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Steel cased ammo just isn't worth it.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Big_E, Oct 9, 2010.

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  1. Big_E

    Big_E Member

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    Steel cased ammo may be of a lower price as compared to other brass cased ammo at first, but lets take things into consideration.

    For .223 ammo my prices locally are around $.30/round of steel cased and $.39/round of brass cased.

    However, steel cased ammo is one time use and some of the surplus stuff is corrosive which if not cleaned correctly can cause damage to the firearm.

    Brass cased ammo can be re used multiple times if you reload and if you don't you can collect your brass and sell it to a reloader. Plus, I have found most commerical brass cased .223 to be of higher quality/cleaner.

    On some steel cased ammo used in AR's the outer coating (lacquer or polymer) can start to melt and gun up the chamber in a hot firearm and cause lots of range headaches.

    So, IMHO, steel cased ammo is not worth the one time savings over brass cased. You can find XM193 for pretty cheap online and even with shipping it is becoming closer to steel priced.

    **I used .223 as a comparison because that is what I am currently most familiar with, but same goes for other rifle and pistol calibers.
     
  2. happygeek

    happygeek Member

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    Where are you paying 30 cents a round for steel cased 5.56? 6 to 8 months ago I picked up a 500 round pack of Wolf 5.56 for 26 cents a round, the price has since dropped to 19 cents a round if you buy in 1,000 round packs. This is in stores, no shipping cost.

    Steel case Wolf makes sense if you're shooting a rifle like my Sig 556 that not only dings the brass up but throws it a good 10 to 15 yards away in a random pattern. Even assuming I spent the 20 min plus it'd take me to find it all, most people at the range don't want to stand around twiddling their thumbs during a cease fire while I poke around in the grass in front of them. Yes I could rig up one of those brass nets, but that's another thing to lug to the range. That Sig hasn't had trouble with Wolf.

    I just recently got my first scope and the best shot group I've made with that Sig and Wolf so far was roughly 2 inches at 150 yards. My best 100 yard group was right about 2 inches. With irons it doesn't really matter if I'm shooting a NM M1A or an AK74 with surplus commie block 5.45. I'm no national match quality shooter, so NM quality ammo is kinda wasted on me. Might as well save money on ammo while I struggle to rise above mediocrity.

    I'd say about 95% of my pistol and rifle shooting is 22LR. That's the real cost saver; really I'd say brass or steel case depends on the person (whether they reload, what rifle they're using, how good a shot they are, personal preference, etc.).
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  3. Big_E

    Big_E Member

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    This steel cased is from Cabelas (thats why). I can't order ammo from AIM, JG, etc... because I am not 21 yet. Either way brass is still a better buy IMHO. And not wanting to pick up brass during a cease fire is your issue. My range requires us to pick up our brass either way, or I mostly shoot out in the desert.

    **Oh yes happygeek, I understand about some rifles that ding/destroy brass to no end. I am mostly referring to rifles/handguns that don't do that. Basically saying, "if the firearm handles brass well, might as well just use that."
     
  4. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Myth.
     
  5. Big_E

    Big_E Member

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    Are you sure its just a myth? I have not experienced this problem myself but other shooters I know have.

    I'll get back to you guys later, I have a football game to go to.
     
  6. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

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    Steel cased 7.62x39 is considerably cheaper than brass, and the brass 7.62x39 that is available at a similar price is usually berdan primed and corrosive. I have also never met an AK that balks at Wolf.

    When shooting 1000s of rounds, a few cents different a round adds up quickly.

    Folks with reloading setups can see better cost savings by buying components separately anyway, so many folks who are shooting steel cased ammo aren't reloaders anyway.

    Also for high volume shooters without a progressive reloading setup, or whose time is more valuable than money, steel cased ammo makes sense.

    I however have more time than money, so I pay a little more up front for brass cased ammo, then reload like crazy.
     
  7. gun addict

    gun addict Member

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    tell that to my AK47, AK74, Makarov PM, SKS, FAL, Mauser etc.

    Yeah i'll stick with shooting steel cased ammo. Hell if i run my AR15 with steel cased ammo so much that it somehow breaks the extractor that's what, a $5 fix?
     
  8. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    Nothing wrong with steel cased ammo, I've shot thousands of rounds, in many different calibers, and have had no more problems, that brass ammo had.
     
  9. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Not if it shoots as well or better than the more expensive stuff
     
  10. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    No it isn't.

    I just bought an AR recently. 18" bbl, 1:7 twist. Never fired.

