Steel/brass?


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conhntr
February 25, 2012, 09:23 PM
Im considering switching to steel ammo
Best current brass pricing is what 35c a round?
Steel is 25c...


So i start with a brand new 1000$ 1911

Shoot 10,000 rounds

Brass=3500$
Steel=2500$

So even if steel completely destroys my 1911 in 10,000 rounds i can have a brand new one and be even with shooting brass. Am i missing something

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firesky101
February 25, 2012, 09:54 PM
Best reason not to use steel is for reloading. If you don't reload, I have no problem with steel. All my guns eat it up all day long.

glock36
February 25, 2012, 10:10 PM
Steel is all I shoot in my AR, aluminium cases .45 cal through the Glock36. I don't reload so it works out.

rcmodel
February 25, 2012, 10:25 PM
Im considering switching to steal ammo
Well if you can steal ammo and not get caught?
I guess it would be O.K., if not exactly THR.

Seriouslay though, Steel Commie Ammo is for Commie designed guns.

It's great in SKS & AK-47 and such.
Because the Russian case & firearms designs, with a lot of case taper and bumper jack strong extractors, make it work just fine.

American guns & most American cartridges were not designed for it.
They were designed for brass cases.

But you gotta do what you gotta do to save a few cents I guess.

Myself?
I ain't run into that hard a times yet, as long as I can still reload.

rc

Certaindeaf
February 25, 2012, 11:17 PM
Knock yourself out. You can reload steel easy. I'm pretty sure aluminum also.

TennJed
February 26, 2012, 02:32 AM
I chose steel only because I see nothing wrong with using it, however I avoid it like the plague because I reload.

Before I did I shot a lot of steel with no issues

ArchAngelCD
February 26, 2012, 04:51 AM
I don't think Hornady would be selling steel cased ammo if it will damage your gun. It seems Hornady is buying steel cases and loading them up for competition shooters who shoot a lot but don't reload. I see no problem with it if Hornady doesn't. Here is a link to their Steel Match Ammo (http://www.hornady.com/store/Steel-Match-handgun/).

Davek1977
February 26, 2012, 06:15 AM
The idea that "US guns aren't made for steel" is at least somewhat erroneous. I own two US-made firearms that the manufacturer SPECIFICALLY has stated steel is just fine. My Ruger SR9C and my Doublestar AR are both OK'd for steel case use by the manufacturer.

conhntr
February 26, 2012, 07:45 AM
Eh i found some aguila 45 for 30c per round. But if the steel is 10c or more cheaper i will start using it

The Lone Haranguer
February 26, 2012, 08:59 AM
I will use it on a - pardon the pun - case by case basis. It first must function. Not all of it exhibits good quality control, although this has nothing to do with the metal per se. Stoppages that are the fault of the ammo will, no matter how much one tries to rationalize it, decrease your confidence in the handgun.

SlowFuse
February 26, 2012, 10:10 AM
I also use it depending on the firearm. SKS, AK's Mosins all get fed nothing but steel unless someone happens to give me some brass for them. All other rifles are brass only. Handguns shoot a mix, again depending on what it is. My Sigs hate steel ammo and give me fits at least 2 or 3 times a mag.

Tcruse
February 26, 2012, 11:30 AM
The case being steel, brass or Aluminium is not really an issue for shooting. The selection is more on other things. Like if you reload you want shells that use boxer primers. Also, if the coating on the steel is something that gives issues.

The best and the worst ammo that I have used in 9mm has been steel cased. The best was some zinc platted steel for 8.50 a box and no longer around. The worst was some of the early Tula before they changed to polymer coatings. Tula also seems to have more failure to fire round than other brands.

allaroundhunter
February 26, 2012, 07:58 PM
My doublestar AR is more accurate with Herter's steel ammo than any brass cased ammo that I have fed it :eek:

....and has never had a malfunction

exavid
February 27, 2012, 12:56 AM
I haven't used any steel to date, I just don't like the idea of a steel cartridge going into a steel chamber. With brass or aluminum I know most of any wear will be on the cartridge. Possibly it's also be cause I reload. Military weapons have one big difference from private weapons even if they are the same make and model and that's military guns don't have to last very long. Most governments have money for replacements as needed. I don't.

Cactus Jack Arizona
February 27, 2012, 04:47 AM
I have a friend who shoots Wolf steel case .45 through his Colt 70 1911. It seems to work just fine. I think I'll look into it for range practice.

