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The Truth About Brass vs. Steel Ammo

Should you shoot steel-cased ammo? Or simply stick with the more expensive brass-cased ammo? We go through the facts and set things straight with some simple rules to follow.

    Everywhere you look in the gun world, you can find a debate about something...Glock vs 1911, .45 vs 9mm, etc. 

    9mm vs .45 ACP
    9mm vs .45 ACP

    And like most things, people have their opinions…and then there are the facts, and a lot of the time there’s not a lot of crossover between the two.

    Well, today we’re going to set the record straight on something that’s been the cause of a lot of debate in our comments section on Facebook and elsewhere: brass-cased vs. steel-cased ammo.

    Draco NAK-9 Russian Steel Ammo
    Steel-cased ammo

    Some people say never use steel, some people would rather die than pay the more expensive brass ammo prices. Each side has its arguments.

    What’s the difference? Why should you care? Does it even matter? Which one should you be using? Is one better than the other?

    Let’s see if we can settle (or more likely just add to) the debate. We’ll cover both of these, lay out the pros/cons and get to the bottom of which is better.

    So keep reading to learn more.

    Table of Contents


    Brass Ammo Pros & Cons

    Brass Seals Better, Runs Cleaner

    Brass ammo is generally considered to be better than steel-cased ammo because it creates a better chamber seal than steel.

    Thus you have less blowback into the chamber and the receiver.

    Ruger in lead free ammo

    Brass is better at this sealing action because it is more malleable than steel. So, it expands to snugly fit the walls of the chamber.

    This means you have less gas and unburned powder that pass back into your gun every time it’s fired.

    Foxtrot Mike FM9B Brass Ammo
    Brass ammo

    Though cheaper, steel offers a less malleable construction. As such, it creates a poorer seal — generally running dirtier across the board.

    This creates more opportunities for malfunctions due to carbon buildup.

    It also means a rifle shooting steel-cased ammo will be less reliable in the long run…although there are some exceptions…but I’ll get to that in a minute.

    Faxon Firearms Ascent AR-15

    Brass Can Be Reloaded, Steel Can’t

    Not safely, anyway.

    Because it’s softer and more malleable, brass can reliably be reshaped to its original dimensions and reloaded.  

    We call this resizing the case because gun folk are simple and direct a lot of the time.

    Resizing Brass Cases
    Resizing Brass Cases

    You can learn more about the reloading process here.

    Practically, if you don’t intend to reload/handload your ammo anyway, this won’t be much of a concern for you.

    Dillon 550-B Reloading Press
    Dillon 550-B Reloading Press

    But for high-volume shooters and those who want to get the most bang for their buck (literally), this is something to consider.

    Steel cases can’t really be resized as easily.

    Once they expand they like to stay expanded — meaning you get only two, maybe three, safe uses out of the case before it has to be thrown away or recycled.  

    45 Colt Reloads Lever Action
    .45 Colt Reloads

    Steel-Cased Ammo Pros & Cons

    Steel (Might) Extract Better

    Of course, there’s also the issue of extraction.  

    Press Checks Rifle

    Now, most of the Western weapons you’re probably most familiar with (AR-15 and AR-10s for example) use primarily straight-walled cartridges that extract with fairly light pressure.

    Now, take for example some of the surplus FALs lying around (yes I know the FAL is Belgian), or AKs rechambered for straight-walled cartridges.

    L to R - 22 LR, 45 Colt, 30-30 Win, 300 Savage, 45-70 Government
    L to R – 22 LR, 45 Colt, 30-30 Win, 300 Savage, 45-70 Government

    These rifles can, if not properly tuned, rip the heads clean off of softer brass cases.

    This is because, in general, the tolerances are not as tight on these guns and they extract with much more force than most brass-cased ammo is designed to tolerate.

    This is especially prevalent in older FALs in .223/5.56x45mm, and Kalashnikov-patterned rifles like the AK-74 that are shooting intermediate cartridges like the 5.45x39mm — rather than say, AKM and SKS rifles firing the larger 7.62x39mm.  

