Black Rifles Steel cased 223 in an AR

Frost

Administrator
Oct 1, 2009
2,229
North Chuck, SC
#1
I have been looking for an answer to the question of is it ok to shoot less expensive steel cased ammunition in my AR-15s?

What is a fact is the difference in cost.
Steel cased .223 can be had for about 21 - 22 cents a round.
Brass cased .223 seems to start at about 31 cent a round for re-manufactured. (what is the difference in re-manufactured and reloaded?)
That's basically 10 cent a round difference or about a third more.

None of the following is first hand information, it has been gleaned from other forums and from people I know who have used steel cases.


Some people seem to say yes, some say maybe, and some say absolutely not.
Whats a guy to believe?

What I seem to have determined from all this reading is as follows.

Steel cases do not expand as much as brass cases.
Everyone seems to agree on this.

Steel cased ammunition is dirty and fouls the chamber.
Full agreement yes.
The steel does not expand and seal the chamber as well as brass and you get some blowback.
This causes a carbon build up in the chamber that can cause a case to stick.
The sticking seems to be most prevalent when you shoot steel and the shoot brass.
The brass expands more than the steel and the carbon build up causes it to stick.

Steel Cases put more wear on your extractor and shortens it's life
Split decision on this one, some say the steel cases are softer than the extractor so no they don't.
Some say steel is harder than brass so absolutely yes.

Steel cased ammo causes premature chamber wear
Not enough input
Steel is harder than brass but not as hard as barrel steel.
Whats your opinion?

Bottom line is I still can't decide.

What do y'all think?
 
Nov 10, 2009
6
Greenville, SC
#2
I don't see how it'll cause extractor wear, the steel in those cases is SOFT (not as soft as brass, but still its pretty damn low carbon steel). I love steel ammo, that said some guns just dont like it and will misfeed with it. It also tends to be dirty ammo, not just the fact that it (maybe) doesnt seal as well, but it just tends to be dirty. (wolf is dirty as crap sillybear not so much).

I plan on running steel commercial .308 through my cetme when I chance, its got flutes in the chamber so it gets dirty as hell just like an AR.
 

fordnut

Active Member
Oct 4, 2009
2,152
Hanahan, SC
#3
I have shot a lot of WOlf thru my Bushmasters, and 3 of them loved the Wolf...It is a little dirtier that brass because of the Lacquor they put on the case to keep then from surface rusting...But, I always clean my guns after each use, so, it is not that much trouble to me...

And, I like the price...

Steve
 

jtlittle

New Member
Nov 12, 2009
4
#4
A brass case expands during combustion and seals the chamber from hot gases. The steel case will not expand so hot gas will penatrate the chamber and deposit carbon. The heat will also cause the coating to deposit on the chamber. Extracter wear and possible failure is a given(its STEEL vs. brass). Just clean the chamber regularly and carry a spare extractor. The savings are considerable. The real problem I find with steel cased ammo is consistancy. If you are spraying and playing $230 per K brown bear is fine. If you need to hit something and have a dependable weapon then brass is the way.
 
Dec 30, 2009
1
#7
I've shot Wolf steel case (poly coated) and brass cased ammo with no problems in the AR. The only ammo I had problems with was the lacquer coated steel case Wolf ammo. The lacquer got soft from the heat and deposited in the chamber thus causing the fired case to stick. I've seen the poly coated Wolf steel cased fired through M-16s during matches on full auto, one mag after another, and no problems nor excessive wear reported from the lucky bums (chuckle) who could afford Class III toys. There was a brass washed European ammo that was not worth the metal it was made from on the market years ago. The company quickly changed the manuf. process to complete brass after a lot of problems (can't remember the company though). I may still have a box of the ammo for reference, If I find it, I'll post the manuf. here for reference. The carbon build up is mostly from the type and chem. composition of the powder used. Ball powder vs stick power or flake powder all have slightly different burn rates and carbon deposit levels (don't tell AL Gore about the carbon content, he'll faint). I've see brass cased ammo 'bleed back' carbon as is reported by steel case. Different manufacturers have variations in the wall thickness of brass cases, as do the primer thickness. I guess to get a true measurement of ammo differences you'd have to use one type of ammo by one maker in one specific rifle over several thousand rounds for a proper scientific measurement of problematic cause and effect. To randomly select various makers of brass and steel ammo with various rifles of varying barrel length, bolt carrier/bolt makers etc. would be difficult to peg a specific problem caused by a specific ammo maker or ammo component in a scientific method because of the random specifications of the various weapons and ammo. Of all the reports I've run into over 30 years of collecting concerning the brass vs steel case it boils down to simply a personal preference in ammo in all reality. With the chambers and bores of AR's being chromed, wear issues are less of a problem than earlier non-chrome lined firearms. And I'm not considering the cleaning methods, or lack thereof of weapons as part of the test process. Of all the ammo expended during WWII by all sides, I wouldn't be surprised if the volume of expended steel ammo exceeded brass cased ammo (don't forget the Russian Front during WWII, which we didn't have many if any troops actively fighting but tons of ammo was spent by the USSR and Germany toward each other).
 