SlowFuse
February 27, 2012, 10:32 AM
Tcruse check out silver bear. It uses a zinc coated steel case. The 147 gr load mimics the feel of my SD load and is fairly accurate out of my glocks.

COgunner
February 27, 2012, 11:22 AM
I haven't used any steel to date, I just don't like the idea of a steel cartridge going into a steel chamber.

I feel the same way, but wouldn't cases be made of a softer steel than what gun chambers are made of? (I'm obviously not a metallurgist.)

exavid
February 27, 2012, 01:15 PM
Hard to tell about the steel or hardness of the cases relate to that of the pistol. It only seems to me that any of the moving parts of the gun would be rubbing against the steel cases. It's entirely possible that there's no added wear at all but I just don't know and don't like the idea of steel against steel without plenty of lubrication. I'd rather pay a little bit more for my ammo and have brass or aluminum shells. I only use aluminum like Blazer when I shoot somewhere that I can't recover the shells for reloading.

TonyT
February 27, 2012, 06:58 PM
If you do not reload and your gun functions well with the steel caswed ammo then by all means use it. Several years ago a local gunshop was elling Wolf 9mm steel cases ammo for $99 per 5000 and a fellow shooter used it. I tried it in several of my guns and experienced function failures - in addition te Wolf ammo was VERY DIRTY.
Given the price increase for copper in the future it would not surprise me if more manufacturers were not converting to steel cased ammo.

exavid
February 28, 2012, 12:36 AM
All the more reason to hoard all those good brass cases for future use. At the current price of ammo and most likely even more run up in price in the near future, reloading makes more and more sense.

mljdeckard
February 28, 2012, 12:56 AM
I would rather reload brass than shoot steel. It might depend on the gun too, I would worry less about cranking it through a Glock than a fussy 1911.

Tcruse
February 28, 2012, 08:47 AM
I haven't used any steel to date, I just don't like the idea of a steel cartridge going into a steel chamber. With brass or aluminum I know most of any wear will be on the cartridge. Possibly it's also be cause I reload. Military weapons have one big difference from private weapons even if they are the same make and model and that's military guns don't have to last very long. Most governments have money for replacements as needed. I don't.
The stell in every case is coated with some material. The current favorite is a polymer based coating. This coating is really the only thing that comes in contact with the barrel.
So, the hardness of the steel is not really much of an issue, however, just examine some of the spent shells and you can see for your self that they are softer than the brass.

Silver Bear in the local outlets is not especially low priced. There are usually several brass cased products at lower costs. I have tried Brown Bear and did not experience any negative results. I usually do not use Brown Bear or Tula but buy a box from time to time to verify operation in all of my guns.

In this area low priced 9 mm is getting hard to find. I prefer to purchase from local dealers rather than bulk purchase. Price per round is most of the time cheeper to look for sales rather than purchase on-line. To make out on-line purchases the break even point is about 1000-2000 rounds.

LeonCarr
February 28, 2012, 09:21 AM
I am a handloader so I like brass cased ammo. The last time I shot steel cased ammo (Wolf polymer coated) it sounded like bang, bang, bang, BOOM, bang, BOOM, bang, BOOM, BOOM

No Thank You.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Pyro
February 28, 2012, 09:28 AM
I've got no problem with either.
A bullet is a bullet.

johnsack2001
February 28, 2012, 09:56 AM
I personally prefer steel as to spot all casings after i am done putting all my lead down range. But I do see a little more wear on extractors, but hey they only cost $20-90 depending on the gun.

dogtown tom
February 28, 2012, 10:45 AM
rcmodel .....Seriouslay though, Steel Commie Ammo is for Commie designed guns....
.........American guns & most American cartridges were not designed for it.
They were designed for brass cases......
Really?:scrutiny:
American ammunition manufacturers have been producing STEEL cased cartridges for decades. I've got a box of Winchester .45acp with ugly gray cases around her somewhere.

Steel works fine.
Brass works fine.
Aluminum works fine.

If you don't reload, it don't matter.....shoot cheap and you shoot more often.

BCRider
February 28, 2012, 02:15 PM
As a few others have mentioned it's not the material that the case is made from. It's the other factors that count for more assuming that the casing is made from a type of mild steel which is suitable. Bullet shape, consistency of charge, reliability of the primer, etc, etc. All these things have to come together in a quality manner. Brass vs steel ON ITS OWN matters little.

