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Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by southernfirepower, Jun 10, 2012.
Is shooting steal it of my at bad for it
I think he is asking about steel cased ammo in an AR15.
my AR is about a $1700 gun, I rarely run brass cased ammo in it.
Well in that case. Is your AR rated for 5.56?
Why don't you take a mulligan?
Agent Tikki, I think this guy's out to get you! Is steel case harmful to your body?
Yes it's chambered 5.56. And sorry I did mean steel. it's just that I have been hearing alot of opinions in regards to this matter and I just want to make sure that I'm not putting ammo through my rifle that would potentially cut the battle life short.
You're fine. No concerns.
I would say I have a couple real nice ARs. These ARs see a steady diet of steel cased ammunition. I had a conversation a couple weeks ago regarding this subject. The guy I was talking w/ runs a metric ton of steel ammunition. This is a guy who writes for well known firearm magazines and is in the instruction business. He has T&E'd for places like AAC. He's kind-of-a dick as well (straight shooter). My point is if it steel case was an issue he would have an issue w/ it.
There are good and bad qualities of steel cased ammo. There are a lot of misunderstandings that result from this, along with some great myths that are evolving as well.
There are differing qualities of steel cased ammo. Most is made in former Soviet factories. No all factories make as high a quality or low a quality ammo as others.
Lots of folks make the blanket sttement that "Wolf ammo sucks."
Well not all Wolf ammo is the same. Wolf does not make ammo. Wolf is an importer of ammo an they get it from several sources. Wolf WPA (Wolf Polyformance Ammo) is a polymer coated steel case ammo that is made in the Tula factory in Russia. This stuff is known to eb a bit underpowered and pretty dirty. It also looks shockingly similar to Tulammo that features many of the same complaints a lot of people post about Wolf ammo. Wolf Military Classic is made in the Ulyanovsk plant and for a while it was back to featuring a lacquer coated steel case. It was also usually a bit hotter in it's loadings than the stuff from Tula. Wolf Gold is made at the Prvi Partisan plant in Serbia and it is brass cased and reloadable. Wolf also imports some .22 rimfire match ammo that is some very accurate stuff, that is made in Germany.
So, not all Wolf ammo sucks and not all steel cased ammo sucks. Other compaies that make steel cased ammo include Tiger (Pretty sure it is made at the Novosibersk plant), Brown, Silver, and Gold Bear ammo, which is all made at the Barnaul plant, (Barnaul, and Ulyanovsk also make ammo for Monarch and Herters). These all tend to be hotter and made to slightly better standards than some of the other steel case, as they usually produce some better accuracy and consistency than some of the Tula offerings.
Hornady also started making training ammo that uses steel cases that are some of the same ones that Wolf imports. They do use their own bullets and powder though.
Let's look at your original question - "Will steel cased ammo hurt my AR?"
Probably not directly. Lot's of people say Steel cases are hard on extractors. The steel taht is used is mild steel, It is an alloy that is selected for the qualities that it does share with brass, but there are some qualities of brass that you just cannot get out of steel. The steel is a mild or soft steel, your extractor should be made of hardened tool steel. The soft steel will expand similar to brass, btu maybe not as fast, and it does have better memory than brass so, it tends to contract back down a bit in size after it is fired.
What does all of this mean to your AR? Well an AR uses direct impingment of gases to cycle the action. it means gas gets tapped off through the gas port and vented back to the bolt carrier and gas rings of the bolt via the gas tube. Carbine, Mid-length, and rifle gas systems all vary in the placement of the gas port in relation to the chamber, which means that they try to start extraction under very different chamber pressures. A Carbine has the gas port closest to teh chamber so it begins extraction early while chamber pressure is high and the cartridge case is likely to still be pressed against the chamber walls pretty tightly. The carbine gas port is also usually further from the muzzle than a rifle or mid-length gas port. So, gas is being vented back into your action for a longer duration after the bullet has passed the gas port, until it reaches and leaves the muzzle. This is called dwell time. With dirty ammo you get more unburned powder and residue blown into the action. This can gum things up a bit.
On the other hand a rifle gas sytem doesn't begin extraction until the bullet has gone further down the bore and pressure has dropped some. There is also less dwell time before the bullet leaves the bore. This can lead to weak extraction form a possibly already underpowered load.
There has also been a lot of internet debate about teh polymer coated casings melting in a hot chamber if you left a round in the chamber after a long string of fire. People then state that the chamber cools and the case sticks because the polymer has melted. Others said tha tlecquer did the same thing. The melting point of these materials is actually pretty high, but it may be possible. Others make the case that the properties of the steel case make it start to return to size earlier than brass in the firing cycle, allowing more carbon into the chamber diring the firing cycle. This carbon is thought to build up over time and then using brass cased ammo after the steel cased stuff makes the brass swell into the carbon and make it stick in the chamber.
What I have actually experience is brass cases getting stuck after using steel case if I didn't get a chance to clean the chamber first. So I tend to lean toward the carbon build up side of the arguement. Also when I do clean my chambers I seem to get a lot of carbon out of it, and sometimes bits of red primer sealant which is pretty soft and gummy stuff.
Chrome plated chambers seem to be more tolerant of steel cased ammo. Some ARs are more tollerant of steel cased ammo than others. Some gas systems seem to function better than others with regard to steel cased ammo.
My conclusion is that if steel cased ammo functions ok for you in your AR then you are probably ok to use it. I would recommend more frequent and more thoughrough cleaning. If your extractor does eventually display damage it would probably be after thousands of rounds and your cost savings would buy you several extractors.
Dirty, steel cased ammo is less than ideal in a direct impingement rifle though because a gas system that essentially poops where it eats, can get kind of gunked up in a hurry.
If you want to try steel casedammo I would recommend buying small ammounts of different brands and see how your rifle does with it before buying any brand in bulk.
I am as long as others seem to be the exception to most rules on a regular basis. A couple months back for my entertainment/curiosity I ran 2k+ through each (DD, BCM) w/ only 2 malfunctions (DD). The malfunctions were 2 hard primers. Both rifles were filthy, more like nasty. I couldn't even handle them w/o getting dirty myself. They would spray grime as they operated. Ammunition was mostly Tula 62gr FMJ but I did put some Tula HP, Wolf 55 & 62 through them. On one outing I shot mixed magazines (xm193 and Tula) w/o a single issue. I ran through approximately 400 rounds in 20 min while do this.
I'd say more times than not if your AR has problems w/ steel cased ammuniton it's the rifle, out of spec chamber or a buffer that's to heavy.
Thank you for the reply's I definitely learn something here. My rifle seems to eat up the steel stuff just as easy as brass but my main concern seams to be put to rest... And I have one more question, what is the difference and how big, between non corrosive ammo and corrosive?
Sorry about the first post guys I didn't notice it was all jacked up. I'm doing this from my phone. Thx for understanding lol
It's in the name. Corrosive is just that, corrosive.
But most steel cased ammunition for the ar isn't corrosive
THat's nice but his question was ---->
Whoops, totally missed that. My apologies kind sir
In the end you made a good point.
Also, to add to MikeJs point in regards to it being a rifle issue, if you hsve problems, make sure the gas block is centered and that the gas port is large enough. I had to open up the gas port a tad on my ar, and now it functions flawless.
Good points, although I wouldnt personally mess w/ opening a GP. Scary