Shear punch test (SPT) has been used to study the mechanical properties of Cu, Cu–10 wt.% Zn, Cu–20 wt.% Zn and Cu–30 wt.% Zn after ball milling with an average grain size in the range of 33-12nm. The strain rate sensitivity (SRS) and physical activation volume have been determined. The magnitude observed for these characteristic deformation parameters is very different from their course-grained (cg) counterpart. This suggests that the thermally activated process in nanocrystalline (nc) metal/alloys is different from the conventional forest dislocation cutting mechanism. The stacking fault energy (SFE) of Cu-Zn alloys decreased with the adding of Zn, and deformation twins are anticipated to introduce into the nc Cu-Zn alloys during process of ball milling. Dislocations could accumulate along the TBs and carry the plastic strain, so the ductility of nc Cu-Zn alloys could be improved.