The AR-15 rifle allows for endless combinations of matching accessories and parts to help you achieve the perfect shooting experience. From the glamorous to the ordinary, the accessories you can buy for your AR-15 gun differ broadly in function and usage.
One of the popular accessories for certain AR-15 gun owners is the brass catcher, a kind of carrier or other containers that fits on to the weapon and catches and stores spent ammo. It keeps things spotless and saves you from the tedious and tiresome work of bending over to pick up your casings.
Yes, a lot of gun owners dread the clean-up process, and there is spent brass that has seemingly run wild in every direction. This will take you some time to clean up, and you can wonder – if it is even possible to find all of them?
Some may be buried in the dirt, covered in mud, and hiding better than you ever have during shooting seasons. This is the worst part of any shooting day out on the range. Also, as a matter of fact, it will cost you more time and money than if you already have bought one last tactical piece of gear for your firearms.
The brass catchers (also known as brass traps) can save you a whole lot of time. Hence, you can spend every last second punching holes in paper instead of using precious range time on brass clean-up. On a side note, pistol users get brass catchers too. However, we are here to discuss brass catchers for AR-15 rifles.
If you are a gun owner or if you shoot often, you will know how expensive this hobby can get. Investing in a brass catcher really streamlines your clean-up process, but it also saves you a lot of money. Usually, brass catchers run anywhere in the range of US$8 to US$80 while a thousand rounds of spent .556 may get you around US$20 to US$50.
With that calculation, you can see it will not take long for your investment on a brass catcher to mature. Investing as little as US$20 on a brass catcher may not sound like it is worthy of hours of your time plucking them off the ground and cleaning the muck off each and every one. However, implementing these handy tools may just be the game-changer you need to start collecting all of that used up brass catchers.
The Importance of Brass Catchers
Brass catchers can be about more than just having convenience. Some shooting ranges require you to pick up any used brass, and it is also a courtesy to your fellow shooters and anyone who comes and use the range after that. A hot brass ejected with force from your gun can strike people standing beside you. However, having a brass catcher with you can prevent that from happening. For military and tactical users, firing from enclosed places like vehicles and aircraft can make flying brass a dangerous matter.
Instead of having to pick up after yourself, a brass catcher does all that work for you. Gun owners who like to reload will love brass catchers as they will never have to lose brass again. Hunters know from experience that it is virtually impossible to find spent brass in the dark in the undergrowth, so a brass catcher will be very convenient for such people. The good news is, brass can also be recycled and you can even get paid for collecting and selling brass to recyclers.
Picking Up The Right Option
Even if you are not using a brass catcher, it is still a good habit to pick up after your spent cases that reach the ground so that you are not seen as littering. Even if you are not reloading or recycling, it is an environmentally-friendly thing to pick up after yourself when you are outdoors or hunting.
At some ranges, you may not be allowed to pick up brass that is not marked as your own. If that is the case, then do check the policies of your shooting club. If you find that it is too much trouble bending over to pick up your spent brass, check out the Caldwell Shooting Supplies Brass Retriever.
Criteria: What To Find In A Great Brass Catcher
When you are looking for a good brass catcher to buy, the most important factors to take into account are installation, reliability, non-interference, and price – to name a few. Let’s have a look at these a bit more.
Budget Matters – Financial Awareness
As we have mentioned previously, brass catchers are definitely to be seen as an investment piece. A lot of other attachments can easily cost you money and never really return anything of financial gain. However, not your brass catcher. Spent brass casings can either be salvaged when you wish to load your own cartridges, sold to other ammo reloaders, or be pawned off for scrap metal value.
No matter what your choice is to do with these spent casings, you will definitely first need to consider your initial budget when having a look around. Most brass catchers usually do the same job and there is very little illustrated functional value above your budget options.
The main difference in low-cost solutions and their more expensive options will be styling and sturdiness. You will find that cheap mesh bags have a tendency to rip and tear. Cheap mesh bags have a tendency of spilling your brass all over the ground; and low-quality plastic catchers can break if dropped or put through rigorous use.
Our advice for choosing a price range is to evaluate the strain you plan on putting your firearms through and consider the sturdiness of each brass catcher. It may be a better option to buy a more expensive brass catcher upfront than to blow through several via intense training sessions.
