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Old July 22, 2016, 05:33 PM   #1
bjm42
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Nickel plated cases...

Any advantage/disadvantage to nickel plated casings in 9mm? I notice the Sig Elite 124 gr JHP has nickel plating. I plan to reload for my new Kahr MK9. Wonder why Kahr advises against using reloads?
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Old July 22, 2016, 05:48 PM   #2
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bj,

I like nickel plated cases as they stand out on the range gravel more than the uncoated brass ones and makes it easier to find. They also seem to run more smoothly through my resizing dies than the brass ones.

And pertaining to Kahr's recommendation not to use reloads- this is pretty much standard lawyer talk from all gun manufacturers as they don't know your reloading skill level. As long as you're using published loading data you're fine with reloads.

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Old July 23, 2016, 01:42 AM   #3
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Nickel plated cases come from the era when ammo was carried in leather cartridge loops (usually on a belt). Ammo was often left in the loops for long periods of time, and brass cases corroded from the acid residue of the leather tanning process. Nickel will also, but it takes much longer.

Nickeled cases are a little "slicker". The downside is the nickel wears, can crack and flake off, and some say it makes the brass more brittle than plain brass cases. I have never noted that to be the case with any of my reloads.

Today, the primary advantage to nickeled cases is ease of identification. Some of us use only nickeled cases for certain loads, so its easy to know what the round is, just by looking at it.

Also, as mentioned, they're a little easier to spot on the ground.
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Old July 23, 2016, 05:54 PM   #4
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Many gun mfg's ( like Sig Sauer ) say your warranty is void, if you shoot reloads...but I do anyway. You'll have to look at the fine print in the Kahr manuals.

Like others said, nickel is a little more corrosion resistant ...but they are more brittle ( from a reloader standpoint, they tend to crack or split before brass cases ).
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Old July 24, 2016, 07:54 AM   #5
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If enough of them are bundled together, you can see your reflection well enough to shave by.
Just load 'em like always.
I do separate them from the regular brass cases, but only when I have nothing better to do.
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Old July 24, 2016, 08:01 AM   #6
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I load fairly light .45ACP loads, and I find I get one reload from nickel cases and 10+ (so far) from brass. YMMV, of course.
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Old July 24, 2016, 08:24 AM   #7
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Can't imagine what is going on with those cases.
I've used nickel plated cases in many pistol calibers over and over, so many times I've lost count.
For 45acp, generally a 200 grain swc at at least 850f/s.
Not real hot, but not light, either.
No problem.
Are yours splitting at the mouth?
If so, maybe you're working the cases too much somehow, like over flaring and then having to do a lot of crimping.
Just a guess, though.
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Old July 24, 2016, 08:39 AM   #8
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My experience has been the same as g.willikers.

I bought my first centerfire handgun, an original (not MK III) .357 Colt Trooper, back in the early 70s. It came with some reloading equipment, including a couple hundred Super Vel (remember them?) nickel-plated cases that had clearly been fired at least once, more likely several or more, times. I foolishly sold the gun some years later, but still have the cases and have been reloading them over and over again since that time. The plating has pretty much worn off on many of them, and I've lost only a very few to case mouth splits. They clearly have lasted every bit as long as brass cases, which has been my experience with nickel generally.

The sole exception was one small batch of Remington cases where the plating started flaking off the first time I resized them, so they got tossed. Otherwise, I've seen no difference in longevity with any of the several calibers I reload that have both brass and nickel-plated cases.
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Old July 24, 2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Wonder why Kahr advises against using reloads?
Every manufacturer does. I handload for everything I own.

Quote:
Any advantage/disadvantage to nickel plated casings in 9mm?
Nothing in particular.

Quote:
I plan to reload for my new Kahr MK9.
I have noticed that nickel plated cases tend to split more than plain brass. (That observation is from my experience with .38 special brass. With 9mm, IMHO, you're likely to loose the case before you wear it out.)
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Old July 24, 2016, 12:14 PM   #10
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"...why Kahr advises against using reloads..." It's a CYA thing for them. Voiding the warrantee protects 'em against frivolous law suits. Think I terms of some idiot reloader loading over max, blows the pistol and sues Kahr. Same as McPuke's being sued for some stupid woman dumping hot coffee on herself.
"...splitting at the mouth..." Normal with any pistol case.
Nickel cases look cool on your gun belt. Doesn't apply to 9mm though.
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Old July 24, 2016, 05:13 PM   #11
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The Nickel cases I see split the most are .357 Mag and .44 Mag... / yes, they split at the case mouth. ( But I see a few in 9mm and once in a while in .45 acp split at case mouth too ) - but for semi-auto calibers, I sweep up floor at my local indoor range, and clean and reload whatever ends up in my lane...no way to tell how many times they've been loaded.

In .357 Mag and .44 Mag...I'm careful to make sure I'm picking up all my own cases.../ ...and sure, if I had to guess, they may have been loaded 50 or more times - maybe a lot more, I don't count either....but when I start to see a few crack, I seem to get a lot of them cracking ( which makes sense). Every now and then I will see a brass case crack as well ...but not nearly as often.

I'm not overbelling them .../ I bell just enough to set the bullet on station 4 so it doesn't fall out. Yes, I do load them toward the top end of the published recipe..but not at the max / Hodgdon TiteGroup in both revolver calibers / 158gr JHP Montana Gold in .357 and 240gr JSP Montana Gold in .44....

