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Old October 13, 2006, 02:30 PM   #1
Budman2
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Brass or "nickle" cartridges

Hey ya'll. Just got a new GP-100 and need to buy some ammo that I can reload, and I'm new to metallic cartridge reloading (long time shotshell reloader). I see some beautiful "nickle" cartridges..can these be reloaded. And since I'm gonna reload, I figure get all 357s and load down if I wish. Any recommendations on "most reloadable" 357 brass?
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Old October 13, 2006, 02:32 PM   #2
silicon wolverine
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Definantly brass. Nickel is harder and cracks sooner.

SW
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Old October 13, 2006, 02:45 PM   #3
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Brass lasts longer, but I do love the look of the nickle. *shrug* So I use both.
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Old October 13, 2006, 02:45 PM   #4
Budman2
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Thanks SW -- is 1 brass better than another?

Thanks SW, and a quick follow-on question, "is one brass better than another"? I'm not needing any extreme precision, just looking for good safe loads that will be fun to shoot. Will it be ok to mix and match 357 brass from various manufacturers etc?
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Old October 13, 2006, 06:43 PM   #5
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I have had nickel scratch dies and am now only reloading brass without any problems. I have mixed brass with no problems.
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Old October 13, 2006, 06:51 PM   #6
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BM2:

I can't make an argument that one is "better". It seems to me that nickel cleans up easier in the tumbler. Neither one is stronger, per se. I'm not sure that nickel is "harder" either, and it appears to me that nickel cases resize easier (at least straight wall nickel cases).

However, as pointed out by SW earlier, I have always found that nickel cases split sooner than brass. I'm not sure if the nickel plating keeps the brass from stretching like it should ... or if the "pickling" (acid etch) of the brass prior to nickel plating weakens the case.

Regardless, there are many opinions on who makes the best brass. I no longer buy factory rounds, I just by new, unprimed brass from Starline and I have been perfectly happy. I have also had good luck with Federal and Winchester, but not so good with Remington. But others have great luck with Remington, so it may be a case/reloading die/revolver chamber combination that makes it work or not work.

Yes, you can mix brands of cases, and you are unlikely to see any meaningful accuracy difference. But it is a good idea to keep your brass segregated by the number of firings. That way, if you notice a split case in a batch, you know that they all have been fired the same number of times and it's probably time to retire them. Keeping the lengths the same is also important to a consistent crimp, although this may not be all that important to you if you are just creating fun loads.

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Old October 13, 2006, 09:41 PM   #7
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i like brass better than nickel plated cases too..... i had some older dies that were alittle rough inside and they really did a job on the nickel plated cases... soon i got my lee speed dies with the carbide sizer and the problem went away.. i do like brass cases better tho.............



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Old October 14, 2006, 04:56 AM   #8
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Over on the ARF forums one guy did a 1000 round brass life test. it went as follows. I couldnt find the original post so this is from a crappy printout i found. he shot them all then laoded and kept track of loss due to cracking, case failure etc. He stopped when the majority of the brass showed significant stretching or fatigue. he was using 9mm once fired brass FWIW

brand of brass-number of loadings-case loss due to failure
starline 15+loadings with 2% loss (15 was a far as he went)
Speer 15+ loadings with 10-11% loss
winchester 15+ loadings with 15% loss
federal 14 loadings with 50% loss on 14th load ( later possibly attributed to overload/bad powder measure)
S&B 14 loadings with 25% loss on 14th load
CCI 12 loadings with 35% loss on 12th load
magtech 12 loadings with 40% loss on 12th load
remington UMC headstamp 10 loadings with 40% loss on 10th load
remington r-p headstamp 8 loadings with 60% loss on 8th load
A-MERC 1 loading with 90% failure

As you can see AMERC is the absoulte worst while starline, speer and winchester are all close together in the the top. I never mess with AMERC brass at all. it goes right into the recylce bucket.

SW
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Old October 14, 2006, 08:25 AM   #9
MADISON
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Brass or Nickle brass for reloading

Those nickle cases are simply brass cases that are coated with nickle.
I have loaded both for years. For soome reason I have collected more nickel casses than "just plane brass".
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Old October 14, 2006, 11:29 AM   #10
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What brass??

Budman2--IMX, Starline is as good as it gets for pistol brass. The other posters have 'splained the diff between nickel-plated and "plain-Jane" brass. You're shooting a cartridge that is almost exclusively shot in revolvers, so the shooters usually take home all their own brass, and there isn't much in the way of free range brass for you--well, at least, not @ the ranges I frequent!

(Autoloaders fling brass, which the shooters lose regularly. So the scrounging is great for .45ACP, for example.)

So you'll be buying almost all of yr brass.

I use my .357 in bullseye pistol, which means that uniformity in the reloads is an important factor. My experience/advice? Splurge, buy Starline, have it all one manufacturer. You'll never be sorry.

