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Posted: 7/2/2017 8:32:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2017 8:32:29 PM EST by dryflash3]
If this is not the right forum for this question, I appologise. Asking because I am going to be taking some training classes, and they don't allow handloads. I will be burning through probably 3-4k rounds. I hate leaving perfectly good OFB on the ground. Not to mention, poly coated steel case ammo will save some money up front. Have heard both pro and con to poly coated rounds. Can't find any empirical data to support either way. Opinions anyone?
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 12:14:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2017 12:17:56 PM EST by airsix]
Steel cased ammo has steel in the projectile as well. After a 3-4K rounds of steel your barrel is going to be done* before you have chamber wear to worry about. So add the cost of a new barrel to your maths.



*What I consider "done" and what others consider done will vary.

Link Posted: 7/2/2017 12:26:18 PM EST
I would doubt it. most likely the rifling or crown will wear out before the chamber turns to crap.
Significantly more heat and friction stress on barrel than chamber.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 12:36:38 PM EST
I wasn't familiar with the bi-metal jackets on the lead projectile. Now I am. Good to know. Thanks!!
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 1:54:47 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 2:11:59 PM EST
Read this and decide for yourself 

Luckygunner Labs test
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 2:26:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2017 3:11:00 PM EST by hammermill290]
Unless you're going to be shooting at the rate they did in that test, your results will be quite different.

ETA: Now that I'm not on my phone...
That test greatly exaggerates the wear rates of both ammo types tested, as well as the difference in wear between them. It actually proves that even under nearly the worst possible usage scenario, cheap steel cased ammo is still more cost effective for high volume use than cheap brass cased ammo even with barrel replacements coming more often. Even in most training classes, you won't get near the sustained barrel temperatures that test involved, so the increased wear from bi-metal projectiles will be less pronounced. My opinion...if you're worried about wear from the bi-metal projectiles or the steel cases for a class, don't. There are reasons not to use that ammo, but that ain't one of 'em.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 2:37:40 PM EST
I use handloads and forget about loosing brass

Steel cased is junk

I know my handloads will run, and are zero'ed

Buying and processing brass is better than having a rifle choke in a class

.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 3:03:29 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TimpAR:
Read this and decide for yourself 

Luckygunner Labs test
View Quote
Thanks for the link, it was a good read! I will keep running good ammo through my precision ar, but I might build a cheap barreled sbr after getting my stamp. Just run steel through the cheap barrel and plan on replacing every few thousand rounds.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 5:10:43 PM EST
Does chrome lining make a difference?

Motor
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 5:21:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2017 5:25:59 PM EST by Click2Boom]
A barrel that shoots wolf at 4moa doesn't jump to 12+moa at 4k rounds, and/or the same barrel wouldn't shoot brass at 4moa consistently thru 12k+ rounds.. that test is not very representative IME.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 5:35:19 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Click2Boom:
A barrel that shoots wolf at 4moa doesn't jump to 12+moa at 4k rounds, and/or the same barrel wouldn't shoot brass at 4moa consistently thru 12k+ rounds.. that test is not very representative IME.
View Quote
It has a few flaws.

It's not the jacket material that's causing the wear, IMO, but the powder and primer mix unique to that ammo.
If they'd pulled the bullets and replaced them with Hornady 55 FMJs, the results would have been similar.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 7:25:20 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ziarifleman:
It has a few flaws.

It's not the jacket material that's causing the wear, IMO, but the powder and primer mix unique to that ammo.
If they'd pulled the bullets and replaced them with Hornady 55 FMJs, the results would have been similar.
View Quote
You know, I've often wondered if Tulas primers and powaders were more corrosive. Well, maybe corrosive is the wrong word, maybe reactive?
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 7:37:24 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By right_rudder:
You know, I've often wondered if Tulas primers and powaders were more corrosive. Well, maybe corrosive is the wrong word, maybe reactive?
View Quote
I would use abrasive if I was looking for words to describe the priming mix.

The powder probably has a higher flame temperature for similar pressures, as well. Our powder technology is pretty remarkably advanced compared to the rest of the world.
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 7:49:24 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ziarifleman:
I would use abrasive if I was looking for words to describe the priming mix.

