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Is Steel cased ammo really that bad?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by glockguy, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. glockguy

    glockguy Albany Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Im having a tough time finding .223 ammo that's no steel cased, iv shot steel cased before, but keep hearing its not good for your gun, is this true? I don't shoot a tons, barely any actually. I know where theres a lot of .223 ammo but its all steel cased, was gonna stock up on some but am hesitant.
     
  2. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    FWIW I ran at least three thousand rounds of Wolf through mine back in 00/02 before I started reloading. Never had one single issue with it. I finally rebuilt my bolt this year just because. Mine has around 10 thousand total rounds fired through it without issue. Only problem I've ever had was a GI mag that popped a spot weld and tried to double feed. Had nothing to do with rifle or ammo. I'll probably need a new bolt before too long and a new barrel but, I keep an eye on everything (with a magnifying glass:)) and accuracy is still fine so I'm in no hurry. I'd just shoot whatever you have that feeds and shoots well and keep an eye on your extractor.
     
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  3. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Steel cased ammo can cause problems for straight wall cases (.223 and .308 being the obvious examples) while yes I realize these are not true straight walls, the cartridges have much less draft on them than say 7.62x39 or 8mm. Do they work? Yea, mostly. Do they work well? Yes, most of the time. Would I stock up on a bunch of it right now? Probably not, supply of .223 is already starting to loosen up, and there are a lot of companies out there adding capacity. I think prices are going to be sub $400 per case by year end. If you just need some ammo to go shooting, buy the steel, if it doesn't work, don't buy it again.
     
  4. edogg

    edogg Western Washington Active Member

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    There is a review on Luckygunner.com where they ran 10,000 rounds through 4-5 different ARs. They found more problems with low quality powder causing premature barrel erosion than problems with the steel case per se. Except for the Tula ammo...that one gummed up the action of its test rifle so badly that it couldn't complete the test.

    That said, they also weighed the cost of replacing barrels with the cost of the more expensive brass ammo and over the course of 10-20k rounds, the difference was a wash.
     
  5. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    Before I started reloading I ran steel through my AR's all the time. Had one stuck case. The extractor pulled the rim right off the case. The steel used in them is pretty soft. A buddy broke his extractor on steel cases. But if you know anything at all about AR's then you know how cheap and easy extractors are to replace. I keep a couple in my range bag.

    Now (since I reload) I save the steel cases for the winter time. It's not a big deal if you loose them in the snow.
     
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    A lot of the animosity toward steel cased .223 ammo isn't due to the steel case itself. Because steel rusts easily the manufacturer coats it with a corrosion resistant coating. Laquer and more modern polymers have been used. Both have a tendency to soften under heat and then grab onto the chamber walls. With brass it doesn't rust and corrosion is both slow and very fine so no real issues requiring "paint".

    For those that keep their AR chambers clean and don't get the chamber too hot by 'playing Rambo', steel cased ammo works just fine.

    The MAIN reason most, self included, won't touch it is that it's a bear to reload and not really worth the effort, emphasis on effort. Takes a lot more work just to size the case and then the coating is usually destroyed. Reloaded steel cased ammo will rust if a cloud moves over your house unless you have it in a case with dessicant:(
     
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  7. irierider

    irierider PDX Member

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    its fine, unless you have some 3000$ ar you baby.. its fine, but it to shoot, then buy what becomes available later. im sure no one who got 10k rounds of steel 223 for 99$ a 1000 regrets it a few years back :D
     
  8. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Glockguy I had many of the same questions and answered them by going to an AKM type of weapon some years ago. My Norinco 84S seems to handle everything with aplomb.
     
  9. Liberty97045

    Liberty97045 Oregon City Well-Known Member

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    Deadshot is correct. I use Wolf when I am playing Rambo and don't want to pick up my brass. After 4-5 mag dumps through an aR-15, things start getting sticky. I also had a stuck case in my single shot H&R .223 after 20 shots.

    After 400-500 through an AR, the next time I went to use it the locking lugs were frozen from the varnish residue. I had to use a great deal of force to open it and after that I started cleaning the locking lugs more frequently.

    Steel is OK for the logging road or gravel pit because it will rust away after a few years. Don't even think about reloading it. Certain brands tend to run dirtier than others but all varnished steel leaves varnish behind.

    The moral of the story, it has its place & shoots fine but clean your gun after.
     
  10. ma96782

    ma96782 Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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  11. edogg

    edogg Western Washington Active Member

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  12. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Ever since all the panic buying my firearms are fed with a strict and steady diet of steel cases ammo.

    However, even before that.. No noticeable wear or damage.
     
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  13. noylj

    noylj high desert Active Member

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    The question I always have is why would you spend good money on a nice rifle to feed it cheap ammo?
    Then again, I reload everything and only have 12 rounds of factory .223 through my AR.
     
  14. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    When I shoot steel case on my M-4, I prefer Silver Bear, if I can find it. If not, any other zinc plated steel case ammo available. That takes care of the lacquer or polymer gumming up in the chamber. All other warnings still apply. I don't shoot steel case on any of my other ARs.
     
  15. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    I believe the review you mentioned was to continuously fire 10K rounds through the AR's. It was a grueling test for AR ammo, hope this helps.
    If I was in a pinch & wanted to shoot but didn't have a lot of dough I would buy the Wolf.
    Here is the link:

    http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/bra.../13-+NewsletterList&utm_medium=email#reliable
     
  16. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim West of Oly Springer Slayer 2016 Volunteer

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    True that, cheap ammo is for AK's....
     
  17. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    One of the reasons I spent good money on three nice (BCM) rifles was so I can feed them crap ammo.

    However, like you I reload, so running crap ammo through them doesn't happen that often.
     
  18. Dipstick

    Dipstick Turner, Oregon Active Member

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    When the Fertilizer hit's the ventilator, I am going to be really happy I have several thousand rounds of steel case ammo put away for when I run out of brass case. It won't be like you can run down to the store and get more and I seriously doubt anyone will be sharing more that one bullet :)
     
  19. Misternt

    Misternt Salem Area Active Member

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    I shoot steel in my ak and it goes bang every time. Haven't shot it in my ar because I reload brass for it.