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Steel cased ammo

16712 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Dredsen
For whatever reason one of the local pistol ranges doesn't like steel cased ammo. Maybe they just don't like sorting it from brass before they sell the brass, or something? Anybody know?

On a more important note, does using steel cased ammo put any extrea wear on the weapon's internals (rifle or pistol)? I'll never ever shoot steel JACKETED ammo, but I feel like steel cased is probably no big deal. The only steel jacketed ammo I've ever seen is some old surplus 8x57, and the only other stories I've heard of its use is in the Wermacht, hence the poor condition of German Mauser barrels that were used throughout WWII (mine seems to have been spared such a fate). Anyone please warn me if there is a known source of steel jacketed 7.62 NATO.

Also, I would guess steel casings might be more difficult or just plain a bad idea to reload. They'd probably dull the case trimmer faster if nothing else.
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I can totaly understand why they wouldn't want you to shoot steel cased ammo as its no desired by them when the go to sell the cases. Steel cases are just rough on the chamber and internals of guns unlike brass which is much softer. I dont shoot steel case ammo unless its the only thing that i have.

The russians used steel cased ammo in WWII as well, due to a shortage of brass.

Steel cased ammo can be reloaded but it is just alot more headake when trying to trim and when trying to rezise the cases for guns other then the one it was fired from.

Good Shooting.
 
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You won't find (almost...) a more sharply divided subject than steel vs brass.

Just to clarify... it's just the case that is steel or brass, the bullet is copper or another suitable alloy therof.

Typically, steel-cased ammo is Commie-bloc stuff with the quality control that goes with it, but recently Hornady, of all people, came out with steel-cased ammo as well.

Personally, I don't use it. I've not found it's accuracy to be what I want it to be, and, at least with my Socom, I don't care for the report (read: 8" flame blowing up out of the muzzle brake.)

Some here reload it, I think it's a waste of time, but that is my opinion. Does it wear the chamber more? I don't know, I'm not going to find out. I will tell you the only FTF's (failure to feed) I ever had with my Socom were with steel-cased Monarch (Academy Sporting Goods house brand...) 3 FTF's in 100 rounds.

I'll stick with brass-cased ammo, reloadable or not, thank you very much.... but, again, that is my opinion.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just to clarify... it's just the case that is steel or brass, the bullet is copper or another suitable alloy therof.
Yeah I understood that, except in those rare cases of the actual steel jacketed ammo, like the German Wermacht used to use. I'm guessing they were short on copper, at least to the point where steel was cheaper enough to use. I got about 80 rnds steel jacketed surplus 8mm for free from someone once. Gave it to my friend who couldnt buy ammo for the big shoot, his barrel wasn't going to get hurt by a mere 80 rounds given that his is a Czech 98/22, which was more of a prototype than anything else and in almost unused condition.

I'll probably steer clear of steel cased ammo anyways, any potential heartache and hardship is more than likely not worth the money saved on ammo. I can certainly see steel damaging steel more easily than brass.

Thanks for the input
 

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US Military won't use it for several reasons, those I posted above and the fact it doesn't seal the chamber like brass because it doesn't conform to the chamber like brass because it is too hard.

This causes poor chamber pressure consistency and thus accuracy.

In machinee guns it is worthless, and can cook off and cause premature barrel replacement.
 

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As Francis said, the problem with steel cased ammo is that the cases wont seal reliably in the chamber. There are some rifles, due to design characteristics, that will work safely and reliably with steel cases but the M1A isn't one of them. If the case doesn't seal properly, not only does it create inconsistent pressures, but the combustion gases can also escape in to the receiver. Depending on how much leakage there is between the case and the chamber walls, you can just experience a really dirty bolt and receiver or you can get a face full of hot gases.

Hornady created the steel cased ammo because it is cheaper. They got around the gas sealing issue by covering the steel cases with a polymer coating. The polymer is designed to ensure a good chamber seal. The military is also looking in to developing steel cased ammo for the same reason.

I almost forgot to mention, that steel cases also increase the bolt face pressure since the case slides backwards.
 
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There was an article in Frontsight on this a few months back, the combloc steel cased ammo has copper plated steel jacketed bullets as well. ranges dont like the chance that the steel jacketed bullet will spark upon impact and ignite unburnt powder inside or dry grass outside. It is easier for them to ban steel cased ammo than checking bullets with a magent.