Besides, it matters less to me as I reload. And even at the cost saving I can still reload far more cheaply than buying steel case factory ammo. So it's pretty much brass only. I'd have no qualms about shooting decent steel cases but over time the coatings would scratch off and the cases rust so at most I'd get one or maybe two reloads from them assuming they use boxer primers. On a rainy match day I wouldn't even bother to pick them up due to the wetness producing rust issues. But brass avoids this concern.

exavid
February 28, 2012, 03:01 PM
Which brings a question to mind, has anyone here reloaded steel? I was wondering since brass and steel would have different compression and springback properties. Also it seems even if they are possible to reload there should be more wear on dies.

mljdeckard
February 28, 2012, 08:12 PM
The reason we use brass in the first place is because it's malleable. This means that as it is being fired, it easily swells up and seals the chamber. Most of the reason steel runs dirtier is that it doesn't do that as well.

As for reloading it, I suppose you CAN, but the problem that comes to mind is that dies are steel, (or carbide,) and they do wear out eventually. and steel is harder than brass, so it would likely make them wear out faster. Or scratch them in ways that might leave marks in the dies which might deform the brass cases.

wally
February 28, 2012, 10:36 PM
Which brings a question to mind, has anyone here reloaded steel?

I reload steel (Wolf) .45ACP cases to use on my friend's ranch where I won't recover much if any of the brass because of the weeds. No issues at all, although I only reload them once. Most of the other steel cases are Berdan primed and not practical to reload.


Back when the Wolf .45ACP was $109/1000 and CCI Blazer 9mm was $87/1000 I pretty much quit reloading. Pretty much only shooting reloads for handguns these days.

The steel used in steel cased ammo is dead soft, Pick up a steel empty and a brass empty of the same caliber, crush them with a small pair of pliers, I think you find the steel is a bit easier to deform.

Certaindeaf
February 28, 2012, 10:45 PM
I reload steel (Wolf) .45ACP cases to use on my friend's ranch where I won't recover much if any of the brass because of the weeds..
Tie a length of twine to a $4, 200lb Harbor Freight magnet and drag the steel seas.

Onward Allusion
February 28, 2012, 11:01 PM
It depends on the gun. It's possibly harder on the extractor, but it's an inexpensive part. If you plan on shooting a lot with steel cased ammo, carry a brass brush with you for the chamber. It'll prevent ejection problems because steel case doesn't form a tight enough seal and creates carbon blow back.

FenderTK421
February 29, 2012, 01:12 AM
Depends on the gun... None of my .223's like steel. half my .308s do... I would never dream of buying brass 7.62x39.

Tcruse
February 29, 2012, 07:52 AM
I think that probably the best answer is aluminum for common pistol sizes. I have been told that they reload like brass, probably fewer times before they show signs of wear. I have shot a few that a friend reloaded, had no issues.
Aluminum is not expensive or in any supply shortage danger. So, why should we use brass that is expensive and there is higher demand for copper in other areas. Just look a home depo and see the copper tubing being locked up.
One study that I read showed that aluminum casings were about 20% stronger, so should be good for the high pressure calibers. Just as I see continues pressure onz several fronts to use bullets that are fully jacketed. I expect to see more plated and more nylon jackets.

mbopp
February 29, 2012, 08:23 AM
I reload so I don't use steel cases.
The only issue I've heard is if you have a hot barrel, chamber a round, and then let the barrel cool down. It melts the coating and glues the case to the chamber wall.

wally
February 29, 2012, 12:20 PM
Tie a length of twine to a $4, 200lb Harbor Freight magnet and drag the steel seas

Why would I want to do that? When you find the magnet that picks up brass then your idea has merit. The steel cases rust to nothing in a couple of years so we don't worry about it.

Certaindeaf
February 29, 2012, 02:32 PM
Why would I want to do that?.
To reload, wally, to reload.

brickeyee
February 29, 2012, 04:59 PM
You would have saved a huge amount by reloading the brass ammunition.

The most expensive part of a round is the brass case, and they can be used multiple times.

You will lose some calibers before you can wear out a case.

wally
February 29, 2012, 05:19 PM
To reload, wally, to reload.

I've already reloaded them once, I've plenty of brass to reload and shoot where I can find most of them. There is a guy at our club who says he reloads them "just like brass -- until they split". I'm not quite that bold or short of brass.


All my Wolf steel case .45 is from back when it was $109-120/1000, down to my last three or four cases. I stocked as deep as I had room to store it, best "investment" in a long time!

drunkensobriety
March 1, 2012, 05:00 PM
The reason we use brass in the first place is because it's malleable. This means that as it is being fired, it easily swells up and seals the chamber. Most of the reason steel runs dirtier is that it doesn't do that as well.