Overall, the price should give you a good and solid value when compared to other brands that are available on the market.
Quality and Design Choices
Some gun owners may think a shell catcher is something that cannot deviate much from a simple box or bag that attaches to your gun. However, these gun owners may be terribly wrong.
There are plenty of options when it comes to quality and design and many of your favourite firearm accessory brands may have their own impression of what a brass catcher should look like. As a general rule of thumb, just make sure your brass catching materials are resistant to high heat.
A few choices you may be interested in include:
- Mesh or nylon bag enclosures
- Net catchers
- ABS plastic container
- Picatinny rail mounting
- Forearm collar mounting
- Strap mounting
- Magnetic mounting and release systems
Relationship Matters – Your Firearm, The Situation, The Brass Catcher
Your firearm and the brass catching device have to get along, as they are quite likely be married together for a very long period of time. You will have to make sure that the brass catcher, you purchase will fit onto your firearm and offer a good seal around the ejection port. Some brass catchers will be made explicitly for each firearm.
However, you will also find some brass catchers to be coined as multi-use or universally adaptable. No matter which one you choose, do a little reading to ensure the brass catcher fits or ask your local gun shop for any much needed advice.
Assess All Your Options
For the most part, you will find two primary versions of a brass catcher. They are the remote brass catcher and the attached brass catcher.
Remote Brass Catchers: Think of these as “tacti-cool” buckets with the solitary purpose of catching that hot and sweltering brass when laying down fire from a fixed position. These are typically organized when a shooter is firing at a stationary target from one single position.
The remote brass catcher does not attach to your firearm, however, more so is used to be set aside where your casings are ejecting to. Set it up on the bench or tripod next to you and you can then put it on the back of your mind already. All your brass casings will be cleaned and collected by the time you are done.
Attached Brass Catchers: These catchers are a bit more aggressive in approach, but certainly the most effective as well. They attach to the ejecting port of your firearm and hold comfortably, making sure that all spent casings fall directly into the enclosure.
No matter where you go, what direction you are firing in (hopefully a safe one), or what angle you are taking, you can shoot down your targets, knowing your spent casings will be safe and clean no matter what situation you are in.
The Best AR-15 Brass Catchers – Rated And Reviewed
Now that we are done with the criteria, let’s have a look at some of the best AR-15 Brass Catchers that are currently available on the market. These brass catchers will not only just fit your gun perfectly, they will also perform their function impeccably and prevent jams during ejection. The most important thing is that they will stay out of your way while you are out shooting.
1. Caldwell Shooting Supplies Brass Catcher
Most of the new buyers and gun owners mentioned how they are quite satisfied with this brass catcher. They are able to fit all their discarded brass in the catcher itself without having to look for them on the ground after their shoot-out. One gun owner said that the bag stays cool no matter how many brass casings stay warm after ejection.
This brass catcher is made with a material that does not melt or submit to the heat of a recently discarded brass casing. Not only that, but you will also have enough space to work with so you will have a full bag by the time you are done with your shooting session. Furthermore, with the aluminum clamp included it will (and can) fit most Picatinny rails or side rails. Never again will you have to look for superfluous rounds on the ground if you usually tend to reload them manually.
This brass catcher can be fitted onto your AR-15’s Picatinny rail, with cases being ejected straight into a collection bag for disposal or reloading (if you have any). The catcher is made of heat-resistant mesh and holds up to 100 .223 cases. A zipper at the bottom of the mesh bag makes emptying your extra brass quick and easy.
The AR-15 Picatinny Rail Brass Catcher has an aluminum clamp and steel wire frame that are fully modifiable to work with almost any rail and optic configuration. The bag will not inhibit with bolt function or cycling. It is also compatible with most .308 AR-pattern rifles
Its lightweight quality construction makes it a great choice for many gun users. However, if you are going through the woods or in tight spaces, it can be hard to handle because the bag does not collapse.
The bottom line is that this Caldwell Shooting Supplies Brass Catcher will most likely be your best friend out on the range. Once you have all your discarded brass assembled up, you will definitely save yourself some extra cash rather than try to buy a new box of AR-15 rounds.
