Having gotten my 6.5 Grendel AR Overwatch earlier this year, I found myself spending time at the range working up both varmint and medium sized game loads. While I've done this for both my .308 and .223 semi-auto rifles, my hand loads for those were constructed using military brass. Loosing a piece of brass every now and then was no big deal since I had plenty of it put away to support both calibers. However, I'm buying new Lapua brass for the 6.5 Grendel and losing one of those at the range costs me nearly a buck. I was getting tired of scouring the area, counting each piece I picked up to ensure I wasn't leaving $$ on the ground.
A stroll past the AR-15 accessory racks in the local Cabela's found two possibilities, both from Caldwell. They had two different AR-15 brass catchers. The more expensive unit attached via the Picatinny rail while the other used a single attachment point around the hand guard. It was obvious that the higher priced unit was of better quality and less likely to become detached. However, for load development, I'm shooting off a bench.....I'm not running and gunning, so to speak. I decided to save the money and try the lower cost model.
This model uses a hook and loop strap that goes around the handguard. A stiff wire frame holds the mesh bag adjacent to the ejection port.
The wire frame opening is long enough to fully cover the ejection port. I had the back end right next to the receiver brass deflector and the attachment strap wrapped around my free floating handguard. I put a slight "tweak" in the heavy wire to get it matched up to the receiver as close as possible. Before attaching the bag to the Grendel, I opened the dust cover and left it that way while I was shooting my new loads.
Removing the brass from the mesh bag is as easy as opening the zipper along the bottom edge.
While I was checking to see what local stores might carry a brass catcher, I stumbled across a few online reviews. Several pointed out a problem wherein the brass would stick to the mesh bag because the mesh would melt a bit. I did not experience this while using it at the range. I mistakenly unzipped the bag a little prematurely and ended up with a few burn marks on my finger so I can testify that the brass was indeed hot. The mesh bag did OK.
I only run 5 or 10 rounds at the most over the chronograph for a load so that is how much brass would end up in the catcher. It would then be emptied and the brass put back in the appropriate row(s) in the cartridge box so I can examine primers and take case measurements if necessary.
In summary, it works and was well worth the fractional part of a twenty dollar bill. It beats the heck out of wasting range time looking for expensive Lapua brass.....of that I am sure.
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