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Posted: 5/26/2003 8:01:14 AM EDT
Ok, got what I think is a good question here. Excluding the Wolf lacquered ammo (that is entirely another issue), what are peoples opinions/facts on the benefits of either brass or steel cased over the other?
Link Posted: 5/26/2003 8:48:47 PM EDT
Steel is cheaper to manufacture than brass, therefore steel cased ammo will normally be cheaper than brass cased ammo. Recent, commercial brass cased ammo are normally loaded with boxer primers. With a few exceptions, steel cased ammo are normally berdan-primed and are therefore non-reloadable.
Link Posted: 5/26/2003 9:20:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Roentgen: Steel is cheaper to manufacture than brass, therefore steel cased ammo will normally be cheaper than brass cased ammo. Recent, commercial brass cased ammo are normally loaded with boxer primers. With a few exceptions, steel cased ammo are normally berdan-primed and are therefore non-reloadable.
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Maybe I should expand on this: - Steel, as a material is much cheaper than brass due to the copper content required to make brass. As a Process - Steel cases are much more expensive to make since the tooling must be much heavier and has a shorter service life before requiring replacement. But where labor is cheap, the high cost of tooling and production methods is minimal compared to the cost (or just availability) of the raw materials.
Link Posted: 5/28/2003 10:44:40 PM EDT
Brass can be reloaded very easily. Steel can’t.
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 9:15:14 AM EDT
A guy at the range had a Essential Arms EA15... Always shot the laquer coated stuff and did not tend to the rifle like he should... Got to the point where the rifle would not extract for shit... As you could imagine, the chamber was coated with laquer. He did not know about a chamger brush. After I helped him clean out the chamber and testing it with a round she was clean. Slid in and out like well you get the picture... But she still failed to extract.. I noticed the extractor was quite worn and the bolt was quite sloppy in the carrier. I swapped out the bolt carrier and she fired, but noticed when I took out the carrier back out, it had alot of aluminium markings on the side of it. I looked at the buffer tube and you could see where the bolt carrier had pounded against the end of the tube.. So I took a good jacknife and "deburred" the end of the buffer tube.. So, this is what was happening.... Bad cleaning habits, allowed for a laquer build up. The case would get stuck and the extractor would slip around the case and the whole carrier assy would bang around, beating up the end of the buffer tube. Cost him a new bolt carrier and I showed him how to clean the rifle. Do you want to use steel cased ammo? If you know how to clean it and don't mind changing extractors from time time, go for it. If it was my rifle, no....
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 10:51:33 AM EDT
Originally Posted By pickupdan: A guy at the range had a Essential Arms EA15... Always shot the laquer coated stuff and did not tend to the rifle like he should... Got to the point where the rifle would not extract for shit... As you could imagine, the chamber was coated with laquer. He did not know about a chamger brush. After I helped him clean out the chamber and testing it with a round she was clean. Slid in and out like well you get the picture... But she still failed to extract.. I noticed the extractor was quite worn and the bolt was quite sloppy in the carrier. I swapped out the bolt carrier and she fired, but noticed when I took out the carrier back out, it had alot of aluminium markings on the side of it. I looked at the buffer tube and you could see where the bolt carrier had pounded against the end of the tube.. So I took a good jacknife and "deburred" the end of the buffer tube.. So, this is what was happening.... Bad cleaning habits, allowed for a laquer build up. The case would get stuck and the extractor would slip around the case and the whole carrier assy would bang around, beating up the end of the buffer tube. Cost him a new bolt carrier and I showed him how to clean the rifle. Do you want to use steel cased ammo? If you know how to clean it and don't mind changing extractors from time time, go for it. If it was my rifle, no....
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Thanks. But I specifically was EXCLUDING lacquered coated ammo. "Excluding the Wolf lacquered ammo (that is entirely another issue)"
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 11:03:31 AM EDT
They make steel cased non laquered ammo? Are you refering to the nickel plated stuff?
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 11:09:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By pickupdan: They make steel cased non laquered ammo? Are you refering to the nickel plated stuff?
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Correct. The new Silver Bear ammo is steel cased and zinc plated (very similar to nickel plated). This stops rust but prevents the problems you get with laquered ammo.
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 3:59:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2003 4:02:20 PM EDT by Agcsy]
Its pretty much been proven that the lacquer doesnt not come off the case due to heat and normal operation of the rifle. What caused the problems was the red sealant used on the bullet. Wolf has sinced stopped using it. I have shot 3k+ rounds of wolf through a bushmaster 16" chromed and through a 20" ss hbar. I have not had one single jam or fte. I have had failures with both xm193 and q3131a. My extractor looks like its almost new and i dont clean my rifles every time i fire them and they work fine. Try scraping some lacquer off a shell. I have and its almost impossible to get off without shaving off portions of the casing with it. If you apply the same force to a brass casing you are going to have little shavings of brass also so its almost a moot point. Buy some wolf if your rifle shoots it buy more enjoy. I have shot 500 rounds of silver bear that i ordered from aim. In my opinion its just shiny wolf.
