plain brass or plated?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Chazz, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. Chazz

    Chazz New Member

    Oct 7, 2009
    I know there must be an advantage to nickle plating, but what is it? If I buy 1000 cases, is the plating worth the extra cost?

    This is one of about 4000 questions I'm sure I'll have, as I'm just getting started.
  2. Duckboats

    Duckboats New Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    Get brass, it's a softer metal.

  3. JohnTheCalifornian

    JohnTheCalifornian Member

    Jun 12, 2009

    Nickle plated brass is just a little harder then normal brass. And some will say it will feed into your weapon just a tad better than plain brass. Plus it looks prettier when you have it loaded with some mean looking bullets.:D

    First thing you should do is get yourself a couple of reloading manuals. You need to be able to read and FOLLOW the instructions inside. Otherwise you may end up hurting yourself or someone around you. I make it sound scary, but it really isnt along as you follow the instructions inside the manuals.

    The latest editions of the Lyman, Speer are a good place to start. You may also want to consider getting "Modern Reloading, 2nd edition" as well. Inside all these books is a wealth of information.

    If you are trying to save money and are on a tight budget then the Lee presses, dies, and tools cant be beat. There will be others to tell you Lee is no good and there will be some like myself that will tell you the exact opposite. There are many different press and die manufactures out there.

    Here is a list of websites that I know of that offer presses, dies, etc..:***731***
    There are 3 main categories of presses out there. Single Stage. Turret Press. And Progressive Press.

    Once you have a couple manuals and have read them you will learn there is just a few basic, but important steps to reloading. Any questions you have, just post here and there are a bunch of knowledgeable reloaders here who are eager to answer your questions.
  4. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    I was on the nickle kick for a while, my local range had buckets of 9mm seperated from brass and it was always available so I thought I really had something going, well it turns out the wiser reloaders knew something I didn't........two to three loads later the necks split. It sure does look nice and if its given to you by all means load it! Just take very good notes on how many times you do, I promise you will see splitting happen as I did. On the other hand if you are paying more for nickle I'd say avoid it someones trying to get over on you.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Nickel plated is shinier. If your gun ejects it in the grass it is easier to find. If you carry it in a leather cartridge belt it does not turn green. If you load it with black powder it does not corrode as fast. It is slightly slipperier, so if your chambers are dirty it loads easier.

    Brass is not as shiny. It is easier to lose in grass. It reacts with the acids used in tanning leather, creating verdigris. It is not as easy to load in a dirty chamber, and it corrodes quicker when exposed to black powder fouling.

    All that sounds like nickel is better.

    Now the downside. Brass is softer. It gives more. It expands easier in the gun and contracts easier in the die. Your cases last longer. Nickel, being a harder metal, work-hardens faster than brass does, and will crack sooner.

    I've got bunches and bunches of both nickel and brass in 38 and 357. When I have a crack in the brass, it is usually a case-mouth split. When I have a crack in the nickel it is usually a longitudinal body crack.

    I have nickel. I will reload nickel. But I won't buy nickel if I have a choice.
  6. olehippy

    olehippy New Member

    Jul 26, 2009
    S Tx near San Antonio
    If you plan on reusing your spent shells (‘brass’), brass is much more amenable than nickel plated, and is much more trustworthy for reloading. I am very leery of nickel cracking, esp when reloaded with higher pressure rounds. Nickel stays shinny longer, but the target or the weapon doesnt seem impressed.

    If I pick up some nickel plated brass and it passes inspection I’ll load it, but generally just once. Plain brass lasts much longer.

  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Another reason for using nickel plated is the shinier surface is better for doing a chamber check in low light conditions. Although not the main reason for using nickel in the majority of factory self-defense rounds, this is one advantage that can be very important in some situations.
    I reload my nickel cases and don't have any drastic issues, they don't last as long and I scrap them at even the slightest sign of fatigue or after any loadings with max charges. Still worth buying IMO if you find a good price on them.
  8. bucksnducks

    bucksnducks New Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    +1 on nickel not lasting as long. Always inspect every case nickel or brass before reloading.
  9. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Upstate NY
    I like nickel for .38 Spl. and .357 reloads. Nickel shines up nice and pretty in the tumbler.

    For everything else I shoot brass.
  10. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    West Virginia
    The advantage of nickel cases is that if you shoot cowboy or for any other reason store ammo in a leather ammo belt the brass will tarnish bad in a short time, the nickel won't.
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I have some nickel plated .480 ruger cases that I have reloaded 6 or 7 times and I have not had any problems. They seem be do as well as brass for me.? I also have some nickel .45/70 cases that I have reloaded about the same with the same results...???
  12. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    what kind of a sick person uses nickel plated 45/70's? ats like putting gold rims on a car... it's just wrong
  13. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I find that brass will outlast nickel two to four time longer, but it is prettier!!:D:D

    I have never bought any nickel plated brass and I see a lot of it left in the "brass bucket" at the range, must be a reason.
  14. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Yup, nickel plated brass usually has a shorter lifespan...especially if you use normal to heavy loads. I've got several batches of nickel .38Spcl that have gone through 7-9 loadings and are still fine...but I've also had some nickel pistol brass that didn't make it through 4 loadings before they started splitting.

    Bottleneck rifle brass...this usually does have quite a bit shorter lifespan. I've got one lot of .25-06 nickel that has several 20rd batches that are on their 6th loading but I know this is about the end of the line for them.

    From just the aspect of case life, stick with non-nickel. If some of the other reasons that have already been mentioned here apply to your situation, then maybe nickel would be useful to ya.
    (I use nickel-plated brass for my .25-06 strictly for the ease of segregating it from my dad's .270 ammo. Long story involving .25-06 fired in a .270...)

    You can also search the back posts in this forum for more discussions on the plated vs. raw brass.
  15. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    Some have complained about little pieces of nickel flaking off in their dies & causing problems. I havn't noticed that problem. I use nickel plated or plain brass to denote certain bullet weights in a caliber in my hunting loads. Plated for deer loads & plain for elk loads.
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Reloading Is So Well Worth Your Time;Let Me Explain! Sep 29, 2016
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Dillon 550b - one small complaint about the locking rings ? is yours like this? Jun 1, 2016
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Just Plain Peculiar 9mm Problem Mar 4, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Hazmat fee, why complain? Jan 28, 2014
The Ammo & Reloading Forum Pls explain "staking" Sep 2, 2012