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Should I be practicing with cheap steel case 9mm.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by SVTOhio, Sep 11, 2016.

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  1. SVTOhio

    SVTOhio Member

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    I'm talking strict range use and practice sessions, I understand the possible failures that will ensue when using cheap steel case ammo. I can get a 1000rd case of Tula steel case for 159$, and that's a lot of practice for not a lot of money. The firearms I'll be using will be a Ruger p89 and a glock mag AR. Is there any reason to not shoot this stuff? Maybe increased wear in the firearms? Thanks.


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  2. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Extractors get increased wear with shooting steel cased ammo. That said some platforms were designed around this, like the AK47. However, IMO, with your firearms I'd stay with brass cased ammo. Especially in 9mm, prices have been going down to the point it's not worth going with the steel.
     
  3. VoodooMountain

    VoodooMountain Member

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    There's only a $40 per thousand difference. Not worth the inconsistency to me.
     
  4. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    SVTOhio

    I have also found a number of indoor ranges will not let you use Tula ammo of any kind. The biggest concern is with steel core bullets breaking down the backstop at the range. They may also not allow bi-metal bullets or steel cased ammo either. Their range, their rules.
     
  5. wally

    wally Member

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    What inconsistency?

    People who actually test the steel cased ammo usually find it the most accurate of the low cost "practice ammo" (Winchester White Box, Blazer)

    See:
    http://www.theboxotruth.com/educational-zone-6-cheap-9mm-ammo-accuracy/


    Ain't much of a gun if steel cased ammo brakes it!

    You may consider $40/1000 savings inconsequential, but with the volume I shoot it really adds up. Extractors are cheap and easy to replace even if you should break one.

    My evidence that the Steel cased ammo makes no significant difference is my Colt 1911 broke its extractor at about 8K rounds, this was ~1995 and the gun never shot steel cased ammo, almost entirely my reloads. About 2004 I got a Charles Daly (Armscor) stainless 4" 1911 and its extractor broke at about 8K rounds and it never shot anything but steel cased ammo.
     
  6. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    Nothing wrong with steel-cased ammo at all. It is inexpensive, accurate, and reliable. What more do you want??? Any increase in wear might appear at 50,000 to 100,000 rounds. How many of us shoot one firearm that much.
    If you buy the internet worries, please avoid all steel-case ammo, more left for those of us who don't worry about such foolish things.
     
  7. VoodooMountain

    VoodooMountain Member

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    High volume shooters generally reload negating the issue of savings
    I am also not the only one who has found steel case inconsistent.
    Never said it would break or even cause premature wear to the firearm
    Many ranges won't allow it
    It is pretty dirty stuff as well
    There have been issues with people using steel case and then switching to brass case

    Even if you don't reload you can always sell the brass when you are done shooting . Around here it fetches about $30/k


    There is t anything spectacularly wrong with steel case but it has its drawbacks. For me, those drawbacks aren't worth it. Then again, I reload so I don't buy 9mm ammo on a regular basis.
     
  8. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I won't use steel case ammunition in ANY firearm I own, PERIOD.

    It's 99% brass with occasional aluminum case Blazers.
     
  9. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    There's nothing wrong with practicing with steel ammo, especially in pistol calibers. You'll see slightly more barrel and extractor wear, but that will be offset by the savings. Aluminium is another good practice ammo. The only real reason to practice with brass is if you have a super expensive stainless barrel, or you reload. I think in most cases, reloading brass is cheaper than using steel, at least if you're buying economical reloading components. There's a guy on youtube claiming he can reload 9mm for like 7 cents a round.
     
  10. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    There's already been a number of tests of steel case vs brass case. The verdict is in, the difference in cost will cover the incremental increase in bolt and chamber wear, plus you don't have to pick them up and recycle them. Less effort.

    Steel case doesn't mean steel jacketed or bimetal bullet which is something else entirely. A lot of folks think steel cased applies to the bullet jacket but that isn't what's meant at all. It's just the cartridge case only. What bullet is in it is something else entirely - and in point of fact, you don't shove the steel case down the barrel, either.

