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Posted: 7/10/2013 4:29:31 PM EST
Among a couple of things which i still do not understand about firearms, one is "head space" and the other has been the reason while steel ammo is inferior to brass.



Well today i figured it out. My rifle could not feed steel today, but brass was no problem. I still don't understand this. It is a BCM BCG, stag upper, i checked a few and it is not a magazine problem. I use a Stag Upper.

Can someone help me out? Is this common? Does my rifle suck and/or is there something i can do?
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:31:47 PM EST
its a junk combo man, send it to me for disposal
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:32:04 PM EST
What kind of failures were you having?
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:42:26 PM EST


I know some Tula is both underpowered and oversized.

That stuff won't fully cycle in my Galil, and gets stuck in some AR chambers.

All my guns will run other types of steel case such as Brown Bear and Silver Bear. Tula is out of spec junk. I wouldn't sweat it if its that stuff.

Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:42:39 PM EST
Yes what kind of failures were you having? Short stroking or failures to eject? Many brands of steel case are under powered compared to brass. Neither of my AR's will shoot steel case...they short stroke...however mine are both middys.
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:45:25 PM EST
All steel cased ammo is not created equal. What are you using?
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:49:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2013 4:50:45 PM EST by RGIFFOUR]
What type of upper?? Carbine, Mid-length, or Rifle length gas system?

You need to clean the chamber with a good brush...

Shoot brass, than the steel but not the other way around.. this is usually the issue with expansion and such..
(Steel allows fouling in the chamber.. then the brass gets hung up on it..)

How many rounds thru the upper currently?? some need 400+ rounds before they can attempt steel..

What type of failures?? extracting? feeding??

What type of steel ammo?? Herters and Tula and Wolf WPA (Blackbox) usually SUCK imho..

Wolf Mil-Classic style works as it has a little more kick than Tula for sure..


Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:51:29 PM EST
There are types of steel cased ammo that are excellent, such as Hornady Steel Match or whatever it's called. But mostly, it's not the fact that its steel cased that makes it inferior, it's the quality of the ammo overall. A lot of Russian steel cased stuff is underpowered and won't fully cycle a weapon. Sometimes it's out of spec and won't chamber correctly. And almost always it is widely inconsistent, even from the same box. Tolerances can vary greatly from case dimensions to bullet seat depth to the amount of powder inside.

I have, however, found Golden Tiger to be very good, reliable plinking ammo. I've put a few thousand rounds of that through various AR's and have not had any malfunctions that I can recall. It's hard to find though. I bought a couple cases of it from Surplus Ammo a few years ago for I think under $200/case and I'm down to my last few hundred rounds. Haven't seen it anywhere since I bought it!
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 4:53:59 PM EST
Seems to me that after a few hundred rounds, my rifles abilities to digest steel cased ammo improve. If your rifle is new, put about 500rds of brass through it then try some steel again.

I have built quite a few rifles and they are almost always stiff out of the box. Break in your rifle and try again.
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 5:25:59 PM EST
My Sig 556 Classic won't run Tula .223 55gr fmj at all either. Cases get stuck in the chamber, and stovepipes too. I havent had a single issue with brass cased ammo and the Sig though.

I need to try some silverbear, brownbear, and wolf to see if its just the tula.
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 5:31:32 PM EST
My Del-Ton Loves Tula and anything else i put thru it. People give them alot of crap, but they are still good rifles
Link Posted: 7/10/2013 5:34:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/10/2013 5:34:10 PM EST by Lancelot]
Topic Moved
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 3:14:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By djburnett:


Can someone help me out? Is this common? Does my rifle suck and/or is there something i can do?

read the tacked topics
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 5:07:03 AM EST
You need to clean the chamber with a good brush...

I think this notion when discussing steel case ammo is a cop out. The chamber is dirty? So what! It's supposed to get dirty. That shouldn't impede the function of the rifle after a few hundred rds. Doesn't on any of mine. I shoot everything & the chambers get dirty & have been run to the point of gritty. Only time I stop to take a brush to the chamber is when I clean the rife after I'm done.
If the chamber is in spec it should function. My bet is the stag upper isn't in spec resulting in a tight chamber that chokes on ammo that isn't in spec.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 5:13:12 AM EST
Some AR's just don't like steel. I have a MSAR that doesn't like steel.

