Ranges and banning steel cased ammo


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xwingband
February 15, 2013, 01:18 PM
I have questions regarding steel cased ammo mostly in regards to the issue of availability. If someone that works at a range or knowledgeable about why there's does it please chime in.

1) What is the primary motivation behind banning steel cased ammo?

Since I suspect it's either reloading/recycling...

2) Does a range figure the cost of that into their rates? Say for example, the rate they charge completely covers their overhead without reloading or any money they get from recycling the ammo for raw materials. Would it be then ethical to say no steel cased ammo? You've covered costs and it's simply inconvenient to take out the steel.

I could possibly understand that if they know how many casings they get on average and factor the extra money they get from that into their rates. That would be reasonable to ask for no steel because they're eliminating their labor costs of taking out the steel to give you a lower rate.

I have been thinking about this because I generally have avoided steel ammo. Now with the cost of ammo I'm considering it because I know my guns will handle it no problem as I have quality guns I clean often, but the range I typically go to banning steel holds me back. Due to my current situation it's not a great option to go to another range and I don't have the $ to buy tons of ammo, so if steel cased is the cheapest and I can get a few hundred rounds of that it's a big motivator to keep me shooting something at all. Otherwise I'm not dumb and won't pay out the bum for less ammo in brass, so I would soon end up not shooting for lack of ammo.

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BullfrogKen
February 15, 2013, 01:26 PM
Sometimes steel cased = steel core.

When a range wants to protect it's steel plates and butts, sometimes they'll say no steel core ammo, and include steel-cased for extra measure.

CoRoMo
February 15, 2013, 01:32 PM
Bi-metal jacketed bullets... there is a little steel in the jacket of the bullet.
Almost all Russian & Chinese ammo is bi-metal jacket unless stated otherwise.
Neither country has any copper mines to speak of like we do.

The U.S. military has long used the same steel-jacket copper-clad bullets in some M80 7.6251mm NATO ammo.

It won't hurt your bore, as the steel used is much softer then your barrel.
And the thin copper coating provides a dissimilar metal to prevent similar metals galling to each other.

It may hurt the range if they use steel targets, or steel back-stops.
Or it may start a grass fire from the sparks.

It may also adversely effect the ranges recycle brass sales from all those steel cases the steel jacket bullets were loaded in! :D

rc

Derek Zeanah
February 15, 2013, 01:32 PM
What Ken said. But I've also shot at ranges that prohibited picking up brass (even your own brass). In these places I'm pretty sure the goal is to keep the brass easy to sell without requiring sorting.

xwingband
February 15, 2013, 01:48 PM
I understand the steel bullet issue for safety, but in my particular case I don't think that's the issue. They used to not care about the ammo. It makes me question their business decisions/ethics.

The first time I encountered their new rule I had only a .22 with me and, honestly asked if they made steel 22 at all... Now when I go they're checking my ammo with a magnet. That probably came because someone put ammo into a different box.

So if safety isn't the issue and they're making an economic decision to make it easier for them I'd be peeved. I'd like to know if there is any other concerns that I'm unaware of.

BullfrogKen
February 15, 2013, 01:51 PM
OK, the reasons given so far are the most common ones for restrictions like this.

So instead of asking us why they made their decision . . . .


Why not ask the people who run that range?

xwingband
February 15, 2013, 01:58 PM
That's a fair question and I probably will ask them next time I go. They've been busy lately (as all ranges and shops I'm sure have been) and it hasn't been an issue when I could easily get brass cased ammo. I'm just looking at my ammo and the prospects of replacing what I shoot that it may be worth going elsewhere and shoot steel. I was also curious about the motivations across the board for these restrictions.

EDIT: Like is there any environmental concerns? I know lead would be the primary issue in regards to ventilation, but I don't know if steel particles would be a concern?

BullfrogKen
February 15, 2013, 02:06 PM
The only environmental concern I've seen is with lead. And when they have that concern, the require lead-free ammo.


SigArms Academy went that route.

Zardaia
February 15, 2013, 02:27 PM
First I've even heard of prohibition of steel case instead if just steel core. Finally became member for on base range, only restriction there is caliber. Anything over .308 balistically is prohibited until u qual for a special members badge by demonstrating a certain degree of accuracy with it.

rgwalt
February 15, 2013, 02:48 PM
Even if they can cover their costs and turn a profit with fees, it isn't unethical to pad their bottom line by recycling and selling brass. If you don't like it, you are free to take your business elsewhere.