OTOH, for practice rounds, I DO use such free range brass as I have. It works fine for practice--no diff in performance between brass and nickel-plate cases. It being free, I don't care about its longevity. Though I NEVER use AMERC brass, and have started to avoid R-P as well.

.38 Spl brass is much more common at ranges, and you could reload that, of course, but that entails re-adjusting yr dies for the shorter brass. And also a ring of crud in yr cylinders, which may make chambering the longer .357's difficult. And the .38's may have a different POI with the same sight setting. Etc, etc. I just recycle the .38 cases I find, and use the proceeds to buy some more Starline .357 cases.
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Old October 14, 2006, 04:13 PM   #11
Ben Shepherd
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357 brass quality best to worst IMNSLE:

1. Starline
2. Federal
3. Winchester
4. Anything else mfg.'d stateside except:
5. Remington

And as a general rule brass will take several more reloads than nickel before splitting the case mouth
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Old October 14, 2006, 11:50 PM   #12
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I tried for a long time to segregate what i load just being anal about it.

I kept WW brass for target loads. WWnickel for small game loads, and Fed nickel for SD loads in 38 special.

In 44 special, i was loading everything with hard cast, nickel were the stomper loads and brass was the plinker loads. Now I do the same in 44 mag and 45 colts, brass are target/plinker loads, nickel are heavy game loads

Do they last longer? Not sure, I do know that in leather belts, with shell holders, nickel cases seem to last longer without corroding.

A friend who spends a lot of time in the bush of alaska says that nickel cases feed smoother when they sit around in your pocket all fall.
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Old October 15, 2006, 07:30 AM   #13
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From my experiences on reloading nickle and brass, brass lasts longer than the nickle. The nickle cases will crack and split sooner than brass depending on what load data I use. I use carbide dies when reloading nickle because the nickle cadmium is a harder material. Overall, they are both good to reload. Nickle just does not last as long.
I like Winchester, Federal, and Starline brands because the case walls are thicker than the others.
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Old October 15, 2006, 03:38 PM   #14
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The plating is not "nickle cadmium". It is straight nickel.
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Old October 16, 2006, 09:05 PM   #15
Budman2
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Thanks to All

As per usual.. the forum comes through with solid / smart information. I especially appreciate the listing of good versus bad brass (Remington not on the top of my list anymore, even if Dick's Sporting Goods carries it at a low price), and I also appreciate the knowledge that I can I'd have to reset-up dies to load 357 vs 38 because of the shell length (well ... ok.. duh... I guess if you think about it... but anyway..) Thanks ALL!
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Old October 17, 2006, 09:04 AM   #16
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Vernikelte brass

(German for nickel-plated )

Quote:
I do know that in leather belts, with shell holders, nickel cases seem to last longer without corroding.
The nickel-plated stuff was originally for when LEO's all carried revolvers, and a row of cases around their belt in loops. The acid-tanned leather caused the brass cases to corrode. Back when I was a lad, the nickeled cases in the LEO's black belts did look sharp, as I recall. Of course, back then, LEOs' belts did NOT have radio, nightstick, flashlight, mags, pepper spray, and a partridge in a pear tree, on them--just the holster, handcuff case, and the rest of the belt was loops of cartridges.

The nickel-plate brass still stays shiny and smooth much longer, if that is an issue. If you notice coins at all, you may note that old 5 cent pieces look better, generally, than other coins of the same age. They have a higher nickel content.
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Old October 17, 2006, 11:29 AM   #17
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I purchase some of my once fired brass in nickel because it almost guarantees you will receive a bunch of +P brass.
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Old October 17, 2006, 02:47 PM   #18
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I tried nickle a few times. For me they just didn't hold up well.
Split necks started appearing after only a couple reloads.
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Old October 18, 2006, 02:42 PM   #19
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I Like Nickel Brass Especially For Separating +p Loads. I Have Some Huntings Loads For Revolvers That Come Close To Going Over The "edge".

Besides The Idenification On The Outside Of The Box I Know They Are +p Because They Are In Nickel Cases.

I Have Also Found Nickel Cases To Feed A Little Better From Rifle Magazines, But Not Always. I Also Like It Because Like Some Others It Looks Really Good With Ballistic Tips. This Is A Minor Thing Though.

I Have Heard Rumors That Nickel Causes Dies To Wear Out Sooner Or Causes Complete Failures And Also Causes Bunnions, Fallen Arches And Aids But I Have Not Found These To Be True, And I Have Been Reloading Since The Mid '50's. :d

Your Mileage May Vary.
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Old October 19, 2006, 07:23 AM   #20
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I like nickel plated for the mere fact that when I'm at the range, it makes it easier to pick my empties out against everybody elses cheap range brass they are firing.
I haven't noticed that the nickel plated brass cracks sooner than regular brass, and I reload 40 S&W and 9mm, which has some pretty high pressures. Coud this just be a canard that reloaders have heard, then pass on?
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Old October 19, 2006, 10:45 AM   #21
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Gandog...
My splits were in my .270 WSM.

They were real.
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