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Tula .38 Special Ammo Case Deformation?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Navy87Guy, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    I bought some Tula in .38 Special just for plinking with my Charter Arms Undercover. The rounds load just fine (drop right in) and it fires fine. But...

    When I try to unload, the casings are stuck in the cylinder. With enough effort, I can get the rod to move and drive them about halfway out, but they won't drop out. Each round has to be pulled out by hand. Brass cased ammo has no problem. And since the rounds drop in so easily, I'm assuming that the casing is expanding after it's fired.

    I've used Tula before for rifles and in 9mm, and I've never encountered a problem like this before. Has anyone else had a similar problem - in .38 Special or another caliber? It certainly put a crimp in my range work today, that's for sure!!
     
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  2. Olon

    Olon Member

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    Might take a look at your title.

    I don't really know the exact science behind it, but I've read that there is a "springiness" brass has to it, where it will expand and then shrink back slightly. Maybe steel doesn't shrink back as well. I've only shot steel ammo in autoloaders so I wouldn't notice difficulty ejecting. I'm curious to see if others have had the same issue...
     
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  3. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Fixed it - thanks!! :rofl:
     
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  4. Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    Heir Kommt Die Sonne Member

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    Older guns with blued chambers don't cope with steel cases very well. A finely polished stainless chamber typically is what works best with steel.
    I don't know when your revolver was made but if it was pre-2010 then I just wouldn't be firing steel through it. Doesn't sound like it wants it.
     
  5. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    A friend of mine has a charter arms revolver in 9mm. He was shooting aluminum case and steel case amm through it...he bent the ejection rod and it wouldn't even go back in all the way so he couldn't close the cylinder.

    Charter Arms fixes his revolver with no issues but did put a note in the box that said to shoot brass cased ammo only. Since he's done that he hasn't had a single issue at all.
     
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  6. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Thanks! I was certainly careful not to push the rod too hard...nothing that a pencil couldn't solve!
     
  7. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    Steel in a double action revolver is disaster when it comes to extracting the empties. I shot some Wolf .38 a few days ago and, like you, I could barely get the ejector rod to move. The best way to eject the cases is to use a wooden dowel and push them out of each chamber one at a time.

    Steel case is fine in a semi auto because it's one chamber that the case is being extracted from, but make it 5 or 6 cases in a revolver and it takes so much force that it's pretty much impossible. A single action revolver would probably be fine to shoot steel in, again because you're knocking out one case at a time.

    I only shot 10 rounds of that Wolf ammo not because I didn't care to poke the cases out, but because I noticed all the primers were flattened. I mean, this is standard pressure .38 ammo, there's no reason the primers should have flattened like that.
     
  8. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Interesting observation. I shot about 50 rounds of the Tula (130 gr) then I switched to some Speer Lawman 158 gr +P ammo -- and it was easier to shoot than the 130 grain! The recoil was far less! The Tula is advertised at 890 fps and the Speer at 900 -- but it sure felt like the Tula was a lot hotter!
     
  9. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Sounds like a potential problem if continued long-term.

    Brass, tight or not, is sacrificial for the most part in its relationship with the cylinder. Steel? Not so much.

    Eventually could manifest itself as a wear condition of any one or all of the following:
    Cylinder bores
    Ejector rod
    Ejector star
    Crane
    Even frame as interacts with the crane.

    I'd get past it and not look back once they are done and if the cylinder bores are in spec, I most certainly would NOT alter the pistol to accommodate crappy ammo.

    Todd.
     
  10. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Encountered exactly the same issue with M200 (which by the way is a much better shooter than the price would ever suggest!). Unfortunately 38 special brass ammo is not cheap anymore. That tula is literally half the price so very tempting for plinking. There is a simple answer - the parkerized finish extends through the cylinders. Chuck up some oiled steel wool and polish the cylinders to a mirror shine, no more sticking.
     
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  11. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    That's an idea -- thanks.

    In the meantime, I have some brass cased on the way. You're right -- it's a lot pricier!! :(
     
  12. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Unpolished chambers for handguns and shotguns seems to be the norm these days. Maybe not a terrible problem with high brass shells and most low-pressure brass hangun rounds, but that would never fly for any centerfire rifle. Anyway the fix is fairly easy - I just copied what all the maverick 88 owners are doing.
     
  13. Heir Kommt Die Sonne

    Heir Kommt Die Sonne Member

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    When you shoot your .38 Special brass, make sure to collect it. You can either reload it down the road, someone else reload it, or sell it to a reloading company.
    For me, the extra price for brass is justified because I can reload the cases several times over.
     
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  14. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    We had students at our NRA Basic Pistol class show up with Tula steel cased and we experienced the same problems as the OP. We no longer allow it in class.
     
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  15. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Update:

    I did a little polishing inside the cylinders — some oiled 0000 steel wool. I only did each cylinder for a minute or so. Afterwards, I was at least able to eject the casings more than halfway with the ejector rod (without any undue force). So a couple of more minutes on each cylinder would probably get them to come out smoothly.

    I’ll probably leave it “as is” for now...it’s manageable for range shooting — and I don’t want to make them too loose for brass-cased ammo.
     
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  16. BlueHeelerFl

    BlueHeelerFl Member

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    I used to own a high gloss stainless Ruger Old Vaquero that would bind up shooting aluminum Blazer 38's. I had have to remove the cylinder and use a cleaning rod to push the casings out. Never attempted steel cased ammo in that gun.

    Some guns only like brass.

    My S&W 625 and shoot aluminum without any issues.
     
  17. stchman

    stchman Member

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    I have had the same problem with Tula .357 Magnum. The polymer coating on the steel case has a slightly rough texture, not nearly as smooth as brass. This will cause the cases to become somewhat stuck in the chambers of the cylinder. The way I found to alleviate this problem is to rub a little bit of oil on the cases before inserting them into the chambers, the lubrication will allow the spent casings to eject more easily.
     
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  18. jstert

    jstert Member

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    i picked up a box of tulammo steel 38sp the other day for just $9. this thread explains the low price. now i wonder if it can work at all in a newer steel taurus 85 or just run it through a ruger blackhawk and be done with it?
     
  19. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    I picked up one of the old casings that had been out in the snow...so if anything, it should have been contracted from the cold. It still wouldn’t go easily into the cylinder...so clearly the casings are expanding when they are fired — and staying that way!
     
  20. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    Remember reading some folks put a drop of oil into the cylinder when shooting steel cased ammo. Supposed to help with extraction. Worth a shot.
     
  21. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    It'll shoot fine in the Taurus, but you'll have to push each case out of the cylinder one at a time with a pencil.

    While I said that steel case in a revolver is a disaster, it's only a disaster when it comes to ejecting the cases and maybe pressure issues (I have to give Wolf a call about that and ask them it flattened primers are normal for their .38 ammo.) Other than that, the ammo seems to shoot pretty accurately, albeit from a snub revolver you can expect a lot of sparks coming out the barrel like you're shooting a cap and ball black powder revolver.
     
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  22. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    There's a reason brass is the standard material for metallic cartridge cases.
     
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