    If you are on a budget where money and TIME is also in short supply then steel cased is just fine to use. Not everybody can afford to leisurely sit around loading ammo for hours every week - there are folks out there holding down two part time jobs of 30 hours a week - 60 total - and that eats 20 hours of discretionary time they can't spend loading ammo. Add to that, the up front costs and learning curve aren't for everyone. But they can afford to buy steel cased and go shoot with the amount of time they can dedicate to it. Factor in whatever drive time is involved due to the inability to find open ranges in some urban settings and there you are -

    I'm currently shooting steel cased ammo thru a new gun from a Brand which isn't well respected on the internet because a few have gone out of their way to repeat FTF and other issues with the one gun they experienced it with over a number of forums. For the most part that happened years ago - literally - and the current reports are the same as mine. It's lower powered and may not trip the slide lock every time on the last round - but that's the only issue. So the gun is digesting steel cased ammo to break it in with no other problems than what any other cheap white box brass cased ammo usually produces with it's lower power.

    And I like to repeat that on a handful of forums, too. Some guns have problems, but for the most part we have to assess the larger number of them out there to actually see a trend, and in the past few years there have been some real stinkers compared to the gun I'm shooting with steel cased. It very much is a matter of what your circumstances are.

    As for wearing them out, again, the previous tests posted up on the internet don't show catastrophic wear at dangerously high levels in a short period of time. It's incremental - it takes tens of thousands of rounds over months to even measure, and in the lifetime of the firearm, may only amount to a difference expressed in tens of thousands of rounds. I have to ask - in semi automatics, how much of that is shooting mag after mag thru a hot barrel under near abusive conditions? Again - the steel case isn't going down the barrel, what kind of bullet is loaded in it?

    Your choice if you ever or never shoot it, but there is another side to the story - for some shooters that is all they ever used. In combat. And it worked for them. I wouldn't look down my nose at steel cased in an age where we are trying all we can do to eliminate brass using aluminum, polymer, or caseless. It's just one option and currently the cheapest out there.
     
  11. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I shoot cases of that stuff, but I do it in beater guns that are relegated for training purposes only. Beaters that get cleaned when they stop working.
     
  12. entropy

    entropy Member

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    In my AK, which was designed for it, I use it almost exclusively. The exception is hunting rounds I load for it, and the reloads I have from some brass-cased Lapua I got many years ago.
    I've had problems with it in other guns; It would stick in my son's .223 Axis, although this was due to rough chamber finishing; I fixed that easily. Had some Chinese steel cased 9mm KA-BOOM the Kel-Tec Sub2000 I had some time back; the shooter got a small piece of steel from the case stuck in his chest (skin deep, bled a little.) I use Tula .45 ACP at the range in the winter, digging brass out of the snow sucks! As said, it is dirty stuff.
     
  13. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    You aren't going to see any more barrel wear with steel Vs brass. Cartridge steel is very soft.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  14. Shaq

    Shaq Member

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    If the gun is not used for any defensive purpose, steel-cased ammo is OK. It is hard on the extractor and ejector, which may chip & cause a malfunction during an emergency situation, but for the range, it's fine.
     
  15. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Put a drop of oil on the top cartridge in the stack, or every fifth cartridge in the stack. Oil will break the friction between cartridge case and chamber facilitating positive extraction. I have been oiling my low powered rounds in my M1911 when I shoot 2700 Bullseye. I want the least recoil, so I load down, I also want positive extraction, so I oil my rounds. It is messy, but it is better than firing an alibi string. And it is better than busting up an extractor. Extractors are very thin structures and if you ask them to pull on a cartridge, they will fail in time.

    I read an interesting episode in the book "Random Shots" by Roy E Rayle. This is on page 65. The Americans were having more extractor failures in their test FAL's than the Belgians. This is during the early 1950's when the FAL was competing with an American design to be the standard Nato 30 caliber rifle. At the time an American Military Officer was at the Belgium plant producing FAL's and Belgian 7.62 ammunition. He is escorted to the ammunition machines and finds that Belgium 7.62 ammunition was being coated with an oily film in the production process. That oily film was sufficient to keep the Belgian FALs from busting extractors because the oil broke the friction between cartridge and chamber. Americans shot clean dry ammunition so their extractors were failing. When the Belgians adopted the American practice of clean and dry ammunition, their FAL's started breaking extractors like just the Americans!

    Yippie, progress! More broken extractors. Somewhere in this is a morality tale.
     
  16. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    I prefer brass cased ammo, and about half of the price differential can be offset by collecting and selling your brass, if you are so inclined.

    Note:
    This is for cartridges that are readily available in both. For such things as 7.62x39, the steel cased stuff is really the only thing that makes sense--brass cased stuff is 2x+ the cost.
     
