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 Post subject: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Could someone please tell me what theterms "high brass" and "low brass" mean regarding shotgun shells?

Thank you

Frank




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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:49 pm 
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It means high brass and low brass. It refers to the base of the shell.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:40 pm 
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Why do some shells have high brass (I assume this means a longer brass part) and others low? Does it have any relation to load?

Frank


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:23 pm 
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Tradition says that the higher the "brass" and that is a misnomer nowadays, the higher powered the shell, to a point.

The "height" of the brass has nothing whatever to do with the strength or usability of a hull. Just something that seems to live on, and on, and on! In the old days both Remington and Winchester had target loads 2-3/4 to 3 dram 1 or 1-1/8 oz of shot loads with a high base wad, but a low brass. They both had a middling load like the old Remington Surshot shells usually a 3-1/4 dram load of 1-1/8 oz of shot. It had a more or less medium height brass base. Then the Express/Super-X/Hi-Velocity/Super Speed field loads. They were a high brass, low base wad hull with usually a 3-3/4 dram 1-1/4 oz shot load. That is just how it was done, who knows why for sure, but it carries on yet today.

BP

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 Post subject: Re: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Burnt Powder wrote:
Tradition says that the higher the "brass" and that is a misnomer nowadays, the higher powered the shell, to a point.

The "height" of the brass has nothing whatever to do with the strength or usability of a hull. Just something that seems to live on, and on, and on! In the old days both Remington and Winchester had target loads 2-3/4 to 3 dram 1 or 1-1/8 oz of shot loads with a high base wad, but a low brass. They both had a middling load like the old Remington Shur shot shells usually a 3-1/4 dram load of 1-1/8 oz of shot. It had a more or less medium height brass base. Then the Express/Super-X/Hi-Velocity/Super Speed field loads. They were a high brass, low base wad hull with usually a 3-3/4 dram 1-1/4 oz shot load. That is just how it was done, who knows why for sure, but it carries on yet today.

BP

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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:47 pm 
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It was probably more of a marketing decision. The high brass made them visually distinguishable from the standard ammo, and it did sort of give them a more powerful look.

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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:48 am 
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I always liked them since I could reach in my pocket and tell in a second whether I was really grabbing a quail load or a pheasant load without really looking at them. Where I grew up we didn't have a lot of quail so we just ran across them from time to time while pheasant hunting. When we saw some quail, we just unloaded the old Model 12 and slid in some "low brass" #8 trap loads, (quail loads to us) and never lost a beat. I tried to keep those "low brass" shells in my left pocket, but you know how they are, they do get up and move arround from time to time. Ever see a quail that was shot with a heavy field load or maybe even a magnum load of #4s or #5s and a full choke Model 12? Not much left to eat most times. The high/low brass thing did have a benifit for me at that time. I don't think that is why they made them that way, it was just something we learned to make work. Just how it was.

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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:39 am 
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I rember years ago there were a few people from the US coming up to fish and they would always take a few boxes of CIL imperials back home with them.
The brass was 1/2 the length of the shell. Looked powerful to me too. They were good shells but nothing to drive 6 hrs for.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:27 am 
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I know that people say high brass doesn't mean anything. But if you look at the Federal high brass shells they use cheap thin corrugated plastic. The Winchesters and Remingtons that use low brass have thick plastic walls. In 20 gauge the hottest loads are for the high brass hulls. Maybe it isn't just for looks. Maybe the high brass adds some strength to the hull.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:19 am 
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Zeeks,
I have been using some old W-W CF Super X (High brass) and "AA"" CF (Low brass) in 20 ga for some hot 1 oz. dove loads. They have been loaded some 8-10 times now and the wear on each is for all intents and purposes about the same. Just my personal experience.
Chris


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:45 am 
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The hottest 7/8 ounce 20 gauge loads I can find to reload are 1450 fps high brass federal hulls. The hottest 1 ounce loads I can find are 1220 fps federals. The hottest low brass Winchester and Remington hulls are 1350fps in 7/8 ounce and 1220fps 1 ounce. Maybe coincidence. Maybe there is just more room in the Federal hulls. Or maybe there is a reason that all the shell manufacturers use high brass for all their biggest magnum loads.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:05 pm 
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You guys are falling for the olde "hype"!