    Lancaster Arms Rough Rider AK-74 Loading Mag
    Lancaster Arms Rough Rider AK-74

    This is in part due to the extra meat the extractor has to yank on as a byproduct of what is simply a larger cartridge.  

    More material supporting the point of contact between the extractor and the case means a lower likelihood of a failure to extract due to torn brass.

    Failure to Eject
    Failure to Eject

    In general, any rifle with a shorter and more violent extraction is going to have more issues than a rifle with a longer cycle time and less violent extraction.

    So, a delayed blowback-operated weapon like a FAMAS is going to be more likely to rip brass than an AR-15 and may function better with steel.

    PSA AK74 Ammo Pile

    That’s not to say that weapons like the FAMAS, AK-pattern guns, the FAL, and others won’t run well with brass.

    Quite the contrary, in fact.

    These rifles may run just fine and never have a single issue, and many of them will fire thousands of issue-free, brass-cased rounds down range and never chamber a single steel cartridge.

    PSA AK74 Shooting Left Side
    PSA AK-74

    This extra cartridge strength, especially in intermediate cartridges, is, however, one of the big selling points of steel.  

    Yes, it’s dirty, but it’s also incredibly robust when it comes to that sort of thing.

    So, AKs and other guns that extract with a bit more force may actually perform more reliably with steel than brass — especially if you’re talking about older surplus guns that were imported as parts kits.

    surplus rifles for shooting competitons
    Surplus rifles are a great way to get into rifle shooting without breaking the bank.

    An argument can be made that countries like Russia gravitated towards guns with short, aggressive cycles because they could make use of cheaper steel ammo that our Eastern brethren produced en masse.

    An argument can also be made for steel ammo being produced en masse in these countries because it works better in guns with looser tolerances and more aggressive extraction cycles that tend to be favored there.

    Now, is this a concern for a target shooter or someone who is going to slow-fire their way through one magazine a month? Probably not, honestly.

    Draco NAK-9 Shooting
    If you’re just plinking at the range occasionally, it probably won’t matter.

    But it’s still better to test any rifles that you plan on using for serious business, be that combat or competition, with the ammo you intend to use first.

    Then Again, Steel Might Not Extract Better

    While steel is harder and thus less likely to get ripped into by an aggressive extractor, it’s is also sometimes more likely to get stuck because of its other physical properties.

    Aero Precision Thunder Ranch TR15 556 Steel Ammo

    First, we have the hardness and resistance of deformation that makes it less resistant to ripped rims and torn off heads.  

    This same hardness is what causes steel to run dirty (remember, it doesn’t expand as well and thus doesn’t seal as well).

    But it also means that it may expand unevenly in the chamber, leading to it getting stuck.

    Sometimes steel can induce malfunctions.

    I’ve had steel cases get stuck so firmly that I had to run a steel cleaning rod down the barrel and gently tap it out with a mallet.  

    This kind of malfunction can be a pain in the ass at the range, and a death sentence in a combat/self-defense situation.

    So, it’s definitely something to take note of when choosing steel ammo for a defensive gun.

    Steel Ammo is Lower in Overall Quality & Less Accurate (Or is It?)

    There’s an abiding belief that steel ammo is inherently lower in overall quality than brass ammo.

    This is one area we can definitively side one way or the other.  

    In this case, we’re siding with the truth and that is this

    There is nothing about steel-cased ammo that says it’s of inherently lower quality than brass.

    That said, it’s important to note that a lot, if not most, steel-cased ammo is produced to less-strict tolerances and with less consistency than brass ammo.

    Popular 7.62x39 Ammo
    Popular 7.62×39 ammo

    But that’s because most steel-cased ammo is aimed at a cheaper market in general.

    There’s nothing about steel-cased ammo that says this has to be the case, however.

