Wolf/Tula/Brown Bear/Federal ammo test


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mljdeckard
January 8, 2013, 02:47 PM
Many of us have wondered what the difference is with the cheaper ammo. Here is a pretty good torture test that took a bit of time and money to determine things like wear rates and overall cost. You might be a bit surprised by the results.

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/

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bri
January 8, 2013, 05:43 PM
Excellent, comprehensive test!

brnmw
January 8, 2013, 05:58 PM
Great read, thanks.
It's pretty much what I have come across in the past Brass vs. Steel blah, blah, blah.. I do not really have any experience though with the Tula brand per say but great info. to have at any rate.

firesky101
January 8, 2013, 06:00 PM
well it would appear that bi-metal jackets are harder on the bore. At least that was the impression I got from the data. I am impressed by the federal 10000 rounds and no stoppages, that is some solid reliability.

Screamin'Eagle
January 8, 2013, 06:59 PM
What I took from the article is that steel core/steel case is OK for a plinker/fun gun, but a HDR should get nothing but something comparable to the federal they ran.(copper/brass case)

cougar1717
January 8, 2013, 07:18 PM
Finally, there are some objective results to repudiate gunshop lore.

briansmithwins
January 8, 2013, 07:20 PM
So, 10k of XM193 was running about what, $40,000?

10k of Tula would have been about 1/2 that...

I can buy a few barrels (and extractors) with the $20,000 in savings.

BSW

Reloadron
January 8, 2013, 08:00 PM
So, 10k of XM193 was running about what, $40,000?

10k of Tula would have been about 1/2 that...

I can buy a few barrels (and extractors) with the $20,000 in savings.

BSW
Yeah, but after I fire 10K rounds of Federal XM193 I have 10,000 pieces of nice quality re-loadable brass. After I fire 10K rounds of Tula I have 10,000 pieces of scrap steel. :)

Overall it was a pretty good and extensive test and ammunition comparison. Not to mention expensive.

Ron

firesky101
January 8, 2013, 08:27 PM
So, 10k of XM193 was running about what, $4,000?

10k of Tula would have been about 1/2 that...

I can buy a few barrels (and extractors) with the $2,000 in savings.

BSW

Fixed that for you, unless the price for .223 has really gotten out of hand:what:. Still for 2k you can get several very nice match grade barrels and any other parts you break along the way. I feed my AR what I have on hand, and would not own a defensive rifle that would not function on the cheapest junk out there.

M1key
January 8, 2013, 08:36 PM
I use steel-cased ammo for my Kalashnikov carbines exclusively. Lately I have been using the WalMart Tula just for the primed cases. Not the most economical, but then I don't put 1000's of rounds downrange. Pull the bullet, dump the powder, replace with my powder and bullet. Cleaner, hotter, more accurate, more effective bullet...

If I want to burn lots of ammo I shoot my Ruger 10-22.

M

stubbicatt
January 8, 2013, 09:00 PM
Wow. Finally the death of the melted lacquer coatings myth.

The steel bullets do wear down a barrel, now don't they?

No real surprises here. Extractors and barrels are wear items to be replaced on a regular schedule.

sappyg
January 8, 2013, 10:07 PM
That was a good read. I think I'll try to stay with brass for as long as I can afford it.
Federal's showing is downright impressive. Tula, not so much.

taliv
January 8, 2013, 10:14 PM
Barrel nuts were torqued to inconsistent values: two had been torqued to approximately 5 ft/lbs, while the other two had been torqued within the appropriate range of 30-80 ft/lbs.

that is confidence-inspiring for sure

One MBUS sight cracked and fell off of the carbine to which it was attached due to heating and cooling cycles that negatively affected the polymer material.

hmm...

and for all you PMAG fans
Of the remaining three ammunition brands, the first malfunction encountered was a magazine-related failure to feed at 2250 rounds with the Brown Bear carbine.


