260 vs 360 Brass Compared: Which to Choose

260 vs 360 Brass Compared: Which to Choose

260 vs 360 Brass Compared: Which to Choose

Brass is a popular alloy composed of copper and zinc, and depending on their composition, brass can be classified into different grades.

260 and 360 Brass are two of the most commonly used grades of brass.

But what is the difference between them? What are their properties and applications?

The difference between 260 and 360 brass lies in their material properties and composition. 260 brass is popular for making cartridge cases for bullets, while 360 brass possesses a relatively lesser percentage of copper making it ideal for machining applications like manufacturing screws.  

This article differentiates 260 and 360 brass based on their electrical, mechanical, and machinability properties to help you decide which one to use for your application.

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260 Brass vs 360 Brass: Which one to Choose?

260 Brass360 Brass
Higher strengthLower strength
Higher percentage of copperLower percentage of copper
Lower percentage of Zinc, Iron, and LeadHigher percentage of Zinc, Iron, and Lead
Lower machinabilityHigher machinability 
Higher ductilityLower ductility
Moderate welding, soldering, and brazing capabilitiesRelatively better welding, soldering, and brazing capabilities
Aesthetically more appealingGood surface finish
Higher electrical conductivity Lower electrical conductivity
Slightly higher densitySlightly lower density
Slightly higher thermal expansion coefficientSlightly higher thermal expansion coefficient
Difference between 260 and 360 brass

Difference in Strength/Ductility: 260 vs 360 Brass

260 Brass has a greater ultimate tensile strength and yield strength, indicating its higher ductility and strength.

This makes 260 brass comparatively more suitable for applications that require a good expansion coefficient such as bullet cartridges.

260 Brass has a tensile strength of 62000 PSI, and a yield strength of 52200 PSI, whereas 360 Brass possesses a tensile strength of 58000 PSI and a yield strength of 45000 PSI. 

Difference in Thermal Expansion Coefficient

360 Brass has a higher thermal expansion coefficient, meaning it can expand more when heating. 

As a result, 360 brass is preferred for applications where the brass workpiece is subjected to heat, such as heat exchangers.

Difference in Electrical Conductivity

260 Brass has higher electrical conductivity than 360 Brass due to a more significant number of free electrons.

This makes 260 brass the best choice for making electrical components.

Difference in Density

260 Brass has a slightly higher density of 0.308 pounds per inch cubed compared to 360 Brass which has a density of 0.307 pounds per inch cubed.

This means that 260 brass is capable of providing better rigidity than 360 brass, making it suitable for high-loading applications, like bullets.

Difference in Machinability/Hardness

Machining 360 Brass
Machining 360 Brass

Due to the presence of lead in 360 Brass, it has a higher machinability, meaning it can more conveniently undergo machining into different shapes.

On the other hand, machining 260 brass produces long stringy chips that can jam into the cutting tool, making it difficult to machine.

260 Brass has a Rockwell Hardness of B77, while 360 Brass possesses a Rockwell Hardness of B78 . 

However, the hardness of 260 brass makes it suitable for making bullet cartridges.

Generally, annealing the brass enhances its ductility, making it suitable for making and recycling bullet cartridges.

Difference in Composition

The percentage composition of the constituent elements in 260 and 360 Brass also varies.

260 Brass consists of 68.5%-71.5% copper, 0.05% iron, 0.07% lead, 28.5% zinc, and 0.15 % other elements, whereas 360 Brass comprises 61.5% copper, 35.5% zinc, 3% lead, and 0.35% iron.

Difference in Weldability

Upon localized or focussed heat application, 360 Brass fairs better as it coalesces and bonds with another metal more effectively.

Hence 360 brass possesses better welding, soldering, and brazing capabilities when compared to 260 brass.

What is 260 Brass?

260 brass used for making bullet cartridges
260 brass used for making bullet cartridges

260 Brass is a grade of brass that consists of around 70 percent copper and 30 percent zinc. 

This ratio ensures that minimal corrosion occurs due to zinc’s high reactivity.

Moreover, it is more durable and possesses a higher strength.

