The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 14, 2010, 07:54 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 29, 2010
Location: Foothills, NC
Posts: 782
Nickle versus Brass cases

What is the advantage (if any?) of a nickle plated case versus plain brass? Im mainly a rifle reloader so I never fooled with nickle cases. I picked up 1000pcs of Federal nickle plated 45acp cases at a gun show a few weeks ago.
t45 is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 07:58 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: November 17, 2008
Location: gulf of mexico
Posts: 2,716
better corrosion resistance, easier to find at the range, easier to chamber.

just picked up 30 .357 nickle and 20 brass .38 cases that were laying in the grass for almost 9 months now. brass was brown, nickle wiped clean, still shiny.
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
troy_mclure is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 08:19 PM   #3
Citizen Carrier
Senior Member
Join Date: July 10, 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 671
I believe straight-walled nickel plated cases have the advantage of not needing to be lubed prior to sizing in a reloading press if you are using standard, not carbide, dies.

Bottlenecked nickel plated cases, like most rifle cartridges or pistol cartridges like the .357 Sig will still need to be lubed.
Once you've got your sights adjusted to the ammunition you have, step away from the bench. In competition or the field...there are no benches.
Citizen Carrier is offline  
Old April 14, 2010, 08:31 PM   #4
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 18,631
Nickel cases come from the era of leather cartridge belts and ammo carriers. Over time (months, usually), the residual acid in the leather from the tanning process will attack and corrode brass cases. It will do the same to nickel, but it takes even longer.

Back when cops carried their ammo in leather belt loops, with the same ammo being in a belt for months (maybe years) corrosion became an issue. Nickel cases last much longer, and look great in a black uniform belt too!

Now that we have nylon, and cops seldom use revolvers for duty carry, the advantage to nickel is reduced, but it still exists, to a small degree, in that they take longer to tarnish and are easily cleaned back to nice and shiny.

Nickel does have its drawbacks, but they aren't major ones. About the only real world drawback is that nickeled cases can be a little more brittle when reloaded time after time, and the nickel plating can wear or flake off sometimes. But its not a big thing. I have some nickeled .38 and .45 cases that have been reloaded and chambered so many times that they have brass streaks showing through the nickel. They still work fine.

Rifle brass never got the nickel treatment much, as the problem of duty wear in a leather belt seldom applied. There are nickeled rifle cases, in some calibers, and boy, do they look pretty! I have some for my .222Rem, and use them for certain loads, so I can tell at a glance, which is loaded with what (nickel/brass). I think they are also a little less likely to pick up dirt and grit, than brass, and stay "slick" longer.

I believe straight-walled nickel plated cases have the advantage of not needing to be lubed prior to sizing in a reloading press if you are using standard, not carbide, dies.
Not true. Nickel cases do need to be lubed if using steel dies, just like brass cases. They are more "slick" than brass cases, and in some calibers (like .38Spl) you can get away without lubing them, for a while (because there will still be some lube in the die), but it isn't good for your die, or your brass, and odds are eventually, you will stick a case, but good! Thats why carbide dies are so popular, for pistol rounds, with them, you don't need the lube.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 08:19 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: August 8, 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 661
Over on Varmint Al's forum he has a little essay on why he avoids nickel cases. He claims that tiny pieces of the nickel can flake off and do damage to the gun. That's what he says, not me. I use a lot of nickel cases, both rifle and pistol and have never had a problem. I'll take nickel handgun cases over brass any time -- the nickel protects them from discoloration so much better and just in general look better.
Locoweed is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 08:52 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: January 15, 2008
Location: PRK
Posts: 735
I have had issues with mouth cracks on nickel plated brass. It does have its merits, but personally, I avoid it. A little longer in the tumbler, and the brass brass looks great.
I ain't got no safe queens. I shoots em all...
abber is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 08:54 AM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: December 7, 2009
Location: Western New York
Posts: 2,053
Nickle will be easier to load. The finish stays "smooth" and really passes through the carbide die a lot easier than brass. They both work and shoot the same, I just like the nickle because the finish stays smooth and if you load a lot (and I mean a LOT) you'll like the nickle in the long run.
NoSecondBest is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 01:09 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: March 21, 2005
Location: Athens, Georgia
Posts: 823
Nickle cleans up nice and shiney
NRA Life Member
twhidd is online now  
Old April 15, 2010, 01:20 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: March 14, 2010
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 813
Nickle cleans up nice and shiney
Yep, that's about it.
vladan is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 02:01 PM   #10
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,592
I use the nickle plated cases for my hollow points. I store most of my ammo in green plastic boxes, with the projectile pointed down. I grab a box and open it and if the cases are nickle, then I do not use then for practice rounds.

(I also label all my ammo on the inside of the plastic boxes. The nickle plated brass just makes for much quicker identification.)
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 02:48 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: April 29, 2009
Location: Harriman Tn
Posts: 424
What little nickle plated I've used over the years, I have found it does tend to get a bit more brittle and split at the mouth quicker than plain brass.

howlnmad is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 05:47 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: April 15, 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 1,717
If you use the nickle plated brass and then really polish up a lead bullet and then load them up in your single action 6 gun, you can pretend you're the Lone Ranger! Hi Yo Silver!
Doodlebugger45 is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 08:59 PM   #13
Join Date: March 14, 2008
Location: St Louis, MO
Posts: 28
In my experience with nickel rifle cases, I found that they were a bit smaller in capacity than a brass case of the same caliber, hence a good load for the brass case could very well be too hot for the nickel.
dball01 is offline  
Old April 15, 2010, 09:15 PM   #14
William T. Watts
Senior Member
Join Date: January 20, 2010
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 1,074
Nickle versus Brass cases

Nickle cases can damage reloading dies if nickle flakes off, I personally have had a sizing die (RCBS 270Win) scratched bad enough the die had to be replace. RCBS did replace the die but I was told it was a one time replacement only, if I scratched another die with a nickle case I would have to replace it not them! Even if a nickle case doesn't flake the nickle is much harded than brass and may damage your sizing die if you regularly use nickle cases! FWIW! William

Last edited by William T. Watts; April 15, 2010 at 09:20 PM.
William T. Watts is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:58 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08954 seconds with 10 queries