Steel-cased Ammo

By Caleb published on in Ammunition

At Gun Nuts Media, I have a post talking about Hornady Steel Match ammunition.  This ammo is available from Cheaper Than Dirt in 9mm,  .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, and .308 Winchester.  Now, the debate about steel-cased ammo has raged on the Internet for as long as I can remember, with opinions that vary from “never use steel ammo” to “I use it all the time” and everything in between.  I’ve known shooters who would use steel-cased ammo in certain guns but not others; I know people who say “never use it in Glocks”, and so on.  The issue is that if you shoot a lot, it’s kind of hard to argue with less than $9.00 a box for 9mm ammo from our friends in Russia.

Tula 115 grain 9mm ammo: $8.69 for a box of 50

So what do you say?  Do you run steel-cased ammo through your guns, pistols and rifles?  Or would you not touch the stuff with a 10-foot pole?  Add in to that the fact that many indoor ranges prohibit the use of steel-cased ammunition as it messes with their recycling contracts for brass, and the equation becomes even more complicated.  I think one of the big issues that I have with the “anti” steel-cased crowd is that to my knowledge no one has ever done a truly high round count with steel-cased stuff to see if it actually increases wear and tear on guns.  I’d like to see someone take a Glock 17 or other modern production firearm, and run 20,000 rounds of steel-cased ammo through it, and compare the wear and tear to a gun that’s had 20,000 rounds of brass-cased ammo.  Would it be different?  Hard to know unless we do the shooting.

For me, I’ll keep using steel-cased ammo.  Sure, I can only use it at outdoor ranges, but that’s fine with me.  Sound off in comments—are you for or against using ammo in a steel case?

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Comments (26)

  • J.A.C.

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    i have tried wolf .380 in a pk380 and it would not even chamber. I have two friends that have the same gun and it would not chamber in theirs either. result for me was money wasted. so, for me, once burned = never again for any caliber.

    Reply

  • D. Jones

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    I have just bought a Bushmaster Carbine 15, and I have shot nothing but 1000 rounds of steel ammo. I have not had any problems at all. I tried 5 different types of magazines, each preform smooth. I just tore it down to thoroughly clean. Everything is fine besides the normal debris after firing 1000 rounds continuously. I believe steel is fine, but accuracy is not as good. Usually I will have 1 out 6 or so, that maybe and inch off at 100 yards, but for the price they are great to shoot.

    Reply

  • James Hoffman

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    Steel or Brass, in most of my firearms I typically run steel case, tula or Wolf in 9mm Para, 7.62X39mm, 7.62X54R, the steel cased ammo ran better in my Walther P-1 without any problems whereas the brass cased Remington UMC was so inconsistent in manufacture it fouled up every time! the steel case ammo is dirtier but runs fine! for those who have trouble with steel cases (mostly AR guns), Clean your gun! and for the AR owners check your extractor/ gas tube timing, that causes 100% of your extraction problems! The shorter M-4’s are notorious for this, just as Brass cased ammo are known to case head separation in a AK! If you are having extractor case issues check your gun’s Chamber, carbon fouling or a rough champer will jam steel and brass case ammo in any gun. I would use Steel case for plinking any day! except for my K-31 (no-one makes 7.5X55mm swiss in steel case), AK’s, SKS, bolt guns like a Mauser or the Mosin Nagant actions, will shoot steel case all day, I would suggest running steel cased ammo in any H&K G3 series of rifle (due to the fluted chamber! which destroys brass so why waste the money if reloading brass is not an option?). Check your guns owner’s manual, a good gun should be able to shoot any case: brass, steel or Aluminum!

    Reply

  • itsinurhead

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    STEEL DOESN’T HURT YOUR GUN.
    Your extractor is made of STRONG STRONG STEEL and the steel cased ammo is made of very soft steel so they can shape it and whatnot. There is no way physically possible that it could wear out the extractor!!
    THE REAL REASON steel cased ammo isn’t allowed in ranges is MONEY. THEY MAKE MONEY OFF THE BRASS. PERIOD. THAT is the main reason. All this “causes fire” junk is just that- GARBAGE. LIE.
    In alot of ways (in other countries) steel ammo is HIGH QUALITY. It works just fine, and it’s ridiculous to say it’s dirty.
    They DO NOT DAMAGE YOUR GUN. QUIT USING THAT LAME EXCUSE.
    The only think bad that is said about steel ammo that is SOMEWHAT TRUE is when Wolf used lacquer on the outsides of their cases- AKs shot them fine but ARs (finicky girl gun) got the paint hot and melted the lacquer on the case causing it to get stuck in the chamber. You have to use the barrel rod to pop it loose. AKs feed them normally just like THEY ALWAYS DO.
    STEEL AMMO IS JUST FINE DON’T BE AFRAID OF IT. I’M SPEAKING FROM YEARS AND YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND COMBAT BACKGROUND.
    It’s just fear mongering on the part of ranges and people that MAKE MONEY OFF YOUR BRASS SHELLS!
    WHEN I USE BRASS AT A RANGE I KEEP MY SHELLS. THEY MAKE ENOUGH MONEY OFF ME THEY’RE NOT GETTING MY BRASS!

    Reply

  • Chaplain Dave

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    I have used Tula in my Saigas. .223 and 7.62. No problem at all. In my Ruger LC9 it worked without any fte or ftf. I tried it in my Hi-Point 9mm. When the gun was new, it did not work at all. After a couple hundred rounds of brass, it worked well enough that I had no problem at the range. I would not depend on that combination for a self defense situation. My ATI 1911 runs almost exclusively with it and has had no problems whatsoever. No problem shooting the steel cased ammo at Lemoore Sportsman Club, as the only restrictions there are tracers and explosive rounds.

    Reply

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