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Steel Bullets and Barrel Wear


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#1 OFFLINE   GoldnBullet

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 10:20 AM

Found this and thought I would post it.

QUOTE:

Q.) Will using steel bullets damage my barrel?
A.) Yes. Steel on steel is bad. The photo below shows four Russian, 55 grain, FMJ bullets, measuring 0.224", recovered at 100 yards from the dirt berm. The bullets were so tough that not one engraved, none fragmented; the bullets did not deform to the bore. Even when hit by another Russian bullet, the jacket stayed intact. Note the small amount of engraving on the bullet and the wide band missing the copper gilding. At 1500 rounds, on an untreated barrel, the rifling was notably shallow and getting progressively more shallow farther down the barrel to the extent of being smooth, with only lines left where the rifling once existed. I can only think of one reason: the copper gilding came off shortly after entering the barrel, leaving exposed steel on steel. This, in turn, caused a hammering effect, and pushed the rifling back into the barrel. Each bullet only hits the bore once; the barrel gets hit with each shot. The more rounds fired, the more the bore is hammered. Barrel loses. Spend a few cents more and use quality bullets: copper jacket, lead core. NATO steel jacketed bullets have a thick copper coating over the steel jacket: thick enough to engage the rifling without exposing the steel. I have not found any Russian or other Warsaw Pact made steel bullets that are worth shooting, outside of an AK.

Steel Bullets on Barrel

END OF QUOTE

Guess this means Wolf Ammo isn't so good for your rifle???


#2 OFFLINE   SSGN_Doc

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 05:12 PM

What magical material are AK barrels made of then?

If the mild steel/mixed metal alloy of a bullet jacket is harder than the tool steel of a barrel then there is a problem.

Any of the russian fmj bullets I've recovered have been grooved and deformed when recovered from berms. Damage to mild steel plates doesn't look any different than the damage from copper jacketed bullets.


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#3 OFFLINE   christcorp

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 07:49 PM

goldenbullet: It's not worth debating or arguing. I can only say one thing: "DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID".


#4 OFFLINE   Walt3r

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 07:51 PM

I should imagine it would take a long time to actually see if they caused more wear to the barrel than regular copper jackets - out of a stainless barrel. With a chrome lined bore, or nitrided bore, I doubt there would be any extra wear at all that you'd really notice.


#5 OFFLINE   AnonymousD

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 08:01 PM

Is this about steel BULLETS, or steel CASED ammo?

Ive never seen steel jacketed ammo for an AR. I mean that doesnt mean it does not exist, Ive just never seen it.


#6 OFFLINE   GoldnBullet

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 09:06 PM

I thought some of their claims were a little fishy :CONFUS12: Because like said above barrels are made of pretty high grade steel material.

Just thought I would post it.....I am not buying it


#7 OFFLINE   HairyToe

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 09:12 PM

Is this about steel BULLETS, or steel CASED ammo?

Ive never seen steel jacketed ammo for an AR. I mean that doesnt mean it does not exist, Ive just never seen it.

Exactly! I'd like to see some steel bullets myself.


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#8 OFFLINE   forgiven

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 10:44 PM

I was thinking the same thing. I've shot thousands of rounds of el-cheapo steel cased crap through my rifles for years without a problem. Never seen any steel bullets, just steel cases.


#9 OFFLINE   AnonymousD

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 10:52 PM

Same here. Ive shot somewhere around 5K through one of my ARs, and more than half that was steel cases. Not a single problem.


#10 OFFLINE   Shoo

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 11:31 PM

I was going to ask the same question about steel bullets.
I purchased some Russian made .223 from Wal Mart called TulAmmo which stated Steel Case, no mention of steel bullet. When I took a magnet it stuck to the case and the bullet as well.
It looks like the bullet is copper washed over the steel. I haven't fired any through my Bushmaster and not sure I even want too.
Anybody out there know anything about this Tulammo brand.


#11 OFFLINE   shiz

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Posted Feb. 21 2011 - 11:58 PM

Yea the tula is copper...I dont know if some has steel cores, but the copper is sure thick..


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#12 OFFLINE   SSGN_Doc

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Posted Feb. 22 2011 - 12:48 PM

A lot of the Russian steel cased ammo uses a iron based jacket or mild steel jacket. This is often called gilding metal. It is then copper washed so it still looks likne a copper jacket but it isn't. Yes a magnet will stick to it because the jacket is mild steel or some other iron based alloy because it is cheaper than copper.

The thing is that the alloy is usually made to be similar to copper. This is not hardened steel. In my mind it sh ould not cause errosion of the bore at any significantly faster rate, than copper jackets. Almost all Russian 7.62x39 uses the same jacket material. I haven't seen any sks's or aks that had any significant bore wear with a steady diet of steel jacketed ammo.


#13 OFFLINE   Walt3r

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Posted Feb. 22 2011 - 12:56 PM

Yea the tula is copper...I dont know if some has steel cores, but the copper is sure thick..


