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steel case ammo question

Discussion in 'Black Rifle Forum' started by atl3axj, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. atl3axj


    Oct 15, 2010
    i like to shoot a lot and don't reload, so I have to shoot cheapest ammo I can buy which happens to be Wolf steel case.
    Are there any negative consequences of using this ammo in AR? There seems to be 2 schools of though some people swear that they'd never use it and others say it's fine. What is the verdict on here? Any reliability issues? Added wear/tear on the gun?
    I'll be shooting it out of the Spike's middy and possibly PSA middy upper?
  2. I think it's fine, as long as your gun likes it. My ar will not shoot it, flat refuses to.

  3. Sierra

    Sierra Millennium Member

    Jan 23, 1999
    Portland, OR
    I have shot a lot of Wolf and without any problems. It does stink and is suppose to be hard on the ejector but seems to work fine. Lately, I have been reading that it is underpowered but I have not seen any chrono numbers.
  4. gunsmoke92


    Jul 22, 2005
    Rigby, Idaho
    I've shot it before without too many problems. The three most prevalent problems are wear on the extractor and ejector, and the lacquer coating heating to the point of melting and gumming up the chamber. The newer Wolf cases are coated with more of a polymer and less problematic than the older stuff. Wolf also makes ammo loaded in brass that is better and still reasonably inexpensive.
  5. aaron_c


    Feb 13, 2011
    If your gun won't shoot Wolf, definitely try Barnaul (such as Monarch steel from Academy, as well as a few others). For a long time, my AR would only shoot Barnaul as far as steel goes. It now shoots Barnaul and Wolf/Tula equally well, though the Barnaul is noticeably better (hotter, cleaner, more accurate, more reliable).
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  6. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Its hit or miss I think. I have heard some folks say they have never once had a malfunction shooting steel ammo with thousands of rounds down range. WHo am I to question if they are telling the truth. Its possible Im sure.

    But speaking from personal friends Colt A2's extractor claw ripped through the case lip of steel ammo and caused a failure to extract that could not be fixed without a cleaning rod down the muzzle. We didnt have a cleaning rod so the gun was done for the day. (we were 20 miles in the Nevada desert so that sucked)

    I also experienced the exact same failure to extract on my Stag M8.

    Due to this, I only shoot steel when plinking and even then I try to avoid it just to avoid downtime.

    I'll buy factory re-loads before I invest in steel ever again. I will never trust my life to steel ammo unless its being shot from an AK47. If it works for you...more power to ya.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  7. atl3axj


    Oct 15, 2010
    this is strictly for range time and I'm mainly concerned if it'll affect the rifle negatively with excessive wear/tear. See I shoot steel Tula in my Glock 19 without worry, care or remorse because I feel the gun can handle it. However, when it comes to my Walther PPS, I feed it brass ammo even though it's more expensive. I do not have enough knowledge or experience in AR world to determine that so I appeal to the forum.
    The price difference is huge. I can get 1000 of Wolf for $195 shipped 55 or 62 grn. The next cheapest ammo is like $320 for 1000 Prvi Partisan.
    These are the prices from AIM Surplus. There might be better prices but I do not know of them.
  8. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    N. Dallas
    If you have a quality AR and it shoots Wolf without problems use it. My reasoning is that IF at somepoint down the road your bolt goes **** up after even say... 5,000 rounds you have easily more than saved enough $$$ to pay for a new $45 bolt extractor.
  9. AA#5


    Nov 26, 2008
    According to a gunsmith, steel cases are harder on the extractor and ejector.
  10. atl3axj


    Oct 15, 2010
    This might be a stupid question, but if a rifle has lifetime warranty, would it be covered and replaced at no cost? Spikes has lifetime warranty and so does DD I know of. If bolt extractor goes belly up, wouldn't it be covered?
  11. I have quite a bit of steel cased Hornady Tap Training ammo. Shoots great, but I do keep a couple of spare extractors in case I ever wear one out.
  12. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I have fired literally thousands of rounds of Wolf through AR15's and other 5.56 rifles. I have had no more issues with it than with any other practice ammo. I think most of the criticism of Wolf ammo is from people who have rifles that are not mil-spec. It does a lot better out of a chrome lined barrel with a 5.56 chamber.

