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Aluminum vs Brass Ammo: What Are the Differences?

In the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed a shortage of your favorite brass ammo on the shelves. Many die-hard brass ammo users wouldn’t dare put anything else in their chambers. They’ll tell you that aluminum is unreliable, will jam up, and cause extra wear on your gun.

But is that really true? Aluminum ammo has had a bad rap, but in recent decades people are starting to change their opinion in the aluminum vs brass ammo debate.

Let’s look at a direct comparison between brass and aluminum ammunition.

Aluminum vs Brass Ammo

So what is the difference between brass and aluminum ammo?

Essentially we are talking about the material that the case is made out of. While aluminum is cheaper and the price generally stays the same, brass is dependent on the availability of copper. Copper is much more expensive and tends to fluctuate in price, affecting the cost of ammunition.

Depending on your gun, your choice may depend on what the gun was designed to handle. Some guns will function fine with aluminum, making it a cost-effective choice. But beware: others may run too hot and cause the aluminum cases to melt.

Brass Ammo: Pros and Cons

Brass ammunition is generally considered to be more reliable, especially in guns made in the United States and Western Europe. And because brass is more malleable, they are generally cleaner to shoot. This is because as the metal expands, it creates a seal. The seal prevents dirty gases from going back up into the chamber, requiring less frequent cleaning.

Another benefit of brass casings: they can be reloaded, which is a great way to offset some of the cost. This brings us to the cons…

Brass ammo is more expensive, as brass-cased ammunition is manufactured to higher standards than other types of ammo. But you can save by taking advantage of free shipping when you buy in bulk.

Aluminum Ammo: Pros and Cons

The main benefit of aluminum ammo is that it’s cheaper. It will also function well in most guns, though make sure you check your aluminum ammo guide to make sure it can handle the temperature of your gun.

Aluminum ammo is also considerably lighter, and you can feel a noticeable difference when you compare cases side to side.

This may not make much of a difference if you’re just taking these to the shooting range. But if you’re carrying ammo into the field for hunting or combat, you’ll notice the extra weight if you go with brass.

The downside of aluminum is that it cannot be reloaded safely. And as we mentioned before, it may not be suitable depending on your gun.

The Verdict?

Both types of ammunition offer benefits and drawbacks.

If cost is your main concern (and your gun is suited for it) aluminum is an excellent and cheap choice.

But for certain guns, higher-quality brass ammo is going to give you the best performance and have the least reliability issues.

Where do you stand in the aluminum vs brass ammo debate? Leave us a comment with your favorite ammo to use.

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