The powder probably has a higher flame temperature for similar pressures, as well. Our powder technology is pretty remarkably advanced compared to the rest of the world.
View Quote
Yep. abrasive fits nicely. 
I don't think I've shot more then 500 rounds of steel cases ammo in all the years I've been shooting. 
Its just not something I buy. I've had some and shot it but as more of a novelty. 

I hear the Hornady steel case stuff is pretty good, if it were cheaper I'd use it for classes. But when it's only a few cents per round cheaper, why bother?
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 8:31:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 8:58:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/2/2017 8:59:18 PM EST by bfoosh06]
Link Posted: 7/2/2017 9:10:21 PM EST
Check these out Copper clad bullets steel case

Good article about shootn steelies Mix in some brass...

I have shot a couple K of silver bear bi-metal during classes with a CL DD barrel and have no noticable difference in accuracy that I notice.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 7:38:42 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Motor1:
Does chrome lining make a difference?

Motor
View Quote
Yes.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 7:54:40 AM EST
I'm newer to centerfire rifles. My current ar barrel is a nitrided 16" 1/8 mega arms barrel. It has around 1000rds through it and is ~1 moa with my handloads. I'm still trying to get a little better groups. I'm trying hornady 75gr bthp-varget-cci 400 and have had some good groups (3/4 moa) when doing load development. I am not pushing them very fast, not close to max pressure, but fast enough.

About how long do you think it will be until groups start growing? It will probably get a lilja 6.5 grendal barrel when the mega 5.56 starts going. I don't shoot a lot, but should I start saving up money yet? If it starts shooting good ammo at over 5-6" groups at 300 yd it's junk to me It will shoot 55gr sp loaded over cfe223 3-4" at 300 yd. 1+ moa with cheap handloads is ok.

I want a cheap sbr plinking rig with a red dot that will hopefully be about 3moa from a rest.

I'm not a snob, I'm just curious what to expect for life of my "precision" AR. Some people would say a 1 moa gun isn't precise, some would say $255 for just a barrel is crazy. I'm a little of both worlds. I want a 1" group at 200 yards, butI don't want to pay for it.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 8:00:35 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By hammermill290:
Unless you're going to be shooting at the rate they did in that test, your results will be quite different.

ETA: Now that I'm not on my phone...
That test greatly exaggerates the wear rates of both ammo types tested, as well as the difference in wear between them. It actually proves that even under nearly the worst possible usage scenario, cheap steel cased ammo is still more cost effective for high volume use than cheap brass cased ammo even with barrel replacements coming more often. Even in most training classes, you won't get near the sustained barrel temperatures that test involved, so the increased wear from bi-metal projectiles will be less pronounced. My opinion...if you're worried about wear from the bi-metal projectiles or the steel cases for a class, don't. There are reasons not to use that ammo, but that ain't one of 'em.
View Quote
I was going to say something to this effect. The majority of us aren't going to be shooting at that kind of rate and even if we did you're still saving hundreds of dollars even factoring in barrel replacements on an AR. If it's something like my AUG, barrel assys are about twice the cost of an AR barrel but I'd still be saving money.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 4:31:04 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By airsix:
*What I consider "done" and what others consider done will vary.

http://labscdn2.luckygunner.com/labs/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Accuracy-Sunday-e1357508752680.png
View Quote
I hate when people use that stupid test to "prove" their point


The most important part that everyone convincingly leaves out is the firing schedule.

If you don't shoot the same schedule, then you wont get those results
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 5:00:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2017 5:03:01 PM EST by lazyengineer]
"but my gun never jams..."

Phrase oft heard at carbine matches after a competitor shoots steel cases - and locks up with a stuck shell. I saw that shit not once, but twice to two different guys in one match - both said the same thing. The one thing in common? Both were using steel cases. None of the brass shooters had problems.

But wait, there's more - I've watched at least two people shoot steel, and then switch to brass when they want to be serious, and watch the brass jam up tight in their gunked up chamber, from their steel fouled gun.

If you want to shoot steel for cheap plinking, that's great - the prices are really good - too good to pass up! But whatever gun you shoot that in, it has to be one you are willing to accept locking up on you, at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME. If you want to transition back to brass, that's fine - clean your chamber with great vigor, and make sure you run at least 2 full mags of brass through it, before you trust it on brass. It's actually even worse, when you switch back to brass - as the gunk sticks better to brass than the steel.

