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Thread: Nickel-plated brass

  1. #1
    Private klausg's Avatar
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    Question Nickel-plated brass

    Hey gang-
    I just got a mess, (1000 rds) of nickel-plated brass on a bargain, and I am now hearing rumors that it's not good to reload the stuff; the rumors vary from "don't use it" to "it will leave deposits on your carbide sizer die". Can you guys either confirm or de-bunk these rumors. I have always reloaded the stuff in the past, (not in these amounts, just what I picked up here & there) with no problems; but I'd rather not trash my dies if I can help it. Thanks much in advance.

    -SSG Klaus

  2. #2
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Try this: Take all such advice and pile it next to your vegetable garden. Cover it with black plastic and weight down the edges. Ignore it all summer. Spread it on the garden after first frost to fertilize next year's veggies. Be prepared for a bumper crop.

    Seriously, I have been using nickel-plated pistol and rifle brass for 30+ years with no ill effects on my dies. If anything, they are in my opinion easier on carbide dies because there is no oxidation on the outsides of the cases and stuff is less likely to stick there. Grit is what ruins sizing dies, regular or carbide, although dropping a carbide sizer on a concrete floor will shatter one. (Don't ask.)

    Decent brass that's properly cared for won't cause you any problems at all. I don't even clean my brass - never have. I do keep it clean, usually in plastic ammo boxes, and am careful to wipe off any cases that hit the ground before returning them to the storage boxes. I estimate that my .38/.357 carbide sizer has seen much more than 10,000 rounds through it, and that's a very conservative estimate - it was bought in 1977 and I shoot more of it than anything else (2500 loaded last year, about average, almost 700 so far this year and I really haven't started shooting yet). There are no signs of wear on the carbide sizing ring.

    All my carry ammo is in nickel-plated cases, and all my rifle hunting ammo, too. The only drawback to the rifle cases is that the Rem brand aren't quite as accurate as my preferred stash of WW cases, but as I like to say, I hear no complaints from the deer in the freezer.

    One possible source of those rumors: Several times I have happened upon some el cheapo handgun cases from Asian or Eastern European companies that have begun to shed their plating upon resizing. While I do not believe that this is hard enough to damage a sizing die, whenever I have encountered any I have simply tossed the whole lot into the recycling bucket. I do take home quite a bit of range brass that I use for practicing, and there is an occasional surprise in with it. Like they say in the kitchen, "When in doubt throw it out." So I do just that.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  3. #3
    Moderator Toney's Avatar
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    They work good for me. Had problems with them spliting but i figured out i was over expanding them for the cast bullets
    Toney Relic Hunter

  4. #4
    Private klausg's Avatar
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    Toney/versifier- Thanks for the reply, I kind of figured it was all a bunch of hooey, but it's nice to get my opinions endorsed. Not to mention it never hurts to check. Again thanks for the input, you guys are a Godsend.

    -SSG Klaus
    Last edited by klausg; 05-01-2006 at 10:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Gunload Grunt kg42's Avatar
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    The usual advice is : "They aren't any good but I will go through the trouble of taking them from you for free" .... you obviously had to deal with gossipers who lost the essence of the tradition

    It might be that repeated use of steel dies was tougher on pistol cases than the carbide tools we have now though...

    kg

  6. #6
    GunLoad Trainee
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    I love the nickel it looks so pretty and when you're shooting with others it is easy to identify your brass!

  7. #7
    Great Master d-o-k's Avatar
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    I'm extreamly fond of Nickle plated brass & due to a lazy streak ....Carbide dies ! I,ve never had any problems with either ! I think a lot of the bad Press on both have come from cheap offerings & the fact that some reloaders /shooters are really frightened of change .

    Dave
    All times wasted wot not spent shootin

  8. #8
    Private Baldy's Avatar
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    Talking Nickel's Worth..

    I use both. After I take them out of the tumbler, I wipe them off and get the cob out of them. Then I put them in a plactic shoe box and spray a little Hornady's case lube on them and run them through the sizing die. I have carbite dies but what the heck it makes everything work a lot eaiser. Them shiney cases will look like they was made at the factory. Remingtons are thinner and will not last as long as Win's or Star Line. The ones I get will split between 4&6 reloads. If one is flaking I don't use it. I say load them.

  9. #9
    Dogs Like Him versifier's Avatar
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    Baldy,
    I wonder if there is another cause that would explain your short case life. What kind of longevity do your other cases get? I have had Rem .357mag and .38spec cases that have gone over 20 loadings with UNQ max/+P loads, just like the WW's. These are the only calibers that I shoot max loads. They do seem a little thinner, and they weigh a bit less, but they have a little more powder capacity (not that it's needed). I find that careful chamfering reduces the amount that I have to work the brass, but that might be irrelevant to your trouble.
    "Stand your ground.
    Do not fire unless fired upon.
    But if they mean to have a war let it begin here."
    - Capt. Parker, Lexington Militia, April 19, 1775

  10. #10
    Private Baldy's Avatar
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    Red face Your Right..

    Well lets see if I can remember. You are right I do bell the case a little to much. That's why they don't last as long as the brass plus I use a sung crimp. The case mouths just get weak I guess. I shoot mostly 357 & 38's at max loads also. The brass last for ever but the nickle just seems to go to pots after about six rounds. Remington brass doesn't hold up real well either. I don't even buy it anymore. I use nothing but Winchester. I am going to do a little ajusting on my press Versifier and see what I get.

    Shoot fast make one Hole..

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