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Is it Bad Etiquette To Pick Up Brass That Isn’t Yours?

Jonathan in Cary sends in today’s Q&A show voicemail asking about brass etiquette at matches.

Johnathan was the only guy shooting .45, and after the match someone came along and picked up ONLY the .45 brass on all of the bays. Johnathan confronted the guy and got all of his brass back.

So, is it okay to pick up someone else brass? I think so, most of the brass I pick up isn’t mine.

What about picking up a caliber you didn’t shoot?

What about picking up a caliber you didn’t shoot, and you know who the single person was who did shoot it?

I don’t know. It feels like a jerk move to only pick up Johnathans brass, but it also feels like it was kind of a jerk move to make the guy give it back. I honestly don’t know the answer.

What say you, Triangle Tactical Q&A show braintrust?

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. Honestly, I think this is a relatively simple issue. If I’m at the range, and know that other people are looking to keep their brass (as is often the case in a match type of setting), I only pick up the brass that I shot (or an equal amount of like-caliber brass).

    Otherwise, if there isn’t anyone else looking to keep their brass (unlikely) or I’m just out practicing on a range by myself and I’m the only one there, then that’s the time when I pick up other people’s brass.

    Outside of these two cases – in other words, if I’m unsure if other people there want their brass or not – I’d go ask folks, or see if the range itself (or match participants, etc.) had a standard or agreed-upon procedure for dividing up brass after the match, or at whatever point in time is deemed appropriate by all/most.

    The guiding principle in all cases would be not taking what belongs to others if they want it, or might want it.

    Perhaps the guy collecting 45 was just unaware of this etiquette, wasn’t plugged in enough to know that a match was taking place, etc., etc. Otherwise, if the guy was bold enough to sit there and scrounge brass, knowing that someone may very well be wanting to collect it afterwards (especially with the guy not shooting 45, himself!), I’d be bold enough to request it back, albeit in a way that I thought wouldn’t be likely to escalate tempers.

  2. Just to clarify a few points on my question/issue.

    1. I did not ask him for the brass back, but you know me well enough to know I do not have a filter and merely said “Thanks for picking up my brass” in a sarcastic tone. He offered to give it back to me, so of course I took it.

    2. He was picking up brass while the rest of us were putting away the target stands and props, so he gets big negative marks from me on that front. I was a guest so I made sure that I put away more than my share of the stage props.

    3. I definitely have picked up plenty of brass that is not mine, but if I were out there with you and know you shoot 9mm, I would most definitely stay away from the 9 brass or throw it your way. If I were the only one out there then I might pick up all the brass I could and trade it away later. They key part of that statement is that I would not pick up other calibers (or any brass for that matter) while the rest of the shooters were cleaning up from the match.

    I am glad I stumped you on that question and will be interested to hear what some other folks think.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. I sent a more detailed reply to the show via email, because I’m a “cranky old man who writes letters to the editor” kinda guy (and also because I didn’t think to post in the comments section here), but the main thrust of my reaction was: picking up other people’s 45 is questionable, and picking up brass instead of doing stage teardown is a major dick move.

  4. Seriously….picking up brass during stage tear down sucks. Picking up a caliber you didn’t shoot sucks. Moral of the story, guy sucks.

  5. @TDubbs +1. Spot-on. @Lucas +1, yep.

  6. You don’t go collecting a caliber you aren’t shooting unless you clear it with the other shooters first. You definitely don’t collect brass during tear down unless you are doing it for the group to share…

  7. Assuming tear down it done as far as I’m concerned any brass that is on the ground wasn’t wanted and it is fair game.

    If there is a back up on the next stage instead of waiting I’ll go pick up brass on the stage we just finished. Should I only pick up my brass every though everyone else left without making an attempt to pick it theirs?

    I’m not picking it all just so people can take it out of my bucket.

    I’ll ro, paste targets, and tear down to help the match run smoothly. But when there isn’t anything else to do and I pick it up its mine now

  8. Jonathan, I would have done the same probably.

    We try to pick up brass between stage changes. Some folks reset the stage and some pick up brass (and some do nothing…). The brass is run through the sorting pans that a guy brings and seperate piles are made on a table. The plan is that after we tear down and put the stages away in the trailer we divey it up – folks are asked to take what you shot, and most do – but yeah, we have “those guys” too. Then again, we also have some shooters that do not reload and just leave it and sometimes we have days like Lucas mentioned – those hot or rainy days when everyone leaves… .45 brass is different, but the 9mm and especially .40 shooters at our club usually walk away with mroe than they shot.

    • I am all for that system, but the matches we usually shoot ask us not to pick up brass between stages as it seems to slow things down and people are more concerned with their brass than helping paste!

  9. The next time you are sitting around before a match and it’s clear you are the only one shooting .45, just put it out there: “So I’ll be the one picking up all the .45 after the match! Sweet!” That sets your expectation in advance and may head off this kind of misunderstanding or misbehavior.

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