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Old 01-09-2013, 12:37   #1
lucky-gunner
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40,000 Round Brass vs. Steel Ammo Torture Test

The question of brass vs. steel ammunition has spawned a seemingly never-ending debate from new and seasoned shooters alike. Our team at Lucky Gunner Labs took 4 brand-new AR-15 carbines and a total of 40,000 rounds of 55 grain FMJ ammunition from Federal, Wolf, Tula, and Brown Bear out to the Arizona desert for an epic brass vs. steel ammo torture test to try and scientifically settle this debate once and for all.

Scroll down for a written summary of our test, click here for our 2-minute video summary, or go read the full test results at Lucky Gunner Labs by clicking here.

Our Test Tools:
Our Test Methodology (Full Summary):
  • We paired each ammunition type with a specific Bushmaster AR-15 and then fired all 10,000 rounds of it through that particular carbine.
  • We systematically observed and tested various things, including:
    • At the start: accuracy, velocity, chamber and gas port pressures, chamber cast
    • After 2,000 rounds: accuracy, velocity
    • After 4,000 rounds: accuracy, velocity
    • After 5,000 rounds: throat erosion, chamber cast
    • After 6,000 rounds: accuracy, velocity
    • After 8,000 rounds: accuracy, velocity
    • After 10,000 rounds: accuracy, velocity, chamber and gas port pressures, throat erosion, extractor wear, chamber cast, barrel wear
  • We logged every malfunction of every rifle-ammo combination.
  • We cleaned each rifle according to a preset schedule and temperatures were monitored and kept within acceptable limits.
  • We sectioned the barrels and otherwise made unique observations after the test was complete.

Our Test Results For Reliability (Full Summary):
  • 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).

Our Test Results For Cost (Full Summary):
  • Federal's brass rounds performed the best but certain brands of steel-cased ammo are most cost-effective, even after factoring in the cost of replacement barrels. Click here to read more.

Full Report Summary (including an overview video, pictures, methodology, and full findings): Click Here To View

And most importantly, next time you're engaged in this age-old "brass vs. steel" debate, use the 40,000 rounds of ammo we put down-range in our test to back up your position!

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/bras...el-cased-ammo/
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Old 01-09-2013, 14:23   #2
triggerjerk
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Great test.

It would be interesting to see the same test applied to AK variants to see what happens to those weapons' barrels.
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Old 01-09-2013, 14:59   #3
catalyst686
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Awesome test!
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Old 01-09-2013, 15:05   #4
Tiro Fijo
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I bet that if they did that test before the lastest panic they wish they had that ammo back to sell.
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Old 01-09-2013, 15:34   #5
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Federal wins, for sure.
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Old 01-09-2013, 15:51   #6
Tarowah
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Fantastic tests! I have always wanted to have enough cash to buy 3-4 Glock 17s and do the same kind of thing, but the wife (and bank account) says it isnt going to happen.
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Old 01-09-2013, 16:05   #7
KennyFSU
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Awesome info, thanks.


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Old 01-09-2013, 16:51   #8
orangeride
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Did you guys see any erosion of the bolt face around the primer area? I've read that shooting steel can be harder on the bolt face.
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Old 01-09-2013, 19:00   #9
SCmasterblaster
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I wonder

how many barrels they wore out?
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:50   #10
HKLovingIT
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Fantastic job!
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Old 01-10-2013, 13:35   #11
SCmasterblaster
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The ammo must have cost a fortune!!!
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Old 01-10-2013, 13:56   #12
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I will keep using brass cased and copper jacketed ammo, it looks like.
Great test.
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Old 01-10-2013, 15:33   #13
Fear Night
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That is very impressive that the Federal ammo went 10k rounds without a single malfunction.
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Old 01-13-2013, 19:06   #14
SCmasterblaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Night View Post
That is very impressive that the Federal ammo went 10k rounds without a single malfunction.
That's correct. Federal gets my vote.
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Old 01-13-2013, 20:08   #15
vafish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCmasterblaster View Post
how many barrels they wore out?
Two

posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:03   #16
SCmasterblaster
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Quote:
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Two

posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
Just two? I would think four or five.
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