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Nickel vs. brass?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by RottnJP, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. RottnJP

    RottnJP Lifetime Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    So, what does the extra cost of nickel cases buy you? For example, I'm seeing $30 extra bucks on a 1000-count 10mm starline brass... Is it worth it?

  2. XDRoX


    Jan 24, 2009
    San Diego
    Buys you half as many loads before splitting:rofl:

    Seriously though, the don't last nearly as long, but they do feed a little better or so I've heard. If you have a picky gun or your life depends on it then I guess it couldn't hurt. But for plinking and reloading I prefer brass.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010

  3. srd


    Apr 4, 2009
    Yes they feed like butter going through a press but split easier due to nickel plating not being able to stretch like brass. I will usually load the nickel when i am not using a full power load or i am shooting where i can not have my cases back.
  4. MrOldLude


    Jan 18, 2010
    I love the look of nickel, but the performance benefit just isn't there for me, since my gun eats brass just fine.
  5. FLSlim


    Apr 12, 2010
    FL W Coast
    Ditto the above, save your money. Even without firing full power loads, nickel "wears out" much quicker than brass cases.
  6. coachg


    Dec 7, 2007
    I like the nickel for my 357 Sig and 357 Magnum loads, mostly because it's easier to find them. I was able to get them for the same price as brass so that wasn't an issue.


    Dec 20, 2002
    I've had great luck with nickel in auto brass, I've never seen one split, but I rarely flair and don't crimp, so it doesn't get worked much.
    For me it turns out to be more economical because I rarely loose a nickel case, brass ones get mixed in with other peoples brass or lost in the grass and leaves.

    Revolvers get plain brass, it handles the crimps better.
  8. 223splatfactor


    Jun 1, 2003
    The nickel has NOTHING to do with splitting! It is a plating process.
    If the same care with case prep is taken, it will last as long- or longer than brass. I keep seeing the internet ninjas say the nickel will scratch the reloading dies. Hmmmmm....let see. High carbon steel dies. Nickel. Which is harder? Steel-EVERY time !!!!

    I've used/reloaded nickel cases, both rifle and pistol for years and if you take care of them, the nickel will last at least as long as brass. Rant off. Neil
  9. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    1) Easier to see in the dark when you're trying to stuff rounds into a mag.

    2) More resistant to corrosion if you leave the mags loaded.

    Ever notice that all of Hornady and Speer SD ammo is nickel plated?

    From a reloaders point of view, not much except it's easier to segregate brass and easier to spot/recover in the grass.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  10. PhantomF4E


    Aug 24, 2010
    South Florida
    As said earlier A little less prone to corrosion if you live in the salty areas, or sweat like me. I never load a Self defense round to EDC other than maybe a SHTF round. That would be for when all the lawyers eat themselves up and there is no one left to say your witches brew cartridge called the spirits of the underworld to create the ultimate killing bullet, and then sue you for everything you own ... As for brass, well taken care of it'll last a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time too. I just fired a couple of rounds out of a box of Luger ammo my Uncle left with the P08 I inherited from him, circa late 40's early 50's . Fired quite well. Not in the Luger though it's a pretty nice all matching Simson. Paraniod I'll break a numbered part and ruin it. But the PT-92 ate them up .
  11. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Well I am not an internet ninja, but can attest to nickel cases causing scratching of brass cases used in steel dies. The nickel plating chips off, mniutely but it does, & embeds in the soft steel of the die. Non carbide dies aren't that hard. As to case splitting, I think the plating process does lead to shorter case life or making them a bit more brittle. I lose nickel 357mag cases all the time to splits but not the same manuf brass. So why would that be I wonder?:whistling: There is no advantage to using nickel cases but for the fact they need no polishing. Other than that, buy what you can get cheapest & shoot that. I load both but shy away from nickel rifle cases as they need trimming often & that only adds to the chipping.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  12. FLSlim


    Apr 12, 2010
    FL W Coast
    I may not be the most knowledgeable reloader on this string, but, while I don't get a lot of split cases, I would guess that I have 10-20 times more cracks/splits with nickel plated. Just the facts. I don't avoid nickel cases, but I wouldn't buy them for reloading.
  13. ColdShot


    Jul 15, 2010
    Brass seems to last forever,I cant even recall that last brass case I had to toss
    but Nickel seems to split at about 3-4 reloads....Im sure powder charges and case mouth depth all play a part of the longevity of a piece of brass - my case mouth die is always
    at the min,just enough to balance the bullet on top and my loads are always close to min charges