A detailed physical examination revealed previously unnoticed carbon buildup in the gas key and gas tube which had almost completely occluded those components. The other firearms were inspected, and none exhibited carbon buildup which was even remotely close to that of the Brown Bear carbine.

that's a really interesting situation. i guess we will have to put an asterisk next to the "don't clean your gas tube" advice for people who use brown bear.

While the carbine firing Federal ammunition maintained acceptable accuracy up to and including the 10,000 round mark, the Brown Bear and Wolf carbines exhibited significant accuracy loss by the 6,000 round mark. It is quite possible that this first started occurring earlier than 6,000 rounds, because groups at 4,000 were well within standards of 5MOA or less, while some shots at 6,000 “keyholed,” or impacted the target sideways

another interesting result.

browningguy
January 9, 2013, 12:31 AM
Reads exactly as I thought. Brass ammo had zero failures, steel case had many. Or at least to many to bet my life on.

mljdeckard
January 9, 2013, 01:05 AM
I won't say too many to bet my life on. 9 in 10,000? That's probably better than you will get with any issued rifle/magazine/ammo combination. The main reason I wouldn't use it defensively is a lack of bullet selection.

I also think it is a redemption of Bushmaster guns.

Coal Dragger
January 9, 2013, 01:13 AM
I wonder how the Hornady Steel Match would fare in that testing? The price on that is fairly attractive given the use of proper copper jackets.

I won't be firing anymore Wolf (even though I have almost 700 rounds on hand) through barrels I care about because of the copper washed steel jacketed bullets.

Either way I reload, so boxer primed brass cases are my absolute preference.

mljdeckard
January 9, 2013, 01:37 AM
Coal Dragger, I wondered the same thing.

And overall, I won't change anything. I still mostly use red ammo in red guns.

Coal Dragger
January 9, 2013, 02:11 AM
I can't imagine that the steel jacketed ammo is any easier on Eastern Block barrels either, then again most shooters running AK's probably can't tell the difference between a fresh barrel and one that has been shot out.

taliv
January 9, 2013, 09:36 AM
I also think it is a redemption of Bushmaster guns.

if by redemption you mean that only 50% of them were over 5 MOA out of the box and had to be fixed prior to the test, yeah I guess. not sure why that would cause you to want to buy one

Fishbed77
January 9, 2013, 12:26 PM
if by redemption you mean that only 50% of them were over 5 MOA out of the box and had to be fixed prior to the test, yeah I guess. not sure why that would cause you to want to buy one

My thoughts exactly.

Big Bad Bob
January 9, 2013, 01:45 PM
I thought this was a great test and provides some interesting data. I was amazed by the effects of steel cased ammo on barrel life.

I follow Strumgewehr on Youtube, he shoots alot of steel cased ammo. I am sure he has seen this, and I would interested to see or hear his views on this.

MistWolf
January 9, 2013, 02:16 PM
...for 2k you can get several very nice match grade barrels and any other parts you break along the way...

http://labscdn.luckygunner.com/labs/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Brass-vs.-Steel-Sunday-e1357509017349.png

taliv
January 9, 2013, 03:55 PM
i think those economics only work if you're a) not reloading, b) primarily doing mag dumps, c) not interested in terminal ballistics and d) not interested in accuracy. in my case, none of a, b, c, d are true, so i will stick to brass cases

Hokkmike
January 9, 2013, 05:10 PM
Well done. I feel certified in something after having read it!

Bartholomew Roberts
January 10, 2013, 09:27 AM
that's a really interesting situation. i guess we will have to put an asterisk next to the "don't clean your gas tube" advice for people who use brown bear.

if you read the Vietnam-era reports from the Army over at a 5.56x45mm Timeline, the Army experienced the same thing with early .223. They reduced the calcium carbonate in the powders they used to a certain percentage and the problem went away. My guess is Tula is probably using a powder that exceeds that calcium carbonate number and so you are getting gas tube blockage.

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