Obturation. The process of the casing expanding inside the chamber and creating a seal is called obturation. You are correct by the way.


To expand on this: there are reasons to or not to use steel cased ammunition. In a "commie gun", the chambers are actually cut smaller than western chambers. That's why any AK you pick up will not headspace correctly with headspace guages.

Go gauge won't go. A live round - or a dummy will though.

The commie guns are made to use steel cased ammo: steel expands LESS than brass, so to counteract that they cut their chambers smaller. Technically this could cause excess chamber pressure if you threw in a brass cartridge which wants to expand more against a tight chamber wall but commie calibers aren't high pressure.

So in commie guns steel ammo works just fine. In western guns which have chambers cut for brass ammo: steel causes problems in two ways.


1. Because steel casings obturate less, they won't seal the chamber as well during ignition.

This is what has given rise to the myth about lacquer coated casings dirtying chambers. the idea being that the lacquer or zinc flakes or melts off onto the chamber walls gunking up your chamber. Trust me: you can't melt that **** off the casings without a torch and by the time you get it to start melting - so does the brass.

This is a myth, flat out. The reason the chamber is getting dirty as hell is because the steel casings, in a chamber not cut specifically FOR steel casings: doesn't completely seal the chamber. So there's a lot of excess carbon build up because the chamber isn't sealed.


2. Steel has less natural lubricity than brass and if often not polished as well as brass casings.

Steel, unless carefully polished: isn't as smooth as brass. It never is, actually. Brass and steel polished to the same degree have different levels of lubricity and surface resistance. There's a reason polishing the chamber improves function: it decreases resistance to a cartridge entering the chamber and resistance of a cartridge being removed from the chamber.

Well: if you have a smooth chamber but feed it fairly rough surfaced ammunition - it's just the same as if you had smooth ammo and a rough chamber.


When you combine dirtier burning comblock powder, with rougher casings and create undue chamber fouling due to a pour chamber seal during ignition: you have a recipe for malfunctions.

The weird thing is: 2 types of guns work really well with steel cased ammo.

Cheapo comblock guns made to use steel cased ammo and guns with exceptionally tight and ridiculously smooth chambers. These guns are usually very expensive.

In general, steel ammo will work just fine. You'll just have to clean your guns a lot more often to adjust for the fact that the chamber will foul much faster.

Tcruse
March 2, 2012, 07:20 AM
Obturation. The process of the casing expanding inside the chamber and creating a seal is called obturation. You are correct by the way.


To expand on this: there are reasons to or not to use steel cased ammunition. In a "commie gun", the chambers are actually cut smaller than western chambers. That's why any AK you pick up will not headspace correctly with headspace guages.

Go gauge won't go. A live round - or a dummy will though.

The commie guns are made to use steel cased ammo: steel expands LESS than brass, so to counteract that they cut their chambers smaller. Technically this could cause excess chamber pressure if you threw in a brass cartridge which wants to expand more against a tight chamber wall but commie calibers aren't high pressure.

So in commie guns steel ammo works just fine. In western guns which have chambers cut for brass ammo: steel causes problems in two ways.


1. Because steel casings obturate less, they won't seal the chamber as well during ignition.

This is what has given rise to the myth about lacquer coated casings dirtying chambers. the idea being that the lacquer or zinc flakes or melts off onto the chamber walls gunking up your chamber. Trust me: you can't melt that **** off the casings without a torch and by the time you get it to start melting - so does the brass.

This is a myth, flat out. The reason the chamber is getting dirty as hell is because the steel casings, in a chamber not cut specifically FOR steel casings: doesn't completely seal the chamber. So there's a lot of excess carbon build up because the chamber isn't sealed.


2. Steel has less natural lubricity than brass and if often not polished as well as brass casings.

Steel, unless carefully polished: isn't as smooth as brass. It never is, actually. Brass and steel polished to the same degree have different levels of lubricity and surface resistance. There's a reason polishing the chamber improves function: it decreases resistance to a cartridge entering the chamber and resistance of a cartridge being removed from the chamber.

Well: if you have a smooth chamber but feed it fairly rough surfaced ammunition - it's just the same as if you had smooth ammo and a rough chamber.


When you combine dirtier burning comblock powder, with rougher casings and create undue chamber fouling due to a pour chamber seal during ignition: you have a recipe for malfunctions.

