Winchester Brass - Nickle-Plated - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 10-11-2012, 13:22   #1
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Winchester Brass - Nickle-Plated

Some time ago I bought some Winchester cases to load for my Ruger No. 1 in .280 Remington. I did not need them until recently when I decided to load some fresh ammo for deer season.

Prior to the day I decided to load I had not even opened the package. When I did open it I thought the brass was mighty shiny but, since I am color defective, had no idea it was nickel-plated! As is my custom, I checked all the cases with my Wilson case gauge. Length was fine and they slipped in and out of the gauge without problem. When I started to full-length size the cases, which I always do with new brass, I found it very hard, even though they were well-lubed, to get them into the die. It took a sharp rap on the handle to get them in and pulling them out of the die was equally tough. So, I added a bit more lube, which did not help much, and finally got 25 cases sized. Still ignorant of what I had, I primed and charged the 25 cases. The next problem came when I tried to seat the first bullet. It would not enter the case mouth enough to stay in place while I inserted the cartridge into the die. So I held the bullet in place until the neck slipped into the die. Once again, getting the case far enough into the die to seat the bullet was very difficult unless I bore down on the handle of the press. When I got the bullet seated and removed the cartridge from the die, a large amount of the copper jacket had been peeled up around the case neck. It came right off using my thumbnail so the surface of the bullet jacket was what I was seeing. It was then I realized I had a problem. I took the case outside into the sunshine along with an old brass case and discovered that it was nickel plated. Not wanting to risk any more of my 140 grain bullets, I next tried to load a 120 grain 7 mm bullet into an unprimed case with the same result. Thinking that the problem might be with the die, I then re-sized an unprimed brass case. This time the bullet went in without issue. I next tried to chamber the one loaded round in my rifle. It would not go all the way in the chamber. The re-sized brass case went in without issue.

After all this I decided to check all the brass in the bag. I miked case necks and checked length. The length was fine but the necks were all extremely tight. Apparently nickel plated brass is very hard to re-size, or so it seems to me, and I have to wonder why any manufacturer would sell nickel-plated brass for reloading. I have since read some information on various sites and in some reloading forums, warning against the use of nickel-plated brass which will apparently destroy your dies if used over time. Over the years I have used some nickel-plated brass but only in pistol calibers and never had a problem sizing them.

Finally, during my inspection of the brass in the bag, I discovered a case that was head stamped .30-06! It was actually sized to .280 dimensions but I think this indicates a real breakdown in Winchesterís quality control. I found another case in the bag which was not finished, which is to say the brass was bent, dented and there was a wide split in the neck reaching nearly to the shoulder. This clearly happened during the manufacturing process.

I sent a letter to Winchester outlining all these problems and hope to get a response. I have used Winchester ammo for nearly 40 years and have a significant amount on hand so feel this is just a fluke. One thing I can tell you is that I will never use any nickel-plated cases again!

Has anyone else had this problem?
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:57   #2
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I have loaded a box of 30-06 nickel plated, it was once-fired box of cases I found in the trash at the gun range.

It's definitely pretty but as you say, harder to reload.

I don't care for the nickel plated as it doesn't have the same elasticity as brass and in time the plating will peel because of the two dissimilar metals by means of expansion and contraction

I typically use Remington brass only because all my loadings have been worked up with it and Rem brass is easier for me to get as compared with others.

I'm pretty anal with reloading, I keep everything the same, including my brass.

Is there any way you can send it back? I think I would shy away from it but YMMV
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Old 10-13-2012, 16:55   #3
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Originally Posted by ManyFeathers View Post
Is there any way you can send it back? I think I would shy away from it but YMMV
In my letter I detailed everything that is in this post. I did not directly ask for a refund or an exchange but I would think, assuming they are concerned about their customers' satisfaction, that they would offer something like that. I have used Winchester brass exclusively for some time and this is the first time I have had a problem. I think what shocked me most was finding the case in the bag with the .30-06 headstamp!

From now on my wife, who has perfect color vision, will have to inspect any cases I get from Winchester! Just kidding but that may not be a bad idea.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-14-2012, 14:05   #4
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The nickel makes them harder to resize and I have noticed I only get 2 or 3 loading out of the nickel stuff before it cracks. I don't know if it can be anealed to make it softer. kwg
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Old 10-15-2012, 17:56   #5
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An update. I got a phone call from a Winchester customer service rep today. They asked me to return the loaded rounds and empty cases and they will give me a gift certificate. I asked if they could exchange the nickel-plated brass for some plain cases and he told me they only make .280 in nickel-plated configuration. Well I do not want that so that is why I am getting the gift certificate.
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Old 10-15-2012, 18:50   #6
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Good for you!
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Old 10-25-2012, 18:48   #7
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It makes the brass crack in fewer reloadings, too. avoid it.
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