Quantcast
  1. Sign up now and join over 35,000 northwest gun owners. It's quick, easy, and 100% free!

Are nickel cases special?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by elsie, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    621
    I was finishing up a run of 10mm today and transitioned to a set of nickel cases. I haven't had any anomalies yet; just the usual "seating some bullets took a little more pressure on the handle". Those were mixed head stamp brass cases so it was normal that some would feel different. I don't normally sort the brass except nickel.

    So when I get to the first nickel case it doesn't look quite right (it's amazing sometimes what my lousy vision can pick out). I pull out the calipers and measure the OAL. It's 1.270. The max OAL for that load is 1.260. I go back to the last 10 rounds I did that were brass. They all measured 1.255 to 1.258. So I ran the nickel through again and pressed down on the ram and it remained at 1.270. All in total I did 10 nickel cases and they are all around 1.270.

    Is there something about nickel that causes this? I haven't seen it on any other caliber and I've gone back and checked some 9mm and 45 Colt.

    PS. I will be fixing these, I just need to adjust the seating die a bit.


    elsie
     
  2. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

    Messages:
    4,910
    Likes Received:
    5,859
    Stronger. Probably springing back further
     
  3. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    2,438
    Likes Received:
    2,777
    Case volume.
    Is the powder compressed by the bullet?
     
  4. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    595
    They might be being difficult because they are not being treated "special".:D

    Could be the additional stiffness of the nickel plated brass maybe? Or smaller case volume and a compressed load like RB said.
     
  5. ageingstudent

    ageingstudent NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    125
    Are you crimping and seating in the same operation? If the nickel cases are thicker than the brass cases the crimp will close on the projectile before it seats to depth. Try loosening the crimp a bit and see if the bullets seat deeper in the case.
     
    Dyjital and ron like this.
  6. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    3,116

    This ^^^ along with a case that's a few .000 taller. Are you trimming your brass to an exact length? I don't trim anything with a taper crimp, and lengths vary. Longer cases get to the "Taper crimp" stage before the bullet is seated fully. Some brass is stiffer/thicker than others too. My solution, ( I do single stage), is, when I feel the stiffer/longer brass as I stroke the ram I seat and then give a little turn IN to the seating stem and seat again, then back it off for the next round. I don't do 10mm but I do .40 and 9mm same issues you describe only on a smaller scale. :D
     
  7. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    621
    Crimping and seating in the same step. But I would think that would result in marks on the bullet where the case mouth crimps down and the bullets spring back as the pressure is released (in the case of bullet springback or a compressed load).

    I wouldn't think trim length would make any difference because, I mean face it, there's a steel plunger forcing the bullet into the case. And the pressure on the ram feels about the same. All the cases were measured and trimmed three firings ago. There's some variance between each operation but it's the same as the variance with the brass. And I've gone through and measured those. They're all below max OAL. Unless the bullet itself is compressing and springing back (they're Hornady XTPs btw)


    elsie
     
  8. ageingstudent

    ageingstudent NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    125
    It wouldn't necessarily leave a crimp mark on an XTP. Steel plunger or not if the case is thicker there will be more neck tension resisting the seating of the projectile. Couple this with the tighter crimp and the bullet is stopping long I'd suspect. A brass case might buckle under the same stress but that nickel plating is tougher. The case is probably bulging a bit and springing back when you lower the ram. XTPs are pretty tough. Measure the ID of your sized brass cases vs. The sized nickel. If nothing you can rule out that possibility.
     
    thorborg likes this.
  9. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    I use a heavy crimp on my 45-70 as a separate process, and so realize slight movement of the bullet downward. 45 colt the same but a little less crimp and not as much movement. I set seat height @ nearly max to compensate for this movement when crimping. Within this I also experience some swelling of the brass but barely measurable and never enough to loosed the base of the bullet.
    I do not have nickel plated brass so theorize;
    Nickel is fairly hard and by its self and will inhibit the brass compression (or expansion), can be witnessed in easier case extraction in some guns. Add to that the plating process itself which tends to brittle the outer surface metals. Could it be the brass cases also squish some where as the plated ones stand tall under the same pressure?
    I wonder if measuring the brass and nickel case diameters before and after seat crimp process would yield any insight to the OAL quandary? If they do squish some, then the brass should be a little fatter with the nickel remaining the same. This could also fall in line with the spring back theory expressed above (Dyjital) which I'm wanting to subscribe to.
    Squish (brass) plus Spring back (Nickel) could equal .012 height difference. (just maybe)
     
  10. zeppelin

    zeppelin Benton County WA Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    33
    If you put a brass cased cartridge in the old style leather gun belt with cartridge loops, the chemicals used in treating the leather will, over time, cause discoloration and corrosion of the cartridges where they contact the leather. Indeed, brass cases are generally subject to corrosion, as evidenced by the green "verdigris" that is seen on older cases that have been subject to a corrosive atmosphere (moisture or salt from the atmosphere, or from handling with bare hands). Nickel plated brass does not corrode nearly as much. Other than their resistance to corrosion, nickel plated cases also have lower friction than brass cases, and tend to feed more smoothly than brass. Otherwise their specs and limitations are not significantly different than brass cases.
     