Tula, like all the Russian ammo, actually has a "bimetal" jacket over a lead core. It looks like copper....but will stick to a magnet because it is a copper/mild steel mix. Barrel steel is significantly harder than this stuff, therefore, I doubt there really is any big wear issue. That said, obviously, those guys at performance barrels do know their stuff and it is their livelihood, unlike most of us internet mall ninjas - so it could indeed be the case that these bullets do wear the barrel more. But - whether it wears extra enough for anyone to actually notice before replacing the barrel anyway is debatable, IMO.

Edited by Walt3r, Feb. 22 2011 - 12:58 PM.



#14 OFFLINE   KZero

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Posted Feb. 22 2011 - 11:47 PM

Funny. When I shoot the crappy Russian ammo, it sure seems to be (relatively) accurate....which is rather miraculous, considering that, according to these folks, it isn't engaging the rifling in the barrel. Bullets that do not engage the rifling will be horrendously inaccurate. I don't mean five inches at 100 yards, I mean more like two or three FEET at 100yds.
Also, if the bullet is too hard to take the rifling, it would never make it out the muzzle....squib round, at best, or a big bang at worst.
I've put several hundred rounds of crappy Russian ammo through the non-chrome-lined barrel of my RRA "Entry Tactical," and all the rifling is still there, and it is still giving me about four inches at 100 yards. Others here have rifles that have shot many thousands of rounds of this stuff, also without problems.

Barrels wear out. That's life. Shoot enough copper jackets through a barrel, it will also wear out. Shoot them through it very rapidly, it will wear out even faster. YES, even with COPPER JACKETS and BRASS cases. Does this mean that pure copper and brass are bad for your rifle?


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#15 OFFLINE   saltydawg

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 12:37 AM

But why break it faster???

There are different kinds of shooting out there also....

Personally I am into the anal one hole thing... Even got into reloads ... Not for the economy but for the science of shooting....

But hey if moa+ is good enough for you have at it.... I can care less about how many mag dumps/ changes or how fast ... What trips my trigger is that first cold bore shot going precisely down range into that little itty bitty tiny zone that is .224 in diameter without coloring outside the lines....


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#16 OFFLINE   KZero

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 02:23 AM

But why break it faster??? How much faster are we talking? Ten thousand rounds instead of fifteen? Twenty instead of thirty? How many folks here actually shoot that much? Can you give me an idea of just how much faster it will wear with crappy ammo? Is there a "chart" for that? :oh yea: :laugh:

There are different kinds of shooting out there also....Yep. Not everyone is into the "one hole" thing, especially not at fifty yards and in on a combat course, or for the folks who like to blow holes in soda cans, pumpkins, etc. I don't see how using top-shelf ammo would be a plus in this circumstance....unless one just has that much extra cash laying around and nothing else to use it for.

Personally I am into the anal one hole thing I think we just found out something very interesting about Uncle Salty... :laugh: Even got into reloads ... Not for the economy but for the science of shooting....
Wonderful. That's great....for you. None of this is what I am talking about. At no point have I said that this type of ammo should be used for precision shooting.

But hey if moa+ is good enough for you have at it.... I can care less about how many mag dumps/ changes or how fast ... What trips my trigger is that first cold bore shot going precisely down range into that little itty bitty tiny zone that is .224 in diameter without coloring outside the lines....

ETA: I finally got some of that Tony Chachere's creole seasoning. Every bit as good as you said! Thanks for the heads-up. :thumb:


Honestly, guys, I don't care what anyone else shoots in their weapons. It's their money to use as they see fit, and if they want to spend big money just to go out and plink and run home-defense drills, it's none of my business.

What bothers me is the misinformation that's being spread around about the crappy Russian ammo. There are enough legitimate, proven problems with it without exaggerating them further, or inventing things outright.
I don't like seeing folks come here looking for advice and being handed a load of gibberish about replacing extractors after every range trip, scarred chambers, and trashed bolt carriers. And now, supposedly, that it will prematurely wear out the bore.
And, as always offered up without any proof by people who claim not to use it, all the while ignoring the fact that lots of other folks use it for many thousands of rounds without any problems other than the fact that it's dirty and has less-than-stellar accuracy.

Personally, I'd rather be out practicing drills, getting to know and handle my rifle better, getting in some trigger time every so often, than sitting around waiting for the top-of-the line ammo to come down in price. But, that's just me. :laugh:

So my advice is, as always, try it in your own gun, and buy only a small quantity until you know if it will work in your gun. And if you can actually afford shoot enough of it to wear out a barrel, you can probably afford a new barrel anyway. There are worse things in the world than a shot-out barrel.

Of course, if one's rifle means so much to them, they probably shouldn't take any risk at all of any wear or damage. Just don't shoot it. :wink: Slide it back into the safe where it can stay nice and shiny. The extractor can never break, the accuracy will be as good as whatever they decide to say it is, and the barrel will live forever.

