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Aluminium cartridges

Hello folks,

Just a quick question about why aluminum cases aren't used to replace brass ones. Aluminium is lighter and cheaper than brass. That they can't be reloaded shouldn't be an issue because the military doesn't reload cartridges anyway.

Thanks & have a good weekend!


Ive fired an MP5, which had ally cartridges when asked why the response it's cheaper for training than brass!
As already mentioned above the beauty of the brass is the way it expands and contracts. It initially expands supplying the rearward obturation, but it then contracts quickly to a size slightly smaller than before. This greatly reduces the chances of a stuckfast.

Generally, the aluminium cases (blazer etc) are used in training environments, where the result of a stoppage, or stuckfast is not an issue.

For the Brit Mil to move non brass for training would require two streams of ammo supplied, one which could only be used for training.

Our ammo has an operational shelf life after which it’s turned over to training.

Forgot to add:

Although the MOD doesn’t reload, it does sell the brass back to the SAA companies.
So what happens to all the spent brass at FOBs? Do they get shipped back to SAA manufacturers (seems uneconomical) or dumped in a landfill?

I've been reading a report about how solid waste (esp. non-combustible, non-biodegradeable) at FOBs are a major environmental, political and economic liability.
Current UK policy is that all contaminated waste, is to taken back to the UK from all overseas deployments.

We used to have a system where we would pay a local contractor to dispose of all contaminated waste in Theatre. But due to duty of care and the fact that they would take the money, and the scrap and just dump it, the UK would still be accountable of cleaning it up afterwards.

I know it’s crap. I has this problem to deal with in Iraq when we pulled out. Luckily we came up with a plan that kept the guys in the UK happy an didn’t involve shipping 10s of ISO containers back full of rubbish.

Spent brass is only required to be accounted for if issued at training.
I am in Libya and the streets are littered with empty cases. I have a 23mm, a 12.7mm, a couple of 7.62x39 and one 7.62x51. The 7.62x51 is headstamped FN 77 and is proper brass, the rest is lacquered steel, and looks cheap and nasty. Given that rounds are only used once in weapons with large manufacturing tolerances I guess there is not too much of a requirement for high quality control, but if it was me using the stuff I would be a bit concerned.


It works and works well, the only brass M43 cases I have seen are S&B, I do know however that there was some made in the US for allies armed withh the 7.62 x 39 and also for opfor training but I havent seen it surplussed anywhere!

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