View Full Version : What's the truth about Steel Cased Ammo? bad or just a myth?

06-01-2010, 8:25 PM
I've always been told that steel cased ammo (Wolf, brown bear) are not good to shoot in your gun. i have never fired them in my AR, M1A or any of my pistols. I do shoot them in my AK and SKS.

The reasoning I have been told is because rifles like an Ar are made with lighter, softer metals like aluminum, which are softer than steel. So when firing, all the slamming and pounding from the action of a semi auto rifle is rough on the parts. This is said to cause more wear and tear on your chamber, leade, bolt, etc.

I do shoot them in m Ak and SKS because the internal parts are made of steel.

It makes sense to me however i have also been told that it deosn't matter.

I have also heard that russian surpluss ammo has a plastic or lacquer coating on the casing that gets all over the rifle chamber when firing and is a pain to clean off. I have not noticed this in my AK.

I realized that russian surpluss ammo is inferior to most american made ammo as far as accuracy and performance but I can't ignore the price.

I just read this article on Cheaper Than Dirt's blog


They are saying steel cased ammo is fine for AR rifles. all that stuff is just a myth.

anybody else have any input?

06-01-2010, 8:53 PM
The reason brass works so well for cases is because of the way it reacts under heat and pressure. When a brass cased round is fired the brass expands to fill the chamber then quickly contracts slightly which helps with extraction. Steel doesn't act the same way. It will expand to fill the chamber but will not contract as quickly. This is why steel cased ammo has a harder time extracting. An AK chamber should be much sloppier than an AR chamber and because of the extra room in the AK chamber it will eat the steel cases ammo up. I would disagree with anyone using steel cased ammo in any AR.

06-01-2010, 9:38 PM
Huh, barrel...steel, bcg...steel. What's taking the abuse? Old school AR people are brass snobs. They new the good times with cheap milsurp brass ammo so they stick with it. Today we know cheap wolf and it runs fine. Dirty yes compared to 22.5grs of H322.

Yes, it is harder to extract steel case ammo because it does not contract like brass. But most people dont even shoot they guns enough to notice.

06-01-2010, 9:59 PM
If your AR chamber and bolt/carrier are aluminum, I'd like to know where you got them. That would be a great weight saver!

06-01-2010, 10:12 PM
I put less than 40 rounds steel case through an AR type gun. Had two jams and still have not got the second one out. I was pretty embarrassed by the young lady at the range when she lectured me on the specific reason they don't use steel case. For what ever reason, steel sticks in the chamber. Worse, this thing is chambered in 5.45X39 and I have not found anything but steel in that caliber.

06-01-2010, 10:17 PM
Lube your chamber a little. I have fired cases of wolf .223 through my AR. Before I started reloading it was all I shot. I have had brass cases stick because of the rims ripping off.

06-02-2010, 7:13 AM
Here's the PRIMARY PROBLEM: Steel cases are coated with lacquer to prevent them from rusting. When they are fired, the heat melts the lacquer coating and leaves a coating in your chamber. Your cases WILL EVENTUALLY STICK IN THE CHAMBER. The only question is, WHEN WILL they will stick. Some guns with a loose chamber will be able to function longer than a gun with a tighter chamber. Example; I have seen people shoot 30 rounds thru an Chinese SKS before they start sticking. My own 9mm S&W 59 will stick on the second shot.

06-02-2010, 8:11 AM
My AR has Daniel Defense 1:7 chome lined barrel. Although it's still pretty new I've ran over 500 rounds of Tula through it along with another 5-600 rounds of various brass cased ammo. It's featureless (30 rounders) and I don't shoot at a range so I've got it fairly hot a few times.

I wanted to see how it would do dirty so in that time I did one partial cleaning, never ran a chamber brush through it, and just lubed it as required. After this weekend I finally gave it a full cleaning, it wasn't to bad except for a ton of carbon in the bolt carrier.

At this point my AR has never had a malfuntion of any kind and shows no unusual wear on the extractor or anywhere else. The steel used in these cases is quite soft. Actually, this latest batch of Tula is Boxer primed and I even reloaded some of it as a test. It's a bit stiffer though the resizing die, but other than that it reloaded and fired as well as any other case. Also, I it's not lacquer coated anymore, it's a polymer of some type.

At $200 for a thousand rounds it a good deal and I've been happy with it.

06-02-2010, 8:17 AM
I bought a pallet of Wolf 55gr HP....shot all of them thru my SU-16 and my AR's....I had short strokes with my AR the first 10 rounds, I switched to carbine buffer springs and its flawless....7000 rounds later, no issues...

I dont know what people are talking about. Some folks just dont like the idea that its "commie" rounds. They are dirty but they shoot better then some brass ammo I've used in the past too.