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Thread: Purpose of Nickle plated brass?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    fiberoptik's Avatar
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    Purpose of Nickle plated brass?

    Here's a noob question for you: what's the reasoning for nickel plated brass?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Bub Postell's Avatar
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    Corrosive resistance.. it tends to take much longer to tarnish and grow green than bare brass.

  3. #3
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    Especially in leather belt loops or other cartridge holders.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    Especially in leather belt loops or other cartridge holders.
    This is essentially the correct answer.
    Brass cartridges react with the tanning solutions used to tan leather causing to tarnish very badly.

    Sorry, Postell I didn't see your post, as it is correct also.
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  5. #5
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    The green gunk that forms on brass that's exposed to tanned leather is called 'verdigris'. Nickel plated brass doesn't react to the tanning agents.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master enfield's Avatar
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    It splits and cracks very early in it's life, so I assume it exists in order to sell more brass.

    hey, watch where ya point that thing!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiberoptik View Post
    Here's a noob question for you: what's the reasoning for nickel plated brass?
    Its also a big help when shooting black powder cartridge loads as it doesn't seem to corrode as easy as brass cases. But I also throw them in a bucket of soapy, hot water after shooting black powder loads in my 45-70 using nickle plated brass.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I believe they feed better as well. They sure look funny after they've been tumbled 7 or 8 plus times and the brass starts to show through in spots. I have noticed cracking after not too many loadings as well. I just stick to brass for the most part.

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    I think some kind of spray lacquer would serve their intended purpose just as well, and also seal the primer against water entry. You wouldn't do this without checking whether the thickness of lacquer prevents chambering? No, nobody would do that.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    It's pretty! I use nickel plated for my carry loads, better corrosion resistance, and it may feed better. Have heard that, but have not personally seen a difference. All other loads get standard brass cases.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by enfield View Post
    It splits and cracks very early in it's life, so I assume it exists in order to sell more brass.
    that might be more related to the reloader and handling, and the load level.

    I have some 45acp and some 38/357 that is so old that the nickle is transparent or gone in some / most places,and the head stamps are even worn light. It's been loaded countless times.

  12. #12
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    Ohhhhhhhh Shinnnnny. Ohhhhhhhh Pretttttty. Or at least that's always been my opinion/observation. My experience is that brass life is drastically reduced when nickel plated (Just found several dozens .308/.30-06/xx Mag cases at the range last week; I'll clean & reload the calibers I use - trade the rest - but expect them to have fewer reload lives than standard brass).
    Mustang

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I do find them to be harder as well. At times can hear them grind against the die walls when sizing. I remember years ago posters saying they scratch the inside of sizing dies over time. Even when they are well lubed I have had shavings come off the casings when sizing and have little flakes of it inside my dies. Ive only reloaded nickel in 30-06 and 243 over the years, no pistol casings. I believe the coating makes it more durable but the downside it makes them brittle. I have tossed most of them out being their necks split. I have brass that I have loaded three times over and keep going. It's a coolness factor and I like the looks of Nickel but stay away from them for this reason. I do like the idea above that nickel dose not tarnish in leather loops. It might sucker me back in some day to purchase some.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 10-23-2017 at 10:34 AM.

  14. #14
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    I've long wondered if the nickel plating adds to the overall dimensions of the case thus making it a tighter fit. never got around to really checking that out.
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  15. #15
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    Ive had 2 detectives J frames that the cartridges (brass were corroded into the chambers from years of exterior wipe downs with oil and mild solvents). These cartridges had to be pushed out individually with a punch and hammer. Nickel slows this effect down also. Nickel on a brass case is pretty thin its a flash plating process. I will use it but prefer brass cases with no plating. The plating process and nickel seem to make brass more brittle. Nickel plating is also very hard so flaking or cracking in the plating may leave a shape edge that could scratch dies and chambers.

  16. #16
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    Had some 300 Win Mag nickle-plated, MUCH harder to resize than plain brass casings, after sizing 10 I put the nickle-plated 300's in the 'dire circumstances pile'. 45 ACP and 38 Special work fine.

  17. #17
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    I only use nickle plated cases for rounds that will be kept in looped/leather cartridge carriers of which I have more than a few. They do tend to remain cleaner than the brass finished rounds and they do fare well less upon reloading. So I limit their use. I have some of them (nickel) with Winchester Silver Tip boolits which do catch the eye.
    Pax Nobiscum Dan (Crash) Corrigan

    Currently casting, reloading and shooting: 223 Rem, 6.5x55 Sweede, 30 Carbine, 30-06 Springfield, 30-30 WCF, 303 Brit., 7.62x39, 7.92x57 Mauser, .32 Long, 32 H&R Mag, 327 Fed Mag, 380 ACP. 9x19, 38 Spcl, 357 Mag, 38-55 Win, 41 Mag, 44 Spcl., 44 Mag, 45 Colt, 45 ACP, 454 Casull, 457 RB for ROA and 50-90 Sharps. Shooting .22 LR & 12 Gauge seldom and buying ammo for same.

  18. #18
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    Yall must be loading, hot, max loads and high pressures, and resizing with poor, insufficient, or no lube, and have ragged resizing dies.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin101 View Post
    I've long wondered if the nickel plating adds to the overall dimensions of the case thus making it a tighter fit. never got around to really checking that out.
    I'm sure the thickness used in commercial nickel-plated cases is entirely negligible for this purpose. It would certainly be possible to plate nickel thickly enough to improve the fit at the neck which benchresters require. It is used in engineering to reclaim worn parts. But nickel is a brittle metal, and I don't believe it would stand expansion and sizing.

    I can think of just one specialised application in which heavy nickel plating might be viable and useful. Black powder scheutzen shooters sometimes used a single case a very large number of times, with moderate black powder loads and without sizing. The bullet was usually breech-seated separately, or muzzle-loaded with a false muzzle. Neck thickening by plating might do some good in this situation. But while breech-seating or muzzle-loading certainly produced excellent accuracy - the best of all rifles, for a while - I doubt if using a succession of sized cases would have reduced it any.

  20. #20
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    +1 for nickle plated cases in black powder cartridge rifles.Since I do not re-size my .40-65 or .45-70 cases when loading black powder, they seem to last as long as non-plated brass. Black powder residue does not cling to the inside of the plated cases making cleaning a lot faster, just a simple hot soapy water wash then into the vibrating tumbler. I have some early star-line plated .40-65 that have been reloaded at least 50 times in the past 10 years and only washed, reprimed and reloaded without ever being put through reloading dies. The nickle is wearing thin to the point that the cases are taking on a yellow hue. I suspect the corn cob/walnut shell cleaning media is wearing the plating away. I also have noticed decreased case life with .45 Colt and 38 Special/.357 Magnum plated cases, but these cartridge cases get severely resized at each loading.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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