Author Topic: Steel Case Ammunition?  (Read 2762 times)

Offline TheMidwesterner

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Steel Case Ammunition?
« on: April 02, 2011, 08:40:31 PM »
I've noticed that steel case ammo often can be had for significantly less than brass case ammo.  Aside from cost, are there any other upsides?

I've heard that the steel cases can cause more wear than brass cases.  Is there any truth to this?  What are the other downsides?

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 09:05:11 PM »
Can cause more wear on the extractor. Other issues are;

1) the polymer coating. If you shoot allot in one session and the gun gets hot, the polymer can build up a bit and give you a sticky chamber. Generally not a problem at the range, but for classes this can be an issue especially with AR's in my experience.

2) Some of this ammo is "copper washed" steel core which has 2 issues; 1) some indoor ranges don't allow it, and 2) the copper "washing" is an extremely thin layer of copper, and could allow increased barrel wear.

For the average shooter probably no big deal; if your round count is high, could present more of a problem.

I personally haven't had any problems in Mini-14, AR w/chrome lined barrel, Taurus 24/7, Glock 19, Sig P250. I won't shoot it in my high-end SIGs.

Other opinions will be forthcoming I have no doubt!
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Offline TheMidwesterner

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 09:16:05 PM »
Thanks for the quick reply CB.  Is there any issue with cleaning the polymer our of the chamber?  Do you need to use a particular solvent?

Also, I meant to ask: It seems that steel case and Berdan primers seem to go hand-in-hand.  Aside from reloadability, what are the pros and cons of Berdan primers?  Even if they had Boxer primers, can steel cases be reloaded?

Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 09:28:51 PM »
Hoppes and a bore snake will do the trick just fine. If you shoot allot, maybe a bronze chamber brush every so often.

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Offline rpflug

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 04:12:53 PM »
I just finished up a 1000 round case of 5.56mm steel cased ammo.  I only had one malfunction in my Bushmaster, The rim at the base of one round broke and I had to rod out the case.  Not a big deal, but something to think about.

Offline CaptainRW

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 06:09:19 PM »
Some make & models seem to handle steel cases better. AK's have little issue with them, as it's make for it.  AR's, not so much...
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Offline TnEnder

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 07:15:52 PM »
I have seen 100's of thousands of rounds go down range over the last few years. If your pistol won't run well with steel cased ammo get a new pistol. Any extra wear on the parts will be more than made up for in the money you saved over brass. As far as long guns go Ak's will eat steel ammo all day without a hickup, AR style rifles are a little different, steel cased is fine for taking the gun out and doing a little plinking on the weekend, if you are going to be doing some serious shooting and getting the gun hot I have seen some problems with cases welding themselves into the chamber because of the coatings on the cases. Now there is some evidence that the piston guns that keep some of that heat out of the chamber will run reliably on steel ammo. I know of one of the new Barrett Rec-7's in 5.56 that went through about 2500 rounds of Wolf and various other steel ammos over the course of 3 days without a hickup.

Offline Bubafat

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 11:03:06 PM »
Downside:
Can't reload it. 

Even if you don't reload, you should be picking up as much brass as you can at the range...it's free money!
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Offline BulkAmmo.com

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2011, 09:12:19 PM »
I rarely get any complaints about the steel casing pistol ammunition. Same with the rifle ammo, with the exception of the 223/5.56. Which has more to do with the AR and not the ammo. I have a couple AR's that love it and some that won't run on it regardless.

The casings aren't typically reloaded but I have friends that do it as a challenge. They tend to only get 3-4 reloadings out of the casings before they are toast.

As others have said the saving in the ammo alone with pay for any increased wear.

Offline Sequanti

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 10:23:43 PM »
I just got back from a USPSA match and tonight we had more malfunctions than ever. At least two of them that I was a witness to involved steel-cased Russian ammo. One pistol was a S&W M&P and the other was a 9mm 1911-style brand unknown by me.

Part of the problem is steel isn't as soft and "slippery" as brass. While most people think of the as a problem in the chamber—which it can be—it is also a problem within the magazine. The rounds won't slide up as fast or as smoothly.

It would never be my choice for self-defense or competition. I wouldn't use it if I were paying big money for training either. It's not the best for range shooting were tights groups are desired. It might be fine for plinking, but then nothing beats a .22 for plinking and it is cheaper that the steel-cased stuff.

So for me it just doesn't fulfill a need.

I don't think it will hurt your gun unless you shot a lot. And, the parts it would mot likely damage are usually cheap and easy to replace, so if in the course of a few thousand rounds you saved hundreds of dollars, you can certainly afford the $5 extractor. If you shoot it enough to wear out a barrel sooner, then you probably saved enough to buy the barrel.

Offline D Haught

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2011, 08:05:19 PM »
I took a training class in southern WV at Goodale's PFT a couple weeks back. They have a nice outdoor range and do all kinds of training there from tactical pistol to shotgun and rifle, both civvy and LEO/Mil. and when you are walking around there on the gravel lot, you look down and realize that it's actually about 60% casings you're walking on and the majority of the stuff is steel cased.

I bought some Tula Ammo in 9mm and shot it through my G19 and it ran as well as the speer and blazer I was shooting. I can see the potential for problems in an AR if you really get it hot but not in a quality pistol. Besides, if it worries you keep a spare extractor around.
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Offline Bubafat

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2011, 10:05:38 PM »
when you are walking around there on the gravel lot, you look down and realize that it's actually about 60% casings you're walking on and the majority of the stuff is steel cased.


That's cuz someone picked up all the brass and all the steel has accumulated.
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Offline D Haught

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2011, 10:15:07 PM »
That's cuz someone picked up all the brass and all the steel has accumulated.

Actually I asked them about that and they did say that a large number of rounds fired there are steel, especially in the rifle courses. They offered to let people pick up brass if they wanted but there really wasn't any time and I never saw the people who asked about picking up brass actually go out and mine any of it.  ;D
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Offline Westbound

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 08:23:15 PM »

Also, I meant to ask: It seems that steel case and Berdan primers seem to go hand-in-hand.  Aside from reloadability, what are the pros and cons of Berdan primers?  Even if they had Boxer primers, can steel cases be reloaded?

Aside from the Berdan primers, the issue with reloading steel cases is resizing the cases.  I've played around with a few cases as an experiment.  Neck sizing wasn't too bad, but when I tried to full length resize, I stuck cases in the die, even when lubed up well.  They were a major pain to remove.  That's when I decided that I only reload brass.  It isn't a big deal since steel case ammo is so cheap, especially when shooting the surplus stuff.

Offline Whiskey

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 11:12:44 PM »
My AR locked up on Wolf .223 half way through the first magazine. Smith and Wesson MP15... not a bad rifle by any means, it just doesn't like steel, from what I can tell.
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Offline RacinRob

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2011, 07:48:53 AM »
That is wierd, my wife's M&P loves steel cased tula ammo. My usp hated it though.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Steel Case Ammunition?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2011, 01:28:28 PM »
My buddy's AR didnt like wolf either. The steel casing would get stuck and not eject.
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