High-Brass vs Low-Brass Shotgun Shells for Clay Shooting?

If you are looking for the perfect shotgun for trap shooting, you can choose between high brass and low brass; But what is the real difference between those?

What is the Difference Between High-Brass Vs Low-Brass Shells?

High-brass and low-brass refer to the height of metal from the metal base at the bottom of your shell. Commonly perceived as more powerful than low-brass, high brass shells are often sold at a higher price. In reality, this is only a marketing ploy, as there is very little difference between the two. Low brass shells are lightweight and easier to reload.

What is a High-Brass Shotgun Shell?

High-brass shells are one of the most popular options out there. However, they are also sold at higher prices. People also assume that high brass shells are taller and more powerful. Ammunition makers are well aware of this idea that prevails among customers, and they use it to sell their ammunition at a higher price.

In reality, high-brass shells aren’t too different from low-brass ones. Some makers do use some extra brass to get you to pay more. Another common assumption is that high-brass shells push more lead at higher velocities and are more potent.


What is a Low-Brass Shotgun Shell?

The use of low-brass shells is widespread these days for trap shooting, as shooters don’t want to aim very high. They are easier to reload compared to high-brass shells. Because of their size and some other factors, high-brass shells are slightly harder to load.

Low brass shotgun shells are also relatively lightweight and easy to handle. Additionally, they are cheaper than high brass and are much more readily available. They are used much more frequently by people who are new to the sport.

Are High-Brass Hulls Stronger than Low-Brass?

Many people categorize high-brass and low-brass quite differently, but in reality, there is no real difference between the two. However, it is worth mentioning that high-brass hulls are more likely to cause feeding problems if they aren’t fired in your gun.

If you don’t want to fall for these fake marketing ploys, it is best to invest in a couple of shotgun shell recipes and instruction booklets. They are specific and help you understand the components and quantities quite accurately.


The History Behind High-Brass vs Low-Brass Myth

The myth surrounding high brass and low brass has existed since the time when shotgun shells were made out of paper. Initially, heavier loads used slow-burning powders. They burnt through the paper hull; thus, they were associated with high-brass.

And, if you go back 75 years or so, gas leakage from the chambers was more of a problem, and brass was used on these shells to prevent this. Shells with relatively lower pressures were loaded with low-brass to ensure cost-efficiency.

The concept has lost its significance and means very little in modern times. There is no longer any direct relationship between low/high brass and power/velocity. However, people still categorize shotguns based on these assumptions. Heavy and fast shells are termed as high-brass and lighter load ones known as low-brass.

In fact, many European target loads are termed high-brass, but they offer loads of only 12 gauge, 1 pound or even less. This is why experts recommend not to blindly trust descriptions.

Instead of trusting these categorizations, you should rely on the labels on the box. This will tell you the velocity of the shotgun. You can also check out the drams equivalent of this value. These will tell you whether you are looking at high or low brass shells. For example, anything with a 12 gauge or 1.25 pounds of lead is high-brass.

It is true that, nowadays, you can get the same load in both high-brass and low-brass hulls. This further fortifies the fact that the concept is just a marketing ploy to attract new customers. Another thing to remember is that on any modern shell, you can peel off the brass and still have a perfectly acceptable shell at your disposal.