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I came across this very interesting article on brass vs steel ammo. While I dont shoot steel and probably 90% of what I shoot (other than rimfire) comes off my reloading bench. But Lucky Gunner, who continually does a great job on putting together objective tests did a very good comparison on brass vs a couple different brands of steel-cased .223 ammo. It is very comprehensive and complete and thus is a bit long. However, even for someone who doesnt use steel ammo, I found the article and information very interesting.

https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/
 

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I also thought about a lot of things regarding steel case ammo use and that very article you mention swayed me.
I also reload, but I don't have the set up I need for as much 9mm shooting as I do.
I had, and still have, a CZ P10c that I designated for use with almost exclusively steel case 9mm ammo. It's right at 1000 steel case rounds so far and I'm happy. Less money means more range time for me. There is no visible wear that I can see. I did see a trail of copper on the feed ramp and polished that out just this morning. All of my nines shoot it occasionally without issue.
I only just built an AR, but it seems to like it also. My P345 is the only 45 I own that doesn't like it.
 

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I have had very good luck with steel cased rimmed handgun ammo.38 special 357 mag. I hav eused 9 mm and 7.62x39 with no problems.
 

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brnwlms, I’ve read that article before, but I’ve read other articles that weren’t as kind to steel. That and I’ve seen first hand, (I’ve never used steel) the downside of using steel in some firearms.

I guess it’s like anything else in life, what works for one, may not for another.
 

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Have used very little steel, so no expert at all. My thoughts are, in autos w/ straight wall cases, dont like the idea of steel slamming into breech, feed ramp and chamber before round finally settles, but with bottle neck & taper this might be minimized, but still. In just a few rounds i get jams in tight 1911 45s. But not a combat or service guns yet have found brass ammo that 100% reliable for a fire fight, plus overlapping groups.

I really like the way brass/copper grabs chamber and then seals. Plus i like hoarding once fired brass, Ha!

Will try what little steel i have in 45acp revolver cuz i can control feeding & extraction, very gently. For high volume shooting, i like 223, 45acp & rimfire factory & will look at 9mm.

Suppose some ARs are designed to like steel? Suppose plated steel is smoother too?

Maybe am too picky, i dont even like scrubbing on cyl burn rings too much in my own guns, different topic though... but do like to think about whatever am doing.
 

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I've used a lot of Silver Bear steel case ammo (mostly 9x18mm Mak) and it has worked fine.
 

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Is steel okay in a .380? That's what my wife shoots and I never even thought about it hurting the pistol.
 

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I have shot some steel but have allot of backup rounds of steel in SPAM and VACC packaging. I figure if I need it at that point steel or not steel will not really be something I am really worried about.
 

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Cannot reload it, but if someone gave me some for revolvers or bolt-actions, I would shoot it. For semis I am sticking with brass, and reloading nearly everything I shoot.

I admit to being superstitious. I do not trust steel cases being ejected at high speed from a steel gun action, without increased wear. The Lucky Gunner data do not support that, though the bimetallic bullets used in the steel-cased ammo really wore out the AR barrels and the cases wore down the extractors, as compared to the Federal copper-jacketed loads.

I am transitioning to all copper bullets in my rifles and .357 magnums, but continue to reload polymer coated lead for .38 and .45 acp. I do not expect my AR barrel will be shot out, in my lifetime anyhow. I only shoot a couple hundred rounds of .223 a year, slow fire, just like my old-time guns I enjoy shooting far more.
 

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I have shot a fair amount of steel cases ammo through my AR rifles. No additional wear or tear. The steel of the cases is softer than that of the rifle......and nothing is being ejected at what I would call, “high speed”. If that were the case, then all commie guns; AK’s, SKS’a would be worn out pieces of scrap steel.

As for the bullets wearing down other parts, including the barrels, I believe the article or other articles went on to say that you could buy several replacement barrels with the money you saved shooting those bullets over regular bullets. Unless you are shooting a thousand rounds every weekend, every weekend the average shooter isn’t going to see that kind of wear and tear.
 

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Are the steel cases stronger in the case head area than their brass counter parts?

Just wondering if they provide a bit of extra strength when shooting in unsupported barrels like the early glocks (40 S&W)?

They can be reloaded if boxer primed. Pretty mild steel and are resized easily (test of one in Dillon SDB with tula .45 acp). Read somewhere that they split fairly quickly, so number of reloads probably limited. Local doctor reloads steel rifle brass, but didn't ask about "how many times".

Have plenty of "brass" brass for all my reloading needs, but was curious about potential extra strength for use in .45 Super? Also have a case of .40 S&W steel bought for a Glock police trade in.

Paul
 

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Very good study!