Or you can be like the countless people I can immediately think of, who I personally watched over the last couple years spend an afternoon and several hours driving and a bunch of cash in gas and range/match fees to say "But my gun never jams" in front of 10 guys looking at him, while the SO is standing behind him, slowly lowering the shot timer. All while you're yanking on the back of your gun trying to get that stuck shell out.

Oh, and on a final note, everyone who quickly dismisses the Lucky Gunner test as utilizing an unrealistic rate of fire - they're partially right. Partially. And that wear on the extractor they show, was that too due to the increased barrel temperature of the high rate of fire? Hey, extractors are cheap - you bet. Sucks when they break on you when you needed it though. Again, if it's a fun-gun that you use as a range toy and don't really care - then there you go.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 6:14:47 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By lazyengineer:
they're partially right. Partially. And that wear on the extractor they show, was that too due to the increased barrel temperature of the high rate of fire? .
View Quote
not "partially"

the firing rate has more to do with barrel erosion than anything else.

wanna smoke a barrel? I can do it in a few mags on my m16, brass/steel/don't care.

extractor wear? was it measured in any quantitative manner? Nope

I have a LWRC upper that was made with cmt parts before they made their own stuff. Bolt/extractor is past 40K probably more since I quite counting.

same extractor

The point being, unless you use quantitative measurements and apply them to a similar situation then it doesn't mean shit.
Link Posted: 7/3/2017 9:07:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/3/2017 9:10:52 PM EST by lazyengineer]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:


not "partially"

the firing rate has more to do with barrel erosion than anything else.

wanna smoke a barrel? I can do it in a few mags on my m16, brass/steel/don't care.

extractor wear? was it measured in any quantitative manner? Nope

I have a LWRC upper that was made with cmt parts before they made their own stuff. Bolt/extractor is past 40K probably more since I quite counting.

same extractor

The point being, unless you use quantitative measurements and apply them to a similar situation then it doesn't mean shit.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:


not "partially"

the firing rate has more to do with barrel erosion than anything else.

wanna smoke a barrel? I can do it in a few mags on my m16, brass/steel/don't care.

extractor wear? was it measured in any quantitative manner? Nope

I have a LWRC upper that was made with cmt parts before they made their own stuff. Bolt/extractor is past 40K probably more since I quite counting.

same extractor

The point being, unless you use quantitative measurements and apply them to a similar situation then it doesn't mean shit.
From Lucky Gunner:

Did The Steel Cases Break or Wear Down The Extractors?

Different wear patterns were evident on the extractors after 10,000 rounds had been fired. Given that most of the extraction failures with the steel cased ammunition brands occurred during the last half of the test, it is possible that a replacement of the extractors at the halfway point or later would have reduced the number of failures to extract. These wear patterns were not easily visible with the naked eye, only becoming obvious with the aid of macro photography.

I would not be so bold as to say that "Doesn't mean shit", personally. Photographic comparison shows visually obvious differences at http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/. And the field report of increased rate of extraction failures as wear accumulates as noted above, perhaps "means shit", at least a little. Here's the actual data:

From Lucky Gunner:

Brass vs. Steel Results
Which Ammo Was Most Reliable?

The data which will probably be most interesting to everyone who reads this article is how often each rifle malfunctioned. To satisfy that particular thirst, here are the basic results:

Federal: 10,000 rounds, 0 malfunctions.
Brown Bear: 10,000 rounds, 9 malfunctions (5 stuck cases, 1 magazine-related failure to feed, 3 failures to fully cycle)
Wolf: 10,000 rounds, 15 malfunctions (stuck cases)
Tula: DNF (6,000 rounds in alternate carbine, 3 malfunctions)
But hey, if you don't like the data, ignore the data. I'm sure with a little effort some dismissive explanation can be found to end up back at whatever pre-conceived notion you like. Perhaps with a few expletives to really drive the point home.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 1:22:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/4/2017 1:25:35 AM EST by TGH456E]
not "partially"

the firing rate has more to do with barrel erosion than anything else.

