Today’s review is on a device that gets me more oohs and ahhs at the gun range than my spectacular shooting skills or neato jiffy gun gear – the brass wizard.
Like all gun guys I have a couple things I really don’t like:
- People that are irresponsible in their usage of firearms
- The rising cost of ammunition
- Policing up brass
- Sorting said brass
I believe that most gun guys have similar dislikes. I also think that most would agree with me that all but the first are minor irritants that we gladly put up with as long as we get to use our favorite spent casing creation devices.
At some point I will cover all of these pet peeves; this article will show how I deal with number 3 – Picking up brass after my range sessions.
I have long searched for an easy way to collect my fired brass, both to keep the ranges I use looking nice, but also to feed my reloading habit.
Things I Have Tried to Get Out of Picking Up Brass
- I have tried getting kids and girlfriends, more than one wife, and students.
- Using people is either prohibitively expensive (especially wives that turn into ex-wives).
- Tarps and mesh screens
- I don’t like being tied to one spot.
- At the risk of sounding tacti-cool – I don’t want to do anything that may place a subconscious routine of standing still while shooting. (like dumping spent casings from your revolver into your open hand).
- Mesh bags that attach to your firearm
- I am severely biased against those bags that attach to your gun to collect fired cases (both from malfunction prevention and training viewpoints).
- I don’t like anything extra on my gun that does not fix an articulable problem and makes the firearm run better. This does not fit those criteria.
- Those little sticks with the gripping claws that sell on TV infomercials
- They are cumbersome and only pick up one casing at a time.
- “bag-a-nut” machines adapted to range use
- These are to large to move about easily and are awfully expensive.
Only Three Choices Left
This leaves me three choices. I can shut up and pick up my brass; I can design some Rube Goldberg contraption to pick up my brass, or I can use the brass wizard.
As soon as I saw this device I ordered it. It originally was designed by farmers that grew tree nuts like pecans (just like the bag a nut). It’s a small wire cage that attaches to a broomstick (and later a collapsible metal pole) by a hanger that allows it to roll on the ground.
What happens is that as the metal cage rolls over a fired cartridge case, the wires are forced apart, allowing the case to be swallowed up by the wizard. As the brass wizard continues to roll, the wires spring back to their original shape trapping the case inside.
This device works really well, and can hold several cases before having to be emptied. I works on rounds from .380 and up and while it can collect Shotshell hulls, the company makes a large wizard that works better for hulls.
Works Best on Packed Ground
In all fairness, I do have to tell you that this device works best on hard ground. Cement is the best, but I have personally used this with success on hard packed ground, sandy soil, and short grass. I have even tried it on a gravel range, but that is the weak point of the system. In gravel, it picks up as much gravel as it does cases, making it pretty much useless.
When I bought mine it came with a metal device that presses onto a 5 gallon bucket (I supplied the bucket) and helps with emptying the cage full of cases. You just press down and wither wiggle or twist the wizard and the cases fall out into the bucket.
This is starting to become a more common item, but I enjoyed being an early adopter of the device. When I went to a range with my brass wizard I was very popular, and many people borrowed my wizard to try it out.
They sell for around $45.00 and if you police up your own brass, this is a bargain due to the amount of labor you will save.
Stay tuned, as next week we will review my solution for peeve #4 Sorting Brass