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View Poll Results: Do you use Steel or Aluminum catridge casings when shooting cheap "blasting ammo?"
Yes, regularly 24 26.97%
Yes sometimes 32 35.96%
Never have, might in the future 8 8.99%
Never have and never will 25 28.09%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 23, 2008, 08:55 AM   #1
CalvinandHobbes
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Aluminum and Steel vs. Brass Catridge Cases

Hi all, I'm pretty new to the forum and just purchased my first firearm: a Sig p-6/225.

I've been to the range a few times with it and have been WOWed by the reliability and quality of the gun alongside my friends' other 9mms (couple of Kel-Tecs). Needless to say, having all this fun has run me through about a 1,000 rounds of Wal-Mart Winchester FMJ. (about $22 per 100 rounds after tax here). I've been looking online at a wide assortment of websites to see if I can get ammo in bulk and help my wallet out when I go to the range. It seems steel cased import ammo and aluminum Blazers are the cheapest things out there and I'm wondering if using steel casings or aluminum ones could pose any problems or perhaps damage my gun's feed/barrel/extractor.

I know you that typically steel and aluminum casings are on-reloadable; that's not an issue for me at this point (I'll probably be looking for a reloader in a couple of years down the road). But could anyone with some more experience than I fill me in on any other drawbacks to shooting a $7 box of Wolf or $8 box of Blazer Aluminum vs. a $13 box of American Eagle?

Thanks for your help!

Chris
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:13 AM   #2
JWT
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I shoot Blazer aluminum 9mm, .45ACP, and .40 S&W all the time. Never had any malfunctions with literally thousands of rounds of the ammo. It's realatively clean and is generally the least expensive ammo I can find. Suits my purpose fine for practice.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:19 AM   #3
gb_in_ga
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None of the above.

I have used steel cased and bi-metal cased ammo in the past. I suspect that the use of such caused serious issues with 2 handguns -- bad peening in 1 case, possible extractor failure in another.

Never again.

My guns get brass or nickel plated brass from now on.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:33 AM   #4
DWARREN123
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I have and do use steel for mil-surp but nothing else.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:48 AM   #5
DennisD
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I reload so I only use brass but even before I started reloading, I always used brass. Wish I had picked up all that shiny once fired I left on the public range I used to go to.

BTW, welcome!
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:10 AM   #6
Smaug
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I normally load my own, so I use brass. On the rare occasions that I buy blasting ammo, I will buy Blazer if it is cheaper.
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Old October 23, 2008, 11:00 AM   #7
CalvinandHobbes
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Thanks for the welcome Dennis. I like the forum.

Appreciate ya'll's feedback. JWT, I've got 1000 rounds of blazer aluminum on the way so we'll see how that works! Hope things go as well as they have for you. Natchez has it for 7.99 a box if you're interested.

Gb in Ga... sounds like steel is not the way to go. I am pretty skittish about putting steel in my gun. What do you meen bad peening? Also, is aluminum what you'd call a "bimetal" case?
Thanks for the feedback!

Chris
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Old October 23, 2008, 11:46 AM   #8
madmag
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Yes, I use steel & Aluminum. I did have issues (sticking in chamber) with the early Wolf steel when they had the lacquer coating, but now they have corrected that issue, so it works fine for me.

Blazer aluminum gives me less trouble than Blazer Brass. The Blazer Brass is the worse I have ever had with set-back problems. Aluminum has been OK.
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Old October 23, 2008, 12:21 PM   #9
James K
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The steel used in cartridge cases is a mild steel, not a lot harder than some copper-zinc (brass) alloys. I don't know what "peening" was experienced, but a hot load would be a more likely cause than the cartridge case material. Aluminum is soft, but aluminum cases are deliberately made non-reloadable (yes, some people have managed to reload them, but it is not recommended) because aluminum has a low elasticity compared to brass, which means it does not have the "springiness" needed for re-use.

Steel case material has drawbacks. It wears factory tooling faster than brass and, left uncoated, it rusts. Brass, over a century, has proven near ideal as a cartridge case material. But cost may force cartridge companies to go to other materials, and work is being done not only on steel and aluminum but on other materials, including plastics.