A lot of 7.62 is copper plated soft steel jacketed, you have to check with a magnet. The place I buy pulls from offers both with copper only being higher in price and lower availibility. (I'm talking about copper plated soft steel jackets, not hardened/AP/Black tip penetrators)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There was an article in Frontsight on this a few months back, the combloc steel cased ammo has copper plated steel jacketed bullets as well. ranges dont like the chance that the steel jacketed bullet will spark upon impact and ignite unburnt powder inside or dry grass outside. It is easier for them to ban steel cased ammo than checking bullets with a magent.

A lot of 7.62 is copper plated soft steel jacketed, you have to check with a magnet. The place I buy pulls from offers both with copper only being higher in price and lower availibility. (I'm talking about copper plated soft steel jackets, not hardened/AP/Black tip penetrators)
NOW I understand the magnet rules. Thanks!
 

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Steel cases tend to be harder to extract and this is due to steel on steel contact and other factors related to the material. Coatings on the steel case can cause extraction difficulty.

Case lubrication will reduce extraction force, but oilers were designed out of weapon systems after WW2 when the Germans issued small arms with roller bolts and fluted chambers.

A number of fielded pre WW2 weapon systems used oilers and it is likely they fired steel case ammunition along with brass. The Italian Breda 30, the Nambu 96, and the Schwarzlose all used forced lubrication to reduce case friction.

I found the section from AMCP- 706-260 years before I found out why the Government was conducting case lubrication tests. From my recent review of old American Rifleman Magazine dope bag articles, I found tests were conducted in the mid 50’s.

The Army had used steel cased ammunition in WWII. From the Sept 1973 American Rifleman Dope bag pg 84, WW2 steel case ammunition had a zinc chromate coating which caused extraction difficulties. The article shows a picture of a teflon coated steel case FA54 30-06 ball ammunition. The Army used “organic coatings” to inhibit corrosion and lower the force necessary to extract the fired case from the chamber.

Based on this section, I assume steel cases wear chambers more than brass.

Since AMCP is a Government publication, and thus is in the public domain, I can paste the whole section:

From Army Material Command Pamphlet AMCP 706-260 Engineering Design Handbook, Guns Series Automatic Weapons. Feb 1970

Chapter 8 Lubrication of Machine Guns

8-3 Case Lubricant


Although the gun designer is not directly involved with ammunition design, he is directly concerned with handling, loading, and extracting during firing. A smooth chamber is essential for extraction and a properly lubricated case is a decided asset. The lubricant should be a dry lubricant and should be applied at the factory. Considerable effort has been made to find suitable lubricants for this purpose. Some success has been achieved but continued search is still being advised, especially since two independent facilities are not in total agreement.

The Naval Research Laboratories conducted test of brass and steel cartridge cases coated with films of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). Results were outstanding in meeting required protection and lubrication properties. Laboratory results, later confirmed by firing tests, showed low friction and consequently less wear in gun barrels. Other desirable features include freedom from cartridge malfunction, no chamber deposits, decreased ice adhesion, and less chance of thermal “cook-off”. Teflon can be applied to steel and brass ammunition by mass production methods. Its protective ability permits pre belting and packaging of ammunition since no further handling prior to use necessary. Its supply is abundant and its cost reasonable. Thus the use of Teflon in this capacity seems ideal.

Aberdeen Proving Ground is more reserved in its appraisal of Teflon coating. Whether or not the techniques of applying the coatings were similar, those used at APG were not free of coating defects; a high cull rate existed. When tested with cartridges coated with microcrystalline wax, ceresin wax, and uncoated ammunition; the Teflon-coated wax showed many advantages but was also found wanting in some respects. Teflon and micro-wax had better extraction properties and Teflon left a much cleaner chamber than the others; micro-wax was second best. About 50 percent of the Teflon-coated cases had slight bulges after extraction; other types also were similarly damaged but with no apparent significance attached to a definite choice. For dusted ammunition, the Teflon and micro-wax were far superior to the other two types with Teflon having a slight advantage, although when fired in a comparatively rough chamber, Teflon was outperformed by all. Reiterating, the gun designer, aside from providing smooth sliding surfaces, is almost totally dependent on the physical properties of the lubricant to make his gun perform satisfactorily under all assigned conditions.
The last sentence is a summary of the chapter; not a comment on case lubrication alone. A copy of AMCP 706-260 and other out of print AMCP pamphlets can be ordered from NTIS.
 

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military won't use it for the same reason they won't allow chrome bolt carrier groups on their Armalite pattern guns. Its too hard (thats what she said)

I go by the motto:

if its gas piston its ok, but try to buy brass stuff if you can afford it. If you love your gun you'll feed it brass.
 
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