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View Full Version : Difference in nickel & brass cases....


fabguy
06-15-2011, 6:02 PM
I am still new to reloading, and was wondering what is the benefits of brass cases VS nickel cases. I will be reloading .40 S&W and 9mm and have an abundance of both of them.If it helps here is what I will be using for these rounds
6.2 gr. HS-6 powder
CCI small pistol primers
115gr FMJ (9mm)
155 - 180 gr. (.40 S&W)
Thank you for your info everyone and your knowledge

sargenv
06-15-2011, 6:07 PM
Either works.. no advantage or disadvanage.. some people like the nickel cases because they believe the feed slicker than brass.. I've not really found any difference.. I pick them all up..

stand125
06-15-2011, 6:09 PM
I reload both just fine. I don't really know the differences, but both shoot well in Pistol calibers from my experience. You can even reload steel cases which very few people do because you can usually keep their own brass and now more nickel.

XDRoX
06-15-2011, 6:56 PM
The nickel cases will crack way sooner than the brass. You'll be lucky to get half as many loads from nickel. I can get 20 plus reloads from 9mm brass. I'm lucky to get 10 from nickel.

sargenv
06-15-2011, 7:04 PM
I've seen and read that old wive's tale for a lot of years.. but I have nickel cases that have been loaded so many times that the nickel is coming off and the brass is showing through. I get an equal # of nickel and brass cases that split at the mouth (that gets work hardened being flared to seat bullets and crimped to be able to feed into the firearm). The theory is dissimilar metals causes the splitting, but I just have not found this to be true.

Southpaw45
06-15-2011, 7:45 PM
I've seen and read that old wive's tale for a lot of years.. but I have nickel cases that have been loaded so many times that the nickel is coming off and the brass is showing through. I get an equal # of nickel and brass cases that split at the mouth (that gets work hardened being flared to seat bullets and crimped to be able to feed into the firearm). The theory is dissimilar metals causes the splitting, but I just have not found this to be true.

AGREE! I get the same results. Only difference is my nickel brass is for .45 Colt. I to have some nickel brass that barely has any more nickel on them and there still going.....

fabguy
06-15-2011, 7:50 PM
The nickel cases will crack way sooner than the brass. You'll be lucky to get half as many loads from nickel. I can get 20 plus reloads from 9mm brass. I'm lucky to get 10 from nickel.

Oh wow, I was hoping to get 3 reloads per case, I didn't know you could get that many loads out of a case. I was assuming it would be the same as my .223 reload count. I only go that many because I don't want an accident, then just scrap the old brass.

Cowboy T
06-15-2011, 7:58 PM
I usually get at least 10 loadings out of my .38 Spl and .45 Colt cases. Some of them have 15 and show no signs of giving out, and some in that batch are nickel-plated. What tends to make straight-walled brass brittle is high pressure.

Some gun magazine did an experiment some years back, just to see how many loads they could get out of a case. The longest-lived one got 147 loads out of it before it finally split. This was a nickel case. IIRC, in that lot, 30 to 40 uses was typical. They were not using nuclear loads.

Marlin Hunter
06-15-2011, 8:19 PM
The nickel cases will crack way sooner than the brass. You'll be lucky to get half as many loads from nickel. I can get 20 plus reloads from 9mm brass. I'm lucky to get 10 from nickel.

+1

I get far more cracked nickle cases than brass cases. Nickle is harder than brass. If you need to trim your cases, you will wear out your cutter a lot sooner. Heavy crimps for magnum loads make nickle plated brass crack faster than regular brass. I don't know of any match (rifle) shooters that use nickle plated brass. Nickle plated cases are good if you will be carrying the ammo all day, and every day: Good for police. I think a lot of home/self defense ammo is nickle plated: Black Talon, Hydro Shock, etc).

Fyathyrio
06-15-2011, 8:51 PM
I use nickle for my .357 and brass for my .38 so it's easy to tell them apart. The general consensus is that nickle will split sooner, and I shoot the .38 more often. I haven't run through it enough yet to know if true or not.

XDRoX
06-15-2011, 9:37 PM
Some of you guys are showing how new you are to reloading in this thread speaking of old wife's tail and such. Nickel will split before brass. It's simple laws of physics and metal elasticity. Brass is more malleable than nickel.

JagerDog
06-15-2011, 9:37 PM
Just for clarity's sake. The nickle is nickle plated brass.

The plus for nickle to me, is it effectively doesn't tarnish. If you need to polish them at all, it's very quick. Brass can get pretty ugly, just handling them, then putting them away. With the advent of carbide pistol dies, there's really no extra die wear either.

I use both, keeping my "warm" loads in nickle. No real reason other than they might see more handling, before eventual discharging and I have more brass than nickle. Mostly it's identification, like different colors for shotshells.

Fishslayer
06-15-2011, 9:51 PM
Supposedly nickel plated will split before yellow brass. In .38SP either will be a loooong time unless you're overworking your brass.
Dunno, but most of the split cases I find when reloading are nickel plated.