No............. it is one component: primer, powder and bullet construction being the others.

wanna smoke a barrel? I can do it in a few mags on my m16, brass/steel/don't care.

But in the Lucky test you despise........... it DOES matter........ the brass DIDN'T smoke the barrel.......... the steel did
.

extractor wear? was it measured in any quantitative manner? Nope

The visual was enough for me............ you No.

I have a LWRC upper that was made with cmt parts before they made their own stuff. Bolt/extractor is past 40K probably more since I quite counting.

same extractor

The point being, unless you use quantitative measurements and apply them to a similar situation then it doesn't mean shit.

There....................... I corrected all that for you................ You're welcome.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 9:04:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By insidetheten:
If this is not the right forum for this question, I appologise. Asking because I am going to be taking some training classes, and they don't allow handloads. I will be burning through probably 3-4k rounds. I hate leaving perfectly good OFB on the ground. Not to mention, poly coated steel case ammo will save some money up front. Have heard both pro and con to poly coated rounds. Can't find any empirical data to support either way. Opinions anyone?
View Quote


OP:
To answer your question directly.................... No I don't think any one has specifically looked at the wear on the chamber. I shoot Service Rifle and so have gone thru several barrels over the years. My experience has been that the barrels have worn out in the bore, not the chamber.

If you've read the back-forth so far, the bore is the question when using Russian ammo and its reliability.

My suggestion is this:

If the Russian ammo shoots well and is reliable for you.......... use it.
If as you shoot it, accuracy falls off, replace the barrel with the money you've saved.

You might check though............. some classes I've taken WILL NOT ALLOW RUSSIAN AMMO.............. (usually out of the frustrating jams that can occur).

Me personally......... I don't use Russian ammo. If I'm taking a class I want to learn the skills from the class, not how steel reacts to my chamber/bore.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 9:22:14 AM EST
I wouldn't take the chance, but that is just my opinion.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 9:24:55 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By lazyengineer:
"but my gun never jams..."

Phrase oft heard at carbine matches after a competitor shoots steel cases - and locks up with a stuck shell. I saw that shit not once, but twice to two different guys in one match - both said the same thing. The one thing in common? Both were using steel cases. None of the brass shooters had problems.

But wait, there's more - I've watched at least two people shoot steel, and then switch to brass when they want to be serious, and watch the brass jam up tight in their gunked up chamber, from their steel fouled gun.

If you want to shoot steel for cheap plinking, that's great - the prices are really good - too good to pass up! But whatever gun you shoot that in, it has to be one you are willing to accept locking up on you, at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME. If you want to transition back to brass, that's fine - clean your chamber with great vigor, and make sure you run at least 2 full mags of brass through it, before you trust it on brass. It's actually even worse, when you switch back to brass - as the gunk sticks better to brass than the steel.

Or you can be like the countless people I can immediately think of, who I personally watched over the last couple years spend an afternoon and several hours driving and a bunch of cash in gas and range/match fees to say "But my gun never jams" in front of 10 guys looking at him, while the SO is standing behind him, slowly lowering the shot timer. All while you're yanking on the back of your gun trying to get that stuck shell out.

Oh, and on a final note, everyone who quickly dismisses the Lucky Gunner test as utilizing an unrealistic rate of fire - they're partially right. Partially. And that wear on the extractor they show, was that too due to the increased barrel temperature of the high rate of fire? Hey, extractors are cheap - you bet. Sucks when they break on you when you needed it though. Again, if it's a fun-gun that you use as a range toy and don't really care - then there you go.
View Quote
From all that I have read the chamber gunk is not from the steel cases. It is because they don't expand like brass to seal the chamber. They don't seal, you go to brass, et expands and gets stuck on the fouling gunk. Although it isn't the polymer or laquer coating gunking it up, it still happens. Don't go back and forth. My friends have had nothing but bad luck doing so.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 9:29:40 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 9:34:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 6:46:36 PM EST
No. Done it many, many times.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 6:48:22 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By osprey21:
After nearly 5K rounds of bi-metal jacketed bullets.....

http://i.imgur.com/hFoM9Pt.jpg
View Quote
That is a junk, crappy barrel to do that at 5k of those rounds.
Link Posted: 7/4/2017 8:37:04 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By bfoosh06:



Frankly , I wouldn't worry to much......

