Steel Casings


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Smeg
September 7, 2008, 01:11 AM
I've read that it's perfectly acceptable to use steel-cased rounds in AKs and SKSs, and also that this is a no-no in other rifles. Why is this? I've read that the principle concern is in regard to accelerated chamber erosion resulting from steel rubbing against steel, but I do not understand why the SKS and AK design would be seemingly immune while other platforms are not?

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Hoppy590
September 7, 2008, 01:25 AM
theres little to no reason why steel case is any differant to brass.

some guns are designed to work fine with it ( almost all commie guns AK, SKS, VZ, CZ, MN etc) and some arnt. ( AR etc) the idea that the steel vs steel is a problem is not an issue unless your gun is so crappy made the steel in the barrel is crappier than the mild steel in the casing

With some guns it works, some it doesnt. but its not bad for the chamber. it wont explode and kill your family or any other BS

CU74
September 7, 2008, 01:39 AM
Perhaps because the Soviets designed little things like ejectors and extractors for steel-case ammunition and most others didn't????

Guy de Loimbard
September 7, 2008, 01:40 AM
Before I started reloading, I always bought the cheapest steel-case Russian .223 I could find, for my AR-15. It stunk badly and left a LOT to clean out. It had the occasional dud, but the only failures to feed were with an old Orlite mag that wouldn't feed anything right. Nothing drastic happened, no sheared off extractors, no cases stuck in the chamber. As all guns are different, YMMV.

Bartkowski
September 7, 2008, 02:06 AM
Does anyone have concrete evidence that steel cases are so much harder on a gun than brass? It seems that people think since it is steel that is is just as hard as the steel in the gun. It's just like the lacquer coating on old wolf ammo...has anyone ever had it melt in the gun? I doubt it, I have tried to melt the lacquer off for 10 minutes with a lighter, nothing.

To the OP, you can use steel cased ammo in 99% guns, but accuracy may suffer.

rfurtkamp
September 7, 2008, 02:11 AM
It's just like the lacquer coating on old wolf ammo...has anyone ever had it melt in the gun?


The old Wolf, not the new wolf with polymer, yes.

Do a couple beta dumps out of a 7.5" AR, chamber a round and not fire for a few seconds, gun was out of commission until it was knocked out of the chamber with a cleaning rod.

aka108
September 7, 2008, 02:19 AM
The Russians I understand are expert at making soft steel. Shouldn't be any harder on a rifle than brass.

stubbicatt
September 7, 2008, 09:05 AM
This is a question of compatibility: Tapered chambers shoot steel better than straight walled chambers.

If you look at the taper in the commie chambers, 7.62x54, 7.62x39, and 5.45x39, they are more extreme than the military ammo used by USA. Why is this important?

In rifles with greater taper, the forces of extraction are less than the forces required for straight wall cases using the same materials.

Brass springs back to a greater degree than does the mild steel casings. What this means is that after firing a brass case tends to release its grip on the chamber walls and shrink enough to make extraction easier (assuming normal chamber pressures).

Combine a straight walled chamber with a mild steel case (which doesn't have very much spring back) and you will *tend* to get greater resistance to extraction. These additional forces of extraction have to be absorbed by the rifle parts in some way.

If you add a sticky material to your cartridges such as the laquer in a straight walled chamber, you ask for problems.

So: the tapered chambers tend to offer less resistance to extraction than straight walled chambers using steel casings.

briansmithwins
September 7, 2008, 10:22 AM
The 2k of Wolf that my rifle has consumed didn't do any damage to the rifle. From what I $aved I could have purchased 2 complete bolts.

Wolf is dirty, smells bad, and is inaccurate. Destroying rifles, not guilty. If you're ok with ammo that produces 6MOA groups, use Wolf.

BSW

Bartholomew Roberts
September 7, 2008, 11:29 AM
Great explanation by stubbicatt. We should sticky that somewhere.

Steve in PA
September 7, 2008, 12:38 PM
6moa groups??? Never got that from shooting Wolf MC ammo out of my Bushmaster.