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 4:23:49 PM EDT
Go brass.
Link Posted: 5/30/2003 5:53:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2003 5:53:33 PM EDT by DaPhotoGuy]
Originally Posted By Agcsy: I have shot 500 rounds of silver bear that i ordered from aim. In my opinion its just shiny wolf.
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That's good to know. But I've heard too many horror stories about Wolf to trust my brand new DPMS to it. Maybe is I start hearing praises from eveyone that's used it for a few months I'll think about getting some Wolf.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 3:43:25 PM EDT
Here's something I learned in geology class, it's called the moe's hardness scale. Some rocks are harder than other, the same is true with metal. Correct me if I am wrong but wont using steel cased ammunition tear the S$%T out of your brass deflector. For that reason alone I think I will pay the few pennies more for the brass stuff unless I am shooting a Romanian Sar-3
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 5:44:52 PM EDT
im on my 8th case of wolf ammo, i have been using it for about 3 years with no problems. i shoot it in my SKS and my two bushmasters with no complaints. 6000 rounds have been through my ARs with no more wear than usual, my brass deflector isnt hardly even scratched. i also have two friends with ARs and they shoot wolf also, they both have bushmasters and havent seen any problems at all. silver bear ammo is ok also, ive shot around 500 rounds of that stuff with no problems. if you reload it might be nice to buy brass cased since you can reuse it, but its a bitch to pick it up after a day of shooting. i use steel cased ammo for general plinking and brass mil spec stuff for accuracy needs, i also keep some mil spec ammo around for a rainy day. if you can afford to shoot the mil spec ammo all the time go ahead, but the steel cased stuff works good enough for general plinking and killing things like water bottles and household appliances.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 6:24:46 PM EDT
If steel is stronger than brass, could it be loaded to higher pressures without creating a hazard?
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 6:59:08 PM EDT
[thinking]And in a SHTF situation you could also melt the steel cases back down and make nails out of them to throw in the road to slow down the guys chasin' ya.[jump]
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 7:14:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2003 7:14:37 PM EDT by DaPhotoGuy]
Originally Posted By D348: If steel is stronger than brass, could it be loaded to higher pressures without creating a hazard?
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Though I don't know the answer to your question, but I think it's a good one. Hmmmmmmmm . . .
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 8:56:48 PM EDT
Since brass is softer than steel, brass should give a better gas seal between the case and the chamber and result in less leakage.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 9:09:05 PM EDT
Steel will result in more wear to every part that it comes in contact with. Steel on steel means that both parts will wear. Steel on brass means that most of the wear will be on the brass, since it is the softer of the 2.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 9:17:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery: Steel will result in more wear to every part that it comes in contact with. Steel on steel means that both parts will wear. Steel on brass means that most of the wear will be on the brass, since it is the softer of the 2.
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I'm no expert in this, but I believe you are forgetting the fact that there are many different hardness's of steel. Steel can be VERY soft or VERY hard. Your chamber and bolt are made of very hard steel. Steel cases are made of a very soft steel. Most of the wear would still be on the case.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 10:29:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DaPhotoGuy: I'm no expert in this, but I believe you are forgetting the fact that there are many different hardness's of steel. Steel can be VERY soft or VERY hard. Your chamber and bolt are made of very hard steel. Steel cases are made of a very soft steel. Most of the wear would still be on the case.
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No you are right, but soft steel is still harder than brass. But the life of those other parts will be shortened. I'll also point out that USGI AR-15/M16 mags are aluminum.
Link Posted: 5/31/2003 10:58:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2003 11:02:15 PM EDT by Not_A_Llama]
British mags are steel, and so are the new HK ones... what was the argument, BTW? The point about steel casings tearing up your brass deflector doesn't relate to hardness (scratch resistance); it's a point of impact resistance, and brass vs. steel doesn't really matter, unless the elasticities of brass vs. steel vary significantly. I should also note that it's Mo[b]h[/b]'s hardness scale. Also, its really just the finish that gets eaten; brass or otherwise. The deflector itself is rather large,a nd will not really degrade in time. The fix in any case is a piece of electrical tape. As for myself, I've used several thousand rounds of Wolf and a little more elbowgrease. In the process, I've saved a couple hundred dollars, had ZERO ammo related problems, and I shoot without guilt. As to the original point, I believe some countries in WWII were using uncoated steel cases rather extensively, where it was found that steel casings had little effect on the guns, but severely degraded the machinery.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 5:26:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DaPhotoGuy:
Originally Posted By pickupdan: They make steel cased non laquered ammo? Are you refering to the nickel plated stuff?