    I cleaned it and took it out to the range yesterday with 150 rds of TulAmmo .223, polymer coated non-corrosive 55gr.

    Out of 150 rds, the first mag had 0 problems, the second mag had 2 FTE towards the end, and I had to use my cleaning rod to tap them out. When they came out you could see the residue on the case that had cooked to the outside of the case causing it to stick. This happened 4 more times in the 3rd mag, 3 FTEs in the 4th mag, and the last mag had 8 FTEs (I let the gun get hot). One of the FTEs sheared part of the rim off of the cartridge where the extractor key grips the case rim.

    The ammo seems to me to be loaded a bit hotter than PMC, but about as accurate as XM193, and a bit cheaper. I doubt I'll be buying any more because my AR is a defensive weapon, and I can't afford to have an FTE in a defensive situation.

    The gun ticks along like a swiss clock with brass ammo.
     
  11. Big_E

    Big_E Member

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    Ill admit that steel ammo has its place. I'm just saying that rifles/pistols that don't damage brass make it more cost effective to buy brass.
     
  12. Steve Marshall

    Steve Marshall Member

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    The Germans used steel case to fight WW2. The Russians used it almost exclusively. They must be masochists.
    MYTH That the lacquer or polymer coating melts in the chamber. Rail Driver, what kind of lube did you use in the chamber? Take a propane torch to the lacquered cases and see what happens.
     
  13. VinnAY

    VinnAY Member

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    I'm not feeding the steel case troll.
     
  14. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    You're taking this from the wrong standpoint. Maybe if you weren't using a picky, prissy little carbine that requires some Teflon infused micro-uber lube to keep running and craps where it eats, you wouldn't be having these problems.

    I'm sorry, I had to. But in all seriousness, this is why those of us who have shot real rifles find the assertion by some that the AR is every bit as reliable as "X" rifle to be downright laughable. No, your AR is not as reliable as my AK, it never will be, and it doesn't matter what kind of lube you put in it. Case and point, every single round I've fired through my AK has been either steel cased Wolf or corrosive Yugo surplus. Thousands and thousands of rounds of the stuff. Not only that but I have even intentionally introduced additional foreign matter into the receiver (handful of sand). Takes the lacquer and keeps on ticking. Loves the stuff. Gobbles it right up.

    Sure, your AR is probably more accurate. But my AK is accurate enough to keep them all COM rapid fire kneeling with a red dot at 200 yards. I'd rather have adequate accuracy and unquestionable reliability with all types of ammunition in any environment with no questions asked and no excuses given by my rifle than have to worry about tracking down some high priced wonder lube or avoid certain types of ammunition.

    I think steel cased ammo is absolutely worth it. Why would I reload for the 7.62x39 when my Yugo groups Wolf into 2 MOA with iron sights, and every rifle I own in the caliber devours it like it is going out of style? My dad is a brass Nazi. I've spent too many hours of my life starring at the ground looking for spent brass already. While I'll do this for some things, other times, I want to focus more on my shooting than on the resulting search effort afterwards. So I am okay with sending copious amounts of lead downrange from my AK and not worry where it is shucking the shells. I'll save that headache for my M1A.
     
  15. The Sarge

    The Sarge Member

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    I shoot a boatload of steel case ammo in many calibers. I clean my guns after each session. I repeat the process often and for many years now. Use whatever blows your dress up.
    I reload. I reload a bunch. I do not reload 5.56 nor 7.62 as it is just too damn cheap to buy it.
    Bottom line, for me anyway, is this.
    I have never had any type of "jam" from lacquered up guns.....I can count on one hand the FTF rounds after probably 500,000 rounds of steel cased lacquered ammo.
    I use Ballistol religiously on all my guns.

    PS: I have over a dozen converted Saiga's. We use them to hog hunt down here. Folks rent them from me to go hunt here at the ranch. I give them nothing but steel cased ammo.
     
  16. marktx

    marktx Member

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    Why hasn't anybody brought up the fact that steel cases will totally wear out your rifle. Won't all of you feel silly when your gun is just completely worn out after shooting 10,000 rounds of that steel cased ammo just to save a few thousand bucks over brass cased ammo.

    Someone was also mentioning how the Germans used steel cased ammo in WW2.... And they lost too! Look at what it did to those MG42s! After a long belt 8mm at 1300 rpm they had to swap the barrels out.

    And the Russians lost the cold war with all that godless heathen steel cased commie corrosive ammo of theirs. And berdan primed to boot!

