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Old July 31, 2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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Reloading nickel plated cases

I picked some 45 acp cases up at the range the other day and was wondering, is it safe to reload nickel plated cases?

I mostly reload rifle brass and new to pistol reloading. Starting out with 45 acp first.

Thanks in advance.
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Old July 31, 2011, 10:47 AM   #2
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yes, it's perfectly safe.

nickel tends to work harden, and wear out quicker in my experience, so i prefer brass. however, 45 is much more forgiving in this manner, as opposed to 9mm, for instance, and i can still get several loadings out of one 45 nickel case before it shows signs of extreme fatigue.

that said, i've never had a nickel case outlast a brass one, and i'm a little OCD, so if i pick up brass and find only one or two nickel cases, i dont' mix them with the rest. not from any safety standpoint... purely cosmetic OCD. :P

the choice to reload 45 is a good one. it's very forgiving in almost every way. good place to start.
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Old July 31, 2011, 10:50 AM   #3
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I've got a lot of nickel cases that do just fine. Often they are a bit more brittle and case mouth splitting happens sooner. The only nay-say with reloading them has to with the fact some manufacturers do a better job of plating than others. Some have nickel that wears away gradually, and those are no problem at all. Other have nickel that flakes off, and those occasionally can embed a nickel flake in the sizing die and cause it to scratch all cases thereafter. I've even had that happen in a carbide die, so I assume the flake or splinter found a gap in the carbide and embedded in the metal matrix holding it together. Steel wool buffing seems to cure it.

Do make sure you have nickel plated cases and not aluminum Blazer cases. The latter are duller looking and weigh a lot less, so they are easy to distinguish even if you don't look at the headstamp.
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Old July 31, 2011, 01:07 PM   #4
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...nickel tends to work harden, and wear out quicker in my experience, so i prefer brass...
Brass "work hardens", Nickle is already harder than the brass it is plated on.
"...Nickel, like gold, silver and copper, has a relatively low work hardening rate, i.e. it does not tend to become as hard and brittle when it is bent or otherwise deformed as do most other metals..."
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Old July 31, 2011, 05:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info, I think I will try a small batch and see how they work.
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Old July 31, 2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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I've been using nickel cases for years, never had a problem with any, and they seem to last a long time too.
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Old July 31, 2011, 09:00 PM   #7
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Nickeled cases are just plated brass. You load 'em just like any other case. Like Unclenick says, they don't seem to last as long as plain brass.
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:20 AM   #8
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Nickel Cases

I've reloaded 45 ACP (WW and R-P) in nickel and brass and with target loads they last indefinitely. I think I lose them before I wear most of them out.
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:30 AM   #9
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I like nickel for auto pistol cases, easy to find. If you don't over flare or over crimp they last a good long time. They clean up quick and easy.
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Old August 1, 2011, 07:39 PM   #10
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I have ~500 38Spl. cases (mixed) that have been loaded dozens of times, less than half of the total are nickel-plated brass. Every loading cycle, I lose a half-dozen or so to case mouth cracks, but 90+% of the cracked ones are the nickel-plated ones.
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Old August 1, 2011, 08:50 PM   #11
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Man, listen! They're crap! Send all of em over for proper disposal...
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