The more we shoot semi-auto rifles, the more we long for a way to keep track of that valuable brass. We recently reviewed the 3Bucc Brass Savr. It is an excellent, although slightly pricey way to catch the brass ejected from your AR15 and large frame AR. Once we published that review we received a number of requests for cheaper solution.
As with most things in shooting, you get what you pay for. Keeping that in mind we sought out a less expensive solution that would still perform to an acceptable level. We chose the Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher.
The Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher is a nylon and mesh bag that attaches to the side of your AR-15 by a velcro strap. It keeps its shape by means of a metal wire inner frame. However the frame only keeps the mouth of the bag open. It does nothing to support the top of the bag. Initially the bag works well in catching brass ejected from the rifle. As the bag fills it becomes heavier and pulls down the top of the bag. This can block the ejection port of the rifle. Additionally as the bag’s weight increases, the frame of the bag is pulled down. Cases can then fall between the rifle and bag.
The bottom of the Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher is a nylon mesh. This works well in allowing the cases to cool. The heat of the cases during rapid fire can cause a problem. As we neared the end of fast strings of fire we noted that the cases from our 7.62mm AR were sticking to the mesh. It seemed that the cases were hot enough to come close to melting the mesh. I could not see any damage to the bag, but we were not running the gun extremely hard either.
The bag can be quickly emptied by opening the zipper located at the bottom of the bag. As with any brass catcher, the device should be fully removed in order to confirm that the rifle is unloaded and clear of any live ammunition.
Overall the Caldwell AR-15 Brass Catcher is a low cost solution to chasing your brass down the firing line. It isn’t perfect, but well worth the $13 purchase price.