    Hornady proved that with their competition-ready Steel Match ammo produced with all the quality and attention to detail that of their other premium offerings.

    So, while steel ammo might be lower in quality than brass on average, that’s more a function of market trends and such that it is any difference in materials.  

    It also means that if you want match-grade ammo and maximum reliability, it doesn’t mean you need to feed your steel-preferring gun brass.

    Assorted 7.62x39 (FMJ, Open, Soft, FMJ)
    Assorted 7.62×39 (FMJ, Open, Soft, FMJ)

    It just means you’ll want to pick up steel-cased rounds from higher-quality manufacturers.

    These higher-quality rounds can be just as accurate as high-end brass rounds, provided you and your gun are both up to the task.

    Steel is Cheaper (Usually)

    This difference in average manufacturing quality leads to the next (perhaps the biggest) point of consideration.

    One of the chief draws of steel-cased ammo, at least the stuff you’ll normally find on the shelves at big-box retailers and your local gun store is the price.

    Different Casing Materials (Brass, Nickel Plated, Steel)
    Different Casing Materials (Brass, Nickel Plated, Steel)

    This is because, as we discussed above, most steel ammo isn’t manufactured to the same standard as brass-cased ammo.  

    This is the core of the steel vs. brass ammo debate for a lot of people.

    Some people think the overall lower quality of steel disqualifies it from serious use. Others think the savings make up for the difference in quality.

    money meme
    A lot of us experience this when we walk by the ammo section of our local sporting goods store.

    In general, I wouldn’t recommend hunting, competing, or defending hearth and home with any cheap ammo — be it brass or steel.

    That said, if you’re just plinking at the range, go with what suits your budget.  

    HK VP9 Shooting
    If you’re just dorking around the range, then feel free to use that budget-friendly ammo.

    Practice is important, and if you’re trying to save money, spend more time at the range, and literally get more bang for your buck, steel may be the way to go.

    Steel Needs Case Coatings

    Steel is naturally less slick than brass, which can also contribute to the stuck case issue.

    PSA AK74 545x39mm

    Because of this, most if not all steel ammo comes with a coating to help extract easier and stay free of rust which can also cause extraction issues.  

    Brass is naturally corrosion-resistant and again, slicker than steel.

    While you can find lots of brass ammo that is coated for more reliability, it isn’t strictly necessary most of the time.

    Popular 5.56 and .223 Ammo
    Popular 5.56 and .223 Ammo

    Steel coatings come in two flavors, polymer, which is more modern and generally more expensive, and the cheaper lacquer.

    Lacquer coatings like what you’ll find on Brown Bear steel-cased ammo are commonly believed to be less reliable than polymer coatings.

    This is due to the idea that the lacquer likes to “melt” and create extra gunk in the chamber.

    That doesn’t seem to match up with reality, however. A least not in the exhaustive testing our friends at Lucky Gunner did.

    They compared brass ammo versus a number of common steel alternatives.

    Taurus GX4 Mags with 9mm

    In their testing, they found that lacquer-coated Brown Bear ammo malfunctioned about half as often as polymer-coated Wolf ammo in an AR-15 platform.

    I highly recommend checking out their full results, especially if you appreciate a science-based approach to ballistics and firearms in general.

    Now, it’s also worth noting that out of 10,000 rounds, even the worst performing of the three rounds that they finished testing only had fifteen stoppages

    Tula was partially discounted because of issues, either inherent or acquired, with the rifle they were testing it with.

    From left to right the ammunition is as follows: Winchester 62 grain open tip, TulAmmo 62 grain FMJ, TulAmmo 75 grain HP, and in the magazine below TulAmmo 55 grain HP.

    Fifteen sounds like a lot, but in reality that comes out to a 99.85% success rate, which is pretty good, especially for steel-cased ammo in the lightly extracting AR-15 platform.

    But is it good enough?

    Choosing Between Brass & Steel

    Taking all of this information into account, and weighing all the pros and cons of steel vs. brass ammo…which one should you choose?

