me. I have noticed the Nickel do seem to be brittle, cracking at the neck earlier than I'd expect. Could also be the hotter loads I run in the nickel reloads. The nickel cases do seems "smoother" when reloading. They seem to drag less in the dies.

January 28, 2013, 01:25 PM
You need to be more cautious with the amount of belling you introduce. Keep it at a minimum and you will have no problem with nickel. Carbide dies are a good idea though.

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