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Facts About Different Types of Ammo Casings

People love to debate about the benefits of different types of casings. It’s true that casings are made out of a variety of materials, each with pros and cons you should know about. Plus, the casing, or cartridge case, doesn’t refer to the bullet inside. That can be made with different material as well. The purpose of the casing is to hold all the components of the cartridge together because it not only includes the bullet, but also the propellant (gunpowder), the rim, and the primer (igniter).

Let’s look at some facts about different types of ammo casings and when it’s best to use them. 

The 5 Main Types of Ammo Casings

There are five main types of ammo casings used in modern sporting today. They are brass, steel, aluminum, brass-plated, and nickel-plated brass. This raises the obvious question: which one is the best?

The type of casing that you use affects how the gun works and the way the bullet will move through the air after you fire it. So whether you are shooting at a range, going hunting for a specific type of animal, or just keeping your concealed carry weapon loaded and ready to use, the situation that you need your weapon for will dictate the type of casing that is best. 

Brass vs. Steel Casings

Brass is one of the most popular casings in use. It fires consistently, is easy to load, and resists deterioration pretty well. Another benefit is that brass holds a tighter chamber seal than other casing types. The forward pressure is more dependable. The downside is that brass is usually more expensive than other types, like steel. 

So if you are going hunting, you may want to go with brass. If you are just shooting volume-wise at a range and want to save some money, you can probably go with steel. Steel is cheaper, budget-friendly, and is available in many different calibers. 

Other Cost-Effective Options

Aluminum casings are inexpensive to make. So if you are looking for another cost-effective option, aluminum may be the way to go. It’s lightweight and durable, and won’t corrode the way that steel does. With aluminum, however, you won’t get the same tight seal as you would with brass. That said, it’s still an effective casing to use. It may be the right casing to use in your everyday carry firearm. 

Plated Casings in Brass or Nickel

Plated casings are also resistant to corrosion. Plus, they are easy to reload and have a nice slick feel to them. They are great for loading into a semi-automatic weapon, since you can slide the rounds into the magazine easier with less friction. These are perfect to use for a day out at the shooting range. 

At the end of the day, it really comes down to money and how often you shoot. Try different types of casings to see if you notice a difference and discover your own preference.


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2 Responses

  1. Interesting, but seems incomplete. If one reloads, which casing is better in regard to replacing primers? It also seems that just as the composition of the casing is important, rimmed or rimless design is just as much a part of the casing. Finally, do brass casings require the same lubrication as steel, aluminum and nickel placed?

  2. More details as to the pros vs cons would have been appreciated. Grayfox41 has some good points listed that could have been covered. Also it would have been nice to hear what the order of choice would be and why for reloading purposes. Thanks.

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