Best Steel-Case (Cheap) 5.56/.223 Ammunition?


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ZombiesAhead
February 7, 2009, 07:26 PM
I typically shoot Wolf (or similar) cheap steel-case in my military-style firearms. My Bushmaster AR has been very happy with the Wolf 5.56. I believe it is soft point as there is exposed lead at the end of the bullet. I don't remember as I bought it a while back and threw it all in magazines and surplus ammunition cans.

I'm running low on cheap AR ammo, though and I'm looking at Ammoman's Wolf selection for a new case of 500-1000 rounds. What do you guys suggest as far as Wolf 5.56?

This is mostly for plinking and hoarding for a "rainy" day. I'd like something to feed, cycle, etc as well as my last batch. It seems like most everything is 55 grain but should I go for the FMJ or JHP? What's the deal with the "full copper" version?

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Covey Leader
February 7, 2009, 08:44 PM
Im new to the AR world. I recently called Bushamster to ask them a few questions about my gun. During the course of the conversation, The tech on the phone said...."you're not shooting wolf ammo are you?" I said no....He said good, stay away from it.

IndianaBoy
February 7, 2009, 08:56 PM
I have the better part of 1k of wolf through my ar.

I would call it inaccurate but functional. With my dillon now set up I find my handloads perform much better for less money.

I shot the 55gr HP. It worked fine.

ZombiesAhead
February 7, 2009, 09:50 PM
Pat - What's your point? Do you know of something better at a similar price?

IndianaBoy - I agree with you. It is quite inaccurate but I have had NO function problems whatsoever in my first 1000 rounds.

I do clean every range trip. I think the dirt is more significant with Wolf 5.56.

pktrkt
February 7, 2009, 09:58 PM
Used some Wolf polymer 55 gr. stuff and shot good thru my Bushmaster but the CMMG with WASP lined barrel didn't like it, my Stag runs good on the WOlf but was at a local gun shop and bought 500 rounds of Silver Bear 62 gr. JHP Zinc coated steel case and it seems to run good in everything so far fairly clean and seems a lot hotter than the Wolf. Lot better accuracy than WOlf (in my rifles) but not as cheap, paid 165.00 for the 500 rounds. If its available I would try it.

ZombiesAhead
February 7, 2009, 10:28 PM
Isn't it all polymer these days? I still have some 7.62 "lacquer" (never had a problem with it, contrary to popular belief) but that is from 3 years ago and everything since has been polymer.

highorder
February 7, 2009, 10:44 PM
I like Silver Bear.

btefft
February 7, 2009, 10:50 PM
Shot 100 Wolf steel case 55 gr today, the AR ate them all.

Hack

mparms
February 7, 2009, 11:02 PM
It seems nobody addressed why the bushmaster guy said to stay away from wolf and other steel casings (which are actually predominately of a nickel mix by the way, but it's the steel that is the concern).

These casings put ware on your extractor more than brass does since your extractor (made of steel) is harder than a brass round (the brass takes the wear and tear). Reliability and accuracy...well it is a semi auto gas op assault rifle, so in some circles accuracy is a farce, but anyway... these will stay the same until that nickel/steel alloy wears the face and angle of your extractor, and then you're going to have extraction problems.

If you're going to stock ammo for the "rainy day" I'd stock brass for 3 reasons:
1. the afore-mentioned extractor issues
2. you can reload brass
3. brass oxidizes but does not rust due to the copper content (brass is nickel and copper not nickel and steel)

pktrkt
February 7, 2009, 11:44 PM
Yep Brass case is the way to go for 'stocking' ammo. I've got a bunch :D of XM193 and Q3131 for that purpose (stocking) but I shoot whatever for plinking. I'm sure the steel case is hard on the extractor and thats why I bought a boat load of parts when they were cheap. I really think along with that the steel case's have a tendency to leave lotsa crud in the chamber and when you've shot a buncha steel case and then change to brass the brass swells to the chamber and the case 'sticks' and then you've gotta problem:cuss:. Anyway thats why I was pretty impressed with the Silver Bear the chamber was fairly clean after shooting quite a bit of it, anyway cleaner than the other steel case ammo. Note this was just in my AR's I'm sure others would react different according to chamber style and chrome or not etc....

brentn
February 8, 2009, 12:16 AM
Whatever happened to all that plastic cased ammunition for 5.56/.223? It had a brass head and a FMJ bullet and the rest was plastic with powder inside, was supposed to be real cheap and I haven't seen anyone selling it..

ZombiesAhead
February 8, 2009, 12:56 AM
MPARMS: It seems nobody addressed why the bushmaster guy said to stay away from wolf and other steel casings

PTRKT: Yep Brass case is the way to go for 'stocking' ammo. I've got a bunch of XM193 and Q3131 for that purpose

BRENTN: Whatever happened to all that plastic cased ammunition for 5.56/.223?

Thanks, mparms and others, for totally taking my thread off topic. When I asked what the "BEST STEEL-CASE 5.56" was I was actually asking you guys what the best cheap, steel-case ammunition was. Crazy, right?

If I wanted a debate on the merits of brass vs steel-case ammunition I would have searched and read one of the 1000 threads on this topic.

Kindrox
February 8, 2009, 01:05 AM
I don't know what the good steel cased stuff is but I don't think it is Wolf. My 100 yard Wolf (recent manufacture) groups are 3X the size of just average brass ammo, and Wolf drops about 3 inches more from average quality brass ammo.