How long did it take to fire those 1k rounds ? ..... thinking of barrel life in years makes it far easier to live with.

As others have said... rate of fire ( heat ) is a big part of barrel life. Blasting away with 100's of rounds rapid fire will shorted any barrels life.

At this point in time... AR parts are quite inexpensive... I have numerous spare uppers and barrels because of this. A good barrel costs as much as that cheap case of XM whatever.

Buy known quality parts, and you can expect the same accuracy in the next barrel.

All waiting for when I need them... I also used to wonder how long a barrel would last, Then I realized I should enjoy the barrels accuracy, while it lasted... and just accept that it is an expendable item.

It sounds like you take care of your stuff, so enjoy your hard work.

I don't know if that helps, but "don't sweat the little stuff"... comes to mind.
View Quote
Thanks

I'm sure it should last a while. It took around a year. I don't shoot as much as I want to. I usually don't shoot very fast. The worst I've ever done was like 90 rounds in 5-10 min blowing off some steam in my back yard. It is usually shot for accuracy from a bench or prone. I was just wondering if I should expect it to make it 3k, 5k, 10k or more. It will be suppressed next year hopefully. Then I'll shoot it more. I don't like shooting in my yard too much, neighbors.... The range I go to is 30 min away.
Link Posted: 7/5/2017 9:46:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/5/2017 9:49:41 AM EST by GaryT1776]
Last week I sold a friend / shooting / training buddy a Trijicon MRO. We went to the range to zero it on Monday. He still has the first AR he bought (a Bushmaster from 2005). Over the past 10 years, I've seen him take that Buttmaster to various high volume / multi day classes. His wife even used it for her Patrol Carbine training and kept it in her take-home LEO Patrol Car for quite a while. On Monday we conducted a 50 yard zero from an improvised rest. He was shooting five round 1" groups with Wolf 55gr Poly. I asked how many rounds the gun had through it (again, this gun was downgraded to his "training / beater" when he bought his wife a Colt for patrol and himself a midlength). He said he estimated between 6-7,000rds ... almost entirely Wolf.

I've fired between 4-5,000rds of Wolf so far this year.

I've never had a barrel shot out by Wolf (or any other ammo) if the rate-of-fire was kept reasonable.

Even if I abuse an AR and it needs a barrel after 5k....

5k Wolf = $1100
5k Brass 556 = $1700

$600 can buy an entire BCM upper receiver group or almost a complete Colt 6920 OEM1 (recently bought a dealer new OEM1 for $665).

This assumes it only takes 5,000rds to toast a barrel...which has NOT been the results I've had. My Wolf round count is in the tens of thousands of rounds. A few weeks ago I burnt through over 1400rds of Wolf in a weekend.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. For my money...I'll keep shooting Wolf and if I ever wear out a barrel, extractor, etc...I'll just buy a replacement with all of the money I saved. In fact, I may just use the savings to buy new guns.
Link Posted: 7/5/2017 9:53:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/5/2017 12:57:58 PM EST by GaryT1776]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Coble9:


Thanks

I'm sure it should last a while. It took around a year. I don't shoot as much as I want to. I usually don't shoot very fast. The worst I've ever done was like 90 rounds in 5-10 min blowing off some steam in my back yard. It is usually shot for accuracy from a bench or prone. I was just wondering if I should expect it to make it 3k, 5k, 10k or more. It will be suppressed next year hopefully. Then I'll shoot it more. I don't like shooting in my yard too much, neighbors.... The range I go to is 30 min away.
View Quote
Barrel quality and rate of fire determine longevity from my experience.

I fully expect my BCM Hammer Forged / Chrome Lined, Colt Chrome Lined, and DD Hammer Forged / Chrome Lined barrels to last well over 10k. My usual rate of fire is around 180rds in about 45 mins to an hour. I go to the range about twice a week with this firing schedule, and almost never clean my training guns. The most they get is a little Royal Purple on the BCG and perhaps a paper towel wipe down of the upper interior + BCG after every 1k +. I can't remember the last time I ran a brush through the bore of a training gun.

