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If you need a new red dot sight for your AR, you might scour the internet looking for listicles and reviews for the best options out there. Trijicon, Sig Sauer, Aimpoint, and Bushnell all produce some trophies that are literally hundreds of dollars.
It’s a sizable investment that will definitely impact your shooting experience, and fortunately, the corpus of online literature devoted to helping you pick a good one is dense. You’ll have no trouble there.
Switch it over to brass catchers, and take a look at listings of “the best brass catchers,” and mostly what you’ll get is a load of listicles that are hardly more than product specs. There are a few good reviews, but nothing near as many as you’ll find if you’re looking for optics, triggers, stocks, or handguards.
Maybe it’s because brass catchers are so affordable by comparison. Shooters are just willing to “try it” and get a new one if they don’t like it.
Well, you can dig deep into the internet forums looking for real shooter experiences with brass catchers. We did; here are some of the problems we heard, on repeat.
Problems with Deflection/Requiring Modifications
Some of the more common problems we’ve noticed that shooters air to their fellow shooters online in forums is that many brass catchers on the market, notably the brass catchers with heat-resistant mesh bags and wire frames - tend to produce problems with actually catching the spent casings.
We can’t help but find this ironic since that is literally the one and only thing they are designed to do.
Multiple shooters have griped that these brash catchers, which have a wire frame that covers the ejection port, often cause several problems.
One is that they bounce empty brass casings back into the open ejection port, which can cause stovepipe jams. Others is that they can get wedged at the top of the mesh bag, preventing the catcher from holding as many casings as it should.
Another problem that multiple shooters observed is that some brass catchers simply don’t cover the ejection port properly. Brass is usually ejected at a slightly upward angle; the way these catchers cover the ejection port, sometimes the brass simply hits the edge of the wire and fall out, between the wire and the rifle.
Some shooters have responded to this issue by bending the brass catcher’s frame so it properly covers the ejection port, which some remark solves the issue. Call us old-fashioned, but in our estimation, the “best brass catcher” shouldn’t require any modifications.
Problems with Containing/Emptying Spent Brass
Even when the high quality among these brass traps manages to catch and contain the brass it’s supposed to, there are sometimes problems with how the bag rides.
When full of empty brass, some brass catchers drop and sag, the weight of which doesn’t so much throw off the balance of the rifle, but the momentum of the swinging back can. Some shooters find that, given the position of the brass catcher nearly right above the shooting hand, this can adversely affect handling, at least when the bag is full.
The solution, then, is to empty the bag. Unfortunately, many of these brass catchers, despite the fact that they have attributes that on paper should make them easy to empty, really are not easy to clear.
Most of these shell catchers close at the top via a hook and loop closure and have a zipper at the bottom which is supposed to make them easy to empty.
Again, on paper, it’s a great idea, but in practice it is cumbersome. Realistically, emptying these brass catchers with zippers cannot be done with one hand. Trying so is not only ineffective but also unsafe.
In practice, the rifle has to be cleared, placed down, and then the zipper opened with two hands. This practice, which requires the shooter to stop, place down the rifle, and use two hands, is supposed to be convenient and time-saving, but actually counteracts both of those efforts.
Problems with Heat
Another problem that many shooters have noted with respect to brass catchers - which is specifically only a problem with mesh bag brass catchers and not with hard body brass catchers - has to do with heat resistance.
They may be marketed as “heat-resistant nylon mesh” or some other material, but it doesn’t make much difference what the words on the packaging say when you experience a real failure in the field.
Let’s face it - high heat is a fact of life for AR-15 brass catchers. It’s part of the territory. The first shoots out of a cool chamber will be pretty cool - not too hot to touch. But after sustained firing, spent brass can exceed 200 ℉. In some instances, it can get hot enough to melt plastic.
And sometimes, it does - one of the common complaints about standard mesh bag brass catchers is that they occasionally melt. Much of the time it’s not a big deal, but enough melted spots and your catcher won’t be able to hold the brass any longer.
There have even been reports that brass catchers sometimes catch fire. Not that that’s a common complaint, but it’s not something we think shooters should have to experience and we definitely don’t think the “best brass catcher” should ever melt or burn.
The Brass Goat as the Best Brass Catcher
These observations are how we cooked up the Brass Goat.
In lieu of a wire frame and Picatinny rail mounts, we constructed the Brass Goat from hard, molded ABS resin which is easy to attach (and mounts directly do) mil-spec AR-15 magwells.
Since it’s not a Pic rail brass catcher, it keeps your sight picture clear and your rail space open.
Since it’s made from solid ABS, it won’t melt or catch fire, and since it has a solid form, it properly covers the ejection port, won’t jam, and doesn’t sag or droop when full.
It’s also compatible with a detachable hopper that is easy to detach and attach to the brass catcher, making it easier to empty spent rounds.
In essence, it systematically solves all of the common problems that some shooters have experienced when using most of the other brass catchers on the market.
So we named it the Brass Goat - because what else could be called the best brass catcher?