Above: The Brass Catcher clips onto any AR Picatinny rail and can be quickly attached and removed, without interfering with the sight picture or the operation of the gun.
Any shooter requires ammo. Competitive shooters require lots of ammo! For many Action competitors, simple economics dictate that they also become reloaders. That means the fired cases ejected from the gun need to be recovered, regardless of how scattered they are across the COF.
You'll see it at the end of any match—shooters walking hunched over, peering here and there, plucking an occasional fired case from the ground—and looking for all the world like chickens pecking their way across a yard. That's why their common moniker is Range Chickens, and it's a necessary part of the post-match day for many.
However, it doesn't have to be for those shooting AR rifles or carbines (PCC or full caliber) if they have the Battenfeld Technologies AR Pic Rail Brass Catcher ($44.99), btibrands.com.
The Brass Catcher mounts to any AR15-style rifle or carbine that has a flat top Picatinny Rail, or Picatinny hand guard. It will also fit many AR10 versions. It does so with a quick-detachable anodized aluminum clamp that mates with the rail, combined with an adjustable wire frame that allows it to be molded to a proper fit. It's constructed from heat-resistant synthetic mesh that will not melt under a load of hot brass.
It's a lot like the shell bags I watched U.S. Navy helicopter door gunners use during my military career and it accomplishes the same thing; it captures the fired brass so it's not flying all over the place. It also holds more rounds (Battenfeld claims 100 .223 cases) than any shooter is going to use during any Action COF this writer has ever seen. A zipper on the bottom of the bag then allows that brass to be easily dumped into a container when the shooter is finished.
Just about every Steel Challenge PCC shooter at my gun club uses one, and I'm also seeing a lot more of them at other area matches. I've never seen one interfere with the operation of the gun. They can be popped off instantly for the ULSC (Unload Show Clear), although that's not really needed. As the Range Officer running the shooter I can easily see them eject the last chambered round into the bag (in addition to appreciating the fact that I don't have to dodge their hot brass while they're shooting.) They can then pop the Brass Catcher off, show me an empty chamber, flag the gun, bag the gun, leave the line, empty the Brass Catcher, and relax.
Shooting a Carry Optics handgun, I'm quite envious. I still have to play Range Chicken.
Photos by Chris Christian.