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Posted: 6/16/2009 9:23:23 PM EST
I've seen tons of "steel cased" threads and I've been reading the ammo oracle but I've yet to find out if it's true that steel cased ammo is harder on unlined barrels. Can someone shed some light on this?
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 9:26:24 PM EST
No, the steel cases are just a hair harder than brass but nothing like barrel steel. Steel cases are made from a low carbon, plain steel of fine grain. Barrels are made of high strength chrome moly or 416R stainless. Both have about 3 times the yield strenght as steel cases and are much harder.

Link Posted: 6/17/2009 10:40:05 AM EST
OK Thanks
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:00:11 AM EST
Unless the steel case is going down the barrel, I don't see what effect the case would have on the barrel at all.

Steel jacketed ammunition, now that's a different story. But I don't even know if that's made in 223.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:21:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/17/2009 11:27:10 AM EST by USMC-Helo]
Seen arguments that 5.56 was designed to use brass cases, the different properties of the steel cases can create some problems in feeding and extracting. Weapons designed/developed for steel case ammo, like the AK-47 design the chambers and rounds slightly differently to account for the different properties and use the steel cases more reliably.

You can argue, if it was tough on the barrel it would be from feed/extract problems, if you encountered them. Lots of posts and other AR owners I spoke to, some AR's feed/extract steel cases fine, other don't, they get stuck. Speculation is, some have tighter chambers other have looser, and the different properties of the steel will make a difference in the tighter chambers.

Steel cases have to be coated with something to prevent corrosion/rust, used to be lacquer that would come off and build up in the chambers. Now Wolf is using Polymer to coat the steel cases, supposedly works better, but its still possible to get coating coming off and building up in the chamber. That's another argument why it could be tough on a barrel, the build of the coating from the steel case, NOT only causes more stuck cases, but getting wedged between case and chamber wall and abrading the chamber wall as rounds are fed/extracted.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:24:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/17/2009 11:25:48 AM EST by lamarbrog]

Originally Posted By JamesP81:
Unless the steel case is going down the barrel, I don't see what effect the case would have on the barrel at all.

Steel jacketed ammunition, now that's a different story. But I don't even know if that's made in 223.

It is.... S&B uses steel jacketed bullets. So does WOLF, and Brown Bear.





PS: Buy some ammo, and see what works. Most ARs will either run 100% with it, just like with brass, or they become practically bolt action.


If you clean properly, it won't cause you any problems.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:32:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/17/2009 11:39:42 AM EST by USMC-Helo]
The bi-metal jacketed rounds? That's what your talking about? Yes, I think there is very mild steel in it, with a sheet of copper alloy over the top and fused together, its suppose to be soft enough NOT to do damage, but it "seems" that some rifling can cut deep enough to pass the copper and into the soft steel. From what I read, most people agree it the solid copper jacket is better and will wear the barrel less than the copper alloy and soft steel under jacket, that may or may not ever touch the bore or rifling.

A chrome lined barrel, the harder smoother chrome wears slower and less fouling sticks to it. So, might be its less a case of steel cased or bi-metal jacket ammo being harder on non-chrome lined barrels, and more of a case of steel cased or bi-metal jacket bullets being cheap ammo that is tougher on any barrel, the chrome lining makes the barrel last a little longer and may help fight the wear more with these rounds.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 11:52:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By USMC-Helo:
The bi-metal jacketed rounds? That's what your talking about? Yes, I think there is very mild steel in it, with a sheet of copper alloy over the top and fused together, its suppose to be soft enough NOT to do damage, but it "seems" that some rifling can cut deep enough to pass the copper and into the soft steel. From what I read, most people agree it the solid copper jacket is better and will wear the barrel less than the copper alloy and soft steel under jacket, that may or may not ever touch the bore or rifling.

A chrome lined barrel, the harder smoother chrome wears slower and less fouling sticks to it. So, might be its less a case of steel cased or bi-metal jacket ammo being harder on non-chrome lined barrels, and more of a case of steel cased or bi-metal jacket bullets being cheap ammo that is tougher on any barrel, the chrome lining makes the barrel last a little longer and may help fight the wear more with these rounds.

Bullets I've recovered from ballistics gelatin in 7.62x39mm have shown that the rifling does cut through the copper... Just slightly.

I haven't been able to recover any 5.56MM bullets from gelatin that have a steel jacket... they do not fragment, and the tumbling causes them to exit the side of the target...


Chrome is awesome.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 12:19:54 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 1:13:11 PM EST
Steel cased ammo will not hurt the chamber as its a mild steel and does not expand like brass.As far as bullet jacket the copper seems to be just as thick on wolf as it is on lake city.I dont know about other ammo but wolf bullets seem to have a thick enough jacket.Are you talking bullet jacket or like I assume the steel case it self.I have some UMC steel cased .45 ammo from WW2...shoots fine in my 1911.
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