    Well, the answer is actually the same as almost every other big “should I do A or B” question…it depends.


    Do you have an old Soviet gun you found buried in a rice paddy? It may work better with steel ammo.

    Do you have a modern AR-15 that is as soft-shooting as a .22? It may work better with brass.

    Daniel Defense MK18
    Daniel Defense MK18

    Are you reloading? You’ll probably want brass again.

    Are you an occasional visitor to the range looking to save some money? You might find steel to be the best option for you.

    PHLster Floodlight OWB

    As with most things, this conversation comes down to personal choice. You have to sit down and weigh all these pros and cons and come up with an answer for yourself.

    Ideally, you’ll want to do some testing on your own and find out what your gun works best with.

    I’d recommend a 500 round test minimum to find out what your gun prefers.

    UDP AR 9 ammo
    UDP AR-9

    Personally, I gravitate towards brass because I know it’s going to function in my ARs and I can reload it.


    Hopefully, this information will help you better decide whether brass or steel runs best in your gun. 

    Just remember, there are upsides and downsides to each.

    CCI Blazer Brass 9mm

    So, what ammo do you run in your guns?  Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to check out our Ammo & Reloading section for our favorite picks for each caliber.

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    82 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Thank you kindly for a very informative article. As for my personal preference, it will be brass. Reasoning: I am getting into reloading as a fun hobby and prefer consistency. Thanks again.

      September 23, 2023 9:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I bought 500 rounds of steel case Wolf .38 Special for my Ruger SP101 revolver because of the great price. The rounds fire accurately and I can't tell a difference from brass case. After 250 rounds, no failures to fire. The only problem is that the steel casings don't extract well from the cylinder after the third or fourth set of five rounds when the revolver warms up. I have to push the casings out from the other side with a cleaning rod. After doing this a few times, I switched back to brass and have had no further issues with extraction.

      April 7, 2023 12:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I just read this whole debate about steel vs brass and how some guns can fire either and some get the steel casings stuck and how some guns need the brass ect... But on part of the original comment was what bullets Penetrate better steel or brass and talked about how the lead and brass are heavier and are more Malibu and let out less gas and blowback so they run cleaner than steel steal, my question would be what if you just had a brass bullet that had a steel core and would that solve the issue? My knowledge on guns and ammo is very new and I don't know, I just want to learn and find these topics very interesting! Thanks

      November 5, 2022 2:36 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Keep in mind I just bought my 1st AR and the 2nd time at range using steel was a horrible experience with every 2nd or 3rd round not feeding from magazine. I did not know this could be an issue until I asked someone in the lane next to mine what might be going on and they stated steel is known to jam and/or not feed properly.

      September 9, 2022 5:59 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I also did not realize you are not allowed to use steel at the range we use and felt like an idiot when I found out after shooting 100 rounds. Now I have 400 rounds of pretty much useless steel .223

        September 9, 2022 6:04 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        I've never had a problem with Stella in any gun a lot of people think they are smarter then the average bear lol are you sure you weren't using 5.56 instead of 223 ? There's a difference ? Also is it a cheap gun one that was built ? Does it have the right bolt the right recoil spring was the barrel installed properly ? You know if it was properly head spaced ...extractor problems...also magazines will cause this ! For some arm chair quarter back to just look over and say oh yeah I only use lake city ammo in my guns not that cheap steel is absurd ....I guess the true test would be to run some brass but make sure it's 5.56 or 223 per what's written on your barrel!

        April 15, 2023 12:58 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Great information !Answered a lot of questions.

      August 23, 2022 12:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Matt Stumpf

      Excellent and informative article. One of the best I have read on this topic.

      January 26, 2022 5:58 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael Powell

      I recently bought a Taurus GC3 9mm and shot my first magazine with Monarch steel ammo. It failed to extract the very first shot. I re-racked and continued and had 1 Fail in it. I switched to cheap brass ammo and out of 100 rounds only 1 failed to fire. No extraction failures though. Hope this helps someone.