Good thing? In this day and age, you can sell your steel ammo pretty easily or find an AR that likes it.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 5:17:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/11/2013 5:18:12 AM EST by RDTCU]
I personally don't and won't own an AR that won't eat a steady diet of steel case (disregarding Tula).

I shoot mostly Wolf MC and Silver Bear.

The only exception would be my .308 target AR, I've never shot steel in it.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 5:42:11 AM EST
AR-15's (and all guns, for that matter), are just like women: fickle, and individual. Case in point: one of my XD9 pistols shoots HST 147gr perfectly, capable of 2" at 25 yards. The other, identical pistol will shoot the same exact ammo to 3" at 25 yards.
There is a term in engineering called "tolerances". It defines a range of values that are "acceptable" and that won't impair function in any machined part. So even though specs call for the identical products with identical specs, there will always be a slight difference between finished products.

You just have to try a few brands, and see what your gun likes....just like dating, lol.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 6:03:42 AM EST
Straight up won't feed now. Originally it just wouldn't come out of barrel was just stuck. Then later it would only have feed it from the magazine. I can replicate this now at any point with steel ammo. In the same situation With the same mag brass 'shoots' in and out.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 6:11:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By djburnett:
Straight up won't feed now. Originally it just wouldn't come out of barrel was just stuck. Then later it would only have feed it from the magazine. I can replicate this now at any point with steel ammo. In the same situation With the same mag brass 'shoots' in and out.


What brand steel?

If it's Tula or Wolf Polyperformance, there's you're problem.

If it's Wolf MC, Silver Bear, etc, there's no real reason it shouldn't work in a quality gun.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 6:34:52 AM EST
Apparently it depends on the gun. My S & W eats anything so far. Never once have I had an issue and I run Tula too - which many here believe is of the devil himself.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 7:03:28 AM EST
I think it was Tula bottom barrel stuff and I think it ran fine for a couple hundred rounds until I ran into this problem.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 11:18:54 AM EST
My rifles run Tula just fine. They have issues with lacquer coated stuff, but polymer is fine.

It's underpowered, but it locks my bolt back in all my rifles. Maybe get a heavier buffer tube?
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 11:20:17 AM EST
Originally Posted By Boost3dx:
Maybe get a heavier buffer tube?


que?
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 11:37:10 AM EST
My bad. Just meant heavier buffer.
Link Posted: 7/11/2013 4:29:42 PM EST
Buffer spring???
Link Posted: 7/15/2013 4:10:23 AM EST
My A4 and M4 clones eat steel just fine, but it's noticeably weaker.

Try to shoot steel only after shooting brass, if you mix the two. Going from steel to brass without cleaning your chamber first can often cause issues in some rifles.
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 11:18:06 AM EST
I had a few friends over the years have similar problems and an upgraded extractor spring in most cases solved their problem. Im not saying that it will fix your problem, but it wouldn't hurt to upgrade it if you're shooting steel.
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 11:34:33 AM EST
Before I sold them to help pay the bills, I had a Colt 6920 and a Doublestar DS-4 that would eat anything.

My PSA M4 will run Wolf MC and Silver Bear, but won't run Tula. My Del-Ton Sporter refuses to cycle ANYTHING steel.

Some guns like the stuff, others not so much.
Link Posted: 7/16/2013 3:43:42 PM EST
I ran into a very similar problem when I was going through the beginning break in with my rifle. A good cleaning, good lubrication, and more rounds down range seemed to fix the problem
Link Posted: 7/18/2013 2:37:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/20/2013 12:47:08 PM EST
Head space is the space occupied by brass in the chamber. Between face of bolt and leading edge of the brass
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 7:48:41 AM EST
I went round and round about this very subject. I had a Del ton that FTE every 4 rounds or so. People said its not a 5.56 chamber, etc. Then I read more about it and saw DD, LMT, etc owners having the same issues.

