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Steel cased ammo

This is a discussion on Steel cased ammo within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Many new shooters ask if steel case ammo is safe to shoot in their M1A's. I got the answer from Springfield Armory, when questioning them ...


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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:49 AM   #1
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Steel cased ammo

Many new shooters ask if steel case ammo is safe to shoot in their M1A's.

I got the answer from Springfield Armory, when questioning them about Hornady's Superformance 168g. Match ammunition. The problem was excessive recoil and I did not want to damage the op-rod. Also it chronographs at 2770fps (168g)!

This is their answer:

Hi Clifford,

I have not heard of the brand that you have mentioned, but if it falls in the parameters listed below it should be fine.
Springfield Armory Recommended ammo for our rifles chambered in .308
Any commercially produced, new in box .308 ammunition that meets the following requirements:
• Is a 147 to 180 grain bullet.
• Is full metal jacket (FMJ), hollow point (HP or BTHP), or ballistic tip type bullet.
• Hornady’s new superformance ammo is OK to shoot in the M1A but NOT recommended for the M1 Garand.
• Hornady tap ammo is better for the shorter barreled rifles.
• Black Hills re-manufactured ammo is ok to use.

You can also use SURPLUS 7.62X51 NATO ammo that meets the following requirements:
• Is clean and from sealed containers
• Is NATO spec. It will have a NATO spec mark on the case head and /or on the packaging that looks like a plus sign inside of a circle.

Ammunition NOT recommended for your rifle:
• Avoid using surplus ammo tha tis “loose” or “bulk” – is is inconsitant in size and can be reloads.


• ************** Avoid using steel case ammo, it is VERY hard on your chamber and can reduce the life span of your rifle.************


• Do not use “ light Magnum” type ammo.
• Do not use soft point (SP) ammo, the lead shavings can get into the action and jam it up.
• We do not recommend the use of any cast bullets.

For best accuracy we recommend:
• Federal Match or Black Hills match 168 or 175 grain
• Hornady Match/ custom 168 grain or Hornady TAP 110 or 168 grain.

Please visit web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.308_Winchester
for further comparison between .308 and 7.62 ammo.

Thank you for choosing Springfield Armory.
Have a nice day!
Sarah
Customer Service
Springfield Armory
800-680-6866

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 06:15 AM   #2
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Thats kind of a bummer, I just picked up a spamcan of 380 steel cased rounds on an auction. Oh well, I'll just put it away for when SHTF.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Avoid using steel case ammo, it is VERY hard on your chamber and can reduce the life span of your rifle.
Interesting advice but I really wonder how steel case is hard on a chamber, and assuming it is within pressure spec, how it would reduce the life of a M1a.

Maybe the steel case ammunition out there is garbage?

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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Do M1A's have chrome-lined chambers and bores? I ask because I only have experience with the Chinese rifles that are chromed.

I've fired lots of steel-cased Chinese 7.62x51 out of my M14 and haven't noticed any ill effects.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:22 PM   #5
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Brass cases expand rapidly when the primer ignites the powder and forms a gas seal in the chamber. One of the questions about steel cases is the fact the the physical characteristics of steel is not the same as brass. It is true that the physical characteristics of steel can vary a lot depending on the way it is produced. I know that some tests on steel cases showed that they did a very good job of acting like brass in sealing the chamber from the plasma like gases produced while other batches didn't.
This maybe what led to manufacturers being less than comfortable with OKing steel cased ammo.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 04:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevo89 View Post
Do M1A's have chrome-lined chambers and bores? I ask because I only have experience with the Chinese rifles that are chromed.

I've fired lots of steel-cased Chinese 7.62x51 out of my M14 and haven't noticed any ill effects.
US Gov't made barrels with this number 7790190 are chromed lined, barrels numbered 7791362 are National Match spec and are NOT chromed lined.

Criterion also makes a lined barrel they use the 7790190 so people will know there lined.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:13 PM   #7
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this came up earlier this AM on another sub-forum

Sure, after 10-15 thousand rounds, it might wear out your barrel! (essentially) a MYTH..

1. steady reproducible wear rates can only be seen when one of the surfaces
is relatively soft and other extremely hard (and comparatively rough). The steel ammo is relatively SOFT/MILD (it has to be in order to be drawn and shaped) and VERY smooth. (i.e. NOBODY has ever been able to "make" mild steel cased ammo do anything bad to a weapon--except in some cases, the early polymer coatings on some Russian ammo could leave some minor build up--typically from rapid fire use--).

