Steel or Brass?


July 18, 2011, 02:16 AM
I don't know much in the world of ammo, but I know there are steel shells and brass shells (when I qualify on the range we use BRASS). So what's the difference and what's better? (other than that I've noticed steel seems to be cheaper)

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July 18, 2011, 02:47 AM
Brass you can reuse over and over till it's cracked and coming apart.
Steel is a one shot use because you can't resize them (they'll seize in the die).
Reloading standpoint brass is better.
Manufacturer standpoint steel is cheaper.

Kevin Rohrer
July 18, 2011, 02:48 AM
Steel is cheaper than brass to make and is not reloadable. If you plan to reload, keep the brass and ditch the steel.

July 18, 2011, 03:32 AM
Sounds good, thanks guys. I do have a good amount of old steel cased ammunition, any worries or higher misfires on the steel?

July 18, 2011, 12:28 PM
WOW! I have loaded plenty of boxer primed steel cases by Wolf and Tula. They all go bang.....Internet mythology......They load just fine. If they are boxer primed and not rusty they will load just fine...Seizing in a die?....Never heard of such a thing...This sounds a lot like "you can't shoot cast bullets in a Glock" or "you can't shoot cast in a gas op semi auto".........Myth perpetuation.

July 18, 2011, 02:04 PM
any worries or higher misfires on the steel?

Not really. They go bang just fine. If they're lacquer coated (a la Barnaul) I've had issues with the lacquer partially melting and sticking in a chamber (not "Internet mythology" - I've had that happen to me personally). For the ones with a different coating that problem may not be an issue.

One thing to bear in mind too - bullets with steel cases often also have steel jackets (usually copper-washed to prevent rust). These are a tad harder on the barrel than copper jacketed bullets (just as copper is a bit harder than regular lead). This isn't a universal truth - I've had steel jacketed bullets in brass cases and I've had copper-jacketed bullets in steel cases. It just seems a little more prevalent to find the two matched.

Given the issues with the lacquer, the jackets, and the fact that I reload my ammo, I typically avoid all steel cased ammo (as well as the aluminum-cased CCI Blazers) when possible. That said, if I had any stock of it built up I wouldn't worry about shooting it. I just wouldn't buy more when its gone.

July 18, 2011, 03:28 PM
I did some research a few weeks ago regarding the pros and cons of steel-cased ammo and documented what I found here:

July 18, 2011, 07:45 PM
Indeed the laquer is not "internet mythology"(I really like that term). I know that laquer cases+rapid fire usually results in nice gooey chambers. I was referring to the the light grey cases by Tula and Wolf. They shoot, reload and shoot again just fine. And that my friends is not "internet mythology" as I just shot 100 rounds of .45 ACP steel cased cast reloads in my G36 without a hitch.

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