  17. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Steel cases a possible issue?
    If your gun is manufactured with top quality steel, doubtful.

    A mugger in quiet running shoes can be fairly silent, and streaking from your 6 o' clock, this might be the only issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  18. jonnyc

    jonnyc Member

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    "Had some Chinese steel cased 9mm KA-BOOM the Kel-Tec Sub2000 I had some time back".

    Interesting story. I don't believe we ever got any steel-cased Chinese 9mm in this country, only brass. Sure it was Chinese, 9mm, KelTec, or even "KA-BOOM"???
     
  19. vamo

    vamo Member

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    If you aren't planning to gather the casings for reloading there's no reason to not use steel. Its as accurate as any cheap ammo, there's a lot of misinformation about it damaging guns and its false.
     
  20. grampajack

    grampajack AR Junkie

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    I think the degree of increased wear and tear caused by steel is going to be dependent on what caliber we're talking about. And like someone else pointed out, what the bullet is made out of. With that said, though, it doesn't make much sense to me to shoot copper and lead from a steel case. If you're trying to save money, then a steel bullet is the way to go.

    There's also a certain amount of wear on the chamber itself from the steel case, so it's not like you're saving your barrel by using copper jacketed bullets in steel cases. And you're still getting the increased wear on the extractor. So why not just go ahead and shoot steel bullets, as well? I don't think it causes any more damage than is already being done.

    The bottom line, though, is that the wear and tear of using steel ammo, for most guns, is pretty much negligible. If it's an expensive gun, or if it's a half MOA barrel, then don't do it. The cost benefit analysis isn't there. But if it's a conventional gun, with inexpensive replacement parts, have at it. So basically if we're talking about ARs and Glocks, then shoot the heck out of them with steel all day long. You'll save far more money using steel than you'll spend on replacement parts.

    And for pistols, I honestly don't know if you're going to see much of a difference, especially if the barrel is chrome or nitride. The velocities and pressures are so low in most pistols that it might not be much of an issue. Take a Glock for example. I've seen 20k+ round torture tests using steel, and the slide cracks before any significant damage is done to the chamber. And when you're talking about 20k rounds of any ammo, the cost of a few extractors and ejectors is a drop in the bucket.
     
  21. Comrade Mike

    Comrade Mike Member

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    If steel ammo is going to break you gun you need to buy a better gun.

    There's no problems practicing with steel ammo, most of the detractions against is internet good ole boy fuddery.


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  22. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    I want to shoot the cheapest ammo that will run my gun in practice. For me that is reloading, but if I wasn't reloading it, it would be steel/AL case all the way.

    All the common "gripes" against it are bunk.

    If it fits in the chamber, your gun pops the primer, and the charging is good enough to not blow up your gun, chances are it is just fine for any practice you are doing that isn't specifically for bullseye or something. Basically, if you have to ask, it is fine for you.

    If an indoor range won't let you shoot it, the only reason is that they don't want to bother sorting them out prior to selling the brass.
     
  23. cc-hangfire

    cc-hangfire Member

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    I use mostly steel cased ammo at the range. Handguns are machines; I don't pamper them. I doubt I shoot enough in any one gun to see the difference, but if an extractor wears out, I'll replace it. If a barrel wears out, I'll replace it. I own shooters, and don't have any safe queens.

    Each of us makes our own decisions based on our firearms, purposes for shooting, etc. there is no wrong answer...just individual choices and dealing with the consequences of your choices.
     
  24. entropy

    entropy Member

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    It was Chinese, imported mid to late 80's. I saw the packaging. Steel cased, copper coated cases, sealed both primer and case mouth. The owner of it bought it with his 9mm Norinco Tokarev (Yes, they made those, too) and we had shot some of it from said pistol just fine. I don't particularly care for your ad hominem attack re my veracity. :scrutiny:

    It was my own Kel-Tec Sub 2000, S&W mag., and yes, the out-of battery ignition was definitely a KA-BOOM! It happened to me twice before that, but I assumed it was due my own steel cases in those instances being reloaded. The cases were Tula, 115 LRN, medium load of Unique. Yes, reloaded, it is possible, though I definitely advise not doing it.:uhoh:
     
  25. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    I have used brass plated, steel cased 9mm S&B with no problems. I wonder how the brass scroungers liked that?
     
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