Potential Problems with Wolf Ammunition
Wolf no longer manufactures ammunition with a lacquer coating on the cartridge casing due to issues concerning lacquer-coated steel cartridges becoming stuck in the chamber of a firearm after firing, with difficulty in ejecting the spent cartridge afterwards. This appears to be more of a problem with cartridges with narrowly tapering walls (e.g. .223 Remington) than those with rather steep case walls such as 7.62x39 mm cartridges or pistol ammunition. This also does not seem to pose much of a problem for Soviet or East Bloc designed weapons that tend to have looser chamber clearances than Western designed weapons.
Tests have shown that steel-cased Wolf cases do not obturate sufficiently to form a good gas seal against the chamber when compared to brass-cased ammunition. As a result, when Wolf cartridges are fired, some of the combustion by-products are deposited between the case and the chamber, causing a build up of carbon that is well in excess of normal. Firing a brass case (that does expand fully) after using Wolf ammunition can result in the brass case being "glued" into the chamber by the carbon buildup. This issue has nothing to do with the lacquer coating vaporising or melting, as has mistakenly been suggested. The problem is one of carbon deposition, which creates the same end result i.e. a stuck cartridge that has jammed in the chamber. It is important to emphasise that Wolf ammunition is perfectly safe to use because it conforms to all SAAMI standards. However, it is recommended that firearms are thoroughly cleaned after using Wolf ammunition due to the increased rate of carbon build-up within the chamber. Most users are content to accept increased rates of gun cleaning in return for being able to purchase more ammunition per dollar. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the looser chamber dimensions of Soviet designed weapons allow for more room during firing and extraction. Soviet or East Bloc weapons do not experience these problems.
Note: all ammunition currently manufactured by Wolf has polymer-coated or brass cartridge cases and any obturation problems have been radically reduced.
Despite popular misconception, steel-cased ammunition does not increase wear on the chamber or extractor of firearms. This is because the steel used in cartridge cases is mild steel which is very soft in comparison to the type of steel used in firearm components. Also, steel cases are often given a thin coating of lacquer or polymer, so there is no direct steel-to-steel contact with the chamber. The only disadvantages to using steel cases is that steel is not as "elastic" as brass, and therefore does not create as efficient a gas seal when a round is fired, and the case is not reloadable."