2. 3 BUCC AR-15/M16 Brass-Savr
New gun owners were happy to report that this brass catcher was a pretty good size. They said it wasn’t too big or small, but the capacity was quite right for catching discarded brass casings. One gun owner said that he was able to keep his used brass for reloading purposes. Furthermore, the bag stayed cool and didn’t ruin the material.
This brass catcher is made from some seriously hard-wearing material. On top of that, it is a great choice to collect so many brass casings in a single session at the range or if you are out and about hunting. Either way, you are going to need one of these if you are tired of spending a lot of money on ammo.
This catcher contains a cotton-polyester bag, supported by a steel frame. It has a capacity of 70 rounds of .223 brass and has an easy-open bottom to unload rapidly. It comes in separate makes to fit carry handle and flattop AR-style rifles. The polymer mount comes in a single choice of black with a matte finish. The catcher is 4¼ inch (10.8cm) wide, 3½ inch (9cm) long, and 7¼ inch (18.4cm) deep.
This brass catcher is a good value for a lot of gun owners. Furthermore, this bag is easy to install, safe and tough for a lot of gun owners. However, some gun owners have had problems with it overheating since it allows for very limited ventilation.
This will be best used by hunters, target shooters, and even for some competitive shooters. No matter what purpose you intend to use it for, this catcher allows you to save all your discarded rounds so you can use them again and again.
The 3 Bucc Inc. AR-15/M16 Brass-Savr Brass Catcher may be right up your alley if you are looking for something that will allow you to keep your brass and use them whenever you need them again. If you like reloading your AR-15 rounds and want to keep them around for a very long time, then this brass catcher can be exactly the kind of catcher you have been looking for.
2. Tacstar Brass Catcher
New gun owners were quite happy with this brass catcher. Not only were they content with it as a whole, but they were also quite blown away with the quick attach and detach feature. One gun owner said that he was able to use it for quick brass storage after emptying a few of his extra magazines. He added that the casings were good enough to be reloaded and can be reused multiple times.
This brass catcher may be considered as one of the best in the business for its ability to attach itself to Picatinny rails. A lot of gun owners also love it when the catcher can attach and detach in a matter of seconds. Especially when you are far from done with your day at the range and still have a lot of rounds to go through. Furthermore, you can empty them into a large bucket and repeat the process until you have had just about enough.
The TacStar AR-15 Brass Catcher is made of heat-resistant Nylon and holds up to 120 .223 Rem cases. It can be attached to the rifle using a Picatinny-rail mounting gadget that works on any flattop AR-15. Furthermore, it will not interfere with optics or other accessories.
After your shooting rounds, the bag can be removed from the mount without undoing the rail assembly, enabling easy clean-up. It will work with nearly any AR-15 on the market, regardless of its calibre or setup.
This will mostly be used by gun owners who spend a lot of time at the range for casual target shooting or tuning up for upcoming shooting competitions. No matter which application is the best fit for you, you will know that this brass catcher will be reliable each time you use it. If you want something that is built to last and will prevent you from having to spend a lot of time looking for your discarded rounds – then this brass catcher may just be what you are looking for.
The bottom line is that this TacStar Brass Catcher is one of the only brass catchers on the market that can work well with Picatinny rails and catch as many brass rounds as possible. You probably will not need a brass catcher other than this if you want something reliable, can hold a lot of rounds, and can give you quick attachment and detachment abilities.
4. E&L Manufacturing Brass Catcher
This brass catcher from E&L is made from polymer material and uses a snap-on technique to fit on your AR-15’s receiver. It has a volume of a minimum of 60 expended rounds. This catcher is less likely to interfere with any moving parts on the firearm too.
The strong points of this brass catcher are that itis lightweight, has a quality construction that’s easy to adjust and will less likely jam your gun. However, it may take some changes to your scope mount to install it. And if you are a left-handed shooter, you are out of luck. Since that it is not reversible. It is also smaller in size than other brass catchers you can find on the market too.
If you have ever tried collecting your spent casings by hand after a day of practice shooting, you may be surprised what a difference a good brass catcher can make. Furthermore, you may find it irritating and time-consuming by having to pick up the brass bit by bit after your shoot out.
Cleaning up after yourself is a good habit for a shooter, and there are also ways to recycle or reload your cases and save a few dollars. Keep in mind the qualities of a good brass catcher when doing your brass catcher shopping and you will be all set.