Steel Cased Ammunition

Opinions are in no short supply when the topic is using “steel cased” ammunition.  Steel cased ammunition is exactly what it sounds like: the case is made of steel rather than brass.  Many cartridges manufactured overseas use steel for their cartridges.  Some brand names you may recognize are Wolf, Brown Bear, and many of the imported surplus cartridges.

My personal experience has been that steel cased ammunition “runs dirtier” than brass. Not only is this due to the type of powder, but the fact that steel expands at a slower rate than brass. So, when the cartridge is fired, more gasses and carbon can “leak” around a steel case as the case expands and seals against the chamber wall. This would tend to foul the breech face and, perhaps, other parts of your gun, more than brass cases.

SteelcasedammoOf course, steel-cased ammunition is usually somewhat cheaper than brass-cased. So, a little more cleaning may be worth a lower price per round, right?

Well, maybe. Assuming you do a good field strip cleaning on a regular basis, maybe it’s a good deal. A detail strip may be needed more often if the ammo is running dirtier.

The real question is… will it hurt my gun? My thought is that it probably won’t hurt your barrel or chamber. Some wear may be associated with the extra fouling (at least the fouling I experienced).

The biggest concern I have with steel-cased ammunition is with semi-automatic firearms and the wear on the extractor. The head of the extractor slams around the case lip every time a round is chambered. I know brass is softer than steel so the wear on the extractor would likely be less than if the round was steel-cased. And, based upon my experience, the first part to fail in any semi-auto gun is usually the extractor.

So, for me, it is brass-cased ammunition in my non-Eastern European guns.

Opinions vary. Below is a link and a video giving two other opinions on the use steel-cased ammunition. Very interesting information.  Decide for yourself!

The Blog of Arizona Weaponcraft Solutions…

And a YouTube video doing some metal hardness testing…

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Beware the Bad Guys

FraudOnline auctions are great.  Sometimes there are excellent deals on firearms and accessories.  Most people are honest.  Some are not.  Beware of Fraudsters on the major gun auction sites.  A client almost fell victim fraud recently.  Fortunately, his diligence helped him to avoid losing over $1,000.

Below are a few tips to help avoid being defrauded of your money:

  • Look at the buyer feedback.  Are there lots of entries or just a few?  How are they rated by others?  Be cautious with sellers who have low numbers of feedback and/ or reports of issues.
  • Is the seller an FFL?  If so, you should be able to verify the license (company name, address, phone number)  on the FFL Lookup Page on the website.
  • Before sending payment, send me the buyer and FFL information.  I can verify the FFL and send along my paperwork to help ensure the FFL is aware of the transaction.  This can all happen in a day or less (it’s mostly email these days), so it would have little or no impact on the timing to send payment through the mail.

Finally, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t!   If you think you have been a victim of fraud, you wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last.  Contact the online broker.  They usually can help.