I'm also told that flakes of nickel can cause binding in dies.

Nickel plated will not turn green from the tanning chemicals when left in leather cartridge loops. I could be wrong, but I believe this is why it was developed in the first place?

cbaer5
06-15-2011, 10:03 PM
wow learn something new every day i didnt know they were plated but in that case how or why is there a difference both for reloading and for everything else why dose it do something special I've never used them

LGB Loader
06-15-2011, 10:46 PM
i have nickle plated brass where the plating has almost come off completely but still has not split at the mouth. the plating has just worn off, or faded to yellow. Over all, I prefer plain brass. The main reason being that if the plating flakes off as it often does, I don't want it to cause damage or scratch my dies.

LGB

damndave
06-15-2011, 10:51 PM
You will most likely lose the brass before it cracks :)

SixPointEight
06-15-2011, 11:18 PM
I like nickle because people think it cracks too fast so they leave it at the range. That, and the police leave it at the range. So...does is crack faster than brass? Maybe, but I get a ton of it so what's it matter.

Eat Dirt
06-15-2011, 11:31 PM
Some interesting info. here

Thanks Guys

I've been tossing the nickel stuff I ' harvest ' into the recycle Bucket for some time now

fabguy
06-16-2011, 5:10 AM
Some interesting info. here

Thanks guys

+1
thank you for all the great info

Marlin Hunter
06-16-2011, 10:11 AM
Your dies may also wear out faster with nickle brass. I lube my nickle plated brass.

(WAG)
One reason the nickle plated brass may crack sooner is that it work hardens when you re-size the case. Nickle is harder, so it will generate more heat when it is pressed into the sizing die. The harder the brass case, the easier it is to crack. When the factory makes brass, they must anneal the case after each operation because the brass work hardens.


http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2007/06/how-cartridge-brass-is-made/

Bill Steele
06-16-2011, 10:38 AM
From my experience, how I use the brass I am shooting affects its life far more than what material it is made of.

When I am running full house magnum loads my brass cracks pretty fast relative to when I am running light loads.

In addition, I load some oversized lead bullets for a few of my guns. I have to bell that brass more to avoid shaving the lead when seating the bullets. This brass cracks far sooner than say standard sized FMJ loaded rounds.

I have a buddy that will not pick up nickle brass for reloads as he swears it wears his dies prematurely. I pick up everything I see. :)

Fishslayer
06-16-2011, 12:13 PM
The theory is dissimilar metals causes the splitting, but I just have not found this to be true.

It might be the plating process. I know that chrome plating will cause hydrogen embrittlement and people who make bike parts have to deal with it. But that is a three step process.

No idea if simple nickel plating will do this. They've made quite a few nickel plated handguns over the years.

I would think that excessive belling and roll crimping would be more of a factor.

Cowboy T
06-16-2011, 1:52 PM
I'm with Bill Steele and JT1989. Pick up what you see and use it! If it splits, so what? Unless you're running some really rare cartridge (e. g. .44 AMP), there's plenty more.

Bill also makes a good point about how you load those cases. I think one reason I get so many reloads out of my cases is that I don't typically load 'em full-house. Even my .357 Magnum "hotter" load is only about 28,000 PSI or so (same as typical 9mm).

ireload
06-17-2011, 5:34 PM
I'm with Bill Steele and JT1989. Pick up what you see and use it! If it splits, so what? Unless you're running some really rare cartridge (e. g. .44 AMP), there's plenty more.

Bill also makes a good point about how you load those cases. I think one reason I get so many reloads out of my cases is that I don't typically load 'em full-house. Even my .357 Magnum "hotter" load is only about 28,000 PSI or so (same as typical 9mm).


I agree with Cowboy T. I've had nickel plated .38spl and .357mag. which I purchased new manufactured loaded rounds back in the early 90's and still load them to this day. But I only load them with minimum charge. I'm sure with full bore load they would have split long before. Several are showing signs of nickel plating wearing off.

Southpaw45
06-18-2011, 12:19 AM
Leave you nickel brass at the range and I will pick it up and will be happy to reload them again for my use.......

Viagrow
06-29-2011, 9:07 PM
Nickel plated brass will crack, split and scratch your dies. Mail it all to me and rid yourself of that nasty junk.

meaty-btz
06-29-2011, 9:32 PM
I have a ton of nickle plated from the early 90s. Some of it has the nickel worn off.

GeoffLinder
06-29-2011, 10:56 PM
IME nickel plated has pretty much the same service life as plain brass. I learned this using both types feeding a .38 super comp gun in the early 90's. These were way over max, primer frlattening, +++P loads. I used Remington brand brass and nickel plated .38 super interchangeably for a number of years with no difference in anything reloading them.

Now different brands may be an issue if you are pushing the max end on loads.

For my low to mid-range 9mm plinking ammo, I don't care what the brass is as long as it goes through the press ;)