I personally use ferrules whenever I can. Some applications like combination snare ends (aka tree locks) call for an annealed nut, but otherwise I much prefer using the ferrules. If you check out this place
you can get ferrules for almost 1/2 of what most trapline suppliers charge if buy 1000 at a time.
The real reason I hate annealed nuts is putting them on the cable is a pain. I can never get them hammered on so there isn't some frayed cable sticking out the end, ready to poke multiple holes in my hide. I'm no carpenter so I invariably end up sending several flying through the air and if I forget to use a plier to hold the cable, the nut can come flying down the cable and schmuck my hand, so I stick with ferrules.
This topic seems to come up about twice a year and many guys love the annealed nuts and invariably someone claims that the nuts have more holding power than ferrules. So I must ask: "When they use cable for safety equipment, do they use annealed nuts or ferrules and why?"
The holding power of ferrules has been tested in a controlled lab environment and when put on properly (according to Ace
) will hold up to the rated strength of the cable itself. I have never seen any sort of non-shade tree mechanic test done on annealed nuts. Not to say that they don't hold, but why the animosity towards ferrules?
There is of course, the cost. The swagers are not getting any cheaper but deals can be found. I got a decent hand swager for $60 off eBay a year ago. Some see this as excessive but when compared to buying and then setting out several dozen 330's, Jakes, MB-X50 or even well modified traps, the swager doesn't seem like such a bad investment.