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Old 02-25-2011, 09:09 PM   #11
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Most steel cased ammo is Berdan primed. Berdan primers are 1) difficult to remove and 2) hard to find in the US.

While you can reload steel cased, Boxer primed ammo, the problem partially lies with the coating. Some of it will be gone, degraded, rubbed off, etc from firing, extracting, cleaning so they will be much more likely to rust once reloaded. Someone gave me a bunch of steel cased 5.56 cases that were Boxer primed. I ran them in the polisher, which removed the protective coating. They promptly started rusting once removed from the polisher. I threw them away.

During WW II the US used steel cased .45 ACP and (I believe .30 carbine) as brass was in short supply. I never heard of problems from them. I have reloaded some of the .45 cases several times with good results.

IMHO there are certain calibers that are designed for or more suitable for steel cases. The two Russian rifle calibers from the last century (7.62 X 54r and 7.62 X 39) have significant body tapers that seems to work better in steel than a 7.62 X 51 (NATO) or 5.56 X 45 case. I think it is a result of the taper allowing the steel case to expand more reliably and seal the chamber off when fired.

I personally use steel cased ammo in SKS or AK rifles as they were made for it. Is brass ammo better in these rifles? Maybe, I use brass cased reloads in both of these with good results.

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Old 02-28-2011, 07:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robocop10mm View Post
Most steel cased ammo is Berdan primed. Berdan primers are 1) difficult to remove and 2) hard to find in the US.

While you can reload steel cased, Boxer primed ammo, the problem partially lies with the coating. Some of it will be gone, degraded, rubbed off, etc from firing, extracting, cleaning so they will be much more likely to rust once reloaded. Someone gave me a bunch of steel cased 5.56 cases that were Boxer primed. I ran them in the polisher, which removed the protective coating. They promptly started rusting once removed from the polisher. I threw them away.

During WW II the US used steel cased .45 ACP and (I believe .30 carbine) as brass was in short supply. I never heard of problems from them. I have reloaded some of the .45 cases several times with good results.

IMHO there are certain calibers that are designed for or more suitable for steel cases. The two Russian rifle calibers from the last century (7.62 X 54r and 7.62 X 39) have significant body tapers that seems to work better in steel than a 7.62 X 51 (NATO) or 5.56 X 45 case. I think it is a result of the taper allowing the steel case to expand more reliably and seal the chamber off when fired.

I personally use steel cased ammo in SKS or AK rifles as they were made for it. Is brass ammo better in these rifles? Maybe, I use brass cased reloads in both of these with good results.
Lots of useful information, thanks Robo.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:52 AM   #13
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Default Steel Bad?

If steel is so bad and hard on your weapons how do the steel naysayers explain the latest move at HORNADY, Hornadys Steel Match. I wonder what the main stream armament companies are thinking. I feel pretty sure that Hornady has carefully thought thru the hype before unveiling this
new product.

nuff said.

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:49 PM   #14
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I have here in front of me a book written by an obscure company tooting their own horn about how good they were during WWII.

The book is called 'Bullets by the Billion.' In it this company, Chrysler, speaks of their work with developing steel cartridges for the Army. Chrysler determined that any steel used in the cartridges had to 'spheroidized, aluminum-cleaned, with a .13 to .18 carbon content.'

The cases were 'double dipped in Kronak' (whatever the heck that is) as a method of corrosion resistant plating.

In .45 acp the steel cartridges did not generate 'adverse reports from the field.'

The book reports that although there was initial govt. orders to make the steel cases in .30 carbine as well, the project was shelved almost as soon as it began. It seems some of the new M-1 Carbines were jamming with brass ammo, and although design changes to the gun itself were underway to identify and fix the problems (they were) there was already resistance from the field to both the new gun and the concept of steel cases in a rifle. The new gun also required a different type of gunpowder and non-corrosive primers. Ordnance therefore decided to just go ahead and issue the gun with brass cartridge cases and not introduce four new concepts at the same time to the men in the field. Should problems develop with the new gun, then they would know it was the gun, or the new powder/primer combination, not the steel cartridge causing the issues, or reducing end user confidence by muddying the waters as to the source of a gun malfunction. Only a few thousand of the steel cased .30 Carbine ammo had been produced at the time of the decision (probably one of the rarest full boxes a collector could find). It was also agreed that after the new M-1 Carbine and it's new powder and primer had a chance to develop a proven track record, then, if, and only if, future brass shortages or a large spike in production demand required it, then the issue of steel cased M-1 Carbine ammo could be re-opened.

Footnote (of possible interest to us .45 revolver freaks): at the time of the book's publishing (1946) it is mentioned that US Army Ordnance reported that they only had 80,000 US M1917 revolvers in service.

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Old 09-08-2012, 11:43 PM   #15
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kronak from my understandin was a trade name for a type of zinc plating proccess. i could be wrong. back in the 40's and 50's chromium was in huge demand for industrial and military use so other forms of rust resistant plating had to be used hence lots of zinc plating in that time frame.

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Old 09-09-2012, 12:12 AM   #16
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For the record, despite owning a Glock I am by no means a fanboy. The price was right. However I would like to move into the realm of JMB

Don't take demeaning remarks about Glock to heart. They aren't for everyone. I used to hate them. But they have been around for so long now that it's hard to say that they are bad.

Steel cased ammo is ok to run in a Glock. They don't want cast lead bullets from reloads run in their guns. The polygonal rifling of their barrels does not do well with these bullets, and the barrels will build up lead rather quickly and can sause pressure spikes that could be dangerous.

I've run Wolf, Tula, other obscure steel cased ammo through Gloscks with no problems.

The other folks here have pretty much covered the challenges of reloading steel cased ammo.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:21 PM   #17
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Steel cases are just fine to use in any quality weapon.

They can be reloaded into perfectly good ammo.

But it's such a pain in the ass you'll only do it once!

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:06 PM   #18
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Think of the cartridge case as a gasket. It expands to seal off the chamber when fired. It then springs back partially. 7.62 X 39 and 7.62 X 54r have pronounced tapers to the case body. Steel does not have the same characteristics. The tapered body of the Russian designs allow for the steel to expand properly to seal the bore. The relatively straight body of the 5.56 and 7.62 NATO designs do work as well in steel.

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Old 09-09-2012, 04:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SSGN_Doc View Post
Don't take demeaning remarks about Glock to heart. They aren't for everyone. I used to hate them. But they have been around for so long now that it's hard to say that they are bad.

Steel cased ammo is ok to run in a Glock. They don't want cast lead bullets from reloads run in their guns. The polygonal rifling of their barrels does not do well with these bullets, and the barrels will build up lead rather quickly and can sause pressure spikes that could be dangerous.

I've run Wolf, Tula, other obscure steel cased ammo through Gloscks with no problems.

The other folks here have pretty much covered the challenges of reloading steel cased ammo.
Ive always had issue with what GLOCK says about lead projectiles. GLOCK is hardly the first to use that type of rifling, many a rifle was produced with it back in the day when all they used was lead ball. I honestly believe that the issue came from idiots that loaded lead bullets to very high velocities, in which case you would likely have a catastrophic failure in any type of rifling.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:24 PM   #20
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Ive always had issue with what GLOCK says about lead projectiles. GLOCK is hardly the first to use that type of rifling, many a rifle was produced with it back in the day when all they used was lead ball. I honestly believe that the issue came from idiots that loaded lead bullets to very high velocities, in which case you would likely have a catastrophic failure in any type of rifling.
I have heard it hypothesized that the lead bullet/Glock problem lies in the throat, not the actual rifling. There is something about the configuration of the throat that leads to lead build up and catasrophic failure.
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