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Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher
Illustration courtesy of Battenfeld Technologies.

There are brass catchers and there are brass catchers. You can get a cheap one at most gun shows for under ten bucks, or you can pay upwards of $140 for a catcher that does everything but talk to you. However, for most shooters, we want a solid, well-constructed and economical unit that does the job. With that in mind, we agreed to test the Caldwell AR brass catcher to determine how it functioned during match competition, as well as rapid fire plinking.

If you are shooting Wolf ammunition by yourself, or with one or two buddies, you probably donít need a brass catcher, as you canít reload those steel cases. However, a catcher would still be a good idea to make cleanup after your shoot easier. If you are shooting on a range, the benefits of a brass catcher are almost a given. Our AR 15 throws hot brass more than 10 feet away, with a vengeance. Before installing the brass catcher, I found myself apologizing to shooters down the line for disrupting their concentration with flying hot brass. It got worse when we shot the AR-10. With that rifle, we have dinged trucks that were parked along the firing line. Try apologizing for that!

A second reason for buying a brass catcher is of particular importance to reloaders. When your favorite rifle ejects fired brass, there may not be any case damage if it lands on dirt or grass, but if it hits stone or concrete (common to the firing line of many ranges), you are going to get dinged and dented cases. If you are using medium priced .223 brass, such as Lake City, Remington or Federal, you are spending around $30 for 100 unprimed cases. If you are using high end brass, such as Lapua or Norma, 100 cases will set you back more than $60. In either case, damaged brass costs you money, money that you can use for other things if you buy a brass catcher.

We have used several brass catchers, from gun show knock-offs to the high-end $100 plus models. For our money, the best bang-for-the-buck (pardon the pun) is the Caldwell AR Brass Catcher. It mounts easily on any AR platform with a hook and Velcro strap and does not interfere with the gunís cycling. It will hold the brass from two full 30-round magazines and has a zipper on the bottom of the bag for easy emptying. However, we recommend emptying the bag after each 30 rounds, so as not to add unnecessary extra weight to the gun. If you reload, you will recover the cost of the brass catcher (2012 MSRP: $15.99) very quickly in saved brass.


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