I routinely check the zero on my training guns (most are equipped with RDS...Aimpoint CompM4S and Trijicon MRO but one has a 2x ACOG). My preferred zero is 50 yards. I consistently achieve 1" to 1.25" TEN ROUND group using my range bag as a "rest". All but one of my training guns have LaRue MBT triggers which does help achieve acceptable accuracy. The carbine without the MBT is a 14.5" P/W BCM with BCM's PNT trigger. That particular gun is a 1.25-1.5" ten round group / 50 yards using a 2MOA Trijicon MRO RDS and a range bag sitting on a wobbly wood table or more stable concrete shooting bench.

I shoot Wolf steel case / poly coated EXCLUSIVELY for training and have for many years (probably over 10 years now...I can't remember when Wolf hit our shores...but I've been using it exclusively for training since it landed in the States).
Link Posted: 7/5/2017 8:57:58 PM EST
I just bought a case of this Wolf copper jacket steel case.
This is the road I would take if I were you, if for no other reason than piece of mind.


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zip196:
Check these out Copper clad bullets steel case

Good article about shootn steelies Mix in some brass...

I have shot a couple K of silver bear bi-metal during classes with a CL DD barrel and have no noticable difference in accuracy that I notice.
View Quote
Link Posted: 7/6/2017 7:12:59 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zip196:
Check these out Copper clad bullets steel case

Good article about shootn steelies Mix in some brass...

I have shot a couple K of silver bear bi-metal during classes with a CL DD barrel and have no noticable difference in accuracy that I notice.
View Quote
Damn I didn't even know that existed. Sounds worth it for the small bump in price. If my math is right it's about 4cent per round more than you can get regular bi-metal jacketed ammo for.
Link Posted: 7/6/2017 10:31:16 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Saddlerocker:
I just bought a case of this Wolf copper jacket steel case.
This is the road I would take if I were you, if for no other reason than piece of mind.
View Quote
I bought 500 rounds of Wolf copper jacketed/steel case ammo and have fired a few magazines full. Same point of impact as bimetal bullets at 100 yards, so no sight adjustment needed. Somewhat disappointed the groups were the same as the bimetal, 4"-5".

Based on what I've read, I'm not sure if the extra wear from the Russian ammo is solely due to the bimetal bullets, or from powder/primers, or some combination. We can argue about the Lucky Gunner test, such as how other factors would have changed results, but one thing stands out to me: the barrel firing Federal ammo, was not nearly as worn as the ones firing Russian ammo, given the same firing schedule.

I'm shooting a PSA nitride Freedom carbine-upper, with a cheap red dot and a cut-down carry handle, total cost about $350. At $80-$100 difference between Wolf steel and Wolf Gold, I calculate that if the barrel lasts 4,000 rounds, I'll consider it paid for and still have the optic, CH, handguard and maybe the BCG to use on a new barrel.

I'm using Wolf and Tula and plan to shoot 1,000-2,000 rounds this summer. At the beginning, using a red dot sight, I could get 2.7" groups with Wolf Gold. I'm about 500 rounds in and it's still grouping the same.

Firing schedule in not terribly intense, no mag dumps. At a club range, my usual routine is to set up a target at 15 yards, two at 50 and two at 100. Shoot the 15 yard target from standing, lean on a bench (the range set-up doesn't allow for prone) and shoot a 50 yard target, then one at 100, back to the other 50 and last round goes in a 100 yard target. Stand and do it again. After a magazine or two, take a break, with bolt locked back. Each firing cycle takes about 10-15 seconds. If no one is on the range, some double taps, failure drills and NSRs at 7-15 yards.

Each range session is 100-200 rounds with this rifle. Afterwards, run a cleaning patch through the barrel and oil the BCG.

I've shot the same routines with a BCM upper and an Aimpoint PRO and the groups were similar. So long as the combination of cheap upper and cheap ammo is reliable and gives similar results, I view it as a good training alternative to using an expensive upper and more costly ammo.
Link Posted: 7/8/2017 9:05:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/8/2017 9:08:39 PM EST by Caeser2001]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By airsix:
Steel cased ammo has steel in the projectile as well. After a 3-4K rounds of steel your barrel is going to be done* before you have chamber wear to worry about. So add the cost of a new barrel to your maths.



