Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

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Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby sprigfan on Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:57 pm

"After 50 Years, the Army and Marine Corps Are Closing In on Dumping Brass-Cased Ammo"
https://www.military.com/daily-news/202 ... -ammo.html

I just read this article and thought it would make an interesting topic of discussion.

While I do not believe brass-cased ammo is going away anytime soon, I could see all of the manufacturers switching to polymer eventually. I'm sure it is, or will be, a lot cheaper to make. Every other industry seems to have embraced plastic as much as possible. Maybe some manufacturers would keep producing brass cases just for reloaders.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby BigDog58 on Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:21 pm

I wonder how they will address the crimping of the case to hold the primers, as they currently do with brass cased ammo? As I currently understand it, this is done to assure the primers don't fall out, as they are fired in automatic weapons, which could cause jamming of the weapon.

I've never seen this reason in detail, but have had this mentioned in numerous conversations, regarding crimped primers in mil-spec ammo.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby crbutler on Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:17 pm

The Army has been trying to get rid of brass for how long? I remember the big deal with the H&K G11 while I was in college in ROTC.

That didn't work out.

The fact that no other military has gone to this for special forces duty yet seems that there are more problems than anyone wants to admit with this. Heck, they have been trying to get the Army to move to a "new" service rifle for how long, yet it keeps showing such minimal improvement that it is not worthwhile, at least from a cost/benefit analysis standpoint.

They start going to overpressure polymer rounds (like that new SiG round) and they will have all kinds of teething problems. Heck, stamping brass and making modern metallic cased ammo is something that is reasonably done in times of national emergency. Polymer would be much less so.

One would think the current COVID debacle would show how dumb it is to put national defense procurement to very specialized and limited manufacturing chains.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Lumpy on Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:12 pm

I thought that brass served the vital purpose of absorbing and then ejecting significant amounts of heat from the firearm, which is why caseless was never as nifty an idea as it sounded. How does polymer cope- or does it?

P.S. If polymer does shave five pounds off an infantryman's load, chances are they'll just find five more pounds of stuff to label "mission-essential".
Last edited by Lumpy on Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Ghost on Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:16 pm

Lumpy wrote:I thought that brass served the vital purpose of absorbing and then ejecting significant amounts of heat from the firearm, which is why caseless was never as nifty an idea as it sounded. How does polymer cope- or does it?

Need Russstra to explain polymers. I would think if a polymer gets hot enough it melts or burns.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby ttousi on Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:43 pm

Need Russstra to explain polymers
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby sprigfan on Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:54 pm

Ghost wrote:
Lumpy wrote:I thought that brass served the vital purpose of absorbing and then ejecting significant amounts of heat from the firearm, which is why caseless was never as nifty an idea as it sounded. How does polymer cope- or does it?

Need Russstra to explain polymers. I would think if a polymer gets hot enough it melts or burns.
That's exactly what I thought, but the article says the polymer actually helps keep the chamber cooler.

This is the kind of thing I was hoping to discuss. It's fascinating to me that polymer is even a possibility. I'd love to hear from people who know a lot more than I do on the subject.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Ghost on Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:06 pm

sprigfan wrote:
Ghost wrote:Need Russstra to explain polymers. I would think if a polymer gets hot enough it melts or burns.
That's exactly what I thought, but the article says the polymer actually helps keep the chamber cooler.

This is the kind of thing I was hoping to discuss. It's fascinating to me that polymer is even a possibility. I'd love to hear from people who know a lot more than I do on the subject.

Hard to believe but I’ve not shot polymer so I don’t know. But, since brass comes out hot I’d have to assume it’s taken heat out of the firing chamber to reach that state.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby xd ED on Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:35 pm

Ghost wrote:
sprigfan wrote:
Ghost wrote:Need Russstra to explain polymers. I would think if a polymer gets hot enough it melts or burns.
That's exactly what I thought, but the article says the polymer actually helps keep the chamber cooler.

This is the kind of thing I was hoping to discuss. It's fascinating to me that polymer is even a possibility. I'd love to hear from people who know a lot more than I do on the subject.

Hard to believe but I’ve not shot polymer so I don’t know. But, since brass comes out hot I’d have to assume it’s taken heat out of the firing chamber to reach that state.


What is put forth in the articles that less of the heat generated within the cartridge is transferred to the chamber because the polymer is less of heat conductor than brass; the chamber is said to stay cooler.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Holland&Holland on Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:35 pm

Lumpy wrote:I thought that brass served the vital purpose of absorbing and then ejecting significant amounts of heat from the firearm, which is why caseless was never as nifty an idea as it sounded. How does polymer cope- or does it?

P.S. If polymer does shave five pounds off an infantryman's load, chances are they'll just find five more pounds of stuff to label "mission-essential".

I thought we tried caseless already?
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby andrewP on Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:04 am

Ghost wrote:
sprigfan wrote:
Ghost wrote:Need Russstra to explain polymers. I would think if a polymer gets hot enough it melts or burns.
That's exactly what I thought, but the article says the polymer actually helps keep the chamber cooler.

This is the kind of thing I was hoping to discuss. It's fascinating to me that polymer is even a possibility. I'd love to hear from people who know a lot more than I do on the subject.

Hard to believe but I’ve not shot polymer so I don’t know. But, since brass comes out hot I’d have to assume it’s taken heat out of the firing chamber to reach that state.


Presumably whatever polymer they'd want to use to this would have similar properties regarding heat tolerance to the stuff that all of the polymer coated bullets are coated with and therefore doesn't melt?
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Jackpine Savage on Mon Apr 06, 2020 7:43 am

I wonder what happens when you get a rifle really, really hot, and then let a polymer case sit in the chamber for a few minutes.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Ironbear on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:01 am

Ghost wrote:.. since brass comes out hot I’d have to assume it’s taken heat out of the firing chamber to reach that state.

The heat comes from the powder not the chamber, so the lower thermal conductivity of the polymer would transmit less heat into the chamber wall. I would think the chamber would run cooler, even it makes no difference to the throat and barrel. Heat lost reduces the energy available; theoretically, the polymer should be slightly more efficient. Be interesting to see if it were enough to make a real world difference.

Someone commented on primer crimping. If the case were completely polymer, I would think a little sealant/adhesive would do the the job. However, based on the pictures shown, the base will be metal, joined to the polymer "body".
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby Grandpa Rex on Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:43 am

The green factor may be a downside. I don't foresee the Brass Rats scooping up empties if there is no metal in the spent cases. Probably won't be a factor for most reloaders but I recall military spent brass is sold by the armed forces sometimes.
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Re: Beginning of the End for Brass Cases?

Postby sprigfan on Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:58 am

Grandpa Rex wrote:The green factor may be a downside. I don't foresee the Brass Rats scooping up empties if there is no metal in the spent cases. Probably won't be a factor for most reloaders but I recall military spent brass is sold by the armed forces sometimes.
I thought of this as well. These won't be reloadable and may not be recyclable. Reminds me of K-cups.
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