I am guessing that maybe another brand has either a little more power and/or a better bullet.

Ratshooter
February 8, 2009, 02:55 AM
I don't know if its the "best" but I have been shooting the steel cased 223 from Academy labeled "Monarch". Its accurate out of both of my Mini-14s. It groups twice as good as wolf in the black box.

It also groups pretty good from my Remington 7615.

Covey Leader
February 8, 2009, 10:06 AM
Pat - What's your point? Do you know of something better at a similar price?

I guess i was just posting what was told to me about wolf ammo. Sorry, i didnt mean to hyjack your thread.

wcwhitey
February 8, 2009, 10:25 AM
I believe the Monarch is repackaged Barnaul. Barnaul can be had in Brown Bear and Silver Bear as well. Brown Bear being the lacquer case, silver bear being the silver (zinc I believe) coated steel case. I have shot thousands of Barnaul and Brown Bear out of my AR's, never a problem. I shot Wolf in them before it was called Wolf, Tula Arsenal at the time. I liked it then not so much anymore. I think the new poly coated Wolf is a waisted effort. The problems associated with the steel case (other than extractor) has nothing to do with the coating. The steel just doesn't expand in the chamber the way brass does. This is why steel cased ammo is dirtier than brass. It also why when you shoot brass after the steel ammo you run the risk of having a case lodged in the chamber. Brass expands to the now smaller dirty chamber and will cause extraction problems. Put it this way, shoot all the steel you want but don't mix it with brass. Clean your gun after you shoot and if somewhere down the road you break an extractor spend the ten bucks and fix it.

cat_IT_guy
February 8, 2009, 10:47 AM
ive shot wolf and brown bear in 2 different ARs. Neither complained. So I would say any of the cheap stuff that you can still find (for cheap) is worth buying (assuming your gun likes it). When/if you are looking for uber-small groups and want to bother measuring them, buy some brass rounds for close to $1/shot.

collateral
February 8, 2009, 12:14 PM
Im new to the AR world. I recently called Bushamster to ask them a few questions about my gun. During the course of the conversation, The tech on the phone said...."you're not shooting wolf ammo are you?" I said no....He said good, stay away from it.
That's funny.

Many people use the steel cased ammunition in our rifles without a problem. The mild steel casings will not damage our chrome lined barrels. It would take thousands of rounds to wear an extractor.
We recommend trying a sample of the ammunition before buying in bulk to see if it will cycle alright.
From Bushmaster's FAQ page:
http://www.bushmaster.com/faqs/afmviewfaq.aspx?faqid=1086

SpeedAKL
February 8, 2009, 12:55 PM
I've never had that much luck with the black-box Wolf, the military classic seems to run a little better in my AR. The Barnaul/Silver Bear stuff is good though.

mparms
February 10, 2009, 03:01 AM
To ZombiesAhead:

sorry for the soapbox. I reload, and after one session with wolf (obviously not reloaded) I wrote off steel cases forever...I didn't mean to throw your thread off.

Flash!
February 10, 2009, 09:16 AM
I've run quite a bit of Golden Bear thru my Colt 6721 and my Saiga 223.... it functions very well, is relatively accurate, and clean compared to a lot of others. It is brass coated steel cases.

MD_Willington
February 10, 2009, 09:29 AM
Barnaul or Silver bear, it is zinc coated, you can get most of the zinc off by just rubbing it off with a bunch of rags, it comes off easy.

jerkface11
February 10, 2009, 10:46 AM
Silver Bear 62gr.

Steve in PA
February 10, 2009, 01:16 PM
If your rifle won't feed, fire and eject Wolf ammo.....you need another rifle. If it is that sensitive I wouldn't own that rifle. If should feed and fire whatever you put into it.

My Bushamster eats Wolf MC like candy.

The Bushmaster FAQ's cover the use of steel cases. The steel rims are softer than the steel of the extractor. There is no "excessive" wear on the extractor. Your rifle won't know the difference. The extractor slips over the rim of the case whether it is made of brass or steel.

If your extractor is breaking it is because it was made to sub-standard specs.

minutemen1776
February 10, 2009, 02:59 PM
What do you guys suggest as far as Wolf 5.56?

I bought bulk quantities of both Wolf Military Classic 55-gr. and Wolf 62-gr., and my AR does not care for either load very much. I'd sell it at $25/100. I think I have 600-800 rounds of the stuff, and both types are polymer coated.

railroader
February 10, 2009, 03:13 PM
I like barnaul better than wolf. Here you can get 55gr soft points for $122 per 500 plus shipping. http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8626&dir=18|830|845 Mark

ny32182
February 10, 2009, 03:34 PM
I reload too, but when I want ammo to plink or function check, I'm reaching for the cheap steel case that I didn't spend lots of time handloading.

I've never seen the slightest bit of evidence showing that an extractor is worn any faster by a soft steel case than it is by brass. If it is, who cares; you can buy a bunch of extractors for the price difference between a single case of steel vs. brass ammo.

I wouldn't use it for "SHTF storage" because it is underpowered and doesn't use high quality bullets. I wouldn't shoot for groups with it because it isn't accurate. But I certainly feel that it has its place outside of that: recreational plinking, function checking, high volume carbine class, etc.

Recently I've been using Silver Bear and haven't had any problem so far. Yes, I feel that if your rifle can't run in-spec steel cased ammo, you need a new rifle.

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