      December 20, 2021 3:03 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mr. Gray

      Looking at the pic of 9mm vs .45 ACP, the answer to that one is obvious.

      October 7, 2021 2:01 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I was shooting competition with steel ammo and about every 3rd round got a "click no bang". We determined that the steel ammo was preventing the action form going into battery. I the range owner suggested I oil every other round. I wound up dripping some oil down the mag and I didn't have any other stoppages that day.

      October 6, 2021 10:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      In the case of an AR-15, the "Brass Seals Better, Runs Cleaner" concept is kind of irrelevant, considering it uses gas vented directly from the barrel and into the BCG to operate the weapon's action...literally spraying everything down with nice layer of soot.

      ARs are just nasty critters that shit where they eat...

      September 13, 2021 8:42 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ryan Fay

        The last sentence has me lmao. Great explanation!

        October 4, 2021 10:05 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Stay away from dirty star chambers that are gas tubed operated. Go with Ruger's Mini-14 design. Shoots a .223 which is the same thing. M4's are actually trash. Dont fall into the Military Weaponry is the Best, Trap.

        January 12, 2022 9:57 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          ruger mini's firing pins suck and break

          January 15, 2022 12:35 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          Mini 14 at in errantly not very accurate do to harmonics. Modern mini’s will shot either 223 or 5.56. You can spend a 1,000 bucks to make a mini more accurate but you can just buy an ar15 and use 0 to 15 weight synthetic motor oil to suspend the carbon in the oil and just wipe it off at the end of the day both problems solved.

          March 24, 2022 1:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aaron Snider

      One thing that you did not mention that I'm curious about is the wear inside the chamber steel against steel rubbing or brass against still rubbing during the injection and extraction.

      August 26, 2021 9:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rocco DiGregorio

      Awesome information. Thank you so much for posting this. I just bought some steel ammo for the first time. I recently bought a 1943 Mosin Nagant 91/30 that shoots 7.62x54R and found some in bulk for a good price. Haven't shot any yet, stay tuned!!

      April 29, 2021 12:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jesenia Rivera

      Thanks for the information. You broke it down pretty well for me (a beginner). I purchased my first handgun, a 9mm Springfield 1911 and was debating what type of ammo to start with. I was leaning toward 124gr fmj brass.

      April 3, 2021 5:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rob Cypress

      Thanks for the article. It supports my experiences with brass and steel in my ARs. I've never really had an issue with brass ammo and I personally have had great success with Brown Bear... but not so much with Wolf. I can't get through more than a magazine or two before I have a case stuck which makes the range visit a little frustrating and a lot less fun.

      March 30, 2021 6:14 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James J Hites

      I have an original Yugoslavia sks, I have only been shooting tula and wolf in it, last year it started not ejecting the shells, I have cleaned it over and over, still not working, the casing is getting stuck in the chamber. I have to smack the bolt with a mallet to get it to eject. I think it's from the coating on the casing. What can I do????

      February 11, 2021 8:36 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kevin Scarton

      So, if I’m a new gun owner and would like to practice with my AR 15 .300 blackout, that I plan to use to hunt and for home defense, would it be safe to say that I can run steel cartridges for practice and have brass for the other? But would have to clean more often after using the steel?

      January 31, 2021 11:15 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Yes you can, it might need cleaning slightly more often but not majorly so.

        January 31, 2021 2:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      All is cool, article is great, but you did not touch on the issue of: Does steel cased ammo put more unnecessary wear on a firearm than brass would? or has that been discussed elsewhere?

      January 11, 2021 5:33 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Ray Maddalone

        I wanted their take on it too for 9mm. Lucky Gunner did an exhaustive study on AR15s so look there
        Bottom line there was there was more wear with steel but the savings more than paid for a cost of a new barrel. This was after a lot of rounds fired under trying situations.

