brass casing

#1
I'm watching one of those yank military things on Quest TV and they are firing some sort of 105 shell,
now they seem to be made of a steel casing....this leads me to ask, with the price of brass can any other metal be used for ammo? why has it always been brass?
I know it doesn't rust and is easy worked but there must be a deeper reason than that in this day and age.
 
#3
Brass doesn't rust, steel would need to be rust proofed either with a coating or stainless steel. Alloy would be pricey, aluminium too soft as would copper.
 
#4
Possibly to do with the characteristics of the metal, it's malleability allowing for the extrusion process to form the shape of the cartridge from a blank disc without introducing stress fractures and inclusions which would cause failures on firing. Just a guess, but with improvements in making steel, they can now probably do the same thing with it that they could only do with brass many years ago. It might of course be cheaper and more abundant than brass?
 
#6
The Germans ended up using lacquered steel cartridges by the end of World War 2. Not much use for machine guns apparently, the heat melts the lacquer and gums up the mechanisms.
My late father in law was ex-Wehrmacht, and he said they had a lot of trouble with the base of the cartridge seperating from the casing, in the case of the StGw44 it would then attempt to load a new round and jam it all to hell.
 
#7
Hence the lacquering when it was used I assume. Plus brass looks nice...
Quite, however the tactical position that Germany found itself 1944.45 it was using just about anything it could get its hands on, the laquer wasn't a patch on modern polymers, brass isn't that dear in comparison.

Also forgot to mention brass has a natural sheen that makes it low friction, a sort of natural lubricant, perfect for ammo and tight tolerances of weapons.
 
#9
Quite, however the tactical position that Germany found itself 1944.45 it was using just about anything it could get its hands on, the laquer wasn't a patch on modern polymers, brass isn't that dear in comparison.
From what I've read (in 'With Our Backs To Berlin', I forget who's story in there mentions it but it could have been the SS Officer Cadet who was chucked back into the front. I forget his name now and the missus will kill me slowly if I wake the baby up looking for the book!) they tried to use the steel cartridges for day to day stuff and keep what brass they could get their hands on for their 'desperation ammo' when Ivan attacked and they really, really needed the MGs to work.
 
#10
brass is some what a softer alloy than steel, so brass lends its self to a better fit inside the breech........
 
#11
shotguns went from paper to plastic!
how hard would it be to develop smallarms ammo...with all these super strength plastics that we have today?
 
#13
brass is some what a softer alloy than steel, so brass lends its self to a better fit inside the breech........
I take your point there R/square
but surely the round casing regardless of its material is a measured fit...so isn't compressed into chamber.
 
#14
I'm watching one of those yank military things on Quest TV and they are firing some sort of 105 shell,
now they seem to be made of a steel casing....this leads me to ask, with the price of brass can any other metal be used for ammo? why has it always been brass?
I know it doesn't rust and is easy worked but there must be a deeper reason than that in this day and age.
Corrosion resistant and ductile (deformable under tensile stress) enough to be reformed and reloaded.
 
#15
shotguns went from paper to plastic!
how hard would it be to develop smallarms ammo...with all these super strength plastics that we have today?
Plastics and co-polymers are very suseptible (sp) to climate changes and the really good stuff would scare you for the price it is, polyethelene ( pop bottles) is £1700 a ton raw, plastic is also made from oil guess what happens when it get hot?
 
#16
I take your point there R/square
but surely the round casing regardless of its material is a measured fit...so isn't compressed into chamber.
if the casing is lets say a micron, larger than the dia of the breech, a gas tight seal would ensure,,,,,
 
#18
I take your point there R/square
but surely the round casing regardless of its material is a measured fit...so isn't compressed into chamber.
The casing is somewhat smaller than the chamber, brass will expand when the round is fired without splitting, which might not be the case with a steel alloy. As I recall, when reloading, you could either resize the entire casing, or just the neck. The latter meant that you could only use it in the same rifle it was first fired in. I may be mistaken here, as it is over 30 years since I last reloaded used brass.
 
#19
Does anyone else remember the 'low power' plastic 7.62 ammo that was in use a while ago? The casings were blue plastic, IIRC, damn things used to jam all the bloody time.
last time I saw any we were on a building defence range and we were re-cocking after every shot. more modern plastics may help of course.
 
#20
Is that not a seperate issue?
it's the casing I was asking about not the projectile.
driving bands on shells, the soft outer jacket of a bullet, all help impart a gas seal and impart spin, however the casing must leave behind very small debris, and steel is a harder material than brass, so feed jams may occur....
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top