I sold my Del Ton and bought a BCM upper that eats anything.

I'm positive there is nothing you can do that is repeatable to cure this issue short of prelubricating the rounds in a bucket of lube.

Its the luck of the draw.

Your rifle will eat or it won't.
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 6:21:39 PM EST
I got about 200+ rds of WPA polyformance. I will soon find out in two weeks if they are any good with my SIG M400 & the Bush Master. If they suck...then I'll just sell them cheap. Purchased them not knowing what I purchased around 5 months ago. Before I joined the forum.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 1:35:04 PM EST
I was shooting tul-ammo out of mine. It started out working fine but by the the second box it started jamming and actually jammed a casing in the chamber. After I removed it I seen that the locks of my chamber were coated in a type of varnish. Come to find out, steel ammo is often coated in a varnish to prevent oxidation. BTW.... it is hell trying to get out of your rifle. My advice, just dont shoot it.....EVER!!!!!!
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 10:13:29 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Will816:
There are types of steel cased ammo that are excellent, such as Hornady Steel Match or whatever it's called. But mostly, it's not the fact that its steel cased that makes it inferior, it's the quality of the ammo overall. A lot of Russian steel cased stuff is underpowered and won't fully cycle a weapon. Sometimes it's out of spec and won't chamber correctly. And almost always it is widely inconsistent, even from the same box. Tolerances can vary greatly from case dimensions to bullet seat depth to the amount of powder inside.

I have, however, found Golden Tiger to be very good, reliable plinking ammo. I've put a few thousand rounds of that through various AR's and have not had any malfunctions that I can recall. It's hard to find though. I bought a couple cases of it from Surplus Ammo a few years ago for I think under $200/case and I'm down to my last few hundred rounds. Haven't seen it anywhere since I bought it!
View Quote



Never seen Golden Tiger in .223/5.56, in 7.62x39 it's one of the better steel options out there. My BCM 5.56 14.5" middy shoots Wolf military classic & Monarch just fine. It will cycle Tula as well but unless it's super cheap I'll pay a few pennies more for better steel ammo. As mentioned above, all steel ammo is not the same, it mostly depends upon which factory it came from.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 7:08:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/24/2013 7:12:48 PM EST by ColdBlood]
It's not voodoo...just physics. That ammo is typically loaded very light (underpowered, low velocity) and as such, there's not enough energy to cycle the gun reliably. You can put a band-aid on the issue by adding a different buffer or tinkering with the gas system, but there's always a trade-off. In this case, if a gun will run underpowered ammo reliably, then the trade-off is you'll batter the shit out of your gun if you run standard velocity 223.

When you hear a guy at the gun shop say he won't buy an AR that won't cycle cheap ammo, it's safe to assume he doesn't really know shit about AR's or how they work.

Another issue with that shitty ammo - the jacket on the bullet itself will have some steel in it, which will cause your barrel to wear out in half the time...not just the bore, but throat erosion as well.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 8:01:27 PM EST
The biggest problem with steel case isn't insufficient powder load, it's the fact it's steel cased.

Brass is used because it's tough and flexible. Under pressure, brass expands and creates a seal in the chamber, then contracts back when pressure drops. Steel does not do this. This is why people think it's underpowered, and that the lacquer finish is burning off in the chamber. In reality it's because steel cased ammo does not expand when the majority of firearms rely on case expansion.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 9:38:00 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
The biggest problem with steel case isn't insufficient powder load, it's the fact it's steel cased.

Brass is used because it's tough and flexible. Under pressure, brass expands and creates a seal in the chamber, then contracts back when pressure drops. Steel does not do this. This is why people think it's underpowered, and that the lacquer finish is burning off in the chamber. In reality it's because steel cased ammo does not expand when the majority of firearms rely on case expansion.
View Quote


Are you saying it's not underpowered? I have a 150 yard range in my backyard and I can tell you for a fact that cheap 55 grain FMJ hits roughly 2-3" lower at that distance....don't really need a chronograph to figure out why.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 3:48:04 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ColdBlood:


Are you saying it's not underpowered? I have a 150 yard range in my backyard and I can tell you for a fact that cheap 55 grain FMJ hits roughly 2-3" lower at that distance....don't really need a chronograph to figure out why.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ColdBlood:
Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
The biggest problem with steel case isn't insufficient powder load, it's the fact it's steel cased.