Jim
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Old October 23, 2008, 04:59 PM   #10
bikerbill
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read somewhere that steel can damage extractors ... anybody know?
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Old October 23, 2008, 05:15 PM   #11
FireCop203
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I have used aluminum, steel and brass in all of my guns. Never had any problems at all.
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Old October 23, 2008, 05:42 PM   #12
Lashlarue
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Have seen too many kabooms using Blazer aluminum cases.Cannot be used to get your Texas CHL, at least that was the rule when I got mine!
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Old October 23, 2008, 06:29 PM   #13
tekarra
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I use steel, aluminum and brass. I prefer brass, but Blazer aluminum is cheap compared to reloading. Have fired several thousand aluminum and steel rounds with no problems. The lacquered steel cases caused some cleaning problems, but some are now are flashed with copper so that overcomes the concerns of steel wearing the chamber prematurely. It also prevents rust. If steel cases were boxer primed it would be so much easier to pick up using a magnet.
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Old October 23, 2008, 07:00 PM   #14
lee n. field
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Brass mostly, because Blazer Brass is reloadable and isn't a whole lot more expensive than the regular Blazer ammo.

Aluminum sometimes, if I happen to aquire it somehow. I don't buy it.

Steel, only in my Makarov, which thrives on the stuff.
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Old October 23, 2008, 07:37 PM   #15
dogtown tom
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Quote:
Lashlarue: Have seen too many kabooms using Blazer aluminum cases.Cannot be used to get your Texas CHL, at least that was the rule when I got mine!
If Blazer caused as many "kabooms" as you infer, then CCI/Speer wouldn't be in business due to product liability lawsuits.

Blazer has ALWAYS been legal for CHL students in Texas. Many instructors fail to read the following from the Texas DPS Instructors Handbook.


Quote:
TITLE 37 PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS
PART 1 TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
CHAPTER 6 LICENSE TO CARRY HANDGUNS
SUBCHAPTER G CERTIFIED HANDGUN INSTRUCTORS
RULE ยง6.75 Ammunition

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Only standard Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Institute (SAAMI) ammunition may be used during training and qualification. This section applies only to instructor training and qualification provided by the department.
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Old October 23, 2008, 08:50 PM   #16
Rmart30
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Quote:
Appreciate ya'll's feedback. JWT, I've got 1000 rounds of blazer aluminum on the way so we'll see how that works! Hope things go as well as they have for you. Natchez has it for 7.99 a box if you're interested.
Dicks sporting goods has Remington brass cased 9mm $7.49 on sale Basspro has brass WWB 100 rd bulk packs $18 and some change

Ive shot wolf and blazers also with no problems.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:16 PM   #17
Brian Williams
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Sometimes I will use Aluminum for a range training day or most competition.
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Old October 23, 2008, 09:48 PM   #18
Colorado-Shooter
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I reload all of my 40 S&W range ammo, its far superior to blazer aluminum junk and I load it for $5.75/box.
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Old October 23, 2008, 10:02 PM   #19
skinewmexico
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I've shot over 6,000 rounds thru my XD9 in IDPA competitions, and I'm still waiting for my first FTF or FTE. Works for me. I sure liked it better when I could buy it at Academy for $3.87.
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Old October 24, 2008, 12:45 AM   #20
JohnKSa
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I've used a lot of Blazer aluminum. I do not consider it to be poor quality ammunition, it functions well and is quite accurate in my experience although I do have one gun that doesn't seem to like it.

I have shot a bit of steel-cased ammunition and while I've had generally good results I do not consider any steel-cased ammunition to be of good quality. It will usually work ok, but it's a step down in quality from either aluminum or brass.
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Old October 24, 2008, 11:28 AM   #21
farnorthdan
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Reloader here

So only brass for me
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Old October 24, 2008, 11:35 AM   #22
Delaware_Dan
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The only ammo I shoot thats not brass is out of the AK, never out of my pistols.
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Old October 24, 2008, 11:42 AM   #23
flight954
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I only occasionally shoot steel cased ammo from my rifles (AR/AK because of cost), only shoot brass in the handguns.
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Old October 24, 2008, 06:28 PM   #24
Mal H
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CalvinandHobbes - why did you make the poll multiple choice?
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Old October 24, 2008, 06:38 PM   #25
kostner
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Another reloader and have been using brass for thirty years now. Hoping not to have leave a lot of steel cases around my house on Nov. 4th. but am ready.
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