so called 2nd rate ammo through your AR????

so called 2nd rate ammo through your AR????

This is a discussion on so called 2nd rate ammo through your AR???? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I’m new to firearms and am trying to learn a lot very fast from many different inputs, so any and all input on this will ...

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Thread: so called 2nd rate ammo through your AR????

  1. #1
    Member Array J0eyg86's Avatar
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    so called 2nd rate ammo through your AR????

    I’m new to firearms and am trying to learn a lot very fast from many different inputs, so any and all input on this will be greatly appreciated.

    I have a Rock River AR and I’m running a little low on ammo and have to start looking around to buy some more, I only go out to the range and plink around every few weeks, nothing major like a competition setting.
    I’m wondering how many people put so called “second rate" ammo through their AR's??? By so called second rate I mean steel case or dirty ammo (something that leaves a lot of UN burnt powder). Something like wolf or bear ammo. Do you have any problems with your AR's jamming, being very dirty when you clean it or causing problems if you do???

    The reason why I bring this question up is I have a friends who is very adiment that he will only put quality ammo through his AR's even if it cost him more per round/box. He is a very good friend of mine and has taken a lot of time to teach me about different firearms and how they work, and about what to watch out for. I go out to the range with him on a regular basis and he has taught me a lot of things when it comes to both pistols and rifles. One of the things he has always been very adiment about though is that he will never put steel cased or dirty ammo through his AR's due to the possibility of it damaging the gun. However when I’m looking online at prices of ammo I can’t help but notice that prices of ammo it is very different when comparing brass cased fiochie and steel cased wolf almost $2 less per 20 rounds or $100 less per 1000 rounds. For me (and I’m sure many people out there) this is a big difference and can mean a lot more rounds down range.

    So I guess what I’m really asking is has anyone ever had a notable problem with their AR or hear of a notable problem from someone b/c they put cheaper ammo through their AR's or would I be safe with saving some money and putting wolf or bear ammo through my AR?


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    I frequent www.m4carbine.net and the consensus there is Wolf = ok, Bear = not ok. I went through this same decision process a couple of year ago--and haven't had a problem.

    Two things I would recommend:

    Check out www.m4carbine.net

    Have spare extractors and springs (everyone who has an AR should have a spare parts kit)
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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    You're asking a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" question. By the seat of my pants, there are probably 2 shooters who won't use Wolf and other steel-case ammo in their ARs for every one that will.

    There is a lot of anecdotal info out there on the ErrorNet about steel-case ammo in ARs. What I have run into personally is that in heavy use (e.g., in training courses where 500 rounds a day is the norm), steel-case stuff is more likely to cause stoppages, about on a par with all but the best commercial reloads. Also, the only incidents of spent cases stuck in chambers I've witnessed have happened with steel-cased ammo. That's enough to keep me from using it in any quantity. Have I used it for low-volume practice? Sure. But guys who have taught AR protocols for years and who see hundreds of guns digesting tens of thousands of rounds of ammo monthly (Pat Rogers, Jeff Gonzales) have undeniable experience that prompts me to listen to their advice against steel-cased ammo.

    I think it comes down to what your goals are with your gun. If a range session for you involves just a few dozen rounds at a time and you tend to keep your AR chamber pretty clean, if the lower cost of the steel-cased ammo is the determining factor in getting out to practice shooting vs. not, then by all means go that route. You may have to entertain a few more failures to fire or extract, and maybe a bit more cleaning, but that might be acceptable to you. There's no guarantee that even a known label like Winchester will be perfect, either; the Israeli-made Win Q3131A is known for quality problems like blind primer pockets and primers seated upside-down. However, the mechanics of brass vs. steel in ammo cases favors the former by a wide margin.

