Brass cleanup is something not often thought about in today’s shooting world. When was the last time you thought about your spent casings? Unless you’re a reloader, my guess is not recently. You send your rounds down range, do your best to police up your spent brass or steel, and go on your way. I personally haven’t thought much of it since the first time I picked up a spent case recently flung from an HK91 and wondering how exactly a rifle could make modern art so easily. However most of us do and should make sure that we leave the range as good or even better than we found it. Nearly all outdoor ranges have buckets for you to deposit your empty casings in. For those who shoot on private property, the sound of the mower blade catching a casing is a very distinctive sound, and we remember it. On the other hand, those who reload are very conscious of their casings and do the best they can to keep track of them and keep them in good shape for reuse. Shooting ranges certainly benefit from brass cleanup as well. Not only does having a clean range make them look better and eliminate any hazard from stepping on a pile of potential roller bearings for your foot, they also recycle brass to earn a little extra profit. So why exactly is casing cleanup a point of interest? There is a better way lurking in the depths of the gear industry, and this is your spotlight to a much easier and cleaner way to shoot.
Even after 54 years, the AR15 stands on top of the pyramid of modern self loading rifles as the king. It's not a perfect weapon, and the argument can be made that it’s not the best rifle available today. But it has adapted and stood the test of time very well and continues to serve the armed forces of many nations. Here in the United States it is also one of the most popular sporting rifles to be found. Most shooters that I know have one occupying a slot in the safe and it’s not hard to see why. The entire rifle is modular and easily configured for most any individual. If any part doesn’t suit you, it can be swapped for one that does; inside and out. Of those accessories, one may be more useful to you than you realize. For many years, military door gunners have employed shell catchers on their weapons as a safety feature. These devices normally catch flying brass and belt links and direct them down away from the occupants in the aircraft and especially away from the rotor blades, which cost a small fortune to replace. Now you may not be leaning out of a helicopter, but you don’t need to in order to keep your casings to yourself and stay neat and organized. The Outdoor Tech Sports Automatic Casing Catcher claims to offer a simple and effective solution to keeping your range clean and casings under control. We decided to test one of their catchers out and see what it could do for us.
The Automatic Casing Catcher is a simple ABS device, it appears rugged enough for hard use but is incredibly light whether empty or full. Attaching the catcher to our AR pistol was a straightforward and easy process, aided by clear instructions from Outdoor Tech Sports. The catcher is not designed to mount permanently and can be removed as fast as it is installed, or about one minute. Once mounted it is stable and secure. It also did not interfere with the installed ambi bolt stop on our pistol. It is not a hindrance to weapon maneuverability either. As stated this is a catcher, it is designed to hold the empty casings and not merely direct them toward the ground. This is accomplished via a very ingenious trap door. When a magazine is inserted into the weapon, the trap door is held shut via the magazine. When the shooter ejects the magazine, the door is unblocked and will open allowing the casings to fall free from the catcher. This allows a shooter so control where and when their casings are disposed of. Whether at a static range or a dynamic shooting course, a bucket easily becomes the casing collection point.
We found that the Automatic Casing Catcher works as advertised and we had no malfunctions with both the pistol and the catcher. Brass was ejected into the catcher and fell free without issue. We tested the device with both basic STANAG magazines as well as Magpul PMAGs, and we found no difference in its function. The catcher also will hold all the casings from a 40 round magazine. We also found that the trap door pushing on the magazine did not affect feeding or ejection of magazines. We had no casings get lodged within the catcher either. This device is well thought out and easy to see becoming a staple on our trips to the range. The author is left-handed and did note however that when using the catcher he was unable to eject the magazine without switching the weapon to his right hand. This is due to the catcher taking up most of the right side of the weapon. It was also noted that a right handed user will have little room to index their trigger finger unless on the magazine release, which could cause an unintended magazine ejection, allowing casings to spill out. These issues do not seem like they could be circumvented , simply due to the design of the AR15. We did not have any incidences of these during our testing. We also noticed that with the catcher installed it is difficult to see the chamber area, however since the catcher can be uninstalled easily and quickly, we find this to be a non issue.
The Automatic Casing Catcher from Outdoor Tech Sports is a fine piece of kit. It installs easily, works well, and helps us leave our range just as clean as we found it. We will be continuing to use this device in the future. Head on over to www.outdoortechsports.com to get yours and keep your range cleaner!