AR and the interchangeability of Steel versus Brass ammo casing

AR and the interchangeability of Steel versus Brass ammo casing

This is a discussion on AR and the interchangeability of Steel versus Brass ammo casing within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hey. I heard from a friend of a friend, that if you regularly shoot either all brass casing ammo, or all steel casing ammo, and ...

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Thread: AR and the interchangeability of Steel versus Brass ammo casing

  1. #1
    Member Array DKPRC's Avatar
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    AR and the interchangeability of Steel versus Brass ammo casing

    Hey.

    I heard from a friend of a friend, that if you regularly shoot either all brass casing ammo, or all steel casing ammo, and than try to switch, that it will start causing jams/feeding problems. I'm curious because right now it looks like you can save up to 100 bucks a case by going with the steel casing stuff like Wolf. has anyone heard this? Is it an urban legend or what?

    Forgive me if this is not a good place for this topic, I debated whether it should go here or the ammo thread..


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Some of the wolf stuff has a lacquer coating that apparently when heated up in a hot gun would stick to the chamber and cause jamming problems,the newer ammo now has a polycoat and doesn't do the same thing,I shoot both brass case and steel cased ammo without any problems
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Member Array gumaro's Avatar
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    Same here I have shot both without any problems, but I'm shooting Wolf or Brown/Silver Bear for range ammo (cheaper) and saving the good brass cased ammo. Just clean out your firearm after shooting the Wolf, it is a little on the dirty side.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Steel case ammo may be harder on the extractor/spring. Maybe get a D-Fender ring for that? Personally, I've got quite a bit of brass cased 5.56/.223 and will avoid using steel cased surplus in my Bushmaster if at all possible.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    Here's the skinney. It depends on your AR whether or not it will run good. If you have a standard NATO chamber, this is most desirable and tends to work better. If you have a .223 chamber or Wylde chamber, you may have trouble. Also, it's better to have it chrome lined than not. Now, having said that, let's move on.

    Wolf laquer vs. polymer. The older ammo is the laquer. The laquer isn't the problem. You can pull the bullet on a case, dump the powder and heat the case with a propane torch and it won't run off and become tacky. Same with the newer polymer. What happens is this.

    On firing brass, the case swells and seals the chamber until the majority of the gasses are down the barrel. As pressure drops, the brass returns to close to it's original size and is extracted.

    With steel cases, upon firing, the case swells but doesn't seal as well as the brass does and allows hot gasses, which are full of carbon, back around the case and into the chamber. The case then returns to close to normal size as the gas bleeds off. Now, repeating this process over and over "can" cause a carbon buildup, not laquer, in the throat and chamber area. This can be a real problem if you don't remove it first before switching back to brass.

    What happens then is after firing the Wolf and incurring this carbon buildup, the brass case expands against this carbon. Your chamber dimensions are reduced even further because of this buildup which throws off the timing of the gun. The bullet is out the barrel and your extractor is trying to pull the brass out of the chamber while it is still expanded and "glued" to this carbon buildup. Result ? Broken case rim or extractor.

    So what does a guy do ? Be aware of the potential for issue, that's what. Buy your Wolf and use it for practice if your gun will run it. If it won't, save for a better AR or use brass cased ammo. If you run the Wolf, be really thorough in your cleaning of the chamber area. Use a chamber brush and good carbon cutting solvents. Save your brass cased ammo for hard times.

    What do I do ? I keep several spare extractors, bolt and carrier in the rare event I have a catastrophic failure, which I NEVER have since 1986. But, ya never know. I use Wolf all the time for practice. I also clean religiously. It's good practice ammo and it saves me money.

    For the record I currently run a BCM M4 upper with Daniel Defense BCG in my primary and a Stag M4 upper in my secondary AR. All my other AR's have been Colt or Bushmaster.

    If your gun will eat Wolf, run it with confidence.

    Last edited by Sarge45; July 31st, 2009 at 02:54 AM.

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I have only broken 1 extractor in my AR's and that was in a 7.62x39 upper running silver bear ammo
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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