*What I consider "done" and what others consider done will vary.

http://labscdn2.luckygunner.com/labs/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Accuracy-Sunday-e1357508752680.png
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The Lucky Gunner test is complete bullshit. Nobody here is firing that many rounds in that short amount of time, except battlefield Las Vegas. I have 19K of steel case through my LMT, with multiple two day classes of 4-500 rounds each day, the barrel is nowhere near shot out.
Link Posted: 7/8/2017 9:31:06 PM EST
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Originally Posted By airsix:
Steel cased ammo has steel in the projectile as well. After a 3-4K rounds of steel your barrel is going to be done* before you have chamber wear to worry about. So add the cost of a new barrel to your maths.



*What I consider "done" and what others consider done will vary.

http://labscdn2.luckygunner.com/labs/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Accuracy-Sunday-e1357508752680.png
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That LG test isn't really the end all, be all when it comes to the discussion. Rates of fire and barrel temp play just as much a part in barrel life as bullet construction does.

3-4K rounds over a couple days will result in much less wear than 10k rounds over the course of a few hours.

In any case, many people have guns that shoot exclusively bi-metal jacketed projectiles with round counts well north of 3-4k and they still shoot just fine.
Link Posted: 7/21/2017 6:50:20 PM EST
Case material is essentially irrelevant. Hornady's excellent line of steel cased ammunition uses Barnaul-made Berdan primed steel cases, and you're not going to see anybody rending their garments about Hornady ammo destroying their guns. (That's mild sarcasm there...but it's true.)

Where it counts, within the chamber, the steel in cartridge cases is as soft as brass, and as such cannot wear your chamber any more than brass does. The steel of the case body MUST be soft in order to seal the chamber at all.

You MIGHT wear out an extractor in fewer rounds because of steel cases, but I would guess that it would be in 10,000 rather than 15,000 rounds of brass cased ammunition. Lucky Gunner's testing was also done with a very "lax" cleaning concept, and it's quite common for steel cased ammunition to cause gunk buildup in chambers - which is easily dealt with by simply cleaning the chamber. Sticking cases put WAY more stress on extractors, so how much of their "more frequent failures" was due to "hygiene issues" and how much of it was due to the case material? We'll probably never know.

Research by US military ammunition plants points to flame erosion as being far more significant in barrel wear than ANYTHING else, including tests with US-made bimetal bullets. The M80 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition spec calls for either traditional brass jacketed bullets OR copper washed/plated steel jacketed bullets; the ammunition plant guys had plenty of stuff to work with, so they weren't just theorizing on this.

With that said, most steel cased ammunition available here is made in Russia, with various brands having widely differing levels of consistency and reliability. For example, Barnaul-made ammunition has been extremely consistent and reliable for me, whether in the form of "Monarch Steel" .223 and 9mm, Barnaul-labeled 7.62x39 and .223, or other Barnaul-made label. Barnaul makes Hornady's steel cases, as I mentioned earlier, and I think Hornady did a lot of research before they settled on their products.

Finally, NO Russian made, steel cased ammunition sold in the US is made to even the same accuracy requirements as the bulk M193 or M855 made by the billions of rounds by Lake City. Those are both essentially required to meet or exceed a maximum 4MOA accuracy standard (it's worded differently in the two specs, but it works out to be pretty much the same thing).

I would expect that for basic "trigger time" practice ammunition, steel cased stuff would be OK, and I've used this kind of ammunition for exactly that purpose. But handloaded .223 can be made for a lot less per round than even the cheapest steel cased stuff (after a not-too-harsh initial investment in equipment), and it can be made to be VERY accurate, even with bulk components. If you seriously want to save money in a cost-per-round sense, this is the most effective way to do it.
Link Posted: 7/21/2017 8:15:29 PM EST
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Originally Posted By GHPorter: But handloaded .223 can be made for a lot less per round than even the cheapest steel cased stuff (after a not-too-harsh initial investment in equipment), and it can be made to be VERY accurate, even with bulk components. If you seriously want to save money in a cost-per-round sense, this is the most effective way to do it.
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I wouldn't say a lot less. And in most cases (no pun intended) no less, you MIGHT break even maybe save a few bucks if you don't factor in the cost of the equipment and if you already have brass laying around waiting to be reloaded. The last time I did the math on reloading .223 it was going to be 19-22 cent a round even if I had brass already on hand. Considering I can get steel cased ammo for 21-22 cents a round right now and factoring in my time, equipment costs ect ect. You're not saving anything and are probably actually spending more than just buying something like Barnaul or Wolf. Even if I was saving 2 cents a round I'd have to reload 10,000 rounds to even save 200 dollars which isn't going to pay for the equipment in most cases.

