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Old May 22, 2019, 09:52 AM   #1
seanc
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7.62x39 AR Steel Case Rounds

Anyone shooting steel case rounds in their AR x39?

I've been looking to do a x39 build and also looking at complete rifles, but it seems nearly every mfr has a disclaimer about steel case ammo.
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Old May 22, 2019, 09:56 AM   #2
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If you stick to non-lacquer coated/sealed cases you should be fine.
The problems with x39 ARs early on was due to getting the chamber really hot to where it cooked off the lacquer coating the chamber and causing cases to stick in the chamber. I haven’t heard of that happening with any of the non-coated cases/ammo.

I shoot Hornady 123gr SST steel cased ammo out of my x39 when hunting with no issues.
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Old May 22, 2019, 12:45 PM   #3
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...so just to make I understand this correctly...lacquer is out, but is poly coated cases ok?
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Old May 22, 2019, 01:02 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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It is rumoured that steel cases are hard on AR extractors. Wouldn't use steel cased ammo out of anything myself. Isn't accurate enough.
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Old May 22, 2019, 01:52 PM   #5
seanc
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Isn't accurate enough.
Hornady SST gives me sub-2" groups in my VEPR in 7.62x39 and 1" groups in my 5.45x39 VEPR. That is, when I'm shooting off the bench when I have to at certain shooting ranges. Steel case is fine for off-hand shooting.
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Old May 22, 2019, 02:23 PM   #6
Fishbed77
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Wouldn't use steel cased ammo out of anything myself.
I can't speak to 7.62x39mm AR-15s, but every 7.62x39mmAK (and Vz.58) I've owned shoots steel-cased ammo just fine.

It's what they were designed to shoot.
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Old May 22, 2019, 03:16 PM   #7
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Well I have built a 7.62x39 AR-15 rifle and pistol and shoot everything in them. Shooter is referring to when you really heat up the weapon the lacquer coating melts off and gets in the chamber and it can cause the gun to get sticky/gummy making the rifle malfunction and or get stuck cases. I have run all kinds of ammo through my guns with out any problems, I shoot them but don't do mag dumps after mag dumps heating up the rifles where they are to hot to handle, that is where a lot of problems with the X39 AR's come into play. My X39 AR rifle was built as a hunting rifle and it is plenty accurate for white tail hunting with the proper ammo so I'm not sure why everyone thinks they are not accurate? Most people have the misconception that just because an AK was built with looser tolerances and the gun was not built to be a match rifle that the ammo it shoots is also not an accurate round. When put in an accurate rifle it becomes and accurate round, also you can't shoot the cheapest ammo and expect match accuracy with it. The best advice I can offer when the X39 AR's comes into play is to buy quality mags. I run the 20 & 30 round ASC mags (https://www.ammosc.com/) and they work great, the 20 rounders are my favorite. I also have one of the small mags for hunting. Good luck with your build.
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Old May 22, 2019, 03:21 PM   #8
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Having been through a couple of ammunition droughts, I’ve shot steel cased ammunition in most if not all guns I’ve owned.

I have not had any damage done to the guns.
I don’t like most of the stuff because some tends to be not as accurate and some tends to be dirty. I’ve even shot some of the lacquered stuff with no issues mechanically.

I could see how it could be hard on extractors in ARs, but I’ve shot steel cased in ARs less than any other gun I have.
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Old May 22, 2019, 03:48 PM   #9
mr bolo
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steel cases also stick in chambers easier than brass cases

this can cause more stress on your extractor and sometimes rip the rim off if it's stuck

I also tried steel cased TULA ammo in a S&W .38 revolver and the steel cases got stuck in the cylinder and would not come out easily like they should.
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Old May 23, 2019, 06:41 AM   #10
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Idk, I have a registered AK, and a krinkov with a suppressor made for it. Being full auto and considering I bought them specifically to shoot the cheapest ammo I could find. I never had a stuck piece of brass. A cook off? Yes. But that’s cause I was young and dumb, but it was pointed in a safe direction. The casing was ejected. If you check several brands of ammo, there is a huge variation. I would think it more headspaced kinda tight, more than the lacquer. Mine do both have com bloc barrels.
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Old May 23, 2019, 07:08 AM   #11
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I shoot steel case ammo in AR's (5.45 & 7.62) x39. I don't do "mag dumps" and I don't use them as a "bullet hose". Steel case ammo has not caused any problems beyond being marginally accurate EXCEPT FOR HORNADY which is quite accurate. I do have a Mini-Mauser in 7.62 that simply won't work with steel cases. Something about the geometry of the rim and the stiffness of the extractor(rifle is basically new) prevents the use of steel cases in this rifle.
The reports of cases "sticking" in AR's didn't happen during firing. This happened when a HOT rifle was left with a round chambered. The case coating melted in the HOT chamber and then congealed, gluing the case in place. First off: don't shoot so fast. Secondly: if you do shoot fast, don't leave a round in the chamber.
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Old May 23, 2019, 01:48 PM   #12
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Another option is just stock yourself up on brass case and avoid potential problems. Its not as cheap but is reasonably priced, especially if you stock up when there are deals to be had. Ammo droughts arent gonna be an issue if you keep a couple years of ammo on hand.
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Old May 23, 2019, 07:10 PM   #13
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I use steel case only in my 7.62x39 AR, in fact I get better accuracy with the wolf black box. Not many large cal off breed guns you can get a 100yd pattern like this with cheap ammo.
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Old May 24, 2019, 05:38 AM   #14
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"Another option is just stock yourself up on brass case and avoid potential problems."

That would be great IF Fiocchi would load the Hornady SST in brass cases.
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Old May 24, 2019, 08:30 AM   #15
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I don't know about other areas of the country, but there isn't a range in Northern VA that allows steel core ammo. Most steel case 7.62x39 FMJ ammo comes with steel core bullets - Wolf, Bear, Tula are the most used examples. The hollow points generally are not steel core.
You can check whether it is steel core by simply using a magnet in proximity of the bullet, not the case. The reaction is very obvious.

By the way, apparently at least one the vendors at local gun shows in the area have sold boxes of steel case ammo marked 'lead core' that we found to be steel core when they were tested with a magnet at our range. Talk about some really ticked off buyers who were following the rules when they couldn't shoot the bullets that they bought in good faith!

At our outdoor range, steel core bullets have actually penetrated our baffles that are there to protect bullets from leaving the range. It was a simple question of banning steel core bullets or risk having to close down our range.
Indoor ranges in northern VA have had severe damage to their protective rear plates and were the first to ban steel core ammo.
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Old May 24, 2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
By the way, apparently at least one the vendors at local gun shows in the area have sold boxes of steel case ammo marked 'lead core' that we found to be steel core when they were tested with a magnet at our range. Talk about some really ticked off buyers who were following the rules when they couldn't shoot the bullets that they bought in good faith!
They could have easily been steel-jacketed with a lead core.
I haven't been in the 7.62x39 game for a while now. But last time I was in the market for ammo, more than 90% of what was on the market had a copper-washed steel jacket.

...Which is one of the reasons why I dropped the cartridge. To shoot cheaply, you need to shoot crap ammo. And I don't tolerate crap ammo.
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Old May 24, 2019, 02:02 PM   #17
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No, I was the RSO at that session at our range and I personally tested them because the boxes they were in looked like they were hand made. To my amazement, they were steel core bullets in steel cases. From the looks of the box and the lousy printing job, someone might have repackaged steel core ammo into a misleading box to sell them to gullible buyers looking for a bargain.

All the vendors at Northern VA gun shows know that you can't shoot steel core at any of the ranges but they still try to sell them to get rid of their stock.
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Old May 24, 2019, 10:23 PM   #18
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Did you section the bullet with a bandsaw, mill, or belt sander, to determine that the ferrous metal was in the core and not the jacket?
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Old May 24, 2019, 10:41 PM   #19
riffraff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimfire5 View Post
I don't know about other areas of the country, but there isn't a range in Northern VA that allows steel core ammo. Most steel case 7.62x39 FMJ ammo comes with steel core bullets - Wolf, Bear, Tula are the most used examples. The hollow points generally are not steel core.
You can check whether it is steel core by simply using a magnet in proximity of the bullet, not the case. The reaction is very obvious.

By the way, apparently at least one the vendors at local gun shows in the area have sold boxes of steel case ammo marked 'lead core' that we found to be steel core when they were tested with a magnet at our range. Talk about some really ticked off buyers who were following the rules when they couldn't shoot the bullets that they bought in good faith!

At our outdoor range, steel core bullets have actually penetrated our baffles that are there to protect bullets from leaving the range. It was a simple question of banning steel core bullets or risk having to close down our range.
Indoor ranges in northern VA have had severe damage to their protective rear plates and were the first to ban steel core ammo.
Not that I buy steel case anything but a lot of us (at least myself and everyone I ever shoot with) never step foot in an actual gun club or public range. I have a few places on private property I shoot on, gotta make sure I do it safely but no rules on ammo to worry about.
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Old May 25, 2019, 12:25 AM   #20
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My PSA AR47 upper consistently has trouble igniting the primers on Tula bulk lacquer steel cased stuff--otherwise never fails with any other x 39 brass-cased ammo.
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Old May 26, 2019, 12:06 PM   #21
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Mine did in fact have trouble setting off some of the mil-spec steel case ammo (my x39 stash is mostly Wolf military classic), average probably one or two rounds per mag. AR-Stoner x39 upper from Midway and they did warn about that possibility with steel case so I wasn't real surprised...I fixed it by taking a couple thousandths off the bolt tail so the firing pin strikes a little deeper and it's been 100% since then. Never had an issue with extraction and it's actually more accurate than I expected.

I can't recall who but there is at least one or two companies that sell an x39 BCG specifically designed for reliability with steel case ammo.
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Old May 26, 2019, 07:15 PM   #22
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I have a PSA AR-47 upper on a spikes lower and shoot steel case exclusively out of it. The only issue I have had (1-2 rounds out of 100) is due to the 3.5 lb trigger. Light strikes. I haven't done anything about it yet but I'm told to go with a standard mil-spec trigger and that should solve the issue. I have also heard there is a firing pin on the market that also helps.
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Old May 26, 2019, 10:21 PM   #23
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I wouldn't worry about the lacquer or whatever coating the steel cases get, it's only there to keep the steel from rusting. Shoot whatever you can afford and shoots best in your gun.

I shot steel case in my AK, but for the AR I would probably try the Zing or Brass plated steel Silver/Golden Bear ammo just for the extra lubricity of the cases in easing extraction.
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Old May 27, 2019, 11:55 AM   #24
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I've been shooting steel ak ammo through my vz58 and AR just fine.
Yes, you might need a higher power spring or a slightly trimmed firing pin base to accommodate.
I don't think Russians have included any metal inserts in their AK ammo for years. I think that nowadays the bi-metal coating is what fails magnet tests.
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Old May 27, 2019, 08:44 PM   #25
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If I'm out to blast a few pop cans, or just plink I shoot steel case, what ever I grab. If I'm shooting for groups or hunting I'll use brass cased name brand ammo, or reloads. I've been blasting away with lacquered ammo since the early 90s from my MAC90, no issues of build up of case coatings. Take a lacquered case, or poly case and hold a lighter to it, it doesn't do much. I think the biggest cause of issues is the steel doesn't seal the chamber like brass, leads to build up of soot.
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