Nickel plated brass?
Well, since meeting with Murphy last month I have been collecting reloading equipment and getting ready to start loading a few rounds. I have about 40 rounds of nickel plated once fired winchester brass out of my 325 wsm. Are there any advantages or disadvantages with this shiny brass over regular brass?
If I buy new brass or once fired brass should I go with nickel plated or just brass?
I aslo have some nickel plated 44 mag brass. What's the difference?
Nickel Plated Brass
Nickel looks cool and that's about it! The plating process hardens the brass and leads to premature case splitting. It is also harder on dies and case trimmers! You could anneal the cases, but probable wouldn't be worth your time. I still reload a few calibers with nickel because I have the cases and maybe it helps with corrosion, plus I'm all about looking good!
I can back up Wyatt on the case life issue. I used to shoot PPP courses and went through 2000-3000 rounds a week of 38 special loads. Nickel cases didn't last half as long as the brass ones. Never, ever, ever would use the nickel cases in a match because of the potential for splits.
Forgot to add...
Nickel cases are easier to clean and tend to gather less grime! In my previous post I also might have led on that nickel cases are easy to split - not true. They don't last as long when loading hot in bottlenecked cases, but light to moderate isn't nearly as hard on nickel!
I agree with every1 so far posting here, nickel cases are harder and crack sooner. They are better for long storage or special hunts in first time loadings where weather moisture and lots of sweaty hands are the norm.
Thats why .357 mags were always plated. Police duty and wearing exposed rounds on a belt. Also load to go to work...unload for guard mount weapon inspection...load again after guard mount...etc.etc. Keeps sweat from corroding the brass.
The Nickle WW and FC brass is top notch......easy to clean and does not tarnish................stay away from Bulk RP Nickle brass from Midway it flakes.
Not for me
I no longer load any RIFLE rounds with nickel. The only possible benefit is less potential for corrosion, but that is likley not going to be an issue (It never has been for me, and I still have brass stamped .244 Remington). There are just way too many negatives. Shortened case life is one, but the bigger reason is that it is hard on the dies. The nickel can flake off and plug the air hole resulting in dented shoulders. Or worse it can scratch the die, requiring that you replace it or get it re-worked. I have never had regular brass that I couldn't get clean with soaking or tumbling, so there is no "shininess" benefit to me either.
I admit, nickel brass with the blue-coated Barnes XLC or VLC bullets looks cool, but that is about it.
I have never reloaded handgun, so I cannot speak to using nickel for that.
Just my $0.02.
nickel brass blues
I remember I bought a batch of .308 nickel brass a long time ago. Thought that it would go good with green balistic tips that I bought in around 1986 I think.
They were scraping the jackets as I loaded so I had to inside chamfer.
So why not outside chamfer before thats a problem.
So why not inside flash hole deburr.
Then while I am at it why not primer pocket depth uniform them.
I noticed they were not super concentric in neck thickness and had to lightly neck turn them.
They were 2 tone now from all the other stuff and looked like a hobo found them on the railroad tracks.
I never bought nickel brass again.
I will reload it though when it is my factory once fired stuff from my .375 H&H federal premium safari ammo. It is too expensive to leave behind on the ground.
I have not problems with nickel-plated brass for my .338WM. I only size the necks, but as with any other brass, I clean them (inside and out). I brush the inside of the cases with a 25mm nylon pistol brush before sizing, and then after trimming.