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Steel cased Ammo?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by IWAC, Sep 24, 2016.

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  1. IWAC

    IWAC Member

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    Is there any detriment to using steel-cased ammunition in today's guns...ARs, Mini 14, etc? It seems that steel, being harder than brass, might cause more wear. Am I over-thinking the problem, or is there one?
    Thanx! :)
     
  2. Lafitte

    Lafitte Member

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    Only problem that I have any information is on an AR 15, had it pretty well warmed up then let it set for a while with a round in the chamber. It seems that the coating on the steel case melted and bonded the round to the chamber. Had to get a gunsmith to get it out.

    Lafitte
     
  3. macgrumpy

    macgrumpy Member

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    I'm sure that the geniuses on the forum will tell you how stupid I am but steel is not recommended for an American made rifle of any kind. Our rifles are designed with the idea that brass cases will be used, the clearances and expansion numbers are calculated accordingly. Brass and steel expand at different rates and the result is that the steel chamber returns to size more accurately than the brass does. If the cartridge is within the standards that SAAMI recommends then the brass should return to it's original size, but if the brass is pushed beyond it's ability to return to it's original size it will still be in contact with the chamber walls. Brass has enough lubricity that it will still be able to slide out of the chamber but if this happens to a steel case then it will stick to the chamber walls. Most manufacturers coat their steel cases with something to help eliminate it from sticking and that coating itself can cause jamming problems. Old AK ammo was infamous for creating jamming issues but they have changed the original coating compound and there is less of an issue with newly manufactured ammo.

    For an in depth description of the expansion process read this link
    http://www.angelfire.com/ca2/tech3d/spring.txt
     
  4. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    Dont use steel cased ammo in an Enfield rifle.... I learned that the hard way...:banghead: KABOOM
     
  5. ChairborneRanger

    ChairborneRanger Member

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    Frequently, steel cased ammo will also have a steel bullet, the same with a copper coating or copper wash over the top of it; this tends to cause greater barrel wear. The economic cost of this significantly greater barrel wear is frequently---but not always----offset by the cheaper cost of the steel cased ammunition, however, YMMV.

    In terms of the steel case itself, the "lacquer" or "poly coating" does not melt---that is nothing but an old wives tale. What does happen though is that a steel case, upon firing, does not flex and seal the chamber the same way a brass case does---resulting in powder residue blowing back into the chamber, gradually accumulating, and eventually causing a stuck case. One way to offset this is to alternate the use of steel and brass cased ammo &/or clean the chamber with greater frequency. Otherwise, the use of steel cased ammo has often been associated with increased extractor wear----which can be remedied by switching-out that inexpensive and easily replaceable part.
     
  6. Warp

    Warp Member

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    "Today's guns"...could you be any more vague and broad?


    Lots and lots of steel case ammo is shot successfully through lots and lots of today's guns. If you want to save some money on your plinking/practice ammo, don't mind/the range doesn't mind the bimetal jacket that probably comes with it, and you aren't looking to pick up the brass for reloading/trade/sale...go for it and shoot steel case
     
  7. Swing

    Swing Member

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    My experienced with it has been mixed, at best. It was the only ammunition that made my Mini-14 choke a few times. It would not feed more than a single round in my AR (bang, jam, clear, bang, jam, clear). It worked in a M1911A1 so-so. It ran like a champ in an AK-47 I used to have. I avoid the stuff now, though I am tempted to run el cheapo steel in .38 Special/.357 Magnum wheelgun for practice.
     
  8. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    At "Perfectunion" a few years ago a gunsmith had evaluated brass getting stuck in Mini 14/30 chambers after rigid steel had allowed plenty of powder residue to accumulate.

    This allowed expanded brass to get pushed into the gunk.
    Clean a gun's chamber on a frequent basis.

    As for lacquer-coated cases, people required blowtorches to cause the lacquer to melt.
    Some stories about lacquer melting due to normal use could easily originate with US ammo manufacturers and businesses only selling US or brass-cased ammo. Is this hard to imagine?
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  9. rondog

    rondog Member

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    If you must shoot steel cased ammo, please pick up your empties and throw them in the trash can! Don't be "that guy" that thinks it's fine to leave 'em lay, because "they'll rust away". Sure, they'll rust away, but not likely in our lifetime.

    And us brass pickers HATE the damn things! I carry a big magnet on a pole to the range to help clean 'em up. $10 at Home Depot, everybody needs one.
     
  10. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    I have fired multiple sardine cans of the stuff, with zero issues. 8mm Romanian, 7.62x54r Hungarian and Russian, 7.62x39 in my SKS, 7.62x25 in my Tokarev, you name it. Oh, wait. I had some 9mm Tula jam up in a 1946 Star, but I think that might have been a magazine issue.
     