2. If the stuff is so bad.. WHY IS HORNADAY making MATCH ammo with it?

http://gunnuts.net/2011/07/05/hornady-steel-match-ammo/






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Old November 2nd, 2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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I'll trust the manufacturer. They have more vested interest (lifetime warranty) in keeping your gun functioning. They will err on the side of caution, but for such an expensive gun, so will I.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 07:56 PM   #9
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I don't care what anyone says, my heart tells me that steel-cased ammo should only be run through a com bloc weapon. Only brass through my rifles!

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 07:57 PM   #10
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And my pistols!

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 08:34 PM   #11
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I would like to add that when I tried some steel-cased ammo in my Springfield I would have many failures to fire. A lot of that type of ammo have primers that do not agree with my rifle it seems. When firing brass ammo it does just fine. So I learned my lesson: put brass through my loaded m1a.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 09:05 PM   #12
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It's safe enough, but how well it shoots and functions seems to depend on the rifle. My Chinese Norinco M14S eats steel case Wolf ammo all day long with no problem through its chromed bore and chamber. The same ammo often sticks and fails to eject from a FA build with a non-chromed Criterion barrel. The Criterion barrel runs fine with brass NATO surplus ammo from MEN or DAG, or commercial brass .308s.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 10:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA Hugh Uno View Post
Sure, after 10-15 thousand rounds, it might wear out your barrel! (essentially) a MYTH..

1. steady reproducible wear rates can only be seen when one of the surfaces
is relatively soft and other extremely hard (and comparatively rough). The steel ammo is relatively SOFT/MILD (it has to be in order to be drawn and shaped) and VERY smooth. (i.e. NOBODY has ever been able to "make" mild steel cased ammo do anything bad to a weapon--except in some cases, the early polymer coatings on some Russian ammo could leave some minor build up--typically from rapid fire use--).

2. If the stuff is so bad.. WHY IS HORNADAY making MATCH ammo with it?

http://gunnuts.net/2011/07/05/hornady-steel-match-ammo/







Something too think about, brass does offer a cushion when the round is chambered into the barrel and when it expands against the chamber walls when its fired, even if there's dirt or some gritty trash that gets embedded into the brass first and not the chamber. So even soft steel may provide some cushioning effect but I don't think by its nature it cushions anywhere near as well as brass cased ammo does, and for that reason I will not use this type of ammo in my rifles.

Its your rifle and you can run what you want, but think about this anytime you see MATCH you think about the high quality goods related to shooting, maybe its also a marketing ploy for people that don't know anybetter, they see Match and go gonzo its cheaper than the brass cased ammo and they pick up all they can while then can thinking there getting ammo thats of the same quality.

Come too me said the Spider too the Fly.

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Old November 2nd, 2012, 10:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA Hugh Uno View Post
Sure, after 10-15 thousand rounds, it might wear out your barrel! (essentially) a MYTH..

1. steady reproducible wear rates can only be seen when one of the surfaces
is relatively soft and other extremely hard (and comparatively rough). The steel ammo is relatively SOFT/MILD (it has to be in order to be drawn and shaped) and VERY smooth. (i.e. NOBODY has ever been able to "make" mild steel cased ammo do anything bad to a weapon--except in some cases, the early polymer coatings on some Russian ammo could leave some minor build up--typically from rapid fire use--).

2. If the stuff is so bad.. WHY IS HORNADAY making MATCH ammo with it?
The problem with steel cases has never had anything to do with causing barrel wear, they simply don't seal the chamber as well as brass does. The military has experimented for years with steel cased ammo because it's cheaper than brass but so far they have not found a steel coating that performs to their standards in American gas operated service rifles. All steel cased ammo uses some kind of coating to create a good gas seal. The Hornady steel cased match ammo does in fact use a polymer coating;

From Hornady's own web site

Quote:
The new Steel Match pistol and rifle ammo from Hornady delivers uncompromising accuracy and performance in a new economical alternative. Utilizing polymer coated steel cartridge cases and non-corrosive berdan primers, Steel Match ammunition is loaded with accurate and consistent Hornady BTHP Match bullets or HAP pistol bullets.
With the polymer coating, steel cases (used under normal civilian conditions) will seal just as well as brass but they will not resize as easily as brass. Steel cases produce more wear on a resizing die and they require more force to resize. Also, since steel on steel will cause greater friction (than brass on steel), steel cases tend to stick in the steel resizing die unless you lubricate them very carefully. There is one other problem with steel cases for a hand loader, the polymer coating is either reduced or removed after multiple reloadings (due to cleaning and resizing) and that results in cartridges that do not seal well after several reloadings. In turn, that can cause excessive bolt face pressure and blow back of combustion gases.

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Old November 3rd, 2012, 12:30 AM   #15
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Polymer-coated steel. I mean, is brass THAT expensive? I'm not a bullet manufacturer obviously, but that seems like a lot of work there.

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