The weird thing is: 2 types of guns work really well with steel cased ammo.

Cheapo comblock guns made to use steel cased ammo and guns with exceptionally tight and ridiculously smooth chambers. These guns are usually very expensive.

In general, steel ammo will work just fine. You'll just have to clean your guns a lot more often to adjust for the fact that the chamber will foul much faster.
You are correct in the points that were made. Still, there are some assumptions that are not 100% in every case.
1) not every steel cased ammo has low quality power. Much does but from time to time there are exceptions. I ran across some zinc coated ammo, in a cheap paper box from CTD for 8.50 a box. Turned out to be very high quality in both performance (1250 fps) and burned really clean (Glocks, Ruger). Supply dried up in just a couple of months.
2) the coating on the steel is an important part of the equation. It appears that the newer polymer coatings go a long way to reduce gas from escaping around shell. Preserving the coating is probably the best argument for not reloading these cases. The coating is damaged when shot the first time. Also primer not being boxer.
3) I clean my guns after every range use, so usually only seen an accumulation of about 200 or so rounds at any one cleaning. For me Federal Champion is about the worst ever. WWB is what I consider good and the standard that others are judged against. The TNJ Aluminium (Nylon jacket Herters/Blazer) is very very clean. Tula seems to be getting better but do not shoot enough of it to really know how much better.

We should remember that most of our guns are really designed and made outside the us. Much of the rest of the world considers steel as the norm. Many seem to think of the guns as "American" based on the importer not the maker. I can not count the number of Springfield users that brag about their American made XDm.

For me the bottom line is that for range ammo, I shoot what is available and at a price point that seems good. I will pay a little extra for Brass or Aluminium, but not more than 1 or 2 cents per round. Most of the time I can find sales at local suppliers that sell 9mm at or below 20 cents per round. Try to avoid gunshow reloads, except for a couple of known brands that have been around awhile. There is a couple of ones that are in a 30 min drive that are known to be good (lot numbers and real boxes, etc). Factory reloads are not any lower price than new most of the time.

Dnaltrop
March 2, 2012, 05:25 PM
Just ran through the store on my way somewhere else... 2 year old was running off towards the doors... and I grabbed the wrong boxes as I scooted off to catch her.

Steel cased .45 ACP!!! Nooooooo!

(yes, I reload, no issues with shooting it though. ;) )

Steve C
March 2, 2012, 08:26 PM
Steel case ammo shoots and some of it is quite accurate, I've shot a lot of the 9mm and 9x18 Mak as well as 7.62x39 and .223. The 145gr JHP 9mm Silver Bear ammo from Barnual in Russia is very accurate in several 9mm's I've tried it in, the only problem is I had case sticking problems with it where the round fails to cycle the action. While a jhp its not a defensive round as you can see in thie Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEcsdZBIXN4&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL0E9DB069C5CC2C3Dthere's no expansion and a lot of penetration. As the price has gone up on the sttel case ammo I've gon back to reloading more 9mm and for that I want bras cases.

Most of the steel case ammo is made in former and current Communist countries. The quality control isn't as good as the US manufacturers and I have had 2 obviously underloaded rounds in a case of Wolf ammo. They did clear the barrel but its something I've not seen in any US centerfire ammo.

drunkensobriety
March 2, 2012, 08:44 PM
For future references: my long winded post wasn't an attempt to dissuade people from buying or using steel cased Ammunition: of any brand. *I* shoot whatever I can get on the cheap. Reloading can save you a lot of greenbacks over time: but even the starter reloading equipment -is- expensive. I've never shot quite enough to really warrant the investment.

As a result I shoot steel and or aluminum cased ammunition all the time with little or no problems at all. I was only highlighting and explaining (in some detail) two of the main problems associated with steel cased ammo. There's a lot of misconceptions on the topic and I wanted to take the opportunity to clear the air.

My Imbel FAL will *eat* anything, by the way. Brown bear, wolf, radway, yugo surplus, tulammo, my FAL just chuckles and goes "nom nom nom."

That's also why I have a FAL, .308's costly to shoot and I wanted a capable rifle that could digest anything I managed to get my grubby paws on. Adjustable gas system FTW.

"fire, ftf, wrack bolt, fire, ftf. Hold on a second. click. fire, fire, fire, fire. yep, there we go." This event - actually occurred one day.

Jaymo
March 2, 2012, 09:19 PM
Drunkensobriety, that's one of the reasons I bought a Daewoo DR200 back in the 90s.
It's like an AR, but reliable.

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