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40,000 Round Brass vs. Steel Ammo Torture Test

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by lucky-gunner, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. lucky-gunner

    lucky-gunner

    327
    0
    Oct 5, 2009
    USA
    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/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/
     
  2. triggerjerk

    triggerjerk

    1,459
    51
    Dec 19, 2000
    Great test.

    It would be interesting to see the same test applied to AK variants to see what happens to those weapons' barrels.
     


  3. Tiro Fijo

    Tiro Fijo

    6,281
    7
    May 31, 2011
    I bet that if they did that test before the lastest panic they wish they had that ammo back to sell. :whistling: :supergrin:
     
  4. Tarowah

    Tarowah

    954
    0
    Mar 2, 2009
    Greensboro, NC
    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.
     
  5. KennyFSU

    KennyFSU What to wear...

    1,838
    19
    Mar 14, 2011
    Florida
    Awesome info, thanks.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. orangeride

    orangeride

    575
    15
    Oct 19, 2011
    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.
     
  7. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    24,199
    2,170
    Sep 15, 2003
    WA
    I will keep using brass cased and copper jacketed ammo, it looks like.
    Great test.
     
  8. Fear Night

    Fear Night NRA Life Member

    2,865
    2
    Dec 18, 2005
    Sweet Home Alabama
    That is very impressive that the Federal ammo went 10k rounds without a single malfunction.
     
  9. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    18,125
    617
    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    That's correct. Federal gets my vote.
     
  10. Two

    posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
     
  11. SCmasterblaster

    SCmasterblaster Millennium Member

    18,125
    617
    Sep 24, 1999
    Hartford, Vermont
    Just two? I would think four or five. :cool: