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Thread: Purpose of Nickle plated brass?

  1. #21
    Boolit Bub

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    Nickle plated R/P .338 Win Mag cases for hunting

    I use Nickle plated R/P .338 Win Mag cases for hunting. I carry extra rounds in a leather cartridge holder. I have reloaded one box of 20 now on their 6th reloading, neck sized only. I have found that thoroughly cleaning the cases by tumbling and a wipe down with a rag, some graphite lube on the neck generally does the trick for me. I have experienced split necks, but generally after a full length sizing. I wont use a Nickle plated case for hunting after the second reload due to the possibility of a split neck causing a flyer.

    I like using the plated cases. Their corrosion resistance is great in leather, I believe they feed easier, and they are easier to spot if you drop one. My hunting buddies razz me about my " high dollar cases", I just smile.....

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    I'm always happy to find some nickle plated brass. The wife likes the color and its easier to find in the grass.

  3. #23
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    Finster101's Avatar
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    I have a limited amount of nickel in 9mm and .45 that I like to use for steel shoots. Makes getting my brass back much easier.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I think the leather deal is the reason. One of the biggest mistakes I have made loading was with
    once fired nickel 357 brass. I spent several hours and steps reforming them into a wildcat 22 cal.
    I used them because I had 2 boxes from same lot. They loaded up nice, looked fancy with the
    plastic ballistic tipps. Second loading, neck size only, lost over half of the 100 to split necks, some
    were split from first firing. Learned my lesson- no forming nickeled brass.

  5. #25
    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.
    I recently pulled the bullets out of some Super X nickel plated factory loads. Never fired but split at the mouths.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  6. #26
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    That's not saying much.. I have seen superx new with split necks/brass cases 218 Bee, bad right in / from the new/ unopened box!

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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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?
    Semper Fi!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Along with the previous answers and in regards to "feeds better," many have also found that it ejects better out of a hot cylinder whereas brass will sometimes stick.

    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.
    HA! Could be some real truth in that one.

    I use my nickel 38 Special brass for the light 105 SWC loads I load for my wife and daughters. Slight crimp, very low pressure and I get a lot of loads out of them.


  8. #28
    Boolit Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    Nickel plating is also very hard so flaking or cracking in the plating may leave a shape edge that could scratch dies and chambers.
    Had this happen. Some nickel plating cracked at the front edge of a .357 case, and scratched the inside of my (non-carbide) resizing die.

    Then the die scratched all my other .357 cases, until I figured out what was going on.

    I trade it, or toss it.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
    Traffer's Avatar
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    This maybe an inane noob question. Can it be annealed? I would think if it cracks easily, annealing would be the solution.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  10. #30
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    All metals have different properties and different annealing techniques. The concept is to make the metal more ductile without losing strength. Carbon steel is annealed by heating to a given temperature then cooled slowly. Both nickel and brass are annealed by heating to a given temperature then cooled quickly (quenched in cold water). The problem with a nickel and brass combination is the different annealing temperatures. Brass used in cartridges anneals properly at 600 deg F whereas nickel takes 800-1000 deg F (depending on the alloy). If you heat a nickel plated case hot enough to anneal the nickel, the brass will be "over annealed" where it becomes so soft it won't have enough neck tension to hold a bullet and will likely crumple when the case is sized or when a bullet is seated. Likewise, if you heat the neck to 600 degrees, the brass will be fine but the nickel becomes brittle and will flake off when the case is sized or fired.

    When nickel plated cases are manufactured, the brass is first annealed at 600 degrees then quenched. Afterwards, the cases are electroplated with nickel at room temperature to maintain the brass properties. The only purpose for nickel plating is to make the cartridge more resistant to corrosion and of course to make them look pretty.

    Nickel plated handgun brass becomes brittle when fired and sized, thus reducing the number of times it can be reloaded. Nickel plated rifle brass is not intended to be reloaded, however you can usually squeeze out a few reloads before the necks split.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunwonk View Post
    Had this happen. Some nickel plating cracked at the front edge of a .357 case, and scratched the inside of my (non-carbide) resizing die.

    Then the die scratched all my other .357 cases, until I figured out what was going on.

    I trade it, or toss it.
    Your ? 56 ? Hardness nickel plated brass scratched your tool steel ( 200-250 ) dies?

  12. #32
    Boolit Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    Your ? 56 ? Hardness nickel plated brass scratched your tool steel ( 200-250 ) dies?
    Yep. This was before I knew about hardness numbers. Might not happen today.

  13. #33
    Boolit Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunwonk View Post
    Had this happen. Some nickel plating cracked at the front edge of a .357 case, and scratched the inside of my (non-carbide) resizing die.

    Then the die scratched all my other .357 cases, until I figured out what was going on.

    I trade it, or toss it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    Your ? 56 ? Hardness nickel plated brass scratched your tool steel ( 200-250 ) dies?
    Quote Originally Posted by gunwonk View Post
    Yep. This was before I knew about hardness numbers. Might not happen today.
    Oops, my apologies. I see I have not communicated well. Here goes again ...

    My steel resizing die got scratched, by a chipped front edge on one piece of my nickel .357 brass.

    After that, the die scratched all of my yellow .357 brass. (I don't remember whether or not it scratched the other nickel brass.)

    Now I prefer not to use nickel brass.

  14. #34
    All metals have different properties and different annealing techniques. The concept is to make the metal more ductile without losing strength. Carbon steel is annealed by heating to a given temperature then cooled slowly. Both nickel and brass are annealed by heating to a given temperature then cooled quickly (quenched in cold water).

    vzerone, I think you have these confused. Every brass annealer made does not require the brass to be quenched, they can be quenched to stop the heat migration to the head of the case. But is not required to anneal the case.
    Last edited by Steelshooter; 10-28-2017 at 05:28 PM.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Now I am confused. I always thought that annealing brass and copper was just a matter if heating up and letting cool at normal air conditions. I have annealed copper that way many times after it had become work hardened and I have done the same thing annealing 22lr cases for reloading. They become noticeably softer after just heating to the 500+ degree range and let cool. Am I missing something here?
    AKA hans.pcguy

  16. #36
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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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.

    Nickel plating is typically 0.00015" thick. Which is next to nothing. It also will size down to the same size as your sizer die. It is more slippery than brass and harder.

    I have been told or read, that Nickel plated brass is used on wild cat loads to help reduce stuck cases. I have no idea if that is true. It would make sense.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  17. #37
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    I fired some nickle plated brass to fireform in my 30-06 AI. Less than half got split necks. Those that didn't split were able to be fired several more times. They do seem to load and eject better. I have a big bag of NP 7mm Rem mag brass that I resized using a Larry Willis die. Those have been fired several times before I sold the rifle, with no defects. It is easier to fireform regular brass, IMO.
    Tom
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  18. #38
    Traffer you are correct, althought your temperture is a little low for cartridge brass. Brass can be a different thickness from manufacturers, what you want to do is use tempilac 750 on the inside of the case neck apply heat to the shoulder neck area of the case until the tempilac just starts to melt. Time how long it takes to melt and do the rest of your cases using that time. You only have to use the tempilac on the one case.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David2011 View Post
    I recently pulled the bullets out of some Super X nickel plated factory loads. Never fired but split at the mouths.
    I had a box of one time fired nickel plated federal 243 given to me
    All but 6 necks were cracked.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
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    Probably not due to the nickel plating, but my only reloading experience with nickel-plated rifle brass was a box of once fired Remington 223. No problems with the case mouths, but the primer Pockets were so loose that I could practically push new primers in with my finger. That was a big disappointment.

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