View Full Version : High brass or low brass?

April 6, 2008, 08:19 PM
I'm wondering, whats the difference between high brass and low brass?

April 6, 2008, 10:09 PM
The height of the brass part of the shell casing is taller for high brass shells. I never paid any attention to it or noticed any difference except for when I had a semi auto 12 gage(remington 1100). It preferred high brass shells. It probably makes a difference if you reload too.

April 7, 2008, 06:11 AM
Here's a link to the last thread about this topic


April 7, 2008, 08:26 PM
thanks. BTW, does that affect how much powder is in them? Because I had used high brass in my shotty before, bought new rounds, and they were low brass, + the fit a little tighter than the high brass. Same gauge (20) but different circumferential fits.

April 8, 2008, 06:53 AM
Hulls with longer brass bases usually are higher powered rounds but you must consult the "DRAM EQV" - Dram is the old measure of powder volume carried over from the black powder days. Modern shells loaded with smokeless powder have, for the most part, have continued putting this information on the box as the "Dram Equivalent" that identifies the power of the load but NOT the actual weight of the smokeless powder charge.

In the 20 gauge you will find the Dram Eqv. such as 2.25 ( 2-1/4), 2.5 (2-1/2), 2.75 (2-3/4), 3, 3.25 (3-1/4) or it may read "skeet" or "max". If the Dram Eqv. is listed as "2.5" or less including "skeet" it is considered to be a "low-brass" load. If the Dram Eqv. read 2.75 or higher including "max" or "mag" it is considered to be a high-brass load. The load itself has nothing to do with the length of the brass head on the hull, hulls with low or no brass head at all can be loaded with a magnum charge.

The longer lengths of brass heads used on high powered loads in the days of old were used to help support the head of the hull itself - with modern plastic hulls, many companies continued using longer brass heads on thier higher powered loads simply as a way for users to quickly identify a round as containing either "high-brass" or "low-brass" loading. This is not longer a valid claim since most ammunition mfg's have gotten away from practice and thus is why you must consult the load data as it is printed on the box or hull itself in order to identify the load contained withing the shell.

As I stated in the other post - if you have a problem with functioning no matter what the length of the brass is, there is either a problem with the ammunition or the gun. One that comes to mind I forgot to mention in the other post is chamber length. A few years ago a fellow came into the shop complaining that AA hulls were hard to extract but Federal field hulls worked okay. Quick check of the gun showed that it was a European model with a 2.5" chamber length and not the more common 2.75" chamber length. The AA hulls have a lower base wad and the excessive pressure created by firing the wrong ammunition caused the hull to bind on the chamber walls, the Federal hulls had a higher base wad brass length and didn't bind despite both loads producing excessive pressure because the hulls were too long for the chamber - he's just lucky the gun did not explode in his face!

If you have a 2.75" (2-3/4") chamber, any 2.75" long ammunition should cycle properly in it,

If you have a gun with a 3" chamber, all 2.75" and 3" ammuntion should cycle properly - if it does not, something is wrong with the gun and/or ammunition - do NOT fire another round until you have both checked by a competent gunsmith!

If your gun has a chamber 2.5" long or is not marked at all - do NOT fire it at all until you have the chamber length verified by a competent gunsmith!

Also not that there are some odd-ball guns still floating around in the marketplace that are not built to SAAMI specification and/or were made for specialty ammunition or chambered for non-common cartridges like 24ga, 18ga and 14ga. Some guns are just of poor quality and operational/safety issues arise from the lack of quality. Some ammunition is of poor quality as well - thus is why you need to have both the gun and ammunition checked by a competent gunsmith. Guns can also be improperly repaired and/or modified which can cause operation problems as well as safety issues.

Anytime any gun fails to work properly for whatever reason, you need to make sure it is unloaded and take it along with all the ammunition you where using/trying to use in it to a competent gunsmith for a complete and total inspection.