        May 1, 2021 8:19 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Anthony Alcalde

      Just came across this article of yours it quite education in my onpion. Never own a firearm. So why not learn it from every point of it. Grains and different types of metals are better or bad.
      The things I notice alot of dealer kind of have the same point of view. When asked about learning and doing my own bullets and building my own arms from the base.
      There reply is there isn't enough grains or takes a long time to learn to do it correctly and it is dangerous.
      Building own arms. You better to buy it from the box(from them) as your first. Then building your own, it come out expensive p, it mite not fire correctly.
      Excuses for not learning a hobby that can become self independent ammo and fire arm gunsmith.
      Ya, you buy a box of ammo or buy ar-15 from the box load it up and go target rang shooting.
      I like your article because it goes expanding the different of A or B.
      Thank you. Anthony Alcalde.

      December 11, 2020 6:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I was told but not sure if it's true that steel cases are harder on extractors/ejectors and cause more extractor/ejector wear than brass. You did not mention this, so I am asking: true or false?

      November 23, 2020 11:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ken E Anderson

      Generally brass in mini-14 and 9mm pistol

      October 1, 2020 11:19 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Charlie C

      What ever is cheapest mainly tulammo, wolf and red army standard in all of the ARs. aluminum in the 9mm pistols or the three above only for the range I would never trust my life to this ammo so definitely brass for defense rounds. Only thing I hate about the steel ammo is the clean up you have to scrub scrub scrub to clean your firearms.

      June 30, 2020 1:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I purchased some steel cased 38 Special (Russian made Wolf ammo) for my S&W revolver,. I figured extraction issues (like those experience in semi-auto handguns) would not be an issue if this ammo was used in a revolver. My limited experience (with this particular ammo) showed that loading the cartridges into the chambers was business as usual, but once fired, the spent cartridges were difficult to remove from the chambers. The steel case must expand just enough to cause friction against the walls of the chambers making extraction more difficult. Any ideas on how to mitigate this from happening going forward? Perhaps coat the cases or chambers with silicone lubricant?

      June 15, 2020 9:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Enjoyed the discussion. I've shot a mix of both Steel and brass ammo in my budget AR. Both have worked fine and I've never had any kind of stoppage. I've got a couple hundred rounds of Federal Brass that I keep around, but mostly these days I shoot steel at the range. Just makes sense from a $$ standpoint. I don't shoot that many rounds, and tend to clean my AR regularly so any kind of excessive dirt doesn't become an issue.

      May 31, 2020 6:32 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Bob Peterson

      Excellent article. I like the "Just the facts Ma'am" format! Just bought a 300 blackout AR pistol and am struggling with the cost of ammo. This was very helpful. Thanks.

      May 19, 2020 3:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      So I just got a Glock 48 (9mm) and I put a compensator on it immediately, I’m using nickel plated brass gold dot hollow points mostly, however I was just gifted 200 rounds of lacquer coated steel Lugers rounds After my gold dots run out, should I expect the gun to jam if I were to use the steel?

      March 19, 2020 9:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Randy Jones

      I have a stainless PT92. It's a decent gun, shoots accurately enough and is rock solid as far as eating every brand I have fed it. I happened upon some steel ammo made right here in the US of A by a major brand (W) and headed to the range thinkin I'd saved some money. After one magazine my pattern was 50% larger and you could feel the difference between some of the rounds. I started to field strip the gun and the RSO said don't bother, you are shooting "X" aren't you? He named the brand. Said those steel cases do that all the time. I went to my bag and broke out a big box store brand of brass and the gun felt consistent between shots and the group dropped in size. I will not use steel ammo in anything I shoot anymore. I do agree it has to do with how well the case expands and seals the chamber. That changes pressures to some degree and that effects performance.

      December 19, 2019 5:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I realize this has been kicked around for decades but wanted your input. Is it safe to shoot soft primer brass ammo made in the good old USA out of a SKS rifle with the oem stock firing pin or should an alternate firing pin such as Murray's be installed? Thanks in advance.

