steel vs brass vs nickle plated


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whistler
August 7, 2007, 05:34 PM
why do some say that steel cases will waer the chamber. what about nickle plated brass. since nickle is harder than steal.

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Bazooka Joe71
August 7, 2007, 05:38 PM
why do some say that steel cases will ware the chamber

You mean the extractor?

whistler
August 7, 2007, 05:46 PM
my question is how can steal wear out anything faster than nickle.

Brad Johnson
August 7, 2007, 06:15 PM
why do some say that steel cases will waer the chamber.

Ignorance, myth, incorrect supposition, distrust, tradition, and good, old-fashioned ego.

Brad

CajunBass
August 7, 2007, 06:18 PM
why do some say that steel cases will waer the chamber.

Gotta blame something.

You can't expect a top of the line, high dollar gun to function with cheap steel case ammo, but a cheap piece of "commie junk" was designed to use it.

Which would lead to the question. Which is the better design in that case?

CWL
August 7, 2007, 06:21 PM
Nickle plating on brass cartridge casings is extremely thin because it is only there to limit/prevent corrosion of the brass. The nickle does not add any physical or structural strength to the brass.

Because it it so thin, the brass underneath will readily give way and deform, dent or collapse.

A steel case however, is made entirely out of steel.

DoubleTapDrew
August 7, 2007, 06:25 PM
You can't expect a top of the line, high dollar gun to function with cheap steel case ammo, but a cheap piece of "commie junk" was designed to use it.

I wonder if the myth has more to do with the high dollar guns having tighter chambers and close fits as opposed to a "loose" gun like an AK with larger tolerances. That said, I use wolf in my AR and haven't had any problems.

CajunBass
August 7, 2007, 06:29 PM
I wonder if the myth has more to do with the high dollar guns having tighter chambers and close fits as opposed to a "loose" gun like an AK with larger tolerances. That said, I use wolf in my AR and haven't had any problems.

Actually that would be my guess Drew. I know I've never had any trouble with any steel case ammo in any of my guns.

kellyj00
August 7, 2007, 06:52 PM
yet another gun myth, I'd say.
Just like the classic 12 gauge blowing a guy off his feet myth. You're inclined to believe what you've heard so many times.

Also, dimes in a 12 gauge.... another myth.

There's plenty of myths out there.... just try it.

Eyesac
August 7, 2007, 07:04 PM
Yup, heard this before too... No good reason I can think of.

gaudio5
August 7, 2007, 07:10 PM
im over 10k rounds of 45 from my 1911 all wolf nothings out of the norm here nothing broken.

Liberty4Ever
August 7, 2007, 07:10 PM
I use only brass because I reload, and cheap steel case is a bad bargain for me because I can't reload it. I don't like nickel plating because it can chip and peel after a couple of reloads. Even if it doesn't scratch the reloading die, chipped nickel plating can cause more friction when resizing and it's ugly.

I generally believe in the axiom, "Commie ammo for commie guns, and brass for everything else."

That said, most people don't have any trouble with steel cased ammo in ARs, but in some guns it can cause problems. Older steel case ammo has a lacquer coating that can cause extraction problems in modern guns not designed for older steel case ammo. Typical problems are jams, failure to extract, and failure to feed.

I have a Kel-Tec PLR-16 (sort of a .223 pistol that operates more like a tight chambered AK). I'll never feed it steel case ammo. There have been problems, including broken extractors, with PLR-16 and SU-16 owners using steel case ammo.

Zoogster
August 7, 2007, 07:11 PM
Because whenever you rub two surfaces of similar hardness together there is going to be abrasion. That does not mean it will be immediately noticable or that the wear will be significant, it simply means that over time there will be more wear.

It is not some disputed contraversy. Harder things scratch or cause abrasion on similar or softer things quicker than softer things on harder surfaces.

Since both the outside of the casing and the inside of the chamber are smooth, the effects will be slower, but they will be greater than brass. There is no myth involved.

Review the Mohs scale:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness

http://www.infowest.com/life/mohs.gif

Notice copper is softer than steel tool by a quite a bit. Since friction and abrasion produce tiny scratches causing wear this applies. This means that when you rub the 2 together the copper is going to give more often than the steel.

