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Old March 6, 2020, 03:45 PM   #1
TruthTellers
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Is it normal for steel case hangun ammo to have flattened primers?

Went to the range and shot some .38 Special Wolf ammo I bought cheap and wanted to see how it would do. It was surprisingly accurate and not too dirty either, but ejection was tough as I expected. Knocked the cases out with a pen, which didn't require much force, but when I looked at the primers I saw that they were flattened like this was some sort of high pressure load.

It's standard pressure .38 Special using a 130 grain FMJ bullet, none of that screams high pressure.

I don't shoot much steel case pistol ammo, so I'm not sure if this is normal for Wolf ammo or steel ammo in general.
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Old March 6, 2020, 07:04 PM   #2
Mike38
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I've shot a lot of steel cased 9mm and have never noticed flattened primers or signs of high pressure. Feed and function was every bit as good as brass in my Beretta 92FS. Like you, I found them surprisingly accurate, mainly because I wasn't expecting much. I've never tried .38 Spcl steel cased.
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Old March 6, 2020, 07:25 PM   #3
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Multiple "Might bes"

I think generally the tea leaves of "flattened primers" as a pressure sign are about centerfire rifle level pressures. Your 38 cal revolver might not stay together at 60,000 psi +. You can b into dangerous pressure for a 38 SPL cylinder while the primers look fine.
Primers that initially back out and then are re-seated by the breech can look flattened.

Sticky extraction with a revolver is something to pay attention to,but it might be about the lacquer on steel cases,or a different resilience between brass and steel. I don't know.

I would suggest a chronograph. If your velocity is at the expected level,I'd keep shooting. If velocity is remarkably high,I'd stop shooting.
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Old March 6, 2020, 08:22 PM   #4
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First, a couple of points to consider.

Steel is NOT brass

Revolvers are NOT semi autos.

these things matter to extraction, and that's before we consider the load in the cases, at all.

First off, the "spring back" of steel is not the same as brass, and steel cases have some kind of coating on them to inhibit rust. Put together this can result in more force being needed to extract steel cases than brass ones.

Second, revolvers do not have an extractor yanking the case from the chamber due to slide/bolt movement. SO a case that is "sticky" enough to be a problem for the hand powered push of the revolver's ejector rod might run ok with the "powered" extraction of a semi auto.

Judging .38 spl from a revolver by using the experience of a 9mm semi auto is "apples and oranges" in its classic sense. They are not the same and should not be considered so.

Flattened primers are a sign of high pressure but NOT HOW high the pressure was. And there are other possible reasons for them as well.

A chronograph can be useful, but not an absolute need, if there is higher or lower than usual velocity, there will be a difference in recoil and likely report. those, however, require the shooter to notice them, at the time.
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Old March 6, 2020, 11:47 PM   #5
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Well, I've shot Tula .45 ACP in my Ruger Redhawk and with needing to use a moon clip to headspace the .45 ACP, it was a tough process to extract the cases as I couldn't push them out one at a time. I never noticed flatted primers tho, not that I would have cared anyway since I was shooting it in a Redhawk.

Seeing the primers from the .38 tho, that had my attention, but the recoil didn't feel any more than other ammo I've shot before. Only thing I did notice was how "sparky" it was, but that's likely due to me shooting a snub revolver and the powder still burning outside the barrel.

The sparks was the coolest thing actually, it was like shooting a black powder percussion revolver.
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Old March 7, 2020, 01:46 PM   #6
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Wolf's site doesn't list steel cased .38 Special. Tula does though. 890 fps MV with no mention of pressure. That's very close to minimum with most Hodgdon powders. Well below minimum for some. Kind of odd it has boxer primers as steel is not reloadable.
Like HiBC says, there are a lot of variables. Mind you, if it doesn't extract, I'd just quit using it.
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Old March 7, 2020, 03:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir View Post
Wolf's site doesn't list steel cased .38 Special. Tula does though. 890 fps MV with no mention of pressure. That's very close to minimum with most Hodgdon powders. Well below minimum for some. Kind of odd it has boxer primers as steel is not reloadable.
Like HiBC says, there are a lot of variables. Mind you, if it doesn't extract, I'd just quit using it.
Yeah, I checked Wolf's website too and it wasn't listed, but Sportsman's Guide listed the ammo as new, so maybe Wolf hasn't updated their website yet.

As to extraction, it's steel case and I only have tough extraction with steel case in revolvers and single shots.
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Old March 8, 2020, 02:16 PM   #8
mr bolo
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I tried WOLF steel cased .38 and the cases stuck in the cylinder , I wont buy it again

brass or aluminum cased never get stuck
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Old March 26, 2020, 11:01 AM   #9
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We had two students show up for an NRA Basic Pistol Class with Tula steel cased .38 Special. Had to pound on the ejector rod to get the empties out. We gave them each a box of brass cased. We no longer allow Tula for the class.
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Old March 26, 2020, 12:16 PM   #10
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Post a picture. Many times people perception of flattened primers isn't really much of a concern. Google flattened primers and you'll see there are many degrees of flattened primers. When there is no longer a discernible gap between the primer and the primer pocket is when you need to get worried.
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Old March 26, 2020, 09:51 PM   #11
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Yep, really need to see a picture to determine if they are flattened or not.

Another possibility...

Steel isn't as flexible as brass, so it won't expand to grab the cylinder walls as tightly.

Depending on the pressure generated, the case might be moving back against the recoil shield with enough force to give the impression of flattened primers.

Another classic sign of high pressure is primer cratering. If you're not seeing that, I'm suspecting that it's not really a case of high pressure.
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Old March 28, 2020, 02:48 AM   #12
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I consider steel cased Russian ammo junk.

Here’s a .308 Tulammo that recently kaboomed in my Norinco M305. Fortunately the magazine acted as fuse and the rifle was not damaged.





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