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I'm not a metallurgist, but I'm pretty sure of the following:

A. It looks pretty.

B. Relative to brass, it is corrosion resistant.

C. I've heard that it makes the cartridges brittle, and more prone to splitting after repeated firing/resizing cycles.

I can believe "C" because I have a batch of several thousand mixed 38 special cases that are about 50:50 brass and nickel. Before reloading them each time, I check them for splits. The incidence of splits in the nickel cases is several times higher than that in the brass cases.

I don't know what nickel does to your dies in terms of rate of wear.
 

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Skeeter Skelton said...

What is the reason for nickle plateing brass? And what effect does it have on reloading it? Thanks
Many years ago, before his early passing, Skeeter of Texas and the border and the border patrol, etc.; said that along time ago when cases were new (and mostly copper) there were two ways of tanning leather for commercial purposes. One involved lots of tannic acid and left the leather "acidic". The other was alot more expensive but left the leather neutral. Cowboys wore six guns just like in the movies. Well, maybe not quite as many Colts. Cowboys wanted to carry cartridges in cartridge loops.

If you got the expensive leather for your belt with loops, then you could carry anything, no problem.

If you were a "poor hand" and bought the less expensive leather and put copper or brass cases into the loops, they grew the green crud on them (and would not chamber easily or at all) in "jig" time. NOW IF you happened to have nickled plated brass, it did not react with the acids in the cheap leather and you could carry cartridges almost forever... not to mention being a shiny silver look which the vain might prefer --especially in town... cows are hard to impress...

Today both leathers still exist but so do nylon belts... Nickle is not necessary, just looks different.

AND the plating process has an effect on the brass underneath. If you get a batch that does not have much change, then reloading is no big deal. If you get a batch that was not so well done, nickle flakes off, cases split alot sooner... The one big reason I have heard for nickle cases, MUCH easier to find in the grass especially when kicked out of an auto loader and you didn't happen to follow it down. Your bucks, your choice. luck. HAPPY HOLIDAYS. HAPPY TRAILS.
 

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There are also claims that African cartridges were nickel-plated because it made them a bit "slicker" and easier to chamber, especially in a dusty or gritty environment. That may or may not be true, but plated cases are a bit "slickerier" than non-plated ones. In the West, it was common to plate revolvers to help guard against blackpowder corrosion, and it makes sense that the logic extended to the cartridges as well. The leather claim is certainly true; I have many sample cartridges with the telltale green ring around them where they'd been carried in a lether belt loop.

(BTW, nickel is the metal, a "nickle" is a five-cent US coin)
 

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Nickel plated cases also will not "tarnish".

I have a couple of big game rifles that seldom get used, but I worked up loads for them a long time ago.

I load ammo for those guns in nickel cases exclusively. When I need to use one of them the ammo doesn't need to be "cleaned up" before use.

And I don't need to worry about the latest lot of powder's burning rate having changed...(made that mistake before too).

The ones that weren't offered plated, I plated myself from virgin brass.

They obviously don't get reloaded enough to worry over split necks after 10-15 firings.
 

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I have almost switched over to nickel cases 100%. I like the no tarnish, no mess myself. I don't care if they are pretty or not, but I don't care to see the build up on brass cases either. I really prefer nickel cases for hunt, for bench or target guns I use the brass, it seems that all of the good brass is just brass.

I also done some tinkering and removed the nickel from inside of the case mouth/necks of some, didn't really see any difference, however it seems this is the place where the nickel is gritty

Clint
 

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I Never Use Nickel

I have never used Nickel Brass becasue of the danger of particles flaking
off & staying in the chamber. Also, the Nickel Brass has a reputation of
being much worse for "neck splits". Some 30 years ago I was warned about
Nickel Brass by an older very knowledgable Gunsmith, and I guess that has
stuck in my mind all these years. :(
 

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Nickel is hard as Heck...........

If your rifle likes taking a walk on the wild side of super Hot loads then Ni is for you, you will get less problems.

Otherwise, Ni sucks............
 
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