May 22nd, 2020

Caldwell Brass Retriever — Handy Item That Saves Your Back

Caldwell pistol rifle cartridge brass rake retriever handle

Caldwell Brass Retriever
Tired of bending over or kneeling down to retrieve your fired cartridge brass? For older shooters (including this Editor) getting down on the ground to pick up brass is tough on the lower back and knees. Here’s a product that makes brass retrieval quick, easy, and pain-free. The Caldwell Brass Retriever works quite well with a little practice, once you apply the correct pressure. While it won’t always grab every fired case, it will capture nearly all, and that can really make the job go much faster.

One owner praises this as a “very good tool” that is “a lot easier on my back.” While it can work on grass, gravel, and hard-packed earth, the unit works best on smooth, hard surfaces. Currently priced under $37, it is a good value.

Caldwell states: “Spend less time bending over and picking up brass at the range and more time shooting. The Caldwell® Brass Retriever picks up brass, saving your back and time. Picking up spent brass is as easy as pushing a mop. The Brass Retriever can pick up rifle and pistol brass quickly and efficiently. The Brass Retriever works anywhere, even on grass and gravel. The retriever comes complete with a roll cage separator that allows you to dump the collected brass into a bucket quickly. It is collapsible as well, making it convenient to transport. The retriever’s handle expands from 28″ up to 57″ tall.”

Caldwell pistol rifle cartridge brass rake retriever handle

Brass Retriever Owner Reviews
Here are Amazon reviews from actual purchases. It’s clear the device is not perfect and can miss a case or two. However, as you can see from the videos, the Brass Retriever does pick the vast major of brass on the ground, sized .223 Rem or larger diameter. This will save time and reduces stress on your back and joints:

“This thing … does a terrific job of collecting the brass from a standing posture quickly and efficiently. It helps to have the cases on a smooth surface like concrete or dirt without a lot of vegetation. But we used it on open desert yesterday and it collected nearly every case with a single pass. It’s now a permanent piece of gear in the stuff we take when target or ground squirrel shooting.” — Hans H.

“This WILL save your back. The only drawback is you can’t overload it with brass. After couple dozen pieces (or less) it will start dropping brass while you’re attempting to collect others. That’s the limitation (one of them). There is a short learning curve (15 min.) in which you’ll learn how much brass is too much And how you need to orientate the wires to pick up the brass. It doesn’t do as well on gravel or high grass as it does on a smooth, firm surface. Even with its limitations, it’s a keeper. Just empty every dozen or so pieces and it works very well. It comes with a wire form that attaches to a bucket for easy emptying. I normally just use my fingers to spread wires and give a shake to allow the contents to fall out. Again not perfect but when used within its design capabilities, it does pretty well. I would buy again.” — Jeff M.

“It’s not perfect. But neither is using a broom or picking it up by hand. Sure, a 9mm might drop out while you’re picking up a .45 ACP. But you roll back over the 9mm and pick it up again. I now pick up my brass in a fraction of the time it used to take me and I stand upright while doing it. I should add the disclaimer that I’ve only used it to pick up handgun brass and it’s picked up everything from .22 LR to .44 Magnum. I have not tried it with rifle brass.” — Johnny C.

Caldwell pistol rifle cartridge brass rake retriever handleSpecialized Tool for .22 LR Brass
NOTE: The Caldwell Brass Retriever is designed primarily to recover reloadable rifle and pistol brass, with case diameters as fat as .223 Rem or larger. Some people state it can be used for smaller .22 LR cartridges too, but there is a much better product for that.

The UniqueTek Rimfire Brass Wizard is optimized for picking up .22 LR rimfire cases. It has a smaller basket with wires spaced closer together. It can also pick up pistol and rifle cartridge brass but will hold fewer cases than the original Brass Wizard or the Caldwell Brass Retriever.