    Even if it is harder on extractors (and I don't think it is), how many extractors can you afford to buy if you are saving $75 per case on your practice ammo?
  13. Cole125

    Cole125 Silver Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    Far West, USA
    Tagged. I have been wondering the same thing, and searching or something you get two schools of thought about the subject of steel case ammo.

    I bought a 1000 round case of Tula .223 ammo I got a good deal on but I have been hesitant to shoot it in my ARs because I have simply read too many stories about how it causes too much wear and tear. Half the guys say don't shoot it and the other half say its fine shoot it. Leads to some confusion!
  14. javelinadave

    javelinadave Hebrew Hammer

    Aug 14, 2006
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Like the Yeti, it is an urban myth concocted by mall ninjas. As ALL the above posted, if your rifle will digest it, you are good to go. 50% of my AR's have zero issues and I have never seen a broken extractor from steel cased ammo.
  15. JGguns


    May 6, 2009
    greenville, sc
    All my spikes 10.5" gets fed is silver bear. Same with my last ar, bcm midlength. Havnt had a issue yet.
  16. Javelin

    Javelin Got Glock? Silver Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    N. Dallas
    This is not going to answer your question entirely as it is an instance based question but I would guess that would depend entirely on the manufacturer.

    If you have a Noveske rifle and you called and said your rifle is no longer extracting the casings properly they would probably make it right because they have a reputation to uphold and also run a no BS lifetime guarantee. But if someone were riding their heels on a Bushmaster/CMMG/whatever and expected the warranty to cover it then it might be a different story entirely.
  17. i have over a thousand rounds of wolf through my rock river and only had one problem, which was my fault. FTE, but that was because i ran about 500 rounds of wolf in a session and didnt clean the chamber afterwards. next time i went shooting, a spent casing FTE'd and actually was stuck in the chamber.

    for clarification, this was simply due to a really dirty chamber, not because "the lacquer coating melted and gummed it up". i dont believe in that school of thought at all. ive never seen evidence of lacquer in my AR, but i have seen large amounts of carbon deposits from wolf being really dirty. i just run my AR pretty wet when shooting wolf and make sure the chamber is really clean after every session and im GTG.
  18. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

    May 15, 2010
    NW Florida
    Pretty sure it's the case mouth sealant that causes the problems, not the coating on the case.
  19. Kcolg

    Kcolg Millennium Member

    Dec 20, 1998
    Shot about 2000 rounds of wolf so far, and no issues until this weekend. Had several light primer strikes. A second reload of the same round and it would fire everytime.
  20. TknoGeek


    Jul 3, 2010
    N. Va
    Go get one or two hundred rounds of steel cased ammo and run it through your rifle. Russian stuff (Wolf, Silver Bear, Barnaul, etc.) tend to be dirtier with more carbon fouling than most western ammunition. I haven't tried the Hornady or other American steel cased ammo to compare, but the Russian stuff is dirty.

    The issue with steel is that the case doesn't expand and contract like brass does. This means the seal in the chamber isn't as good which allows gases into the chamber that would be prevented when using brass. This means extra fouling in the chamber which could cause a problem when switching to brass cased ammo without cleaning between case types. There has long been a myth about lacquer coatings melting in the chamber, but it's just that - a myth. The evidence points more toward carbon fouling since it's not lacquer that's used to coat the rounds, but a polymer and if the chamber is hot enough to melt the polymer, it's hot enough to cook off the round.

    Not all steel cased ammo is the same (just as with brass). If one brand doesn't work well in your weapon, try a batch of a different manufacturer. Barnaul has a good reputation for relative quality while Wolf is inexpensive for a reason.

    Which leads me to my last point: wear and tear. I have yet to see any concrete evidence that steel cased ammo causes any additional wear on western rifles like the AR. If you're concerned, invest an extra $20 or two on spare extractors (the only part likely to be a concern). That's more than covered in the savings in a single case of steel ammo.