brass or nickel

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brass or nickel

Post by rebs on 4/14/2016, 6:34 am

Is there any difference accuracy wise between brass and nickel 38 cases ?
I reload and have quite a few nickel cases and a few brass.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Gary Wells on 4/14/2016, 5:47 pm

I'm not a bulls-eye shooter, but a wanna-be, but I do & have shot quite a bit of .45 auto for targey over the years & I have never heard or seen anything creditable regarding one over the other for accuracy.
I reload & shoot nickel only FWIW as it it easier for me to spot on the range floor. HTH.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by rreid on 4/14/2016, 8:35 pm

In my experience, the majority of my split cases are nickel.  Maybe something in the nickel plating process makes them more brittle?
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Gary Wells on 4/14/2016, 11:29 pm

All of my split cases are nickel because that's all that i shoot.
And I will get from 15 to 30 light target reloads out of those cases unless I lose them.
And I do shoot them until they split.
Nickel plated shouldered pistol cases tend to have a poor longevity span.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by s1120 on 4/15/2016, 8:19 am

I hear a lot of people talk about the down sides on Nickel, and really wonderd about it. Ive shot, and reloaded them off and on, and it seems to shoot and load just as well for me. I have a big stash of Nickel 38spc wadcutter cases that I was planning on using for my 50 yard loads. Just to tell them apart from the others.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Gary Wells on 4/16/2016, 3:34 pm

I recently read over on the ammo / reloading section of Glock Talk (quit laughing, I don't own one, just read the 1911 section over there) that Jerry Keefer recommends brass over nickel plated cases for match ammo. I could not find Mr. Keefer on any forums so I sent him an E-mail requesting reasons behind his thoughts on this subject. Hope nobody minds.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by STEVE SAMELAK on 4/16/2016, 3:54 pm

I get teased because nickel  9mm cases make me happy.
They don't shoot or load any different for me..they  just look shiny & happy.
They are also easy to find in the grass at one of the ranges I play at.
They also clean up faster than anything else I've seen.

But mostly they just make me happy & why else do you shoot?
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Gary Wells on 4/16/2016, 7:29 pm

Same subject / topic: Nickel versus brass:
1911 forum / handloading
Glock Talk / ammo / handloading, & here.
Pretty much same comments / conclusions.


Last edited by Gary Wells on 4/16/2016, 8:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Jerry Keefer on 4/16/2016, 8:23 pm

This came about from extensive testing of 38 spl. for PPC competition.  By extensive, I mean thousands of rounds, for months at a time... The PPC team at that time was very serious about the game.. The goal was to win.. Win big.. Not just local, and State, but on the National scale.. That takes serious preparation. I always asked the shooters, " What are you willing to sacrifice to be the best.??" Because it takes a lot of work, time and money.. Every micro inch of group reduction equals more points.. This went on for several years... During that time.. it was found that nickel plated brass was to be avoided.. Groups opened up with nickel.. It is more prone to splitting.. A split case is a guaranteed flyer.. X's and 10's win matches.. A flyer into the 7 ring is how you loose matches.. Training for years, day in and day out, equipment expenses, travel expenses, food and lodging... Is it worth the risk to shoot nickel.. No big league players are shooting nickel in major matches..  There's a reason for that..  
And,  by the way.. They did win big...SmileSmile 2001 Jackson, Miss.. 2 man team and a National record that held up for ten years..The first team ever, to win the World title with automatics..
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by mikemyers on 3/31/2018, 8:50 am

I have a large bag of once-fired Fiochi 38 Special nickel plated brass cases that I used to collect.  I found it again a few days ago while organizing my reloading room.  

I understand from Jerry's post that for someone measuring their group size in micro-inches, brass cases are preferable.  Not sure whether to find someone to give these cases to, or use them for practice.  I'm not sure if someone with my level of shooting skill will notice any difference.

I'm curious as to what people here think nowadays.  I'm also thinking I should load up 50 of them, and compare the results (for me) between nickel plated brass and plain brass.
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Wobbley on 3/31/2018, 10:32 am

Nickel plated used to be preferred cuz you didn’t lose them in the grass as quickly.  Way back when, case polishers of any kind weren’t thought of or too expensive.  Brass that’s brown in color blends in to the grass you’ll seldom find many.  

But after extensive testing nickel plating promotes splitting.  And we now have case cleaners that make the ammo bright and shiny. 

IMO, if you have nickel plated cases, go ahead and use them.  They’re not inherently less accurate.   But they will require more careful inspection.
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Deerspy on 3/31/2018, 2:58 pm

I would watch for nickel flaking, I had sum start flaking once and it ruined my die so now I just by brass and if i get nickel just load it a few times and toss it out!

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Al on 3/31/2018, 5:52 pm

Deerspy wrote:I would watch for nickel flaking, I had sum start flaking once and it ruined my die so now I just by brass and if i get nickel just load it a few times and toss it out!

As have I. No nickel for me, goes in the giveaway can. One set of ruined dies is sufficient, thank you.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by mpolans on 3/31/2018, 6:12 pm

Nickel plated cases are smoother and easier to extract, particularly if you’re using high pressure loads. However, they’re more brittle and prone to splitting after fewer reloads. I prefer nickel cases for USPSA major power factor loads. For bullseye, with its low pressure loads, there’s no advantage to nickel cases.

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Aprilian on 4/1/2018, 11:13 am

Deerspy wrote:I would watch for nickel flaking, I had sum start flaking once and it ruined my die so now I just by brass and if i get nickel just load it a few times and toss it out!
Can you explain what happens to the inside of the die when a die gets ruined?   Also, how do I tell whether my die is ruined?   

Seems to me a lot of people are using quite old dies.  Unlike brass showing clearly that it has reached end of life, don't dies slowly wear down and then you just adjust the die depth in the press?

Thanks,

Ian
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by mikemyers on 4/1/2018, 11:41 am

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think a small piece of the nickel plating gets "stuck" to the inside of the die, meaning any rounds that are made after that will be gouged by the metal that has become part of the die.

RCBS sells lubricant (RCBS Case Lube 2 Case Resizing Lubricant), that I used to put on all my shells so they wouldn't get stuck in the die.  I still use it, even though I've got carbide dies, as it makes it so much easier to operate the press.  I think that lubricant might also minimize the chance of damage from a nickel shell.
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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Colt711 on 4/2/2018, 6:05 pm

During the recent powder shortage I obtained an 8 of Clays when running low on BE. When developing the .38 Spl  load for my auto's I used nickel cases working up to  and settling on 2.5.  Shot a few rds w/ nickel and noticing nothing unusual I loaded 2 or 300 rds using my normal mixture of brass cases.
At the practice range I fired a 5 shot string and the line was stopped. I retrieved the 5 during the break and was surprised to find most of the 5 split! I had enough BE for .38  so abandoned that effort and used the Clays pdr for .45 & 9m, and the already loaded .38 in brass in my revolver.

Ron Habegger

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Re: brass or nickel

Post by Deerspy on 4/4/2018, 5:03 pm

small piece of the nickel plating gets "stuck" to the inside of the die, meaning any rounds that are made after that will be gouged by the metal that has become part of the die. and the dies I was using were not carbide when it happened to me and I honed it out more than once be for i smart and quit using nickel, I have carbide now that was about 40 years ago

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