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Old April 10, 2013, 10:40 AM   #1
brickhouseblues
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Steel casings and your 223

What are the true pros and cons with shooting steel cased ammo versus brass? I mean giving the fact that brass is easier on rifle is a giving, but common with prices what they are and Tul-Ammo going for 12 bucks for 20 rounds... Who can resist! Can you weigh in on this folks? Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks
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Old April 10, 2013, 12:16 PM   #2
Kimio
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I own a Stag Model 4 and 90% of what I shoot out of her is steel cased Wolf .223 ammunition. I have not had a single hiccup while using Wolf.

From my experience this is what you should know when you use steel cased ammunition.

For one, steel tends to foul more due to the steel not expanding as much within the chamber, therefore they don't seal it as well as brass does upon firing. Variations in tolerances and manufacturing don't make it the most consistent ammo either in terms of accuracy.

Some folks are stuck on the whole idea that because steel cased ammunition is laqured, that when it heats up it tends to gum up your rifle. Out of the thousands of rounds I've fired, I've never had any issues with FTE or FTF, the laqure used on the casings is very durable, and you likely will only get it off by means of a blow torch.

The problems with FTE or FTF occurs when you switch back to shooting brass after shooting steel. Due to the increased fouling, this sometimes causes the brass casings to stick in the chamber, causing a malfunction. It has nothing to do with the laqure finish that coats the shells. Some state that the steel cased rounds are really hard on the extractor of the rifle, personally, I've not seen any increased wear on my AR' extractor after several thousand rounds run through it.

If you reload, steel of course cannot be reloaded, but it's affordability I think helps offset this.

Other rifles are very tempermental when it comes to steel cased ammunition, and YMMV depending on what make your rifle is. For me, my Stag loves the stuff, it's not the most accurate ammunition by any stretch of the means, but for basic target practice and plinking, it's an affordable alternative.

Hope this helped.
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:11 PM   #3
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My XM15 doesn't like the Tula stuff at all. Great many FTE. Too bad because that's all I can find right now.
A lot of people love the Tula and Wolf. I believe some guns like and others don't, try it and see what happens.
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:28 PM   #4
AssaultTortoise
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I bought several hundred rounds of the herters/wolf steel case when it was on sale for $4/20. Once in a while if I shoot allot of it in a short period of time I will get a case stuck in the chamber. The extractor usually rips through the rim and they have to be knocked out with a rod. It does seem dirtier then most other ammo. For the price and its intended purpose there's no good reason not to use it.
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Old April 10, 2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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Steel case run's like a dream in my Saiga...




Of course, so does everything else
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Old April 10, 2013, 03:21 PM   #6
Tucker 1371
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My biggest beef with running steel cased ammo isn't the case but the bimetal jacketed bullets. The thin copper coating on the bullets wears away and results in steel on steel contact as the bullet travels down the barrel, wearing the barrel quicker than normal. You'll be replacing a barrel every four to five thousand rounds.
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Old April 10, 2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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I only shoot steel through my AR , I shoot it because of how much cheaper you can get it. Before all this non-sense you could get steel for around 23 cents a round. My bushmaster has never had a failure of any kind. Just clean your gun after every range trip and you shouldnt have problems.
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Old April 10, 2013, 05:26 PM   #8
the rifleer
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"Tul-Ammo going for 12 bucks for 20 rounds... Who can resist!"

That's almost 3x what its worth. It sells for $4 something here when its in stock at walmart. The problem is its never in stock. So its not really a deal in my eyes.
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Old April 10, 2013, 07:39 PM   #9
brickhouseblues
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Tula/Wolf rounds

Before all this madness going on I do remember 20 rounds going for 4 and change at wal-mart that us true Rifleer, but does days are gone and who knows when or if we'll see those prices again. So 12 for 20 rounds is by far "the cheapest" I found... Everything else is almost at 1 dollar per round!
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:44 PM   #10
Dfariswheel
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Here's an in depth test of brass versus steel ammo in AR rifles.
Draw your own conclusions.

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/bras...el-cased-ammo/
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Old April 10, 2013, 08:44 PM   #11
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My Bushmaster (and all my guns) are extremely clean. Still the tula sticks and I get FTE. When and if you get lucky, wallmart is getting about $6 for twenty rounds as of last week. I was getting brass cased American Eagle for $7 per 20 three months ago. There isn't any of that anymore. The local store has either tula or varmint HPs that cost $36 per twenty. If your AR likes steel, go for it. I have a hundred something of em and they are a last resort.
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Old April 10, 2013, 09:48 PM   #12
the rifleer
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" Before all this madness going on I do remember 20 rounds going for 4 and change at wal-mart that us true Rifleer, but does days are gone and who knows when or if we'll see those prices again."

I'm honestly not trying to start a debate, but that is the exact thought process that is causing the ammo prices to go up. it really is.
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Old April 10, 2013, 11:26 PM   #13
Bamashooter
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$12 for 20rds. Are you kidding me. What a ripoff. I don't run junk ammo through any of my guns plus Im a reloader so its brass only for me.
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Old April 12, 2013, 12:18 PM   #14
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The US Army has been manufacturing 30-06 and 7.62 ammo with bimetal steel/copper jacketing for over 40 years.

It has been proven in military ordnance tests that this does not damage barrels and only increases the wear rate by about 10-15 % in stainless barrels and not at all in chrome lined barrels.

