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Old 03-13-2012, 07:40 AM
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Default ? Steel cased ammo; i.e. Tulammo

Went to wally world yesterday and was going to buy some ammo until I saw it was steel cases. I have heard this is really bad on pistols. Any thoughts or observations?
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:06 AM
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I've used steel cased ammo for years in my Markrov, CZ52, Toks and SKS without a problem. The best factory ammo that I found for my Mini-14 was Silver Bear nickle plated steel case. I've heard of extractor wear from others but have not seen this myself. I've tried .45 ACP but did not like the performance, no trouble with the cases tho.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:23 AM
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Where have you heard?? Probably on the internet and probably none of that was from personnel experiences either. Everyone says dont use steel case ammo, it will tear up your gun. I have never seen anyone say it tore up there gun...always a friend of a cousin of a guy I knew.....

I have personally shot thousands of rounds of steel cased 223, 45acp, and 9mm and have had ZERO gum breakages due to ammo. I have had the occasional stoppage, but I have had the same with any other ammo as well.

Buy it, shoot it, and enjoy.
Nothing to see here,move along
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:00 AM
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Steel can be made to different hardness levels.
If it was as hard as the steel the gun is made of, it wouldn't expand, like brass does, and you would get a face full of gas when you shoot.

Steel cases are fine, and have been for a very long time.
War Eagle! '10 BCS & '13 SEC
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:33 AM
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Some manufacturers void your warranty if you fire steel cased ammo - CMMG specifically states such in their manuals. When I had my fancy but too heavy in the front Sig-Sauer 5.56mm rifle, an email query to their customer service also resulted in a reply stating that I ought not use steel cased ammo in it.

Some of the Wolf ammo used to smell horrible (the fumes made some people sick) when fired, especially indoors. Just something to be aware of.

A call to the maker of your handgun will determine whether or not they suggest the use of steel cased ammo, and what effect - if any - doing so will have on your warranty. The maker and their service techs will be the ones who fix and deal with broken guns, so their opinion as to steel cased ammo and their particular product probably are based on observation and not rumor and twice told tales. Shrug.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:45 AM
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I do not use steel ammo as I reload. I do use it in when/ if I fire my AK or SKS. As mentioned is there any real proof that it cause harm? The lacquer coated stuff can leave a sticky residue if a lot is fired and the barrel gets real hot, but proper cleaning will take care of that. The polymer coated seems better.

Note, Hornady (who knows ammo and reloading) now makes Steel Match so how bad can it be?. But even though I use Wolf primers and would not shoot Wolf ammo in a high priced gun, but that's just me.

Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Ammunition :: Rifle :: Choose by Product Line :: Steel Match®
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:33 PM
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I used to think it was fine for practice ammo too.

I had a Wolf fail to extract the other day because it was gummed up in the chamber. tried several times to get it out finally had to use a cleaning rod and tap it out. Chamber was pretty well carbon'd up.
Looking at the case there is a shiny steel spot where my extractor was forced to ride over the rim as I tried to extract it manually - wonder what kind of wear it did to the edge of my extractor? When I got the case out I can see a lot of some brown deposit down by the extractor groove and head, it looks like when paint or other liquid runs, pools and dries. could this be the fabled coating that gums up one's works?

You do what you more Wolf for me.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:48 PM
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Probably on the internet and probably none of that was from personnel experiences either.
My personal experience is that I have had to drive stuck steel cases out of a half-dozen different non-military pistols for other people. Never out of a military type.
One broken extractor MAY have been due to a stuck case(?)

In my loaners and trainers, US made commercial brass case loadings only: my guns, my rules.

Range rules allow any loads you care to shoot in guns you own except for prohibited bullets (like AP). Some mil shooters shoot nothing but steel cases.
NRA/ OK CHL Instructor
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:49 PM
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I have been very happy with Tula in 9mm Makarov and .380 ACP. I've also used Barnaul/Silver Bear and LVE in 9mm Mak with no problems. I reload .45, .38, and .44, but get a kick out of buying throw-away cases.
Regarding steel cases, I had always heard never to run one into a resizing die, you'd never get it out. I ran a WWII .45 case into the die once by mistake and the only reason I realized it was that it was so easy to resize. Of course I did not reload it.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:29 PM
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Went through a couple hundred rounds of 9mm today in a Ruger SR9C. The tula ammo has been reliable in both the 9C and my full size SR. I would guess it depends on the gun. I have probably shot a couple thousand rounds of it and never had a problem or seen any abnormal wear in the guns.
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:28 PM
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I ran about 50 through my Ruger LCP w/o any problem, but my range prohibits use of steel case ammo so I stopped buying it. When I got it there was no other .380 available at WalMart and Ruger came out with a statement saying use of TulAmmo would void their warranty. Not worth the risk and now there is plenty of .380 around.
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LEO (Ret.)
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogandydancer View Post
Went to wally world yesterday and was going to buy some ammo until I saw it was steel cases. I have heard this is really bad on pistols. Any thoughts or observations?
I have fired a wheel barrow load of Wolf 9mm, .40 S&W and .45ACP as well as 5.56mm. All were fired in standard semi-automatic firearms. In addition I've fired at least 700 rounds of the .45ACP in my 625-2. I have been extremely pleased with the results. Function and on target accuracy has been fully equal to results obtained with similar ball ammunition produced by domestic manufacturers. The 5.56mm was fired in a COLT Hbar. It has had a little over 2,000 rounds fired through it and has not ever had a single problem regardless of the ammo used, including the Wolf .56mm. YMMV.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:30 PM
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Default Well, it's a funny thing that I read this today,

I have also run a ton of steel case thru .380,9mm, .40, .223. I have never had a bit of trouble except it does get a little dirtier than others some times.......Until today.....

