Reloading Tula 45 ACP steel cases


May 10, 2014, 09:42 PM
Shot some steel ammo thru my 1911 today and was pleasantly surprised to see they are boxer primed, and don't appear to have primer crimps. So I picked up a few to see about reloading them.

Anybody done this to comment? In the old, old, days when Class III was not a big deal I would load US GI WW2 steel cases for my Thompson, and they worked fine.

For sure I'm going to try it and see how it works out. Anybody else done this with success?

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May 10, 2014, 09:53 PM
It's harder on your sizing die than brass. If you can't find a source for .45 brass, this is better than nothing.

May 10, 2014, 10:20 PM
I have loaded thousands of rounds using recovered wolf and tula steel case plus a little ancient GI stuff. Works great! DON"T use rusty cases. You will scratch your dies. Case life is shorter. Cracks like regular brass. Vertical crack. If it is harder on the dies, I havent noticed. I use Dillon carbide dies. Load my own cast bullets. Hope that helps. :D

May 10, 2014, 10:39 PM
Did an experiment 5/6/8 years ago, so long ago I can't remember exactly. Reloaded the same cases 5 times, had no issues. If using carbide dies, which most everybody does today, doubtful you'll live long enough to wear out the die no matter what the case is made of.

Do I recommend it, no, steel has completely different properties.
Just not the thing to do IMO.

My car can go way over 100 mph. Does that mean I recommend it, No.
Just not the thing to do IMO.

Good grief, is 45 brass in that short supply?

May 11, 2014, 05:39 AM
Thanks guys. JCWit, I hearken back to the old GI steel casings from years ago, which I thought were pretty cool in those days. I was surprised to find boxer primers in Tula cartridges, and thought, "if I shoot these and lose them in the weeds, it won't be such a loss as my carefully selected brass..."

For just blasting ammo, they may be a good place to start.

May 11, 2014, 07:53 AM
Their was a thread about this 6 or 8 months ago and their were more than a few fellas who were doing it successfully, and didnt think it was hard on dies, or really any different than brass. Of course, their were many more who were on the other side.

May 11, 2014, 08:55 AM
Some people load steel cases. I'm not one of them, but it seems in a pinch it can be done. I'm just not in a pinch yet.

A couple of threads on steel cases.

May 11, 2014, 09:00 AM
Thanks for posting those Walkalong, theyre pretty interesting.. one day I'll hopefully learn how to find old threads. I believe the top one is the one I was referring to, thanks.

May 11, 2014, 09:17 AM
The "SEARCH" option is my best friend!

May 11, 2014, 09:36 AM
Ive had pretty bad luck with it myself.

May 11, 2014, 11:10 AM
"reloading steel cases @ thr"

May 11, 2014, 11:13 AM
FWIW I have loaded steel cased boxer in 45 ACP, 9MM, 223, and 308. I worked up the loads and found no differences between them and brass casings. I did not try to size rusty ones and none of them hurt my dies that I could tell. That data is set aside for when I NEED to load them and that they may be all I can find. I also reloaded berdan primed and aluminum (only good for one reload) casings for the same reason. For now I will stick to brass casings.

May 12, 2014, 01:08 AM
I started reloading steel case .45's a long time ago and wasn't even aware that they were steel at the time. I had a bunch of 1950's military brass and unbeknownst to me, a goodly percentage were brass plated steel.They reloaded just like brass and I had reloaded some of them several times before a buddy pointed out to me that some were steel.

As for the claim that steel cases wear out dies faster, I'm VERY sceptical. If you're using carbide dies, the die is much harder than the soft steel used to form cases. I've reloaded many thousands of steel cased 7.62x39 and my dies are fine. The only way that steel cases might wear out dies faster is if you tumble the cases long enough to remove the polymer, lacquer or other coating and then neglect to lube your cases before running them through a non carbide die, that's about the only way that you'll get steel on steel contact.

May 12, 2014, 01:19 AM

Easy to reload, not "hard on equipment".

May 12, 2014, 05:00 PM
I've reloaded many thousands of my once fired Wolf .45 cases. I use them mostly for shooting at my friends ranch where 99% of them will be lost in the weeds anyways. They rust away to practically nothing in a few years.

I'm noticing that some of the newer Wolf/Tula is Berdan primed :(

May 12, 2014, 05:46 PM
I see very few steel cases at the range, and many fewer pistol than rifle cases. Either folks are not shooting much steel cases ammo there.....or they're picking it up.

May 12, 2014, 06:00 PM
Anybody done this to comment?

Yep, works just fine.

Their .223 in steel is great, too.

And as Hacker there shows, they can look really good with the right "dressing".

As some of the links walkalong has provided show, the "no reloading steel" bit is a total myth.

The only part of kit I found steel cases harder on was the cutter end for case length trimming- which you aren't likely to need on pistol cases.

Startin to wish tula made 44 mag in steel :D

May 12, 2014, 06:26 PM
One can reload steel and aluminum cases, like most I do not.

May 12, 2014, 06:51 PM
Steel casings will not wear out carbide dies in you lifetime. If you were cheap and saved the $5 for steel dies, then you might have an issue.

May 12, 2014, 06:56 PM
I've never reloaded aluminum- and don't intend to.

I am saving them for a swaging project.

I just can't leave anything on the ground- and this blazer stuff is might popular !

May 13, 2014, 05:19 PM
@ FROGO207
Do you recall the brand of steel case .308 that took Boxer primers?
All the steel .308 that I've picked up seems to take the .254" Berdan primers that are currently unobtainable in the US.

May 13, 2014, 06:23 PM
I do not remember what they were but they were brass colored wash over a staked in primer with three tabs. Thought they were brass until I reamed the primer pockets and saw three shiny spots. Might have been a South African manufacturer or some such IIRC. I purchased a bunch of miscellaneous surplus ammo from another reloader about 15 years ago.

Just looked for some of the steel cases and found nothing. I must have scrapped them already.

May 13, 2014, 06:32 PM
Hacker, that ammo looks nice! Makes me want to break out my .45 and shoot right now! LOL :D

May 13, 2014, 06:38 PM
YEAH IT duzz!

May 13, 2014, 07:59 PM
Any thoughts on recoating with laquer or otherwise protecting steel case reloads for storage?

I shoot a lot of Tula .45 and the fact that the steel is reloadable may have just increased my shooting frequency........

May 13, 2014, 10:40 PM
My Uncle reloaded Steel cased 45 acp all the time when I was a Kid. He wet tumbled them with Stainless Steel Chips from a nearby machine shop. After tumbling he blew them dry with compressed air and case lubed them right away with a homemade brew in a spray bottle.

After reloading them he sprayed them with a clear lacquer shot out of airbrush gun.

I am sure a spray can of lacquer would be fine after wards. This was years ago and he always had .45 for us kids to shoot when we came down.

This was before all the new fangled dies and what not and I don't think he ever had a problem. Later on he switched to brass but only because "They just leave it laying all over the place!" at the local unmanned range. On Saturday night he's go out with a flashlight and cart back bucket loads of it. He was in Brass Heaven..

Sure miss him a Bunch.

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