Soybomb
September 7, 2008, 01:15 PM
I'm personally not convinced that soft steel cases on something like wolf do any real additional wear to the hard steel of an extractor or hard chromed chamber of a gun...

MisterPX
September 7, 2008, 09:42 PM
If the steel casings damage extractors on things like AR's, please let me know when they're supposed to. I've got 16K rounds of Wolf through one of my AR's, extractor still going strong.

rfurtkamp
September 7, 2008, 10:07 PM
Yeah, I haven't blown anything with Wolf either, and it's plenty accurate for range practice in handguns (which is what I shoot it in mostly these days).

dispatch55126
September 7, 2008, 11:35 PM
This is the gunner's version of the "old wives tale". Guns tend to be picky when it comes to combloc ammo. Some, like mine, will eat it all day. Some will jam at the first round. If your warranty is more important, then don't use steel cased ammo. That said, most companies void the warranty with reloads. The problem is that those who jam raise hell about it which spooks everyone else.

If this isn't a concern, buy a few boxes and try it. If it doesn't work, your only out a few bucks. If it does, you just found cheap plinking ammo. Same the brass for sight-in or sight verification and enjoy shooting steel cased ammo for half the price.

kcshooter
September 7, 2008, 11:48 PM
One of the other differences between steel and brass is the way it expands in the chamber. While brass will expand and become tight against the chamber walls, steel doesn't. It allows extra residue to get between the walls of the casing and the chamber, which is not really a big deal, but it's what gives Wolf and the like a reputation as being dirtier. It can also cause an extraction problem when switching from steel back to brass in the same session.

FIFTYGUY
September 8, 2008, 12:03 AM
some more info here you might find interesting:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=258203

jws527
September 8, 2008, 12:08 AM
I've read that the principle concern is in regard to accelerated chamber erosion resulting from steel rubbing against steel, but I do not understand why the SKS and AK design would be seemingly immune while other platforms are not?One possible reason (just a guess) is that many combloc weapons were manufactured with chrome plated bores and chambers. Chromium is harder than steel.

In any case, most of the problems people have reported with steel-cased ammo have nothing to do with chamber erosion, but rather with the lacquer that many steel cases are/were coated with. If the lacquer melts (in a hot chamber, for instance), it will accumulate and gunk up the chamber, causing feeding and extraction problems - i.e. jams. The AK was designed and built with much looser tolerances than the AR-15 (including a larger chamber), which is why it is much less prone to jams under such circumstances.

SimpleIsGood229
September 8, 2008, 12:37 AM
I second the motion for the sticky'ing of stubbicatt's post.

I don't think lacquer has much to do with it. As a previous poster said, 10 minutes under a lighter wouldn't even melt the lacquer. Rather, I think it's due to the lack of expansion exhibited by steel cases upon firing. The chamber doesn't get sealed, resulting in gunk leaking in. That's me theory, anyway.

Ben Shepherd
September 8, 2008, 02:12 AM
A third for stubbicats post being a sticky.

Wolf IS dirtier. That's what the patches coming out of the barrel tell me.

dscottw88
September 8, 2008, 02:26 AM
I will say this, although steel cased ammo such as wolf and brown bear would probably be fine in most any firearm, I prefer to only use brass in my ARs. My saiga however is a different story.

Oohrah
September 8, 2008, 04:32 AM
pLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RELOAD THESE STEEL CASES Steel
is not malable like brass and will harden and separate. Not sure but I believe
most is Berdan primed and will discourage most to leave it alone:banghead:

For Freedom
September 8, 2008, 05:12 AM
Wolf .308 has blown up a bunch of FALs. That's a fact. Google it and you'll see a bunch of posts on different threads about this.

rovieairto
March 7, 2009, 02:41 PM
stubbicatt nailed it.
The steel cases are soft and wont damage your chamber.
Tight or poorly reamed chambers may cause problems with any case material, more so with steel.

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