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Old November 8, 2013, 03:02 PM   #1
simonrichter
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Barnaul .223 steel cased ammo in a bolt action?

After long considerations (and an even longer search), lately I got me a Savage Axis .223. I'm not a great shooter who'd send thousands of rounds down the range each year, I just want to maintain my basic skills to operate a rifle larger than a .22lr.

Hence, budget is an important issue. Cheap ammo is, say, EUR 25,-- for a box of 20 .223s. The more I was intrigued by this (obviously Russian) "Barnaul" stuff they offered me, at only 6,-- / Box. I'm well aware that steel cased ammo does have its disadvantages, but is that relevant when shooting maybe not more than 100 rds. / year AND it is a bolt action, not a semiauto?

Though the Savage is quite economically priced, I don't want to ruin it, of course.
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Old November 8, 2013, 03:33 PM   #2
trg42wraglefragle
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I shot a box of it out of my Tikka T3, it was fine but was about a 3-4 inch group at 100yards, shot better than the Remington ammo I tried though.

I've been shooting steel cased Hornady training ammo and it's fine. It shoots amazing under and inch every time at 100yards, and shoots just as well as the same cheap Hornady brass cased stuff.

The barnaul will probably shoot terrible and you will have to look around and fond something cheap that shoots well.
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Old November 9, 2013, 03:07 AM   #3
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The Barnaul ammo, both .223 & 7.62x39, is the least accurate ammo I have used. trg42wraglefragle is right, 3-4 inch groups is the best you can expect.
The Serbian Privi Partizan ammo is usually pretty cheap, and more consistant at 2-2 1/2inch groups at 100 yds.
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Old November 9, 2013, 03:24 AM   #4
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I have shot 9mm Barnaul, and had some primer issues. This was for range practice and some competition use, so not critical to my well being.

I have also been offered Barnaul .308 for my rifle. It is cheap and acceptable for practice, but I was warned that it would not be particularly accurate beyond 100m.

So the question is, is €30 a year (based on your 100rd estimate), compared to €125 a year worth it when you know that the ammo will probably not be doing your shooting justice. How will you know that you aim is improving/getting worse if the ammo will not reliably show up your mistakes or achievements?

An extra €95 a year would give you the possibility of far more beneficial training. For example, investigate Norma Jatkmatch ammo. I would say avoid it: false economy!!
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Old November 9, 2013, 11:18 AM   #5
simonrichter
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while you are all making a good case in favor of higher quality stuff (granted), still my main question, apart from the accuracy issue, is whether the steel cased ammo is likely to damage my weapon or not.
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Old November 9, 2013, 03:14 PM   #6
Pond, James Pond
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In the long term, I would say, yes!

In pistols the problem, as I understand it, is that the repeated extractions, where the case is prised out from under the extractor by the ejector rod, slowly wears away the breech face.

Given that ejecting cases on a bolt gun is the same process, only under the action of the shooter's hand, not the case's recoil, the effects may not take place as quickly but it will still be steel on steel, instead of brass on steel....

Your choice, though: you'd probably sell the gun before you see any wear. Personally, knowing the wear was taking place, I'd prefer to avoid it regardless of whether the signs show up during my ownership or not.
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Old November 9, 2013, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
is whether the steel cased ammo is likely to damage my weapon or not.
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Its not supposed to.

Given the fact that "steel" cases are iron with enough carbon in it to be called steel, they are quite a bit softer than the hardened tool steel your rifle is made of.

Also the operation of a bolt action does not involve the stresses of a semi or full auto feed and extraction cycles.

So, even though not as "soft" as brass, in a bolt action, I would not expect to see any significant difference in the wear rate.

I don't shoot steel cased ammo. My issues with it are many, not just the wear rate. Yes, its cheap, but you do tend to get what you pay for.

I'm a dedicated reloader, in the sense that I shoot and reload my brass. I would recommend you consider it. You don't need to spend a lot, or have a lot of space for equipment. Even if you are only shooting 100rnds a year, I think you would get better accuracy from "kitchen table handloads" than you would from cheap steel cased stuff.

Personally, I like to know that when I "just miss" my mark, that it was me, and not the gun & ammo. "me" I can fix.
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Old November 9, 2013, 04:22 PM   #8
overthere
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Steel casing makes very little difference in terms of wear in a bolt action compared to a semi-auto. However if the bullets are bi-metal or steel the wear on the barrel would be greater than shooting copper jacketed bullets.
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Old November 13, 2013, 03:29 AM   #9
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Exactly!
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Old November 13, 2013, 08:08 AM   #10
simonrichter
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the bullets are brass or copper jacketed, of course.

Thanks for the answers!
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:19 AM   #11
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Make sure it's not copper washed. Pull a bullet and hit it with a magnet. However, you're looking at 100 rounds a year. Unless you start shooting more, I'd say it's a non-issue either way. In 10 years, you'll have shot 1000 rounds. 10 years from now, you probably still won't see ill effects.
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Old November 15, 2013, 10:30 PM   #12
5thShock
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My kid found out that Wolf steel cased 223 and a Savage 10 didn't get along.
Extraction problems. Buy just a little of the Barnual at first,
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