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Nickel Plating Blew Off My New Brass

David Sinko

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A few years ago I bought 100 new unfired nickel plated R-P .45 Colt cases which I had intended to use for serious field use. After the first firing the nickel plating was literally blown off around the mouth and back about 1/8" to even 1/4". I could then grab the plating and start peeling it off in large flakes. I have never experienced this before and in my experience very heavily utilized .38 Special and .45 ACP cases will simply fade to brass color but never peel. I just bought 100 new nickel plated Starline cases and I hope it does not happen again. This stuff is getting very expensive. Was this just a bad batch of R-P brass?

Dave Sinko

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With nickel, you have to be careful of how much you bell the brass. If you're using jacketed bullets, reduce the bell to a minimum (just enough to accept the bullet without crushing the case when seated.)

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I've rarely had some flaking of nickel plating on the mouths of R-P .40 cases, but that was with multifired brass and a fairly aggressive bell.

Mostly it's a gradual wearing off of the plating from overly enthusiastic polishing.

The cases weren't trimmed to length, by any chance? That might expose the boundry layer between the base metal and the plating right at the case mouth. Just speculating here, but I suppose that could cause hot high pressure gas to work its way under the plating.

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