Properties of 260 Brass

High Ductility

High ductility means higher workability, which is advantageous if you want to perform sheet metal working or cold forming on your workpiece.

The resulting workpiece will still have favorable mechanical properties.  

Lower Machinability

After machining, the workpiece may develop residual stresses, cause tool damage, or unwanted vibrations.

Low to moderate welding characteristics

260 brass workpieces will not undergo welding as effectively as other grades of brass, like 360 brass, and the bonded part will be structurally weak.

Aesthetically Appealing

260 Brass has a smooth and shiny finish, making it suitable for external body casings.

Applications of 260 Brass

AmmunitionMajor constituent in bullet casings
Appliances and electronicsMajor constituent in making circuit boards and frames
EngravingsUsed to make plates for engraving name plaques
Fasteners, locks, and plugsMajor constituent in these components 
PlumbingUsed to make valves
Radiatorsused in heat exchangers
LampsMajor constituent in lamp body and circuit frame
Applications of 260 Brass

Due to 260 Brass’s higher ductility, it can easily undergo stamping or drawing to form ammunition shells, engravings, valve components, etc.

Its aesthetic finish and high conductivity makes it suitable for electrical appliances and electronics body casings.

What is 360 Brass?

360 Brass on a lathe
360 Brass on a lathe

360 brass is a type of brass that consists of around 60 percent copper and 40 percent zinc. 

This ratio raises the possibility of corrosion due to a more significant percentage of zinc than 260 brass.

However, the high concentration of lead enhances its machinability while providing a more significant welding potential.

Properties of 360 Brass

Low Ductility

Low ductility means lower workability, which is disadvantageous if you want to perform sheet metal working or cold forming on your workpiece.

The resulting workpiece may fracture or weaken due to a weakening surface.

Higher Machinability

After machining, the workpiece will still possess favorable mechanical properties, making 360 Brass ideal for obtaining differently shaped components.

Apart from that, higher machinability results in the formation of short chips that are easy to clear away from the working area, taking away the heat and producing high-quality cuts.

Better Welding Characteristics

A 360 brass workpiece will undergo welding more effectively, and the bonded part will be structurally stronger.

Aesthetically More Appealing

360 Brass has a smoother and shinier surface finish, making it suitable for decorative purposes.

Applications of 360 Brass

Plumbing partsMajor constituent in pipes, valves, etc
Gears and pipe fittingsProminently used due to its high machinability
ElectronicsOccasionally used in circuit boards and frames
FastenersProminently used for making fasteners
Musical InstrumentsProminently used in making musical instruments
Applications of 360 Brass

Due to 360 Brass’s higher machinability and better weldability, it has extensive usage in mechanical components like gearboxes, fasteners, etc., and electrical components.

It has a more visually appealing surface, making it ideal for decorative parts and musical instruments. 

Final Thoughts

While choosing between 260 and 360 Brass, one should be sure about the desired mechanical, electrical, and aesthetical properties required for their application.

If your target is higher machinability and ease of welding, 360 Brass will be the ideal option for you, especially if you are a hobbyist.

Whereas, if you want to focus on aesthetic looks, then 260 Brass is the way to go, as it is shinier and has a smoother surface.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Brass rust?

No, brass does not rust actively as it has a negligible percentage of iron, minimizing the possibility of iron oxide or rust formation. However, minimal rusting may occur in higher oxygen concentration environments, resulting in a blueish oxide layer.

How many different types of brass are there?

There are more than 60 types of brass. Fundamentally, there are 3 main categories, copper-zinc (Cu-Zn), Leaded (Cu, Zn, Pb), and tin (Cu, Zn, Sn) brasses. These can be further subdivided based on properties and applications.

Does Brass react with water?

The zinc composition in brass reacts most readily with water, which can in turn mechanically weaken brass, making it unsuitable for use. Therefore, for water-based applications, it is advised to use particular grades of brass with low zinc concentrations.

What is the melting point of Brass?

The melting point of Brass is around 930°C (1710°F).

Is 260 or 360 Brass magnetic in nature?

No, 260 or 360 Brass is not magnetic as both the dominant constituent elements, Copper and Zinc, are non-magnetic.

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Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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