Given the current state of affairs in the country, at this point, you might want to devote as much of your shooting budget as you can to whatever ammo you can find. Shelves are bare and manufacturers are literally scrambling to keep up with demand. As quickly as they can load it, shooters are clearing it out, stockpiling it for a rainy day, and worried about where they’re going to be able to find it next. Even the largest producers, like Winchester, Remington and Federal have been affected by this.
To make short of something that could be discussed at length, it’s seeming more and more like shooters are interested only in the essentials and reserving money that would otherwise go to scopes, red dots and bipods to sporting rifle ammo.
So, with that said, should you consider a shell catcher for AR platforms a necessity at the range?
Range Rules: An Affordable Easy Solution to Corral Your Brass
Let’s get the easy answer out of the way. If the range requires brass catchers, then yes, of course a shell catcher for AR platforms is a necessity at the range. But what about those times that you are allowed to use your discretion?
Well, a brass catcher like our Brass Goat is an affordable accessory that will quickly attach to an AR’s lower receiver Magwell in a matter of seconds without the need for tools. Just check out our page on firearm compatibility to see if it will work with your rifle. On the grounds of ease of use, convenience and practicality, it gets high marks.
But as a necessity? Well, it will help to keep your shooting area clear of hot brass, which is nice, but there’s something else to consider here. Maybe the range will allow you to shoot without a brass catcher, but will require you to clean up your spent brass. Do you want to spend your last half hour of range time raking up empty shells?
Probably not, which makes a shell catcher for AR platforms look a lot more valuable, necessity or not. It’ll save you time, and it’ll save your back as well. It’s honestly not a wise use of range time to scoop up empty shells, but all the same, see our first few paragraphs: can you afford to waste them? You’ll probably be collecting them whether the range requires it or not.
That said, a brass catcher like the Brass Goat can help solve another problem at the range, and serve as a distinct courtesy to your bench-neighbors.
End the Hot Brass Tango
Call it whatever you will, hot brass is hot. It can be so hot that on occasion it has been known to melt or even ignite brass catchers of lesser quality than our Brass Goat. It’s a basic problem at the range and a matter of common courtesy.
Intense sessions at the range will result in a large volume of hot brass sputtering out of your ejection port, raining down on whatever is within reach to the left of your shooting station. On crowded days, shooters can be nearly elbow to elbow, putting them within range of hot, spent brass.
Put yourself in their shoes. It’s unpleasant enough when your neighbor to the right is showering you with brass, even if it isn’t that hot and isn’t actually contacting you. But when one lands on you, or, more unfortunately, falls down your shirt, it’s a whole other annoyance. That brass gets hot.
Therefore, to preserve a modicum of decorum, it’s a good practice to use shell catchers for AR platforms at the range, especially when you have neighbors on your ejection-port-side. Actually, it’s a good practice to use some sort of shell catcher with any auto loader, because, though they may not be as hot as .223 brass, shotshells and .22 brass are still discourteous when they’re raining down around you.
Perhaps it is not a necessity, but it is a simple courtesy.
A Superior Design - It Will Help You Save Ammo
One more note about the impact a brass catcher can have on your shooting experience. If you think about it from a strictly pecuniary standpoint, a shell catcher for AR platforms can be an investment rather than an expense. Ammo is not only expensive but hard to find, and you can either keep your brass and reload it yourself or potentially even sell it to another shooter that does.
Plus, our Brass Goat features a superior design. Unlike brass catchers made of a mesh bag, held rigid by a wire frame and with a zipper at the bottom, the Brass Goat is made from hard, molded ABS resin that is shatter resistant, will not melt or catch fire, will not jam, and will not hang up on twigs or sticks. Compatible with a removable hopper, it's convenient and practical.
Don’t call it a necessity at the range if you insist, but the value it provides it speaks for itself.