    Brass cased ammo is American as apple pie, baseball and AR-15s. It's what Jesus wants you to shoot.
     
  17. killchain

    killchain Member

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    What your buddies experienced is carbon buildup.

    Steel and brass expand differently. When you mix and match, the carbon can cause cases to stick. This is why you ALWAYS scrub the chamber between steel and brass.

    I also hear the common complaint, "Steel cases tear up your extractor." if they do, I've saved so much money that I can buy a new extractor.

    But as far as your complaints about steel case go... more for me. :D
     
  18. mbogo

    mbogo Member

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    I think that is the funniest post I've read on a gun forum. Ever. :D

    mbogo
     
  19. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Again, maybe steel cased ammo will wear out your rifle. That sounds more like a personal problem to me.

    I've put it like this before--if you were dating your rifle, the AR would be the super-hot aspiring model that demands attention and affection, whereas the AK is the attractive but not hot, more girl-next-door type that prides herself on being more or less self-reliant and almost feels insulted when you insist on babying her. Your AR scoffs at the idea of processed food and demands a healthy organic vegan meal before you take her to the mall to go shoe shopping with your plastic. Sure, she gets you all the looks, but some of us just hate going to malls. For us, there is the AK, for which it is perfectly acceptable to stop by a fast food joint for a greasy burger on the way out to play paintball in the mud. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. But I already have over 10K of Wolf through my AK with absolutely no signs of increased wear and tear. It still runs like a champ and still shoots pretty much as good as it did when I got her.

    Maybe if you're rifle didn't cost $2000+ to begin with, this wouldn't be a big deal. But I can buy a complete nother rifle and another case of Wolf with the money I save buying Wolf ammo, so it is win-win for me.
     
  20. killchain

    killchain Member

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    I have roughly 25k of Wolf 5.56mm through my AR-15. I had to change, uh, batteries for my EOTech.

    Oh, and mine doesn't rust in the fog.

    I think you sat on your AK's bayonet, because you seem to have some hurt. :p

    PS. My rifle was $900.
     
  21. Sky

    Sky Member

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    hahahaheheheh Yep!

    I run Silverbear in my chrome line barrels. I do not run wolf only because a friend who rents out guns says they do gum up his riffles. He never cleans anything though.

    Bushmaster said I should not use steal casings IE Silverbear in my non chrome lined barreled match rifles 20 and 24" which the ARs seem to hate it anyway. Failure to chamber the second shot being the problem. $104 for 500 rounds of silverbear sure is nice though.

    We have guys here that I used to be in the crowd of.. "My ARs will shoot anything with no failure to fire Period! I felt smug about my cheap little ARs that never let me down; I be more humble now........http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=548179
     
  22. Sky

    Sky Member

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    Yep those AKs are some darn good weapons. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder though.
     
  23. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Good for you.

    My WASR doesn't rust in the fog. Heck, my WASR doesn't rust when I throw it in the river, and it doesn't even have mil-spec miracle finish to protect it--just some poorly applied black parkerizing and river muck blended in with all that sand and lacquer.

    Never had a bayonet, never saw the need. The gun actually works, so why would I need a knife?

    PS My rifle was $300.
     
  24. marktx

    marktx Member

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    Sure you run the steel cased ammo in that but would you run it in your M1A (I'm assuming based on your tag line)??? Yeah, we all like to put on a fur hat and run around with an AK in the woods shouting Wolverines! from time to time and shooting steel cased ammo that we picked up off the damn dirty commies for pennies on the dollar.

    But when it comes on down to it that fine sweet piece of American engineering the M1A deserves nothing but the best American brass. Fine brass as golden as Marylin Monroe's hair working it's way through your action. It's buttery yellow shapes kissing your extractor and ejector so softly that they could last a million rounds.

    Shoot brass, anything else and you might as well vote for Obama again.
     
  25. John Wayne

    John Wayne Member

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    That's a pretty broad statement. No, some steel-cased ammo in certain calibers isn't worth it for people who reload...but for someone with a $100 Mosin-Nagant, shooting corrosive steel cased ammo at $5 a box vs. paying 1/3 the cost of their rifle for brass-cased reloadable ammo doesn't make sense.

    I reload, and I reuse brass until it's no good. I also shoot indoors mostly. When I shoot in competitions that are in muddy, sandy areas, I usually shoot steel-cased ammo because it's cheaper and I don't have to worry about losing any brass, or having to dig mud out of it.
     
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