Brass is used because it's tough and flexible. Under pressure, brass expands and creates a seal in the chamber, then contracts back when pressure drops. Steel does not do this. This is why people think it's underpowered, and that the lacquer finish is burning off in the chamber. In reality it's because steel cased ammo does not expand when the majority of firearms rely on case expansion.


Are you saying it's not underpowered? I have a 150 yard range in my backyard and I can tell you for a fact that cheap 55 grain FMJ hits roughly 2-3" lower at that distance....don't really need a chronograph to figure out why.


He's saying that some of the chamber pressure leaks around the case instead of propelling the projectile.

Steel does expand, anything would at 55000psi chamber pressure, it just doesn't "flow" like brass to create a perfect seal in the chamber. That's one reason for the laquer/polymer coatings on most steel ammo.

I still prefer Silver Bear, personally.
Link Posted: 8/6/2013 11:03:20 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By dasboots:
I got about 200+ rds of WPA polyformance. I will soon find out in two weeks if they are any good with my SIG M400 & the Bush Master. If they suck...then I'll just sell them cheap. Purchased them not knowing what I purchased around 5 months ago. Before I joined the forum.
View Quote



Well...I did run 200 rds of WPA over the past weekend. And 100 rds of brass reloads. We did not encounter any jamming or anything else from the steelcasings. Aside from the powder smell, they are very distinctive from the brass powders. And very dirty.
Link Posted: 8/8/2013 5:08:30 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By -infidel-:
I was shooting tul-ammo out of mine. It started out working fine but by the the second box it started jamming and actually jammed a casing in the chamber. After I removed it I seen that the locks of my chamber were coated in a type of varnish. Come to find out, steel ammo is often coated in a varnish to prevent oxidation. BTW.... it is hell trying to get out of your rifle. My advice, just dont shoot it.....EVER!!!!!!
View Quote

You had a dirty chamber.

The varnish thing has been debunked.
Link Posted: 8/11/2013 4:19:01 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ColdBlood:

Another issue with that shitty ammo - the jacket on the bullet itself will have some steel in it, which will cause your barrel to wear out in half the time...not just the bore, but throat erosion as well.
View Quote
Non-issue. With the money saved by buying steel instead of brass you could afford to replace your entire rifle every time the barrel wears out.

After 6000 rounds of Wolf MC my AR still shoots minute-of-12"-plate at 200 yards, unmagnified. For the difference in price when I was buying that ammo, I saved enough money to replace the barrel 4 or 5 times already.

The most economical thing to do, if you wanted a fancy gun that you could turn your nose up to people over and say, "mine wont even shoot that steel garbage," is to have your fancy gun, and then also buy a good steel-shooting AR for CQB drills, plinking, and messing around out to a few hundred yards. A beater that can shoot steel will save enough money to pay for the safe-queen.
Link Posted: 8/11/2013 11:10:29 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By djburnett:
I think it was Tula bottom barrel stuff and I think it ran fine for a couple hundred rounds until I ran into this problem.
View Quote
Have you cleaned your chamber?
Link Posted: 8/11/2013 11:38:33 AM EST
My RRA shoots steel case, my CMMG won't. It is cheap crap anyways and hard on the extractor. I don't shoot steel case as a rule.
Link Posted: 8/11/2013 1:59:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/11/2013 2:00:38 PM EST by glorifiedG]
I had a Stag carbine that didn't like it either, the barrel was marked E.R. Shaw
Link Posted: 8/12/2013 7:37:34 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Pacodutaco:
My RRA shoots steel case, my CMMG won't. It is cheap crap anyways and hard on the extractor. I don't shoot steel case as a rule.
View Quote
Let's have fun and assume that were true. A new extractor costs $14 from RRA. You save more than that from shooting 4 or 5 mags of steel ammo instead of shooting brass.

