Nickel vs Brass

This is a discussion on Nickel vs Brass within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've been wondering for a while if i should switch to Nickel plated cases for my loads. I currently reload .45 ACP and .300 whisper ...

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Thread: Nickel vs Brass

  1. #1
    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    Nickel vs Brass

    I've been wondering for a while if i should switch to Nickel plated cases for my loads. I currently reload .45 ACP and .300 whisper (i prefer the .211 fireball method, i don't like cutting .223).

    Wanted to know if anybody had much experience in this. It doesn't look much more expensive, and was curious as to the differences, i.e. bullet performance, re-usability, etc.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Nickle plated cases are harder than brass.

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    They dont last near as long. The nickle is more brittle and it will crack much sooner.

    It looks great, but it just aint worth it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I prefer brass. Nickle cases were devised to combat the corrosion caused by the chemicals used in tanning leather used in making gunbelts. Not too many folks use the old style gunslinger belts anymore, with the possible exception of Cowboy action shooters.

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    Brass is fine for range use. I would not however use any Brass round (reload or factory) for Carry.

    Nickle Plated Brass is the only thing I use in my Carry pistols. The bare Brass tends to corrode to quickly in humid/hot environments.

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    Member Array Jay6's Avatar
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    I reload anything I can get my hands on so my mag is full of all kinds of different colors. I do notice the nickel does not last as long but other than that I do not think there is an advantage to either. Just load them up and shoot them.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Brass is fine for range use. I would not however use any Brass round (reload or factory) for Carry.
    I actually can't think of any of my carry ammo that is brass. I'm going to have to look through my stockpile now just to see. One of the more reasons PD ammo is more expensive. I agree with HotGuns' reply. I only load some of my 22-250 with nickel plated cases, but I neck size only. NP³ cartridges always look pretty, but pretty aint everything.

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    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    I only have to neck out .221 fireball to fit .300 whisper. I was thinking that since nickel is harder it might not expand as much, and since .300 is a straight case it might not involve that much after each shoot. Hmm.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

  10. #9
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I think the cartridge case always expands to your chamber dimensions no matter what. Just think of the pressures involved especially in your calibers mentioned. It's resizing the case or 'working' the case that weakens it eventually even if it's just neck sizing. One thing I do notice with the nickel plated cases I use in the 22-250, is that they tend to not stretch or lengthen as much as brass per firing. I'd have to trim my brass to OAL spec after only a couple of firings depending on case manufacturer. The nickel plated cases I use will go a couple more firings before needing a trim. I always check the cases with an OAL gauge anyway.

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    I only have to neck out .221 fireball to fit .300 whisper. I was thinking that since nickel is harder it might not expand as much, and since .300 is a straight case it might not involve that much after each shoot. Hmm.
    Since you are sizing up to the .300 Whisper rather than sizing down, its a fair bet that you are losing some 221 Fireball cases due to the neck cracking anyway...it's just the price you pay for doing it that way. I don't think that the nickel cases will help you at all there. Since the nickel is harder than the brass itself, it will cause the cases to either crack and I have seen some of it flake off.

    The nickle cases just cant take that resizing like the more resilient brass cases can. The main advantage to nickle that I have seen is that spent cases are easier to find in the grass. I once bought 500 rounds of nickle plated .45 just for that reason years ago. Eventually I used them all up, firing them until they cracked and then I chunked them.

    BTW, I've got 3 .300 Whispers and load alot for them. One AR,one Rem 700 that I built and a TC with the custom barrel.
    I quit using .221 brass because it was hard to find and you lose about 10-15 % or cracked cases due to the process. I now only use .223 brass, cutting it off at the neck and hardly ever have and cracking problems because the case gets sized down rather than up where it stretches. Its not quite a straight case, but the brass is worked much less by necking down than it is necking up.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
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  12. #11
    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    BTW, I've got 3 .300 Whispers and load alot for them. One AR,one Rem 700 that I built and a TC with the custom barrel.
    I quit using .221 brass because it was hard to find and you lose about 10-15 % or cracked cases due to the process. I now only use .223 brass, cutting it off at the neck and hardly ever have and cracking problems because the case gets sized down rather than up where it stretches. Its not quite a straight case, but the brass is worked much less by necking down than it is necking up.
    I may have to look into trying .223 again. BTW, what kind of loads are you using in your .300s? I'm always looking for tighter groups.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

  13. #12
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    The 700 Rem used a 1in 8 twist on a Shilen match grade barrel. That twist is specifically to stabilize the Sierra Match King 220 grain bullet and it uses around 8 grains of Accurate #9. Its very accurate, quite through the can, and moves at 1050 FPS.

    The AR uses H4227 to cycle the action. It too has a 1in 8 twist and it accurate and quite also.

    The Contender uses what ever I put through it. It only has a 1 in 10 twist and will not stabilize anything over 180 grains. I also have threaded the barrel on it and done some experimentation with it using full house loads in 125,150 and 180 grain loads as well as subsonic loads. Using a 12 inch barrel, it isn't near as quiet as the rifles are.

    I made a special case cutter from an old key machine to cut the .223 brass of at the neck. It takes about 5 seconds and is reapeatable to .001 inch, so its not a big deal to cut it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

  14. #13
    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    My AR running 9.5 grains of H4227 pushes a 240gr Sierra Match around 1050 and gives my 3/4" groups at 200 yds. 1:8 twist.

    Any chance i could buy the instructions for that Key Cutter from you? I'd like to make one, seeing as it would save a ton of money.
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

  15. #14
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    3/4 groups at 300 yards? That is world class. I am using 9.2 grains.

    Any chance i could buy the instructions for that Key Cutter from you? I'd like to make one, seeing as it would save a ton of money.
    There arent any. I just made it. Basically it uses a cut off saw that is .020 thick with a movable holder that you move the case into. Here are the two pics that I've got of it.



    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

  16. #15
    Member Array laeckcrov's Avatar
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    That's brilliant, i am going to have to make me one of those.

    And edit to the above, 3/4" groups at 200 yds, not 300, darn slipped finger It's a well built, AR, but not that good!
    The muzzle end of a .45 pretty much says, "Go Away" in every language.

    Fast is fine, accuracy is final. Learn to be slow in a hurry.

    "I never met a man that had been in a gunfight and wished that he had a smaller gun. Ever."

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