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Thread: Brass vs. Brass/Nickel

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    Default Brass vs. Brass/Nickel

    I am ordering some brass for my .325, and found a good price on once-fired brass/nickel. Is there any difference between the brass and brass/nickel other than looks? Why do some manufactures even add the nickel? I'm loading 200 grain Barnes Triple-X with 67.0 grains of R-19 in a .325 WSM. Thanks, I need to order some more brass and came across 100 brass/nickel, once-fired, for $26 at brassmanbrass.com.

  2. #2

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    Haven't tried it in rifle cases, but not real pleased for pistols, for which it was conceived to help cut down corrosion when ammo was held for long periods in leather ammo belt loops, ala police. Looks fancy and does eliminate corrision. But in my experience it also results in quicker case splits on multiple reloads, plus the plating starts to slough off in fairly short order.

    If corrosion on your rifle cases is a concern, then it might be for you. I'd still buy it if it was cheap enough, but in pistols anyway, half the price of plain brass would be about right in terms of numbers of reloads.

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    I haven't really worked with nickel rifle brass either. I have run a lot of it with pistol. I have noted that my .38 Spc stuff does tend to split before the unplated stuff. But I also have .38 nickel that's been reloaded a dozen times and is still in great shape. I have not noticed the same spliting problems with my .40 S&W nickel plate, yet. I have some .40 S&W that been through the press about 4 times without a single split, so far. Aside from the corrosion resistance, where the nickel is certainly a benefit, the nickel also cleans up very easily and reloads very well. It takes a fraction of the time in my tumbler to clean nickel vs. plain brass. The nickel also runs through the reloading press very nice with noticeably less friction.
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    No nickel cases for me. When I first started reloading it was for .357. The nickel would flake off when resizing and belling. The stuff would stick in the dies and scratch the following cases. When I bulk bought a bunch of 1X .38 cases, I just pitched the nickel cases.

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    Nickel is great...........If you plan on being in a corrosive area (saltwater) and is being stored, shot and thrown-away.

    Nickel is not a reloaders friend! Nickel is lacking the expansion and stretching capabilities that brass has that's why it has a dendency to crack around the neck or completely in-half.

    1. It is hard on dies.

    2. It does not produce consistant presure seals when fired which inturn affects accuracy (Headspace).

    I buy nickel for pistol ammo that I store in survival boxs or if they are on sale for me to go to the range and blast.

    It does look pretty though

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    Default Thanks for the Advice

    I appreciate the advice. After reading thru these, I think my needs are better served with solid brass. I don't really have to worry about corrosion since I am able to keep ammo stored inside, and when hunting I keep my powder dry. I have reloaded some nickel/brass from factory ammo that I reloaded without any problem, but for buying brass to be reloaded, the solids seem to be a better choice for me. Thanks again for everyone's response.

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    Default nickel "flaking" off?

    This is becoming interesting. I haven't yet had a single incidence of the nickel plating "flaking" off of brass as I've seen described here. I've got some .38Spc nickel-plate brass that must be at least 30 years old (my dad was shooting this stuff in police competitions back in the mid-70's). Some of it has the yellow brass starting to show through where the nickel is actually wearing thin, but it is certainly not "flaking". I'm wondering if this "flaking" problem might be something with newer and "budget" manufactured brass?

    All the .40 S&W brass I've been reloading has been Speer & Federal manufacture that I collected as once-fired from high-end LE duty ammo. I've yet to have any problems at all with that stuff. It runs through my carbide dies better than plain brass. It is nice and slippery. None of it has ever needed to be trimmed, but I wouldn't expect to with straight-walled, low pressure pistol brass. I've got at least 500 rounds of multi-reloaded nickel-plated .40 sitting on my shelf right now.