I've got the equipment and components to reload but I haven't reloaded anything in about 6 months because I'm buying steel cased for just as cheap as I could reload for.
Link Posted: 7/22/2017 7:47:11 PM EST
How about "you can hand load .223 rounds that are suited to your needs and tweaked for your rifle(s) for a lot less than finding commercial rounds that are close to that."

Really, once you think of loading equipment as a "hobby expense," and the time to do the loading as "hobby time," the cost winds up being just for components. Compared to bulk, brass cased ammunition, I can still put together rounds for about 7¢ to 10¢ per round less than what I can buy - as long as I've purchased wisely and in bulk.

As an example, bulk Hornady 55 grain .224 FMJs are around 8¢ each (even Winchester bullets - which aren't up to Hornady's quality - cost at least 9¢). Small rifle primers are around 2.5¢. Hodgdon's 335 is about 7¢ per 25 grains (when bought in 8 pound jugs). That's 19.5¢ per round, assuming you're using brass on hand. Lucky Gunner has Wolf WPA 55 grain .223 (steel cased, Berdan primed with bimetal bullets) for 21.8¢ per round. That's a savings of $23/k rounds, getting you higher quality components with as much precision as you put into the process.

Anyway, enough of the sidebar. "Quality" steel cased, Russian made ammunition is not the bargain it seems when you factor in the maximum accuracy you're likely to see from it, but (as long as it isn't Tula) it can be a useful choice if you don't hand load.
Link Posted: 7/23/2017 10:29:08 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/23/2017 10:09:11 PM EST
Shockingly good thread. Keep it up.
Link Posted: 7/24/2017 12:28:30 AM EST
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Originally Posted By jeepinbanditrider:


Damn I didn't even know that existed. Sounds worth it for the small bump in price. If my math is right it's about 4cent per round more than you can get regular bi-metal jacketed ammo for.
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That is interesting to get the "cost effectiveness of Steel Cased - without the accelerated barrel wear of 'Bi-Metallic' bullets"
Link Posted: 7/24/2017 4:38:31 PM EST
Also, I think its important to remember that the timing of the system is important re steel extraction success, where longer gas systems allow the steel case more time to contract.
Link Posted: 7/31/2017 8:39:30 AM EST
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Originally Posted By bfoosh06:

How long did it take to fire those 1k rounds ? ..... thinking of barrel life in years makes it far easier to live with.
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Excellent point.

I have a Ruger Mini-14 that was purchased in 1979 which still has had less than 2,000 rounds through it.

Barrel wear will be a concern for my heirs, not me.
Link Posted: 7/31/2017 12:16:20 PM EST
Chamber wear? No.

As to the age old argument over steel cases. You want to know the fastest way to get a steel case to lock up in the chamber?

Don't heat treat it right. If they are a few points to soft, that's it, they will seize up in the chamber.

Some of the most reliable guns in the military inventories use exclusively steel cased ammunition. Very high quality manufactured steel cased ammunition.

Now, Russian steel cased ammunition is very inexpensive. Anyone care to guess about how well the quality control is on the heat treating of the cases? The price of materials is fixed, so where can you trim the budget to save a few pennies a round?

Brass is more forgiving in terms of harness, as long as the head is not annealed at some point, the worst you normally expect from poor quality brass cases is a split neck. Similar inattention to the heat treatment of steel cases will lead to loss of "springiness" of the steel, and stuck cases.
Link Posted: 8/5/2017 6:27:31 PM EST
The chamber doesn't wear. Cases, steel or brass will have no real impact on the gun; the bullets will. bi-metal (steel jacketed) bullets are rougher on rifling than softer copper jackets.
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