Went to the range with my AR 15. Started out slow, built up to
running a couple of 30 round magazines rather quickly. It was wolf steel case.

Got the rifle pretty warm...and, u guessed it...for the first time in thousands of rounds of this stuff..a FTE. That case was stuck in the chamber good. The very first time I have ever had to run a cleaning rod down the barrel to pop out the case. Don't worry fellas, it was a spent round, good pin strike....

I'm not gonna change, the gun was filthy..not bad after all the steel cases I've run through everything I own.

I think we got it hot enough to get the polymer coating on the case to weld up a bit in the chamber.

My .02 worth.


Last edited by mrasgt; 03-13-2012 at 09:31 PM. Reason: add
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:26 AM
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Steel case ammo is dirty because the steel does not expand like brass does to adequately seal off the chamber as the cartridge is fired. You are getting fouling back into the chamber. If you are using a weapon system that was deliberately engineered to foul the chamber as a matter of function, you need to be even more meticulous about cleaning the chamber.

Steel cases are not bad in and of themselves, but my gripe with Tula concerns the round I recently fired in my AKM that was loaded without powder. The primer alone launched the bullet into the bore but not far enough to allow the next round to be chambered. Who factory loads ammo without powder? This is quality control of the lowest order and totally unacceptable. This incident combined with the increasing frequency of dud rounds with healthy firing pin hits that I see turning up at ranges has made me decide that I will never trust Tula again. This is unfortunate because this ammo is extremely accurate in my AKM.

Dave Sinko
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:59 AM
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FWIW Hornady is releasing its own brand of steel cased ammo. I would think that if it was all that bad that Hornady would have thought twice about it.
Have Canon, Will Travel
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:07 PM
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I was about to mention Hornady selling steel case ammo but I see it's already been mentioned several times already.

I also though steel case ammo was bad for your gun but changed my mind when Hornady started selling it.
Freedom is never free!!
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:56 AM
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The only steel ammo I have ever used is for my M1 Carbine (Wolf Brand). I bought 4 cases (2000 rounds) and have gone through over two of them so far with no problems. At the time I paid $9.75 per 50 round box which was a steal.

There have been occasional reporting's of broken extractors on the M1 Carbines from steel case use, but since I bought two spare extractors at $4 bucks each, I am not in the least concerned. I saved more than that halfway through the first box!

Candidly, I would love to shoot brass cartridges instead of steel, but the cost is just prohibitive - especially with the Carbine. Once I get that sucker out to the Range and start whaling away I go through ammo very rapidly. Just a FUN GUN to shoot!

My friend uses the Tula steel cases and in a head to head M1 Carbine comparison the Wolf is much better. The Wolf has some sort of coating on them that makes the cases slicker for feeding & ejecting whereas the Tula does NOT.

The Wolf ammo is now more than the Tula, but IMHO worth the extra price for the trouble free operation.

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Old 03-15-2012, 08:31 AM
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I have run Tula through my 9 mm, 40, and 45 acp with zero issues. I do not keep count of how many rounds, but, I do count failures of any sort. So far I have had none. I really cannot say that with some of the other ammo makers. Maybe I am just lucky.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:16 AM
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Default Poor people have poor ways

I have no trouble running steel case ammo through my AKM, the SKS, the CZ-52 or the PPS-43. All those Warsaw Pact refugees were built to run on the stuff. Steel is cheaper than brass, a fact that was clear even in WW2, as those who have shot any FA 42 loaded .45 ACP can attest. That it may not be suitable for all guns is also true, as the Germans marked most steel cased 9mm as "not for use in the P-08."

But have also seen these markings on steel cased 9mm ammo boxes which did not prohibit use in the P-08.

"Pistolenpatronen 08 m. E
1944 am 16
Nz.Stb. P n/A. (0,8 . 0,8) . 1944 mog 3
Patrh. (St) Lack. 1944 am - Gesch. 1944 am
Zdh. 08 - 1942 faa 31"

All that ammo worked great. The problems seem to come from whatever coatings are used to keep the steel cases from rusting. Green lacquer goes back decades. Clear polymers are the current rage. I find the red lacquer the Russians use to seal the primers particularly nasty to clean off bolt faces.

The propellants used by the old Warsaw Pact countries have a distinctive smell. It immediately takes me back to the days when I was shooting more in earnest. I remember being surprised when some ammo I had loaded for my M1 gave forth "the smell." After I got home, I looked at the can of Accurate powder I had used in those loads and discovered the label said, "Made in the Czech Republic."
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Photog View Post
FWIW Hornady is releasing its own brand of steel cased ammo. I would think that if it was all that bad that Hornady would have thought twice about it.
I realize Hornady has a reputation to maintain and if they endorse it people will buy it but IMO they are targeting a sales niche and not necessarily saying its OK for everyone. Although like the aluminum cased blazer everyone poo poo'd when it first came out, this may turn out to become mainstream in the future and not just primarily mil caliber. I'll bet they warn that you'll have to clean your gun better.
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