The one part of an AR that is adversely affected by steel ammo is the barrel. These guys claim it took 6000 rounds to show "significant accuracy loss" from shooting steel. Chrome lined RRA barrels are running $255 right now. Given the current price difference in steel and brass cased ammo, you're looking at saving enough money over those 6000 rounds to buy 3.5 replacement barrels.

I'll happily bow to all the objective criticisms of steel ammo. It's underpowered. Some guns choke on it. Under some circumstances it can fail to extract. It causes more barrel wear because of the bi-metal jacket. It's inaccurate compared to more expensive ammo.

Just keep the internet legend and subjective statements out of the conversation.
Link Posted: 8/14/2013 10:59:53 PM EST
Try some Frog Lube. It fixed my Stag model 8 that had the same issues as you.
Link Posted: 8/15/2013 1:53:10 AM EST
Most AR's that have a problem with steel cased ammo seem to revolve around a tight chamber. Cleaning or polishing the chamber can help with the steel cased ammo.
I only use Russian steel cased 5.56 ammo. I have never had any problems with it. True it is not match ammo. But for general plinking/practise, its great.
All of my AR 5.56 weapon builds began with a US GI military surplus chrome lined barrel. The chambers on these barrels were made for full auto use and handle steel cased ammo all day, every day. I'm not saying that aftermarket barrels can't cycle steel cased. Just that these US GI barrels have a perfect track record for me.
Link Posted: 8/16/2013 3:37:07 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By mustangduckk:


I know some Tula is both underpowered and oversized.

That stuff won't fully cycle in my Galil, and gets stuck in some AR chambers.

All my guns will run other types of steel case such as Brown Bear and Silver Bear. Tula is out of spec junk. I wouldn't sweat it if its that stuff.

View Quote


This. I just got a bad batch of tula it runs extra dirty and it is oversized. The box says .223 but its actually slightly taller than my 5.56 nato ammo also the taper of the case isn't very smooth especially around the base of the case. Oddly I can make it run some what well by using froglube in the chambers of the AR's firing it.
Link Posted: 8/16/2013 4:41:04 PM EST
My Bushmaster AR15 is a slut! She will shoot all type of ammo. 1000+rd of Wolf and Tula so far. No problem!
Link Posted: 8/16/2013 4:41:29 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RDTCU:


He's saying that some of the chamber pressure leaks around the case instead of propelling the projectile.

Steel does expand, anything would at 55000psi chamber pressure, it just doesn't "flow" like brass to create a perfect seal in the chamber. That's one reason for the laquer/polymer coatings on most steel ammo.

I still prefer Silver Bear, personally.
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Originally Posted By RDTCU:
Originally Posted By ColdBlood:
Originally Posted By olds442tyguy:
The biggest problem with steel case isn't insufficient powder load, it's the fact it's steel cased.

Brass is used because it's tough and flexible. Under pressure, brass expands and creates a seal in the chamber, then contracts back when pressure drops. Steel does not do this. This is why people think it's underpowered, and that the lacquer finish is burning off in the chamber. In reality it's because steel cased ammo does not expand when the majority of firearms rely on case expansion.


Are you saying it's not underpowered? I have a 150 yard range in my backyard and I can tell you for a fact that cheap 55 grain FMJ hits roughly 2-3" lower at that distance....don't really need a chronograph to figure out why.


He's saying that some of the chamber pressure leaks around the case instead of propelling the projectile.

Steel does expand, anything would at 55000psi chamber pressure, it just doesn't "flow" like brass to create a perfect seal in the chamber. That's one reason for the laquer/polymer coatings on most steel ammo.

I still prefer Silver Bear, personally.


I know they market silver bear as having the zinc coating to improve feeding. But I believe laquer/polymer coatings on steel cased ammo is mainly just to prevent corrosion / rust.

Also I believe alot of steel cased ammo uses a different type of powder that burns up quicker. Its not that they are underpowered or undercharged per say. The powder burning up quicker gives that affect. I believe it was luckygunners test that showed this? Tula..etc tended to actually have More chamber pressure than others.
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