    I'm curious as to what manufacturers and calibers of nickel plated brass folks have seen problems with the nickel flaking off. How many times were they loaded before the problem showed up?
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  8. #8

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    I'm on the road and can't go back to look at my brass hoard, but flaking is pretty common in some of it, while in others there's wear. I can't say right now if it's specific to brands or lots within brands. But I've had it happen in 38, 357 and 44 mag cases (all sized with carbide dies). My s-i-l had a batch of 300 Win Mag brass start to flake, and I want to say it was Federal, but that's a guess this far from home. Neck splits are much more common than flaking in nickeled revolver brass, and it does happen bunches faster that plain brass. How that relates to roll crimps versus taper, I dunno.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I use nickel brass a lot and can honestly say I don't see much difference than the brass cases, except for that the nickel brass looks better and holds up better after a long hunt.

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    I use them both, and have never had a problem with either. Nickel-plated seems to be just a tad harder to chamfer, but it does not tarnish as far as i can tell. Other than that, I always clean the cases inside and out before running them through the dies, and after trimming or chamfering. The idea is to avoid dust, sand, and such from getting in the die.

  11. #11

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    It could well be that there are "generations" of plated brass. My experience with it goes back to the 60's and that stuff STUNK. I messed with it on and off for 30 years and got burned every time, durability-wise. So I started avoiding it. When I'm give brass or find it, I go so far as treating the plated stuff like that Speers aluminum-cased berdan primed stuff- Blazer? Sort it and toss it out.

    That's likely my loss, because the manufacturers couldn't have listened to complaints for 40 years and continued to turn it out without change. The new stuff may be perfectly good. I'm reading everyone's praise with interest, ready to learn a new trick.

    But will I go out of my way to buy it? Naw. I probably won't throw away any more without giving it the acid test, just cuzz it's free brass.

    But I still don't see the need. Call me a fogie.

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    My flakey ni brass was Winchester brand .357. Late 70's early 80's.

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    Default RCBS says don't.

    Some time ago I asked RCBS about this. My question, and their answer is below.

    Smitty of the North

    To: rcbs tech
    Subject: rcbs.com - Ask RCBS Form


    I've heard that RCBS reccomends against reloading Nickle Brass, because
    it can sometimes scratch a resizing die. Is that true? or possible?
    Thank You in advance.
    Smitty

    Yes that is true - nickel is a coating and flakes off and embeds in the
    die wall and ruins the die. Avoid nickel cases. Have a great day.
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    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Default brass

    nickle Federal is great but the Bulk Remington Nickle Flakes......

    most all my hunting loads use either FC or WW Nickle in 30-06, 300 win and 338 Win
    Alaska

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    I had the nickle flake off some .243 winchester brass after one reload. (W-W brass) Nickle is pretty hard and I really don't want it flaking off inside my dies so I don't reload it anymore.
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  16. #16

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    I've had decent luck with nickel brass in pistol cartridges. Rifle cartridges, on the other hand, are a totally different story. Granted, to the best of my recollection it was always R-P brass that I saw issues with. The main problem was that if the nickel cases were even a little shy of lube when sizing them, they'd stick in the die very bad and have to be forcibly removed. Just my $.02.
    NRA Life Member, Prior F-16 crew chief.

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    I've loaded quite a lot of 38 Specials & 357s in used Nickel brass, and haven't had any known issues, however, I don't buy New Nickel brass.

    As to rifle, say you are using NEW cases, Nickel brass, on the first sizing the die barely touches the case anyway, so IMO, it would be OK to load them the one time, if Anti-corrosion is your thing.

    I avoid Nickel rifle brass.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
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    Default Brass

    I reloaded 338 WM in ounce fired nickel brass and had no problems at all. It was Fed brass, max load of H 4831 nosler 210 Part. bullet fed 215 primers.

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    Granted, I'm new to reloading but I loaded up some rounds for my 325 with once fired nickel plated brass. Trimmed cases too. No prob. No flakes.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Granted, I'm new to reloading but I loaded up some rounds for my 325 with once fired nickel plated brass. Trimmed cases too. No prob. No flakes.
    I use it all the time, and haven't had a single problem with it.

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