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Brass vs Nickel cases


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#1 kevo

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 10:01 PM

Hi all,I am in the process of buying some new brass to reload , and I see that some manufacturers label their product Brass casings and some (eg remington) label theirs as Nickel casings.Is there any difference?"What's in a name?" she says,then clasps her little hands and rolls her eyes.

#2 Divernhunter

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 12:00 AM

Yes the name tells you what they are made with. Both work well. Some people say they get more reloads from the brass cases. The nickel one were originally made for law enforcement because the brass cases would tarnish when in leather loops on their gun belts. They also look nice. No difference in how you load them.

#3 4RHUNTS

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 01:10 AM

From what I understand, nickel cases have a bit slicker finish and will function more reliably in semi-auto weapons. It is also more brittle than brass and will not stand up to as many trips through the sizing die, and end up with split necks sooner than brass. It may also scratch carbide dies as it is a harder material than brass. It is easier to clean and it is more expensive than brass cases. And as DH states it is much "purttier" too http://www.ehow.com/...-reloading.html

#4 D-Man

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 05:13 AM

I only use my nickel cases for self-defense handgun loads. Other then that, brass for everything else. The nickel is more brittle, so in a rifle cartridge you might need to do case neck annealing more often or else you will end up with split necks. No problems in my carbide dies with the nickel cases for pistol.The reason I use the nickel plated for self-defense rounds is two-fold: a) Dirt doesn't stay on the rounds :lol: easier to identify from my target rounds when in the cases.Darren
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#5 clampdaddy

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:08 AM

I like nickel cases but one thing about them is they don't shrink up after firing as much as regular brass cases do so some rifles with minimum chamber dimensions can have extraction problems. I have this issue with one of my rifles. My Winchester model 70 clambered in .270 wsm functions fine with brass cased factory ammo but nickel plated factory ammo is hard to extract. I've actually had to wait a few minutes for a fired nickel case to cool off in the chamber and shrink up a tiny bit before they would extract smoothly.
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#6 ShooterJohn

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:32 AM

I don't use nickle plated brass myself due to the hardness factor of nickle. But maybe you should read what Varmint Al says.http://www.varmintal.com/arelo.htm

FORGET NICKEL-PLATED BRASS.... I liked the looks and feel of nickel-plated cases, but I don't load them anymore and here is why. The cases are strong and it is easy enough to outside neck turn them. That is not the problem. The nickel-plating on the case neck ID is like sandpaper. The only way you might be able to remove this grit is with a case neck ID reamer if you have a "tight neck" chamber and enough neck wall thickness to work with. If you have a loaded nickel-plated round laying around and don't believe me, just pull the bullet. It will look like you pulled it out of a tube of 180 grit wet/dry sandpaper. If you pull the bullet out of a brass case mouth that has been carefully chamfered and polished with the steel wool process above, it will be essentially like out of the bullet box. Want copper in the barrel? Start by sanding the surface of those nice polished precision bullets. Try it with a Moly Coated bullet and it is even worse; the nickel-plated cases scrape off the Moly. The nickel-plated case neck IDs don't get any better after you reload them a few times. They are still like sandpaper. Think about a few of those nickel pieces of grit imbedding into the copper of the bullet and what they do to your rifle barrel! I have heard that the nickel is hard enough to score some reloading dies and also wear down the expander ball. Any metal that hard, should be kept away from your precision barrel. I have heard that some people have had success in removing the nickel plate from the neck IDs with a stainless steel brush and a drill motor. I haven't tried it.MORE ABOUT NICKEL PLATING.... This is interesting about the mechanical properties of the nickel plating:Electrolysis nickel plating is a process for chemically applying nickel-alloy deposits onto metallic substrates using an auto catalytic immersion process without the use of electrical current. ...snip....Hardness and Wear ResistanceOne of the most important properties for many applications is hardness. As deposited, the micro-hardness of electrolysis nickel coatings is about 500 to 700 HK100. That is approximately equal to 45 to 58 HRC and equivalent to many hardened alloy steels. Heat treatment causes these alloys to precipitation harden and can produce hardness values as high as 1100 HK100, equal to most commercial hard chromium coatings. ...snip...Note that if you anneal your nickel plated necks, you are hardening the nickel plating. It can be harder than many alloyed steels before you anneal and can increase is hardness as much as 2 fold by precipitation hardening. I sure wouldn't want those tiny little hard pieces inside the neck getting embedded in the bullet's copper surface and then fire lapping my nice shiny barrel.


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#7 Frank

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 02:40 PM

Wow, great note by Varmint Al... only helps verify my thoughts on nickel. I also do not like chrome. Both (nickel & chrome) can crack or peal and is why I won't have either... on brass OR firearms. But that's just me of course.Frank

#8 kevo

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:44 PM

Many thanks guys,I had no idea there was so much difference in the two names.As I intend to reload these cases from 22 hornet to 17 ackley hornet, I think I'll stick to brass cases.Sounds like I'll have less hassles in the long run.!

#9 tawnoper

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 06:34 AM

I've used nickel brass for a long time without a single issue. I own a couple .223's. One of the main reasons I used nickel was to differentiate ammo between rifles. The nickel brass is a bit harder so when you resize it vs an unplated case you can tell. When you trim and deburr you can tell as well...but the difference is slight.
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