Nov 13, 2009
147
Kershaw, SC
#10
Fallschirmjager said:
The only ammo I had problems with was the lacquer coated steel case Wolf ammo. The lacquer got soft from the heat and deposited in the chamber thus causing the fired case to stick.
that's the ones i am referring to and won't use, nothing but problems from that. penny wise/pound foolish

i still say if you are so broke you have to shoot steel case ammo you should sell the gun for food
 
Mar 24, 2010
72
#13
Get the Silver Bear ammo which is zinc plated steel and you solve the problem of the laquered cases. It shoots very well and can be had for about .24 per round.
 
May 4, 2011
39
Summerville
#14
Gr8shot said:
Get the Silver Bear ammo which is zinc plated steel and you solve the problem of the laquered cases. It shoots very well and can be had for about .24 per round.
i agree 100% it is just about as cheap as the Wolf Steel cases but my mini14 loves the silver bears where as every problem ive had with it has been with wolf ammo (which i have quit using in anything but my sks)
 

qwikshot

New Member
May 23, 2011
78
#15
I had a wolf case stick so hard the case rim broke off when the extractor tried to pull it out.
Ended up having to drive it out with a steel rod and mallet.
Situations like this could lead to more damage to your gun than has been discussed here yet.
For me I ONLY SHOOT BRASS NOW.
 

fordnut

Active Member
Oct 4, 2009
2,152
Hanahan, SC
#16
Guess I have just been lucky...All of my AR's will eat anything...

I love shooting Silver Bear...It is clean as any Brass I have, and cheap...

I rally don't shoot much Wolf, but, if I find a great deal on it, I will shoot it.

I am a poor man and have to buy what I can afford...Have lots of mouths to feed...you know...7,62 AR-.223 AR's-.45's- 9mm-.380-.44mag.-.44special....and a couple more...

Steve
 
#17
Back when Wolf had their old laquer coating we used to have alot of trouble with sticky chambers etc & found that acetone & a chamber brush plus polishing the chamber was the only cure & also found that paying more for brass cased ammo was out of the question..
 

Underdude

New Member
Jun 6, 2011
142
Liberal Hell, CA
#19
I've used steel in my SKS and CETME (when I had it) but refuse to use it in my FAL.
It's just too expensive (the rifle). Never had a function issue when using it. Most manufacturers say not to use it in their rifles. I didn't notice any extra fouling involved with it.
 
Aug 1, 2010
100
#20
Mortal_Wombat said:
I don't see how it'll cause extractor wear, the steel in those cases is SOFT (not as soft as brass, but still its pretty damn low carbon steel). I love steel ammo, that said some guns just dont like it and will misfeed with it. It also tends to be dirty ammo, not just the fact that it (maybe) doesnt seal as well, but it just tends to be dirty. (wolf is dirty as crap sillybear not so much).

I plan on running steel commercial .308 through my cetme when I chance, its got flutes in the chamber so it gets dirty as hell just like an AR.
It really isn't a good idea to run commercial anything through a cetme much less steel commercial, but if your going to I'd invest in a broken shell ejector.