JRH6856
February 15, 2013, 03:15 PM
An indoor range I know of says they do not allow steel cases because the bullets are usually either bi-metal or steel core and their backstops can't handle it. An outdoor range I have used doesn't have a problem with steel anything. Their berms can handle the bullets and a strong magnet makes it pretty easy to separate the steel cases and bullets from brass or copper and lead.

gk1
February 15, 2013, 03:29 PM
Most places that are concerned with steel cases are using a magnet to check for steel core bullets, and just exclude anything that the magnet is attracted to. The signs are to minimize complaints, IMO

orionengnr
February 15, 2013, 03:38 PM
So instead of asking us why they made their decision . . . .

Why not ask the people who run that range?
Or, why not ask them to buy a magnet?

My local range is dead right now (just the same as it was four years ago). I was there with a friend Tuesday; we both handload.

Just like four years ago, we were alone for the majority of our time there--and for the same reason--nobody has any ammo. Or if they do, they are sitting on it, waiting to see how long this will last.

My range is making no money, because there are no shooters. I think they would welcome any customers with any types of (aluminum/steel/etc.) cases. If your range is otherwise, more power to them. If they are starving and turning away business based on steel cases, they get what they deserve.

Shadow 7D
February 15, 2013, 03:45 PM
there are places that sell the brass
some are too cheap to sort with a magnet

thump_rrr
February 15, 2013, 04:01 PM
Our indoor range prohibits the use of steel core ammunition for obvious reasons.
They wouldn't care if Woody Woodpecker made the cases out of wood.

Constrictor
February 15, 2013, 05:57 PM
Our range says steel case ammo is a fire hazzard. It sparks when it hits the floor and ignites unburned powder on the floor.

scallop
February 15, 2013, 06:29 PM
Was given the fire hazzard reference also by a range in Lancaster, Oh.

ObsidianOne
February 15, 2013, 06:53 PM
Our range says steel case ammo is a fire hazzard. It sparks when it hits the floor and ignites unburned powder on the floor.
I'm without words...

splithoof
February 15, 2013, 08:21 PM
Steel cases a hazard????? That last one is totally absurd. Find another range.

Guy B. Meredith
February 15, 2013, 08:25 PM
Several outdoor ranges I've frequented either ban or discourage steel casings--even the mild steel on GI issue M1 rounds--for fear of fire in the surrounding vegetation.

hueyville
February 15, 2013, 08:39 PM
Drop a quarter million bucks, build your own and set your own rules. Make payroll every week, maintain equipment, keep inventory up and pay insurance. Then make your own rules. I walked into a range back in the day with two 75 round drums loaded up with steel core surplus ammo not really thinking about it. After two extended AK mag dumps I noticed a lot of debris blown back around the shooting line. I made a mess of that lane. Out of respect showed up next morning with a welder and high tensile rods and fixed my screw up. I just had to make a rule in mine today. Hollow points and cast up to 44 mag. No 9mm or 45 jacketed ball as if was denting certain areas of the trap. But with mine being free nobody can complain about rules.

BullfrogKen
February 15, 2013, 09:09 PM
That was mighty good of you, huey.

Yup, when you paid for the range, you can set the rules.

Some of the ranges around me have taken to using crushed tire rubber on their indoor ranges. Hit that stuff with steel bullets and it can ignite. Skip a steel round off a concrete floor, it can spark and ignite the unburned powder on the floor. And I've seen people put rounds into the ceiling and the floor.


Yeah, perhaps they can have staff look through all their customer's ammo with magnets to exclude all that stuff. Or they can decide they just don't have the time and do things like this.

If you don't like it, don't shoot there. Go run your own public range and find out the total stupidness people are capable of, and you might conclude you wouldn't take on that risk if it meant your money was on the line.

denton
February 15, 2013, 11:50 PM
I'm the Executive Officer of our shooting club, and I have the job of dealing with our insurance company.

Bullets containing steel are a fire hazard. They can and do start fires in the vegetation on outdoor ranges.

At our range, there are about six weeks during the summer when bullets containing steel are absolutely banned. If we get particularly hot, dry weather at other times, we we ban them then as well.

We are a small, non-profit, all volunteer operation, running a public range on county land. You can shoot all day at our range for $7 or all year for $45. Now with that in mind, our insurance bill is $14,000 per year. If we do not carefully control risk, we will pay even more. Keeping insurance costs down is critical to keeping our range fees down. We could loosen up the rules, and start charging $10 per day, but we don't think that would be what our customers want.