    I'm not immune to economic pressures, but my ammo stash includes maybe 250 rounds of steel-cased ammo vs. about 4000 rounds of brass-cased stuff. Further, the AR mags I keep loaded "in case" (i.e., to save my butt) will never be loaded with steel-cased stuff, unless that's all that's left.
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    Member Array usmcj's Avatar
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    Obviously to each his/her own, but I didn't pay over $1200 for a nice AR only to run steel, lacquered, or polymer cases through it. I know, MANY folks have not had any issues with the "other than brass" ammo, but I choose not to use it. At various ranges, I've seen steel-on-steel gall, I've seen polymer/lacquered cases stick/jam, and I just prefer not to play.
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    Member Array 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    Obviously to each his/her own, but I didn't pay over $1200 for a nice AR only to run steel, lacquered, or polymer cases through it. I know, MANY folks have not had any issues with the "other than brass" ammo, but I choose not to use it. At various ranges, I've seen steel-on-steel gall, I've seen polymer/lacquered cases stick/jam, and I just prefer not to play.
    Bottom line is, if you have a quality carbine, it will digest steel cased ammo just fine. The counter to the above point, is that a $1200 carbine is nothing compared to the costs of actually seriously shooting it. Therefore, cheap ammo will pay for many, many carbines by the time you shoot a bunch of rounds through it.

    As far as the OP's RRA is concerned, yeah, you might have some issues shooting steel-case ammo, due to the low quality of your rifle and specifically the unknown/low quality of your bolt/extractor as well as the probability that it has a mis-cut chamber. The answer, in my opinion is to upgrade your extractor, get the chamber cut correctly if necessary and shoot the crap out of it, using the cheapest ammo it will reliably function.

  6. #6
    Member Array usmcj's Avatar
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    $1200 in 1990's dollars makes a difference. Also, if you open up a chamber to accept any 3rd world ammo, then ..... well, as I said, to each his/her own. Can you document the "low quality" of RRA rifles? Internet experts are easy to find.... from far away.

    Rock River Arms won the DEA contract with their Government Series Pro rifle. It Beat out Colt and several others. In the Real world the DEA uses their rifle.

    http://www.defensereview.com/press-r...tical-carbine/
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    Avoid the laquered cases at all costs. It builds up in the chamber causing jams. Other than that, it's up to you: save a few bucks now only to spend it on maintenance and repairs later? I don't worry about the "dirty" part as I always clean firearms after firing. If the costs of reloading is a concern, look into reloading. You'll drop $3-400 initially but will save a bundle later.
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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    I have had both experiences. I bought a bunch of steel cased .223 to shoot as range ammo and have mag after mag shoot through it no problem. But when you get a problem it's a BIG one. I had one FTE that was jammed tight into the chamber and took me forever to get out. So caveat emptor.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    I have about 1000 rounds of Walmart Tula ammo through my AR with zero problems. It eats up like it's going out of style. As accurate as any other non high end ammo I have tried. On the flip side I only generally shoot 100 rounds a range trip so that may have something to do with my lack of problems.
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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Get a .22LR bolt kit and run good quality .22LR through your AR for practice.

    Save the bolt and wear on the other parts for serious classes or "social work".

    Make sure your AR works by running it hard through a class or two...then practice on the cheap with .22lr.

  11. #11
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Thus far, I've avoided buying or putting any steel cased/surplus ammo through my ARs. I'll personally stick with brass cased .223 or 5.56. Been a while since I bought a case of ammo for the AR, and been a bit since I've bought the 100 round bulk as well. I might pick up one or two 20rd boxes occasionally just to float my boat even though the price per round isn't appealing at all for 20 rounds. Brass cases are recyclable. I've seen plenty of unfired steel case .223 ammo laying on the ground at the range, and a lot of empty cases with dings around the neck or scratches down the length of the case. I'll put any surplus or steel cased ammo through my AK......it was made for it. I know a lot of folks here have put plenty of the steel cased/surplus ammo through their ARs without any issues. As far as the quality of your AR rifle?
    Have spare extractors and springs (everyone who has an AR should have a spare parts kit)
    I totally agree with that. Matter of fact, I keep a spare fully assembled bolt/carrier for mine and all the small parts besides.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array rmilchman's Avatar
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    I've been using Hornady TAP steel cased.
    http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/produc...-55gr-fmj-ammo

  13. #13
    Member Array NE45's Avatar
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    Last year I rebuilt my defensive carbine with the use of steel cased ammo in mind. DD CL M4 barrel, DD BCG... I've been shooting Brown Bear through it and haven't had a malfunction yet. Of course I do take the time to clean the chamber after a shooting session and always clean the chamber before going back to brass cased ammo.