  11. macgrumpy

    macgrumpy Member

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    As I suggested, if the rifle you have was made by a country that produces rifles designed to fire steel ammo then you wont have a problem. Most ex-Soviet bloc countries produce weapons that are designed to fire steel cased ammo so Kalashnikovs, Tokarevs, Mosin Nagants, etc. are going to shoot steel cased ammo without a hitch. The Soviets used steel cases during WWII because it was cheap and easy for them to get, they had very little brass available so they were forced to design their weapons to use steel cases. Even today's price of steel is around 15 cents per pound while cartridge brass is around $1.82 per pound. The U.S. military explored the idea of using steel but it decided that since the we had a good source of brass it wasn't worth the effort required to redesign our weaponry. A 1971 Frankford Arsenal report concluded"

    DEVELOPMENT OF A 7.62MM COLD-WORKED STEEL CARTRIDGE CASE
    BY PHILIP B. TAYLOR
    April 1971
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  12. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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  13. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    I can't say I have fired enough steel cased stuff to be able to make a definitive statement one way or the other, but the little I have fired seemed to work OK.

    But I was shooting steel cased 45 in a hiPoint and steel cased 9 mm in a ruger P85 and both guns are known for high reliability. YMMV.

    I don't know if I have tried any in a rifle other than an SKS that worked fine. I think that is the only steel cased rifle ammo I have.
     
  14. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    They are still kicking around the idea.

    A thin walled steel case with an aluminum plug for support.

    Oh, and in 1974, "Product Improvement Test of 7.62-MM M80 Ball and M62 Tracer Ammunition Assembled With Steel Cartridge Case, Final Report" noted that the only major problem to steel cases was that in the M60, due to the change in location of the CG between brass cases and steel cases, there was a spin-back problem. In the M14 and M73, the performance was deemed acceptable.

    However, a drastic drop in copper price about the same time caused the whole thing to be shelved.

    Now, that the idea is being forwarded as a weight savings initiative, not a cost savings initiative, it may get better traction.
     
  15. jlr1962

    jlr1962 Member

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    I have had multiple steel casings stuck in my ar chamber. I have never had a brass casing stuck in my ar chamber. I have 440 rounds of steel case 223 ammo that nobody wants to buy. I will not put another steel case round in my ar. My Glock does not seem to mind the steel ammo. I still won't buy more of it after my current stock of steel 9 is gone. My other pistols do not like the steel ammo at all. Nothing stuck in the chamber, just fail to feed completely into the chamber.
     
  16. macgrumpy

    macgrumpy Member

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    They'll probably eventually get steel cases to work as well as brass but I'd bet that either polymer cases or caseless ammo will eventually become the standard for the miltiary. I noticed that they are testing using laser hardening of the cases to get specific hardness values in specific places along the case, that effeminately wasn't an option in the 1970's.
     
  17. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    jlr1962:

    I will consider buying your Non-corrosive steel-cased .223, but with shipping (If possible) the total price must be very competitive with the lowest prices seen on Gunbot (plus shipping). This minute, .22/rd.
    Just received two cases of Wolf .223 and 7.62x39.

    Any pms are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  18. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Can you please elaborate?

    I have been wanting some of the new Wolf ammo in .303 British.
     
  19. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I've researched steel ammo on several forums and read some gun magazine articles. While that is not scientific, I've concluded that whether or not steel ammo is Ok depends on the weapon. If a pistol is ammo-particular, it will be with steel ammo more than traditional brass.
     
  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I use steel cased Wolf 9mm almost exclusively in my Kel- Tec Sub2000. Aside from being dirtier than most commercial ammo, it runs perfectly. As a lefty with my face close to the ejection port, I can also state it tends to throw sparks in my face more frequently than commercial ammo. :eek: Also works fine in my Glock.

    I had one easily removed stuck case in an AR with Wolf, runs perfectly well with no hiccups in my Chinese SKS and military M-1 Carbine.

    With the significant price differential under commercial ammo, I'll continue using Wolf for plinking as long as it's available.
     
  21. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    I've been shooting nothing but steel cased ammo in my AR-15's, Glocks and more for several years. Never had an issue. Friends do too.

    This comes up quite a bit and I always hear the two sides, guys like me who shoot it all the time and never have an issue, and guys that read somewhere it's bad so they don't.
     
  22. RavenTai

    RavenTai Member

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    Great link, conclusion: steel cased ammo wears guns much faster but the cheaper price of ammo will pay for replacement gun parts should you want to go down that road.

    I'll use steel case ammo in my ak and SKS but none of my us or western European weapons.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
     
  23. bang_bang

    bang_bang Member

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    I've used steel case in my AR, an AK I owned, multiple SKS rifles, 9mm, 40, and 45 ACP. No issues in my guns, and a lot of it was TulAmmo. My S&W AR-15 runs TulAmmo like a champ, probably 500 rounds of it over the past few years. I have a friend that has a left-handed Stag Arms AR-15 that would rip the bottom of steel cases off, leaving the hull stuck in the chamber. This happened consistently to his rifle, and I inherited a few hundred rounds from him.
     
  24. Dr. Sandman

    Dr. Sandman Member

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    I have a DPMS and it says not to fire steel cased rounds in the owners manual. I think it even mentioned that it will void your warranty, but it has been a while since I have read it. I screwed up and bought some steel .223 a few years back. I am going to get a single shot rifle for that stuff some day.
     
  25. stchman

    stchman Member

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    You should say "The definitive test with a Bushmaster AR:"

    Does a Bushmaster AR accurately reflect ALL firearms on the market? No.
     
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