Abrasion and friction happen when the casing is ejected and comes from the chamber on both the chamber and the extractor. So for the longest life you want the cartridge to be significantly softer than the barrel and extractor which are going to be from steel. Things of similar hardness levels are going to wear eachother down faster.
That does not mean the firearm is going to stop working, it just means it will increase the wear.

Both will work fine. If you don't care about changing the tolerances of your firearm faster, then it is no big deal. It is not going to "break" the firearm.

Kentak
August 7, 2007, 07:35 PM
I'm not offering this to be taken as an "expert" opinion, but it is an educated opinion based on what I have learned by osmosis over the years.

To wear the chamber walls, an abrasive substance (to the chamber steel) would have to drag over the surface under enough pressure to abrade it.

Most cartridges are tapered to allow easier chambering and extraction. Thus, the case walls don't actually come in close contact with the chamber walls until the round is fully chambered. Even then, it's not a super tight contact. Take the barrel out of your auto pistol, drop a round in the chamber and wiggle it around.

When the round is fired, the pressure expands the case to make high pressure contact with the chamber wall, but it is static pressure. By the time the extraction cycle begins, chamber pressure has dropped and the natural springiness of the case materials causes it to shrink slightly and release its tight grip on the chamber wall. If it didn't, extraction would be impossible.

Another factor is that steel cases have a corrosion resistant coating which, although very thin, prevents most steel to steel contact. In the case of Wolf ammo, it used to be a lacquer, is now a polymer coating.

I have heard it said, though, (experts?) that steel cases are more likely to damage extractor claws. Seems reasonable.

K

fletcher
August 7, 2007, 07:43 PM
You can't expect a top of the line, high dollar gun to function with cheap steel case ammo, but a cheap piece of "commie junk" was designed to use it.

Every gun that I have owned that was capable of firing Wolf brand ammunition has with no problems.

Brad Johnson
August 8, 2007, 01:16 PM
It is not some disputed contraversy. Harder things scratch or cause abrasion on similar or softer things quicker than softer things on harder surfaces.

The only problem with that analysis is the laquer coating on the cartridge. The soft laquer acts as a lubricant/barrier between the steel case and the extractor.

Brad

ArfinGreebly
August 8, 2007, 04:00 PM
Given that abrasion is what wears the parts, it would seem that the casing of the ammo is less a factor than how clean everything is.

If things are dirty, there will be more particulates, more abrasion, more wear.

If things are clean, there will be less of these.

Machined metal is very smooth. If it's kept clean and lubed, and if the things that rub against it are also smooth and clean, very little wear will occur.

So, don't pour sand in the action of your weapon.

Clean and change oil every 3,000 miles.

Use clean ammo.

You should be good to go.

MachIVshooter
August 8, 2007, 04:07 PM
I have heard it said, though, (experts?) that steel cases are more likely to damage extractor claws. Seems reasonable.

Moreso with rifles, as the extractor is forced over the case rim, rather than the rim slipping under it.

I use Wolf and Barnaul steel cased ammo in my AR-10 and AR-15. I keep a spare extractor for each, the cost of which was only a fraction of the ammo savings.

That said, DO NOT run steel cased ammo in such rifles as the G-3 with fluted chambers.

the naked prophet
August 8, 2007, 08:18 PM
The steel used for making cases is much, much softer than the steel used to make barrels and chambers - both by virtue of its alloying and heat treating (or lack thereof). It is so much softer, in fact, that it will definitely not scratch or abrade the barrel.

The reason it's so hard on extractors, I believe, is explained thusly:

The steel case is not as flexible as the brass case, and when the powder is ignited, it does not expand to seal off the chamber as well as the brass does. The combustion gases then flow back through the chamber, leaving a carbon residue. This residue can build up, and act as "glue" sticking the cases in the chamber, requiring far more force to pull them out. If brittle brass cased ammo is used after steel cased ammo, it can break off the rim, whereas soft brass cased ammo will severely dent the rim. This info from http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/edu18.htm

But what I believe that the box'o'truth does not mention is that this extra force required to pull the ammo out of the chamber does put more stress on the extractor than it's designed for. That is why some guns have problems with extractor breakage. Keep a spare extractor, and use the other extractor with Wolf and other steel-cased ammo. That way, you don't weaken the "serious purposes" extractor. You'll save money fairly quickly that way.

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