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Correct. The new Silver Bear ammo is steel cased and zinc plated (very similar to nickel plated). This stops rust but prevents the problems you get with laquered ammo.
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Also, some steel cased ammo comes "copper washed" where the whole loaded round is the same copper color. Most all the steel cased 7.62x54R & 7.62x25 Tokarev I've shot has came this way.
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 7:36:33 AM EDT
Will have to pick up some and try the Silver Bear... Thanks...
Link Posted: 6/1/2003 10:18:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RiffRandall:
Originally Posted By DaPhotoGuy:
Originally Posted By pickupdan: They make steel cased non laquered ammo? Are you refering to the nickel plated stuff?
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Correct. The new Silver Bear ammo is steel cased and zinc plated (very similar to nickel plated). This stops rust but prevents the problems you get with laquered ammo.
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Also, some steel cased ammo comes "copper washed" where the whole loaded round is the same copper color. Most all the steel cased 7.62x54R & 7.62x25 Tokarev I've shot has came this way.
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Really? Do you know of any inexpensive "copper washed" ammo in .223?
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 6:36:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/2/2003 6:39:33 AM EDT by Ohio]
DaPhotoGuy, are you "Ray"? Anyway, steel cases do not appreciably wear on a gun (excluding possibly the extractor issue). The chamber pressure is a static pressure; the extraction pressure is after the pressure has released so there isn't as much "push" against the chamber. Steel has more "bounce" than brass, so it actually grips the chamber walls a little less than the brass cases. If you reload the steel cases, you need to be more careful and thorough in lubing them, else you will wear your dies early. Steel cases can indeed theoretically take more pressure than brass. I would not try to take advantage of it in a semi-auto system where casehead-thrust might be a serious issue; the greater pressure strength would NOT mitigate the greater casehead-thrust, causing greater stress on the bolt and lugs. Larry [edited to add] And no, I haven't seen any copper-washed steel 5.56. Maybe Tula or Izhvesk need to tool up for this!! It is an excellent compromise; saving wear yet adding the strength of steel. Silver bear is a separate company from Wolf or Barn Owl; made in the Low-Voltage Equipment plant (!!).
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 6:43:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Ohio: DaPhotoGuy, are you "Ray"?
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I'm not sure what you mean but my name is Phil, not Ray. See my website at [url]http://midwestglamour.0catch.com[/url] Thank you for the very good information on Steel Cases.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 6:54:37 AM EDT
On another reloading list I belong to I have a friend that goes by PhotographerRay that is into steel cases. We both regulalry reload them, as well as experiment with other "different", non-mainstream reloading styles. We research and observe safety, not do stupid things; but we try the old myths once in a while. I thought you might be him. We have gotten help from structural engineers, metallurgists, etc. in researching the behavior of steel in this environment, versus brass. I *think* I understand the extractor wear issue, but I'm not confident enough without testing to proclaim the issue. Larry
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 3:36:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/3/2003 3:36:39 PM EDT by JustL00king]
Case's expand to seal the chamber under the heat and pressure of the round going off. The case will be stuck in there real good, and it's the job of the extractor to rip the case out. The brass cases are soft enough that it won't dammage the extractor or chamber of your gun. The steel cases you will get a ton of wear and tear on your extractor and chamber. With brass you would get a broken case, then you just use a broken case extractor. With steel you will have a broken extractor and/or dammaged bolt.
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 3:40:38 PM EDT
When I think of all the times I have smashed a round in the mag because I diden't pull the charging handle back far enough, Im glad I only use brass.
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 3:44:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/3/2003 3:44:52 PM EDT by Ohio]
But steel will shrink back down more than brass; so they aren't really any worse; that's the word on larger cases. I wonder if the smaller diameter of this case might not make a difference. The worst cases I have seen in the 7.62x54 to get out were soft brass; they stick tight! Copper washed steel cases were the easiest; lacquered steel or normal brass about the same. BUT; the lacqer in some of the old Russian/Albanian ammo would really foul the chamber. After shooting that ammo a brass case (cools faster than steel) would jam like no-one's business! The more I look at how it works, the more I think the smaller diameter case would reduce the effectiveness of the steel springback; making it jam worse. As a percentage the shrinkage would be greatly reduced in this little case. That would explain some other things as well.
Link Posted: 6/5/2003 6:08:27 PM EDT
When condsidering wear of steel casings on the extractor and chamber, remember that its the lacquer, which is softer than brass, that takes the brunt of the contact.
Link Posted: 6/5/2003 6:45:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By HeavyMetal: When condsidering wear of steel casings on the extractor and chamber, remember that its the lacquer, which is softer than brass, that takes the brunt of the contact.
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Of course, at the begining of this thread I specified I wasn't interesed in the lacquer debate. [b]"Excluding the Wolf lacquered ammo (that is entirely another issue), "[/b]
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