THE BRASS VERDICT (WITH APOLOGIES TO MICHAEL CONNELLY)

I shoot mostly bolt action rifles and single shot pistols, or revolvers. Gathering the brass after shooting these is pretty much no big deal. My first shooting excursion with the 1911 semi-auto pistol found me crawling around looking for brass in the weeds and grass – because I was not smart enough to pay attention to where the pistol was throwing the empties it ejected. One would think brass would stand out against greenery, but it really doesn’t. You can’t find it by shining a bright flashlight around after dark, either, or by looking just at dawn, when the rising sun sends it’s rays through the growth that is helping the escaped brass to stay free. Although not quite intelligent enough to find an area of clear dirt to shoot on, I did try other methods of capturing the empties, like putting a drop cloth on the ground. That didn’t work as well as I would have thought, either. I even after I sprayed the offending vegetation with Round-Up. This DID help, but takes at least a day or two to clear things out.

Finally I hit upon a decent idea! A large cardboard box that had contained a new push mower my wife insisted we needed (even though my old one still had just a bit of rusted mower deck partly in place – and the old Briggs & Stratton engine continued to crank most of the time) was just about the right size to serve as a brass catcher when opened on it’s side and situated on the picnic table I shoot off of when at my woods place. To make sure it stayed open, I fabricated a frame from a few pieces of treated 2×4 and some old wooden fence pickets. Best of all, since I used scrap wood, my total cost as only that of a few deck screws. Oh, and $275 for the mower.

Simple, but effective brass catcher for use with any firearm  with vigorous ejection.

Simple, but effective brass catcher for use with any firearm with vigorous ejection.

As we can see in this photo, the brass that tried to escape after being fired and ejected from the .45 semi-auto was captured in the box, just as I hoped it would be. No premature ejectulation here!

As we can see in this photo, the brass that tried to escape after being fired and ejected from the .45 semi-auto was captured in the box, just as I hoped it would be. No premature ejectulation here!

The box worked perfectly! Where I had been firing maybe 14 – 15 rounds a session, and finding 5 – 10 pieces of brass, with the brass catcher box and the effects of the Round-Up I had sprayed several days earlier, my last session was of firing 7 rounds and recovering 9! I like those numbers a lot better! Maybe after a few more trips I’ll start to catch up?

If you have tried to buy loaded pistol ammo lately, much less powder, bullets, primers, and brass – you will appreciate how important all of these components are right now. I, for one, cannot afford to let them escape.

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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