    As a side note, last year I had a friend call me and complain that his nephew's Bushmaster AR had a case stuck in the chamber. The kid had run 750 rounds of wolff through it without cleaning or lube......... most of it full mag dumps, you couldn't couldn't hardly pull the bolt back, but it had been running up until the stuck case. I wish I'd had the time to photograph it, also wish I'd have had time to simply push out the case, spray a little lube on the rifle and shoot it until the next malfunction.

    As it was I pushed the case out and did a quick clean of the BCG, chamber ect. Told my friend to suggest to his nephew to spend a little time on gun care.

    After looking at that I built up the carbine, I figured if a mistreated AR could run like that one that had regular clean and lube should be fine.

    One note, the accuracy with the Brown Bear isn't anything to write home about.
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    Member Array kdydak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    I frequent www.m4carbine.net and the consensus there is Wolf = ok, Bear = not ok. I went through this same decision process a couple of year ago--and haven't had a problem.

    Two things I would recommend:

    Check out www.m4carbine.net

    Have spare extractors and springs (everyone who has an AR should have a spare parts kit)
    My experience has been the exact opposite. I have ran about 8000 rounds of brown bear through my AR15s and Glocks. Never had a problem. On the other hand I have had numerous dud primers with Tula and Wolf and a few seriously set back rounds.

    In general if your handgun or AR15 does not run steel case ammo then there is something wrong (or marginal) with it. I have run 1500+ rounds of steel case ammo (Brown Bear) through my guns w/o cleaning with no issues.

    As far as accuracy of Brown Bear it is comparable to Federal XM193 (i.e. about 3 moa out of my guns).

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    Member Array 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    $1200 in 1990's dollars makes a difference. Also, if you open up a chamber to accept any 3rd world ammo, then ..... well, as I said, to each his/her own. Can you document the "low quality" of RRA rifles? Internet experts are easy to find.... from far away.

    Rock River Arms won the DEA contract with their Government Series Pro rifle. It Beat out Colt and several others. In the Real world the DEA uses their rifle.

    http://www.defensereview.com/press-r...tical-carbine/
    Well, lets talk about that in detail. First, I "get" you spent that on an RRA during a time when prices were through the roof. I wasn't talking specifically about your RRA; didn't even know you had one. But in today's rifle prices, $1200 gets you a heck of a lot more gun then your RRA.

    As far as RRA making inferior guns, they use a collection of substandard parts, that would not make the minimum standard to produce a mil-spec rifle. The steel is not up to par, there is no individual testing of critical parts, and the assembly QA/QC is not consistent.

    As far as
    if you open up a chamber to accept any 3rd world ammo
    actually more like "if you open up a chamber to meet the actual specifications of the ammunition the gun was designed for". And by "open up", I mean ream it to be proper, rather than the incorrect chamber that most guns like RRA and Bushmasters come with. And the ream should only effect the neck and leade.

    And... Oh, yes. That DEA Contract. The DEA has trashed all their RRAs because after RRA actually giving them FOR FREE DEA guys actually took some out and shot them, and found out they were complete junk. But RRA has made lots of hay about that particular mistake by the DEA. I am unaware of any RRA guns still in use by the DEA.

    Coincidentally enough, I just went on an operation with some "Real World" DEA guys in Northern Afghanistan (Which is, as far as I can tell, in the "real world", and guess what? I didn't see a single RRA gun with them.

    You got anything else???

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