      December 9, 2019 1:00 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      When I use stripper clips in loading up 30rd mags the steel casings don't load well. Whereas the brass casings slip in without any problems. Shooting bears out the fact that that the steels against steel is not as smooth as the brass.

      November 12, 2019 8:12 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Chrome lined chambers/barrels eat anything ;)

      August 11, 2019 11:44 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Heres how I look at it if you value your guns as you should use brass especially in newer handguns steel bullets are fine for guns of lesser value such as Highpoint thats my opinion Be Safe & God Bless

      August 2, 2019 12:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      "(Tula was partially discounted because of issues, either inherent or acquired, with the rifle they were testing it with)."

      Read the source article again, Matt. There was no problem with the rifle they were testing, other than it wasn't designed to run shit ammo. The powder used by Tula burned too quickly and caused problems with the bushmaster's small gas port. That doesn't mean there's anything WRONG with the rifle, ALL FOUR RIFLES had small gas ports. The malfunction only occurred with that ammo. Look at the chart titled "GAS PORT PRESSURE". Notice anything strange about the Tula hmm? Yes, it ran better in a different weapon with a larger port. No, that doesn't mean the rifle is faulty.

      June 23, 2019 1:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis- Gun Newbie

      But what about for the common pistol calibers? Since operating pressures are generally lower, does above article apply but it a less degree? Main question, does it hurt the pistols? Thank You

      April 11, 2019 5:17 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Steel case in pistols wears extractors and barrels, like in rifles. Barrels are worn to a lesser degree but extractors are worn about the same. A lot of pistols are really picky about brass Vs. steel mostly due to extraction and the fact that steel case ammo is normally much lower quality and has a wider range of pressure while also hovering around the bottom range of pressure. This can cause short stroking and stove pipes.

        If you want to shoot steel in a pistol, try it out and see if your gun runs it well. Personally, I normally stick to brass for pistols since 9mm is fairly cheap and fiddling with getting a pistol to like low tier ammo isn't as simple as just changing the gas settings on a rifle.

        April 12, 2019 5:03 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Larry gies

          How about a study on the silver bear, (zinc coated) ammo that is available?

          July 27, 2020 5:03 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tee Kay

      I shoot steel case in 6.5 Grendel because of the $.50 per round price difference. I also meticulously clean my gun after each use. In 223 Rem, I can get brass super cheap so I don't bother with steel anymore, but I never had any major issues with 75gr Tula.

      March 22, 2019 6:29 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have seen different colors of steel casings. These have been primarily a grey color and an orange color. Is there a difference?

      February 3, 2019 1:50 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Had my first experience shooting steel and this past weekend. It was 115gr 9mm Winchester range ammo in a 150 round cardboard box purchased at the deathbringer to American retail, Walmart. It was cheap but only marginally less than brass. It sucked. Shooting the remainder and never buying it again. Had no extraction problems or accuracy problems, but the cases were relatively...rough...like not smooth or slippery, and they kept jamming in my Glock style P-mags, shooting through my 9mm carbine. Every mag had at least one jam. Terrible. I would have chalked it up to a combination of the ammo and the p-mags, but it even jammed feeding from the magazine in my Springfield xd which hasn't ever jammed (ever) using brass ammo. It seemed to me this particular steel case ammo had either no or faulty coating on it. I can afford an extra buck and a half per 50 rounds for brass.

      December 27, 2018 7:18 pm
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      I have a mini30 and it will not eat steel case ammo. Have run it on three diff manufactures. The problem seems to be with light strikes on primers. Have had no such problem with any of the brass ammo. I wish I could use the cheaper steel, but ho well so it goes.

      October 13, 2018 5:33 pm
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        not the ammo problem, if your gun only run on one kind of ammo, just throw it away

        November 26, 2018 2:00 pm