Me? I'll be out shooting mine. :thumb: And if my barrel should ever wear out, well, they were selling barrels when I bought this one.

YMMV

Edited by KZero, Feb. 23 2011 - 02:26 AM.



#17 ONLINE   newbe

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 03:22 AM

I've probably gone through about 2500 rds (or more) of steel cased ammo (Tula, Herters, Silver Bear, Wolf) and guess what. ZERO FTF or FTE.
I keep READING about how bad this stuff is and how much WEAR it causes in your weapon, I've just personally not experienced it. I've also read how INNACURATE it is. Well, after this last weekend I and another member here can vouch for how accurate it really CAN be. He was getting MOA and SUB-MOA at times with Tula. I was able to make about 70-80 consecutive head shots @ 100 yds (with only one outside the silhouette, no doubt my own error) using only a 2X magnifier on a Lucid red dot scope and Wolf/Tula ammo.

I for one am the type who will test something out (within reason of course). So far I think the steel cased ammo has an undeserved rap. Maybe in the earlier days when it was laquer coated, but not nowadays with the polymer and or zinc coated cases, I don't think its anywhere NEAR the issue it used to be.

People can keep bad mouthing it all they want. I'll continue to shoot it and save $$. Enough $$ in fact to buy a new rifle every 5- 10 thousand rounds.

NOW keep in MIND that I DO have plenty of brass cased ammo for more ACCURATE shooting. HOWEVER, for running drills, double taps, steel plates, plinking etc, I'll go ahead and continue to order up the less expensive steel cased ammo and keep more $$ in my pocket.

Oh, and on the steel ruining accuracy statement....
After I clean my weapons, they will STILL shoot sub MOA with brass cased ammo even though I've shot thousands of steel cased ammo through them.

Flame on.....


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#18 OFFLINE   Nest

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 03:33 AM

The only thing I don't like about steel case ammo is how dirty it is. I know it isn't just because of the steel case, but the dirty powder because I have read that Hornady's steel case ammo isn't very dirty at all. So those who have shot a lot of steel case ammo, which is the cleanest burning? Say i save 15 cents per round shooting steel case. I would be willing to only save 10 cents if it meant using a higher end steel case that is much easier to clean the rifle afterwards. Herters is the only steel case ammo I have shot so far, and now that I know my rifle will feed steel I plan on shooting more of it.


#19 ONLINE   newbe

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 03:47 AM

The only thing I don't like about steel case ammo is how dirty it is. I know it isn't just because of the steel case, but the dirty powder because I have read that Hornady's steel case ammo isn't very dirty at all. So those who have shot a lot of steel case ammo, which is the cleanest burning? Say i save 15 cents per round shooting steel case. I would be willing to only save 10 cents if it meant using a higher end steel case that is much easier to clean the rifle afterwards. Herters is the only steel case ammo I have shot so far, and now that I know my rifle will feed steel I plan on shooting more of it.

Absolutely correct. It IS dirtier burning powder. I usually have black powder specks on my face after shooting a couple hundred rounds lol.. :laugh:

If I had to GUESS, I'd say the Silver Bear is the cleanest (if you can say that) of the steel cased ammo though I've never really done a "clean burn" comparison.

I am ALSO about to try out some MFS zinc plated steel cased ammo soon. I'll try to post up a report on it after I've had a chance to try it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is made by the same plant as the Silver Bear.

Oh, BTW, Ken67 and I discovered that TULA and HERTERS are the same thing. Same head stamp and everything.
I also have suspicions that Tula makes the ammo Wolf sells. Same case and .223 markings, just a different head stamp with a Tula logo on the Tula branded ammo.
Pictures forthcoming in a future range report. :thumb:


#20 OFFLINE   Nest

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Posted Feb. 23 2011 - 04:11 AM

Absolutely correct. It IS dirtier burning powder. I usually have black powder specks on my face after shooting a couple hundred rounds lol.. :laugh:

If I had to GUESS, I'd say the Silver Bear is the cleanest (if you can say that) of the steel cased ammo though I've never really done a "clean burn" comparison.

I am ALSO about to try out some MFS zinc plated steel cased ammo soon. I'll try to post up a report on it after I've had a chance to try it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is made by the same plant as the Silver Bear.

Oh, BTW, Ken67 and I discovered that TULA and HERTERS are the same thing. Same head stamp and everything.
I also have suspicions that Tula makes the ammo Wolf sells. Same case and .223 markings, just a different head stamp with a Tula logo on the Tula branded ammo.
Pictures forthcoming in a future range report. :thumb:


Yeah. I shot 700 rds of Herters one day and couldn't clean the rifle for 3 days. That sucked. I know it would be easier to clean it right away, but if I can minimize the gunk for a couple pennies per round it is worth it. I still have 500 rds of Herters to go through, and I'm done with that brand. Will look at the Silver Bear, and wait to see how that MFS works for you.





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