Ehtereon11B
February 16, 2013, 05:43 AM
In my experience, if a range is concerned with damage to their equipment, they will know the FPS cutoff for ammo they allow such as 2100 FPS at one range I visit.

If a range says "no steel cased ammo" then they are selling or reloading the brass. Someone in the back probably broke a FL sizing die trying to reload a steel case.

flatlander937
February 16, 2013, 10:29 AM
My LGS has a 100yd indoor/underground rifle range with some kind of digital target system(I honestly haven't used it myself so I'm not 100% of how it works or even looks, just have a basic idea)... and it caught on fire at the backstop several years ago, it was from tracer rounds but I -think- after that the insurance company required them to deny steel cased/cored ammo as well... or so I was told by one of their range workers a while back.

deadin
February 16, 2013, 10:41 AM
On those ranges that forbid you picking up your own brass, the usual excuse is they don't want people crawling around ahead of the firing line or other shooters looking for their brass. (It's either a safety issue or can cause time delays during ceasefires.) A good way to test this reasoning is to bring your own "brass catcher" net and see if they will allow it. If not, they're selling brass.......

Ehtereon11B
February 17, 2013, 12:55 AM
On those ranges that forbid you picking up your own brass, the usual excuse is they don't want people crawling around ahead of the firing line or other shooters looking for their brass. (It's either a safety issue or can cause time delays during ceasefires.) A good way to test this reasoning is to bring your own "brass catcher" net and see if they will allow it. If not, they're selling brass.......


Depends. The range I went to didn't allow brass pickup but they had a short wall underneath the booth to keep most ejected brass from entering the firing area. The rule there is "if it hits the floor, it belongs to the range." So I was allowed to use a brass catcher or slowly eject a round with revolver/bolt/lever guns. The ammo they sell at the range that is the only stuff they allow shooters to use looks reloaded. Easy way to around that is to put your ammo in the same boxes they use and say it is theirs.

TheDaywalkersDad
February 18, 2013, 04:19 PM
Bi-metal jacketed bullets... there is a little steel in the jacket of the bullet.
http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/

After reading their test results, I'm not too sure about it not hurting your bore once your round count starts getting up there.

Koreth
February 18, 2013, 04:40 PM
When I went to my local range I saw the sign forbidding steel ammo. When I asked about it I was told such was their policy because their backstops are made of steel, steel ammo would damage their back stops.

Makes sense to me.

JohnBT
February 18, 2013, 06:33 PM
"Bi-metal jacketed bullets... there is a little steel in the jacket of the bullet."

I have a bunch of Swiss made 9mm (RUAG made Geco) that came highly recommended for my Sig P210. Here's the lab report that somebody paid for, but not me:

"Results

Jacket wt.-18.32grains
Core wt.-105.422grains

Jacket
4.83% Cu (plating)
94.6% Fe
.63% traces of Zn, Pb, Bi, Ni, Cr, Al

Core
98.65% Pb
1.3% Cu
<.05% Al, Fe, Bi, Zn

Samples run on ICP-OES in aqueous acid solution (digestion), 10% Aqua Regia by volume.

Yes, 95% Iron jacket (not steel) with a 5% copper plating. Core is lead."

I suppose that .63% of trace material makes the 94.6% iron content into steel, but it's very, very soft when you cut it. :)

ilbob
February 18, 2013, 06:42 PM
most range ammo restrictions are for the following reasons:

1. protecting the backstop
2. reduction of fire risk for outdoor (steel bullets spark sometimes when it hits rocks)
3. insurance rules

My guess is that you are running into one or more of these, or a misunderstanding of them by the range.

I have also run into ranges that do not allow hand loads, for various reasons. One range said it was they were worried about the safety of the reloaded ammo. Another told me it was to encourage shooters to buy their reloads at the range.

Certaindeaf
February 23, 2013, 05:00 AM
They probably like the ten cents a bounce, at least.

justice06rr
February 23, 2013, 06:12 AM
I generally try to go to ranges that accept steel-cased and steel-core ammo, but sometimes I would go to one of the ranges that don't since its closer and cheaper.

For the most part, its an inconvenience for a range not to allow steel-cased for whatever reason. But that also means they are losing business to people who have steel-cased/core ammo

Queen_of_Thunder
February 23, 2013, 09:46 AM
What fool shoots tracer rounds indoors.

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