Every now and then I see someone renting revolvers at my local range...and tossing out their .357 Mag brass, so I'm usually hanging around and offer them a few bucks per box, if they will just keep them and let me have them. I had a guy the other day refuse my $ 5 ...and he gave me the brass anyway - which I appreciated.

My memory is about as sharp ...as a chewed up axe blade...so maybe some of those nickel cases are way older than I think they are...( I've been reloading for 50+ yrs.../ and I've been dragging some of that stuff around with me for a long time )...

Last edited by BigJimP; July 24, 2016 at 05:20 PM.
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Old July 24, 2016, 07:59 PM   #12
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Other than being slick, the most obvious advantage, of course, is that they look very snazzy, especially with a lubalox coated bullet!
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Old July 24, 2016, 08:11 PM   #13
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I load fairly light .45ACP loads, and I find I get one reload from nickel cases and 10+ (so far) from brass. YMMV, of course.
Must very greatly? I have somewhere around 50 nickel plated .45acp brass mixed in with about 500 brass ones. Been reloading that lot for many years now without a problem.

I like how smooth the nickel plate resizes in the die. Other than that positive, no difference what so ever.
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Old July 24, 2016, 09:07 PM   #14
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Nickel plating on cartridge cases is purely cosmetic, mostly for show and to get higher prices. When police used to carry ammunition in belt loops, nickel plated cartridges kept the brass from turning green in the belt, keeping the shift sergeant happy and smiling. (And you wanted that sergeant to be happy and smiling, believe me!)

Today, that factor still is involved, but for civilians is not usually important.

FWIW, the plating does appear to weaken the brass; my own experience is that nickel plated cases have much shorter life than plain brass ones. (But that beady-eyed sergeant may still be around, so be careful!)

Jim
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Old July 24, 2016, 09:26 PM   #15
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You can put me in the "no difference camp". I too have nickel .38 brass I've loaded so many times it's no longer nickel. I've noticed no difference between nickel vs plain brass.

I did have a problem with some nickel Remington cases blowing out quickly, but that was due to the deep case cannelure, not because it was nickel.
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Old July 24, 2016, 11:16 PM   #16
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Like others have said, nickel splits quicker, I wouldn't pay extra for it.
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Old July 25, 2016, 08:30 AM   #17
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I like nickel plated cases for defensive ammo. I find they feed better and don't tarnish. Tarnish/oxidation makes shells rougher and possibly less reliable. I'm not saying this like its the gospel, just my experience.
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Old July 26, 2016, 11:22 AM   #18
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Nickle splits easier than straight brass but is easier to find in the weeds and grass on my home range. So it's useful for auto calibers but I avoid it for my revolvers. Rod
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Old July 26, 2016, 01:40 PM   #19
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Since I don't reload (anymore), I don't care what the case looks like after it's fired and ejected. Still, I've never experienced a nickel plated case splitting. The only cases I've ever seen split were my reloaded 22-250. After about 3-4 times, they split. I thought that was just a built-in indicator telling me when they were done!
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Old July 26, 2016, 01:58 PM   #20
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Nickel plating causes a phenomenon called "hydrogen imbrittlement." It can be minimized with the proper heat treatment. Nickel itself is much harder than brass-therefore more brittle also.
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Old July 26, 2016, 02:02 PM   #21
Don P
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Nickeled cases are a little "slicker". The downside is the nickel wears, can crack and flake off, and some say it makes the brass more brittle than plain brass cases. I have never noted that to be the case with any of my reloads
I concur about the slicker. As far as cracks and flaking I 'll attest to that. I find far more nickel cases with cracks than I do brass with cracks
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Old July 26, 2016, 02:20 PM   #22
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I am another at-home shooter. I keep all my brass as shiny as possible to help in finding it. As stated, nickel is easier to locate than the browner colors of brass. I loose brass prior to wearing it out.

I use an L&R Ultrasonic for cleaning my brass and have found out the hard way not to mix nickel and brass together since it discolors the nickel. I use a different batch of cleaning solution for each also to keep the brass discoloration on the nickel finish.

Recently, I ordered a thousand pieces of 357 Sig once fired brass. They all turned out to be Speer and in nickel. It was $57.00 per thousand. I had a package of CCI primers which were also nickel finished. I started off using these, and I ended up ruining more than were fitting properly. I changed over to some brass Winchester primers and they were easier to press in place without causing any damage. Never had this happen in any other brand of brass in either nickel or brass finish.
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Old July 26, 2016, 03:10 PM   #23
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Two years ago I was building up a 180-grain .357 load.
Grabbed a coffee can of once-fired nickeled Remington brass to do 'em in.

Had used nickeled Rem brass in reloading in the past with no problems.

Found a bunch of split cases (longitudinally, not at the cannelure) in that once-fired bunch (factory loads).
Tossed 'em & carried on.

After shooting my reloads found several more splits & tossed the whole batch.
May have been a bad year for Remington nickel.
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Old July 26, 2016, 03:45 PM   #24
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May have been a bad year for Remington nickel
It does happen.

back in the early 70s my Dad got a few boxes of .45ACP ball in nickel REM-UMC cases. Close to half split on firing. I've been reloading the rest ever since, each case has probably been loaded a dozen or more times, there are brass "wear stripes" on the nickel, and all those cases are still fine.

I don't think its the nickel alone that is a problem, when nickeled cases fail early.
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Old July 26, 2016, 04:35 PM   #25
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Wonder why Kahr advises against using reloads?
Common sense when you think about it. Most companies have some sort of language advising not to use reloads.
They have no idea if people doing the reloading are competent, or have the quality control ability of major ammunition manufacturers.
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