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Nickel Or brass caseing

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by knighthawk-72, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. knighthawk-72

    knighthawk-72 Active Member

    Is the nickel better for reloading over the brass color brass and of the two does one last longer for reloading. Thanks for the help.
  2. evan price

    evan price Well-Known Member

    IMHO, brass cases will last longer for multiple reloads simply because the nickel cases seem to me to be more prone to cracking at the case mouth.

    However, nickel cases when loaded and left sitting in storage a long time will be better off because the nickel prevents the brass from corroding.
  3. redbullitt

    redbullitt Well-Known Member

    I have never bought nickel, but all the ones I have scavenged still run just fine. honestly I would just go for brass since it is cheaper. I shoot a lot of 45, so I usually lose them before I outshoot them.
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    While the difference is small, nickel plated cases probably have a shorter life than plain brass. There are alot of contributing variables not related to the plating that shorten case life.

    Back in the day when carbide resizing hand gun dies were a rarity, nickel plated cases could damage a steel die more easily than brass if the proper precautions were not taken. But, those issues still exist when resizing nickel plated rifle cases.

    While I do not avoid using nickel plated cases, I tend to not buy them except for the occasional specific purposes.

    The nickel plating is more resistant to corrosion. I understand it was first used for law enforcement officers who carried their spare ammunition in leather belt loops. The brass would react with the chemicals used at the time to tan the leather.
  5. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Well-Known Member

    Everyone has opinions! So do I.

    Nickel plating increases the internal stresses in brass cases. Rounds fired at higher pressures increase these stresses, as does resizing and belling of the case mouth. Thus, firing 357 magnum loads at maximum pressure will shorten case life more than 38 special. I have a batch of 357 cases that I have reloaded about 5 times in the last year. Most of the nickle plate cases have been tossed due to neck cracks. Very few of the brass cases have failed. YMMV
  6. carlsca

    carlsca Member

    Nickel is supposed to be a little slicker than regular brass so it is supposed to load better, and I have heard it is a little harder than regular brass as well. I guess the added hardness would explain the more frequent cracking in the necks. I have also heard that since it is harder, it could potentially be harder on sizing dies. I have used nickel brass that I saved from Winchester factory ammo and it reloaded well, but I buy regular brass for reloading.
  7. Seedtick

    Seedtick Well-Known Member

    I'm just different, I guess, cause I like nickel plated brass. If I have a choice I'll always pick nickel over yellow brass.

    I just wish you could by the nickel stuff directly from Starline without having to buy it in dealer quantities of up to 12,000 :eek: Although, it would be nice to have a drum or two of each caliber. (yep, I'm a dreamin' :neener: )


  8. JDGray

    JDGray Well-Known Member

    I like the nickel plated stuff as well..... Cleans up in a snap, last just as long as non plated brass, for me that is, and is all I load in my 9mm blowback AR15. I have yet to have a piece of 9mm brass split, and its been reloaded so many times over the course of 3yrs since I started using it, that I'd hate to guess.:)
  9. TGReaper

    TGReaper Well-Known Member

    I like to use nickel plated brass for bullseye shooting, for some reason it feeds better in my S&W mod.52. Case life is good but these are very light loads.
  10. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    Light loads - correctly sized chamber and sizing die - no problem. Heavy loads - oversized chamber - they will split sooner than solid brass. They just won't handle as much compression and expansion as a brass case.
  11. res45

    res45 Well-Known Member

    Basically Nickel plated brass work hardens faster that regular brass along with the continued resizing,flaring and crimping. Anytime you sandwich two metal together one being more mandible than and stress it over time the harder metal is going to break down first.

    Nickel plated brass has a couple advantage over brass as mentioned,it resist corrosion better and it aids in extraction especially in semi auto. I don't really have a preference most of my brass is range pickup and I don't turn down a free case no matter if it brass or nickel,I shoot it till it splits and toss it.

    If I'm buying new I go for the brass,once fired or range pickup I take whatever.
  12. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    Nickel cases won't corrode when left in leather belt loops, and it cleans up WAY faster than brass soot just wipes off
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2011

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