Take 28 gauge hulls, in the AA-HS (or even the old AAs). All the hulls are the same, the 1-oz. loads at 1200, and the 3/4 oz. target hulls in a couple of velocity varieties.

What gives the case its strength is not the brass (or its height), it's the gunbarrel that surrounds it! Think about it!!

And by the way, they can be reloaded with the SAME RECIPES, regardless of "brass height"!!

BobK

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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:20 pm 
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If it is only the gun barrel that surrounds it then you should be able to completely disregard hull. Any hull should work for any load as long as you can squeeze it in.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:05 pm 
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BobK,
That was my point. High brass-Low brass I interchange without problem as long as the hull design is the same ie: the old W-W CF I mentioned. Same components work great in both hulls.
Chris


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:23 pm 
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If I'm not mistaken, "high brass" originated with the early manufacture of potent paper hulled loads. When fired, the paper shells had a tendency to separate / split toward the base of the shell at the level of the powder inside the shell. The way the manufacturers overcame this problem was to use "high brass" shells which gave added support to the hull in the region of the powder. Supposedly, since the introduction and widespread use of stronger plastic hulls, high brass is no longer necessary. However, "high brass" is still used as a marketing ploy because the uninformed shooter assumes that the high brass shells are more potent, better quality than low brass shells, and the shooter usually pays more for these high brass shells. As far as reloadability, I don't think the is any real advantage of high brass except maybe in cases where extreme pressures are generated...which would probably exceed SAAMI specs anyway.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:02 pm 
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Expounding on Plattbird, when shells were paper it was found that the shell would separate if the inner base and outer brass topped out at the same height. So to prevent separation shells with lower inner bases (magnum hulls with lots of room) had high brass to keep the brass and base heights different. Shells with high inner bases (light field loads, skeet, trap) had low brass for the same reason.

It probably makes little difference with today's plastic hulls. I imagine that tradition is in play.

Activ made an all-plastic hull - no brass at all. It worked well.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:43 am 
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Location: Pointe Coupee Parish, South La.
Many,many moons ago when I shot skeet I bought 2k of the 20 ga. ACTIV unfired hulls at 3 cents each. Shortly after that I got out of shooting (job promotion-no time). Still using them in my O/U's and they are going strong. Good hulls for O/U's and SxS guns.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:37 am 
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Why do reloading manuals bother with different recipes for different hulls. Why do shell manufacturers bother with a high metal base. It seems like a waste of money if it doesn't do anything. I don't believe people buy a certain cartridge because it has high or low brass. They look at the load charge on the top of the box. Most of the time I doubt that they open the box to make sure their magnum shell has a high brass hull before they buy it. I am looking at several magnum shells and several target shells right now on my desk. All the magnum shells have high brass. All the target shells have low brass. All different manufacturers. I do notice that the high brass target shells have thinner plastic walls. Maybe they use a ring of metal to add strength to the base. Some of the magnum shells have both thick plastic walls and high brass. Maybe that adds strength to the hull. I don't see how it couldn't.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:53 am 
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Zeeks, you are merely buying into years of tradition and mythology.

Like others have said, with modern components high vs. low brass is merely cosmetics. If anything, all it does is allow for differenciating hunting vs. target shells if they're mixed in your pouch.

And not all target loads are low brass--go look at a Federal Gold Medal or a newer Fiocchi Purple.

Personally, I like the looks of a high brass shell. I'd hate to spend $15 on a box of hunting loads and have them look like cheap lipstick cases. But at the same time, I have no illusion of the brass providing any reinforcement.


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 Post subject: re: High brass vs. low brass
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:37 am 
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Sure seems like a stupid waste of money. I guess they give brass away. Whether the extra strength is a waste of money or not I do know that it works. I have a high brass hull in my hand right now. I can squeeze the plastic and make it easily collapse with my fingers. I can't squeeze the brass hard to even make it dent. That worthless brass ring definitely adds strength to the hull.




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