  11. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    3,116
    So Elsie, if you're trimming your cases then they're all the same within +/- .002 I'll figure. The thickness of the case must be the issue then. A case that's .002 longer and .001 thicker translates to .004. That's enough to be stopping/(binding?) the ram a little early. I'd not worry.....Unless you are running you'r bullet within .002 of the lands in the barrel? Do a plunk test to make sure your long ones aren't binding, and/or do as I suggested and give the seater plug a 1/8-/1/4 turn to compensate for the issue.

    When I load 9mm, .40 and .45 I try to keep my OAL within .003 +/-. Measure a box of factory ammo for OAL and you'll see THEY don't think it's a huge deal! ;)
     
    The Courier and thorborg like this.
  12. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    621
    (Just so you know, I've been reloading for 25+ years so I have some experience :cool: )

    The seater is set up to just under max OAL to allow for variance in different chambers between manufacterers (I've have a few 10mm firearms), < .005. These 5 will be pulled, re-flared, and correctly reseated. I was just wondering if it was a known thing that happened with nickel versus brass.

    I'm used to some variance, usually +/- .005, but these were consistently +.015 (with some variance) over the brass. I don't see it as a major issue and could probably fire these as is, but I don't take chances with things that go boom.

    I hadn't considered wall thickness. I'll have to take a look at that. I can see where that would impede the seating depth.


    elsie
     
    Mikej likes this.
  13. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    621
    Well, after poking around in the piles around my reloading setup I found some 9mm that had a few nickel cases mixed in. So after prepping 440 rounds worth, I got to reloading them. I went through the brass ones first, measuring each when it was finished. Then I got to the nickel cases. They all came out with the same OAL as the brass.

    Now the 9mm is a tapered case and 10mm is straight-walled so that may have made a difference. I guess I'll have to wait till I get some 38/357 or some 45 Colt.


    elsie
     
    ageingstudent likes this.
  14. ageingstudent

    ageingstudent NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    125
    Sounds like you have a mystery. Hate that lol. Well not really I kind of like the troubleshooting part.

    I have had trouble with thickness differences between different brands of brass before, but that is by no means the only thing that could be amiss.

    I had some cast loads in 40 S&W awhile back that leaded terribly with fed or rem brass but were totally clean with tullammo, S&B, or PMC. The fed and REM brass was slightly thicker and it squished the projectile in the Lee factory crimp die. Just undersized enough to cause gas cutting.
     
  15. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    44
    Seating stem only contacts bullet ogive/meplat. There is nothing there to cause a COL variation unless the bullet itself is different. Certainly case length can not affect COL. I hate seating and crimping in one step, but COL was never the issue.
    If using a progressive, there will be COL variations from the press ONLY working on one case vs. the press handling a full shell-plate worth of cases.
    I have never had a compressed charge push a bullet up.
    Finally, did you try them in your gun to see if they feed/chamber? If they work, no problem. Shoot 'em as is.
     
  16. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    621
    I run a single stage. There's only a few occasions where I wished I had a progressive. I think that's why I noticed it; because I set it amongst a few rows of brass loads and it looked ..."off".

    The function of forces to make this happen and cause a difference is what is confusing about this.

    As far as dropping in a chamber... I'd have to figure out which one to drop it into. I would want to pick the one that would most likely to show if it's a problem. I have ... a lot ... to choose from.

    Probably use the Glock 20 match barrel.


    elsie
     
  17. Tilos

    Tilos Idaho Active Member

    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    72
    My go to case gauge for 9mm is a Storm Lake drop in barrel for a model G23.
    It's the tightest 9mm chamber I have.

    That, and I always chamfer/de-bur the case mouth's of once fired brass, as I have found them to be rolled over/burred as manufactured.
    If I don't, those brass (or nickel) burrs end up digging into the bullet if I seat/crimp together, or as brass dust on the shell holder/plate, knocked off by the sizing die or expansion plug.
    If I pick up range brass, I keep it separate from "my" brass as I know I'll need to chamfer before reloading.
    jmo
    :)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  18. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,113
    Likes Received:
    6,948
    I don't think plating brass with nickel makes them that much "stronger" to make them act differently. It's more likely that those cases were a little long to start with.

    In my experience, the nickel plated cases that I have run through a sizing die (IIRC) were easier to run through the die because of the plating - or so it seemed to me.
     
  19. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    803
    Likes Received:
    329
    Special......well, because they are "plated" well, they are manufactured differently. And with that comes some benefits and perhaps some problems. Hope that you get a good batch. I guess the same could be said about regular brass.

    Anyway, Yup...they look pretty, right.
    They cost more.
    They help with keeping the crud from growing on your cartridge cases like with regular brass. Remember that cop with his revolver and bullet loops? LOL.
    They are said to be more prone to splits.

    Me, I could do without them. And, I won't pay more because they are plated. Well, maybe if I were dressing up like the Lone Ranger.

    Aloha, Mark
     
  20. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

    Messages:
    3,178
    Likes Received:
    3,116
    I've acquired a couple hundred nickle .38 special cases. Those I load +P for the carry revolvers, so I know nickle means defensive rounds. And yeah, they look "Special", with the 125gr Montana Gold bullets!