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Old November 3, 2011, 10:47 AM   #1
Frank D
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Brass or Nickel Plated Cases ?

I'd be interested in knowing which case material you prefer for reloading handgun cartridges for mild to moderate loads in .38 Special.
Would the same thoughts remain true for .357 Mag. reloads.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:02 AM   #2
tom234
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Brass cases seem to last longer so when I buy new cases I always buy brass. Free range cases is a different matter. I pick up plated cases as well but don't make a special effort to do so.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:02 AM   #3
abber
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I threw out all of my nickel plated .38 cases, because I kept coming across cases with split mouths. No more problems of that nature with all brass cases. The nickel cases clean up faster in the tumbler, but safety was in question, so I just pitched them all.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:25 AM   #4
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I use both in .38 spl and .357 mag .../ I don't really see a difference.

I use case lube on all my cases - even though I use carbide dies ...and that makes the press run a lot smoother. Some of my reloading buddies think nickel plated is a little tougher to resize / and it might be more brittle ...so maybe they crack a little more ...but I have cases that have easily gone thru 15 or more reloads and showing no signs of wearing out yet.

I seem to sweep up more .38 spl in brass and more nickel in .357 mag ...at my local indoor range ...

If I was buying new cases ...I guess I'd probably buy a name brand ...and not worry about it / but its a case I've never had to buy - there is just too much of it laying around.../and I don't lose many.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:33 AM   #5
Sevens
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Nickel does crack more often and thus, doesn't last as long. I will also see longitudinal cracks in nickel .38 brass that I don't see nearly as often as in brass, unplated brass.

Even still, I prefer nickel for all .38, .357 and .327 Federal Magnum when I have a choice. And because it's so plentiful, I do have a choice in .38 Special, and in .38 Special, I stick to nickel.

It's cleaner... cleans up easier, stays cleaner even when fired and it's easier to work with. Loads in every cylinder easier because it's slicker. Ejects from every cylinder much easier for the same reason.

I don't use it much in semi-auto rounds because it's not nearly as plentiful. In .38, I'm swimming in the stuff. And I have a lot of it in .357, but my .357 supply is about 50/50. I'd trade my brass for nickel, though. Even if it doesn't last as long before a split, it's much more enjoyable to use in every facet of it.

It also makes better looking ammo, and pride in my ammo is a factor for me. They way it looks isn't the most important thing, but it's of some importance.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:50 AM   #6
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Yeah, I’m like a lot of others, I find that nickel pistol cases don’t hold up. Case splits and case mouth splits caused me to quit using them years ago. I only load brass now. The same holds true for rifle cases.

What’s the reason they split more often? Plenty of theories, but no definitive answers.
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Old November 3, 2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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The only advantage to a nickel case is if you will be using a gunbelt with leather cartridge loops to hold the ammo (such as an old western rig). The nickel stands up better to the leather than the brass does. Leather will turn brass green after a time.
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:09 PM   #8
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Which do I prefer? Whichever is left on the ground at the range. I agree with Stevens that that the nickel seems to clean easier and BigJimP that the nickel does appear to have a shorter life span. I use Imperial Wax when sizing as I feel the casing life span may be increased by using lube but have never done a controlled study to check this. I think the “nickel” cases are actually nickel plated brass cases; therefore, resizing without lube would introduce more stress to the thin nickel plating. The underlying brass may be a slightly thinner to allow room for the plating. If this is true, the nickel cases would fail (split or crack) before the brass cases likely due to work hardening.
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:11 PM   #9
serf 'rett
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Twobit

You are missing two nickel brass advantages. The "slicker" nickel will feed better and the silver is easier to find in the grass.
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:44 PM   #10
Sevens
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Also missing clean-up. I have some scorched and horrific looking PMC brass .357 Mag cartridge cases that look horrific. I don't think anything short of a sonic cleaner can make these things look "right." But nickel plated brass simply will NOT ever look like that no matter what you do to them. And any dirt, powder residue or filth just wipes off of them.

I'm not saying you don't have to tumble them, I'm just saying that it's light years easier to make them look good.
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Old November 3, 2011, 12:57 PM   #11
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I have both and they are both fine.

But

I only buy Brass now.
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Old November 3, 2011, 01:09 PM   #12
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Can not remember the last time I had to buy .38 or .357 brass and I load and shoot a bunch of it. I use both all mixed together. The only time I separate it is when I carry it in the loops on my gun belt, then I use just use the nickel. It dose not tarnish like brass and "looks pretty".
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Old November 3, 2011, 01:10 PM   #13
wingman
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Don't care for nickel tends to be weak/thin especially in 38 I simply store them
for emergency use only. Brass is best.
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Old November 3, 2011, 02:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
The only advantage to a nickel case is if you will be using a gunbelt with leather cartridge loops to hold the ammo (such as an old western rig). The nickel stands up better to the leather than the brass does. Leather will turn brass green after a time.
Exactly. That is why I never buy brass that is Nickle plated. It makes no sense to pay more for something that has zero advantage over the cheaper product. I shoot and reload the nickle cases that I have acquired from other shooters until they crack...then I toss them. It makes no sense not to use them.

It costs more, cracks sooner, and I never carry the cartridges in leather belt loops.
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Old November 3, 2011, 02:14 PM   #15
Sevens
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Quote:
that has zero advantage
....?
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Old November 3, 2011, 07:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
...that has no advantage over the cheaper of the two products...
Better?
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Old November 3, 2011, 07:09 PM   #17
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I'm with Sevens, I like and use nickel when I can get it for my "premium" ammo in .357. It looks much better than brass.
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Old November 3, 2011, 09:14 PM   #18
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I used to shoot .280 Rems and in one instance my buddy's clip(identical clip as mine)got mixed in with mine when we were out west hunting,Long story short I ended up shooting two .270 rounds through my .280 when double checking zero.Rifle never shot well after that.I tossed all my brass .280 cases and switched to nickle.There is another reason for using nickle-as a second chance to catch mixed up similar calibers.
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Old November 3, 2011, 09:35 PM   #19
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I use nickel on my JHP reloads just so they look different. Also use them in my belt loops, not because they don't turn green, because the Lone Ranger did the same. You young guys probably can't relate.
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Old November 3, 2011, 10:55 PM   #20
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because the Lone Ranger did the same. You young guys probably can't relate.
Do you cast your own silver bullets, ride a horse named Silver, and have an Indian sidekick to help save the day?
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 4, 2011, 10:56 AM   #21
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I only use Nickle for my hollow point ammo. I use brass for my every day solid lead RN bullets. Helps to identify which is which.
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Old November 4, 2011, 01:34 PM   #22
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I'm like the other guys who use nickle for identification purposes. All of my black powder loads are in nickel cases. Easy cleanup, too!
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Old November 4, 2011, 01:38 PM   #23
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I like to see a pretty nickel bullet and they are prettier. But brass lasts longer. I get tons of both free range brass/nickel.
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Old November 4, 2011, 01:44 PM   #24
south.texas.dead.I
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If I had a bucket of brass and a bucket of nickel I'd grab the nickel 10/10 times. Prefer their looks to the brass like most others do.


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Old November 4, 2011, 01:55 PM   #25
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I'd take nickel also
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