It was also interesting to note that the steel case had minimal impact (apart from extra wear on the extractor) while it was the copper and steel bullet that caused the most wear.

I haven’t used steel case ammunition apart from a box of steel case 9mm I used during the “bad times” (2008-2016). Those had “conventional” copper-clad lead bullets. I’d imagine that the wear from steel cased ammunition would be minimal in a pistol (and especially in a revolver), given the results of this test.

Jim
 

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Are the steel cases stronger in the case head area than their brass counter parts?

Just wondering if they provide a bit of extra strength when shooting in unsupported barrels like the early glocks (40 S&W)?

They can be reloaded if boxer primed. Pretty mild steel and are resized easily (test of one in Dillon SDB with tula .45 acp). Read somewhere that they split fairly quickly, so number of reloads probably limited. Local doctor reloads steel rifle brass, but didn't ask about "how many times".

Have plenty of "brass" brass for all my reloading needs, but was curious about potential extra strength for use in .45 Super? Also have a case of .40 S&W steel bought for a Glock police trade in.

Paul
The Polish P-64 copied the Walther PP design, but relieved the feed ramp to improve reliability. It was designed around steel case 9x18mm Makarov ammo. The relieved feed ramp will bulge PPU brass cased 9x18mm :eek: but steel runs fine.
 

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My Ruger P95 (9mm) eats steel without a problem, as does my Hi-point 4595TS carbine (45acp), Core AR 15 (223/556), and of course my AK-47 (762). However, neither my Springfield XD (9mm) nor my Rossi 92 (38spl) like it. On the guns that do like it, I have noticed no difference in wear of the platforms, though the steel case appears to fire a little more dirt/residue, but that's probably my imagination.
 

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The Polish P-64 copied the Walther PP design, but relieved the feed ramp to improve reliability. It was designed around steel case 9x18mm Makarov ammo. The relieved feed ramp will bulge PPU brass cased 9x18mm :eek: but steel runs fine.

Thanks!

Paul
 

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I shoot a LOT of steel cased, bimetal jacketed. Only reliable loads in my CZ24 .380, most reliable so far in a Glock36.

In an Axis package rifle, 147gr fmj .308 is minute of cantaloupe at 250m, but the scope is maxed out. Rifle itself is otherwise useless, SW TN whitetails are too small for .308 Win. A .30/30 is overkill to be brutally honest. A .410 slug is just right, most shots are handgun distance anyway.
 

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Back in early 2013 when any ammo was hard to get, I bought what I could find and that included some steel cased stuff. Over time I shot it all out and only bought it for an AK I owned for awhile. I did build an AR in 762.39 last year and do use steel cased ammo for that, but otherwise I stay away from it. The aluminum stuff works in most of my firearms but doesn't have the same effect as steel case and is still a bit cheaper.
 

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Thank you for posting the link to the Lucky Gunner study. I have bought from them frequently over the years and been very satisfied with their service. I read their.233/5.56 study a while back and found it to be informative as well. I use brass in everything except my Yugoslvian AK I’ve had for many years. My thinking is that each firearm was designed with a particular type of ammunition in mind and probably will work best with it. I use Wolf and Tula in the AK. Never used steel cased in anything else so can’t really weigh in - hope it works well for those who use it.
 

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For me, the luckygunner.com info says it all: Federal brass-cased = 0 malfunctions, better accuracy, less wear. And it's reloadable...

That said, my previously owned WW AR and current Mini 14 had/have never seen a round of factory ammo. I have been handloading for over 30 years, and have never purchased or shot non-brass cased ammo in any of my iron. A friend of mine has a Mini Thirty that prefers PMC brass ammo, but he does put some higher quality steel stuff through it at times.

As I've gotten older, I've become more concerned about shooting consistency (AKA: accuracy). In earlier handloading days, I often quickly made up some "practice" or plinking loads for handguns, with not much development time (all my rifle loads were carefully crafted, tested, and chrono-ed, though). As I progressed, I strived more for above-average accuracy for all my handloads. If I missed a can at 25 yds, I wanted to know that my average group with that "package" (gun and ammo) was normally 2", so that miss was more likely me, than the ammo. But if that package was a 5+" grouper, who knows? Out to 50-100 yds with my rifles/carbines, I prefer smaller groups on paper, and more hits on standing clay pigeons and wood blocks. Better ammo can deliver that.
 

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That’s a classic.

Main takeaway: shooting a bunch of steel ammo will wear out an AR faster than brass ammo will, but you save enough money that it more than pays for a new barrel.

If you don’t reload, it makes a lot of sense to use it for plinking.

Or, another way to look at it: our enemies around the world tend to shoot at our military personnel with steel cased ammo. Do our soldiers and Marines laugh at them? Hell no, they respect them.
 
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