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Nickel brass

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Is it just me or is nickle plated brass pretty much crap. I find that after one or 2 reloads the necks split pretty consistently. Some of my regular brass is on load 9 and 10 with no signs of thinning where as the nickel. I get maybe one or 2 loads if I'm lucky. At this point nickel plated brass is just plain crap. Had this happen in 223, 308 and 30-06. Other than looks I see absolutely no benefit and would prefer not to have any nickel brass. I've put my last 100rds of 223 nickel in its own container and unless I get desperate I'd prefer not to risk my well being to something that seems Inferior.

Thanks
James
 

ma96782

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I don't even like nickled brass in straight walled pistol cases.

That being said......I don't have any in bottle necked cartridges.

Aloha, Mark

THEN.....
I can remember being told that the cartridge case was only meant to be used once (initial firing). Any firing after that "is gravy".:D
 

bbbass

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Never heard of nickle rifle brass... guess I don't get out much.

The nickle pistol brass I have is mostly .38Spec or .357 which I don't shoot that much. The few nickle .45ACP is what I have picked up at the range... free brass, can't complain.

If I was buying brass I would not buy nickle.
 

808hondacrguy

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I use nickel for my 38 special, to make it easier to tell apart from 357 when sorting. They do feel really thin and flimsy compared to the brass, but I have never had a problem with quite a few reloads done to the nickle ones. I can imagine though, with a necked case, and rifle pressures, they wouldn't last long.
 
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I used 45LC in low pressure cowboy match loads for much of nearly 20 years. My initial brass brass survived dozens of reloading. Later some nickle brass was added. Typically for every brass case that finally fractured I'd get 6 or 7 nickle failures.
 

gmerkt

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Some of the brass I use is nickel plated. Typically .38 Special and .357 Mag., which I've never had any greater failure issues with than plain unplated brass. .38 Super was traditionally nickel plated, I think initially to identify it from .38 Automatic. But now some .38 Super comes in unplated brass. I've never had particular issues with it either. I've got some .41 Mag that is plated. I got this so I'd know at a glance loads for my .41 rifle vs. my .41 revolvers.

Rifle brass, the only that I've paid money for was .222 Rem. Which is gone and I don't have any memory of it being problematic. I've scavenged some .223 and .30-06 over the years. The 30-06's after a couple of firings, I had a few splits. So I annealed the rest, so far, so good but I've only fired those 1x since.

Nickel plated cartridge brass is harder than unplated, so probably in general more brittle. I don't imagine this makes a world of difference with handgun cases because they don't suffer as much working as rifle brass does. Nor are they as apt to be fired under as much pressure.

What I like about nickel is that they don't take on soot staining nearly as much as unplated brass. The pistol brass seems to size easier too.
 

Mikej

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I use nickel for my 38 special, to make it easier to tell apart from 357 when sorting. They do feel really thin and flimsy compared to the brass, but I have never had a problem with quite a few reloads done to the nickle ones. I can imagine though, with a necked case, and rifle pressures, they wouldn't last long.
This ^^. I only use .357 mag in the M94, so I picked up 300 or so nickle .357. That way when i clean it all together it's easy to separate. I did buy a bunch of pre-fired .40 that was about 25% nickle. I've only had TWO cases of that .40 I bought split. One nickle and one brass. It probably been loaded three times.

Edit:

Looks like there's a few of us ^^ ! :)
 
OP
C
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Thanks for the reply guys. I don't reload for pistol as of yet but the nickel plated rifle brass seems to be pretty weak. I don't load too hot in my loads but I generally only get one maybe two reloads from the nickel stuff.

But anyways thanks for all the info guys. Much appreciated. Have a happy new year.

James
 
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I don't buy nickel rifle brass but I do prefer nickel pistol brass. If you reload them enough, the nickel kind of wears thin. They probably split more than neked brass but I have so much its not an issue.
 

ageingstudent

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Thanks for the reply guys. I don't reload for pistol as of yet but the nickel plated rifle brass seems to be pretty weak. I don't load too hot in my loads but I generally only get one maybe two reloads from the nickel stuff.

But anyways thanks for all the info guys. Much appreciated. Have a happy new year.

James
I've got some nickel brass for 38 and 357 that hasn't split and the nickel plate is darn near worn off. I've got some other that splits a neck every time I shoot a box. I think quality manufacture has a lot to do with it.
 

MechaNik

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This is very interesting. I've got a small handful of nickel in the rotation, I think the oldest has been fired twice. I'm gonna be keeping an eye on that one
 
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I used winchester nickel plated 357 mag brass when I was shooting handgun silhouette and it was tough stuff. The nickel was almost worn off and it was still good
 
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I bought some nickel plated .44 mag brass, to fit in the leather cartridge loops on my 1880s-style money belt. Regular brass will corrode from contact with the tanned leather. I use these cases right along with my stock of brass and they work just fine, no premature splitting. With care, nickel cases last just as long as the regular brass, which in my case is many years. The key is don't load to the maximum. - CW
 
Just last week I began processing 38 brass from 8 shot moon clip revolver steel match. Nearly 200 empties random reloads, about 50 pieces were nickle.
I separated 9 split cases, of which 8 were nickle.
These are mid range loads, with multiple reloadings. I will not be buying any more nickle cases.:cool:
 
OP
C
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The nickel being harder than brass work hardens quicker than brass and that's why they don't last as long.
This makes perfect sense especially for bottleneck cartridges. I was pushing the neck back to OEM specs. I am guessing that if I was only pushing the neck back the 3-5 thou that I am now they might last a few firings longer. In any case I have yet to have a brass case split on me and had a good 50 of 100pcs of nickel 223 split. The 30-06 stuff I have has held up to atleast 1 reload so far.

Thanks
James
 
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nickel brass is easier to clean, hold more pressure, ejects better and its used in all high dollar self defense ammo. your crimping them to hard is your problem. I also to not reload them more then twice, even brass cases.
 

HighlandLofts

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I load a lot of 38spl & 357 mag.
I bought hundred & hundreds of used cases. Many were nickel plated. I load a hundred at a time and have two hundred 38s and two hundred 357s that are up to about a dozen loads. I am getting case mouth splits from what I think is caused from flaring and crimping.
My nickel cases are almost brass color now. I haven't noticed that much more failure in the nickel cases over the brass cases.
When I get case failures I toss them in the recycle bucket and grab new cases and start them on their life cycle.
 
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I use this method when sorting mixed brass of the same diameter .380/9mm and .38/.357:


I'm in the don't like nickle camp but more because I have some irrational dislike of non-brass colored "brass".
 

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