Frankford Arsenal ran a test many moons ago on barrel wear with copper versus bi-metal jacketing and they found there was no difference whatsoever.

This testing was done with US military mfgr. bi-metal jacket ammo with a .008 copper wash thickness over the steel jacket.

Barrels (stainless) are tool steel grade and have a 675 Brinnel hardness rating. Copper jacket has a 35 Brinnel hardness and mild steel jacketing has a 130 Brinnel hardness factor. The bi-metal jacketing would need to have a hardness rating up near 400-500 to cause any actual barrel damage.

IMHO, this is nothing to worry about especially if you have a chrome lined barrel.
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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I'm with RedBowTies88. I have a Saiga .223 and it eats everything I feed it. Absolutely trouble free and reliable. I like that. A lot.
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Old April 12, 2013, 09:52 PM   #16
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I'm surprised nobody has brought up the lucky gunner stress tests... here's the run down.
4 identical bushmaster midgrade ARs.
each was given a diet of 10,000 rounds of the same ammo.
1 got tula,
1. got wolf
1. got brown bear
1. got federal XM193 as a control.

1. xm193 had zero failures whatsoever but surprisingly ran the dirtiest.
2. wolf had a handful of failures and offered no significant advantage over the others.
3. brown bear caused the most barrel wear but also was most accurate.
4. Tula didn't make it past 500 rounds. there were dozens of failures, 2 of which required the gun dismantled and cooled before it could be fixed and placed back into action, failures occured at such a rate that the tula gun was removed from the lineup and 3 substitutes of varying models were used to burn off the rest of the tula and 2 of the 3 had multiple failures.

that speaks pretty clear to me. I doubt that steel had much to do with it but the brands that use steel are budget brands and cut costs by doing more than just substituting steel for brass. ATK brands are my favorite and I have never had a failure with any caliber, in any of my guns while using it.

EDIT: oops... I guess someone did bring this topic up. my bad...
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Old April 13, 2013, 03:44 PM   #17
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I cant dispute anything here, but I always have a cleaning rod with me when shooting steel case stuff. Several times I have seen the extractor, when shooting Barnaul ( I don't know if that brand is available in the US) shear the rim of the case off leaving the case stuck in the chamber and a very difficult fix without a cleaning rod to poke it out.
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Old April 13, 2013, 04:37 PM   #18
rebs
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Wal-mart Tulammo 223 $5.27 for 20 when they have it
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Old April 13, 2013, 05:42 PM   #19
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Try a box before buying in bulk

I've had several stuck steel cases in my DPMS Lite-16. I could polish the chamber, but it runs fine on brass cases and I reload. In addition, local gun ranges will not let anyone use FMJ (outdoor) or steel jacketed (indoor) ammo, which includes all steel cases ammo I know about.
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Old April 13, 2013, 07:04 PM   #20
tahunua001
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Quote:
I cant dispute anything here, but I always have a cleaning rod with me when shooting steel case stuff. Several times I have seen the extractor, when shooting Barnaul ( I don't know if that brand is available in the US) shear the rim of the case off leaving the case stuck in the chamber and a very difficult fix without a cleaning rod to poke it out.
barnaul is available in the US but it's pretty uncommon. interesting the sheared rims... most people that use ARs don't like it because the steel breaks extractors rather than the other way around. I can see that happening though if the steel is poor enough in the right gun like say an M1A or derivative.
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Old April 15, 2013, 10:27 AM   #21
LED
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First, thank you who posted the lucky gunner test. Finally some kind of research, not the usual scholastic argument.

My concern is the extractor wear caused by more rigid casing. I have not measured it (the metal flex), so it is only an assumption that brass gives more than steel.

The better chamber seal has been mentioned with brass but I cannot attest to that.
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Old April 16, 2013, 09:23 AM   #22
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I have a stash of the good brass cased stuff that I am hanging on to. Till this nightmare blows over and things return to normal I have only been shooting Wolf in my Stag. I got 10 cases before the "08" panic started and am now down to 3 cases.

I hate to admit it but I haven't cleaned it for about 1000 rounds and still have no real problems using Wolf. My last range outing the extractor ripped a section of rim from a cartridge but it popped right out with a light tap from a long wooden dowel. All I do is squirt a bit of lube on the bolt every now and then.

Acuracy is good for 10" steel plates to 200 yards (max at my club). I did have to put in a reduced power recoil spring for the wolf to cycle the rifle properly. My nephew has FTEs with his rifle, but he didn't get a reduced power spring yet.

All in all for the money I put down on the Wolf and figuring that I can still run to the range and shoot I am quite happy using it.
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Old April 17, 2013, 04:21 AM   #23
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I have run lots of silverbear in my saiga, ar, and rem 700 and they all run fine. For the price saved I can afford to replace an extractor more often than with brass. The tula doesn't work in my ar so I stay away from it. I shoot brass case when I'm more serious but for plinking at soda cans or what not its silverbear everytime.
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Old April 17, 2013, 06:14 AM   #24
LED
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I have no problem shooting steel from an AR just a few at a time. My current AR though is an Anderson "no-lube." Whether the extractor is treated or not, I try to avoid premature wear because I don't want to replace any internals.

Bolt actions are not a problem. You don't have to jerk cycle. The AKs were built for steel.

Last edited by LED; April 17, 2013 at 09:01 AM.
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