Steel Cased Ammo--Good or Bad?


Is steel cased bad for handguns? I have always used brass or aluminum but the steel is so inexpensive. is it worth it?


If you handgun runs it, then run it if you like the performance of the ammo. If you have a quality handgun it shouldn’t be an issue, might need more cleaning due to not expanding to fit the chamber the way brass would so gasses might get past the cartridge more but that’s not a big deal.


I would not run steel cased ammo in any fire arm other than an AK or AK derivative as they were designed to reliably function with it. The AK and its derivatives are pigs, you can feed them anything. AKM, AK-74, Galil ACE, Tavor/X95, all of them will function with steel cased ammo. Using it in ARs and hand guns is a big no-go as far as I’m concerned.


I wouldnt use them in handgun, its just not worth it. They are for machineguns or smg’s without tight tolerances (even most rifles should cycle em reliably anyways).


I’d argue that if your AR/handgun can’t reliably run steel cased, or is damaged by steel cased ammo, then you’ve got yourself a bad AR/handgun.


Nuff said.


My argument was never that steel case was good, just that your rifle should be able to handle it well. Of course brass is better, I just think that a rifle (or handgun) worth its salt should be able to handle steel cased ammo pretty well.


That’s my whole point. An AR doesn’t handle steel cased ammo well. I don’t feed my guns that garbage. Not even my PWS AR (which handles steel cased ammo fine). If I owned a Tavor or AK or something like that it would be a whole other matter. But since accuracy and reliability are very important to me I’m not interested in any of those. Not only does steel cased ammo run very dirty, it doesn’t properly seal the chamber either. The AR-15 is reliable in all conditions as it is an occlusive design. Why gunk it up from the inside?.. Steel cased ammo doesn’t belong in a 1911 either. I have my pride and principles. It’s an insult to the AR-15 and 1911 to feed them anything else but brass.


Don’t you see that as a fault in the platform though?

Also, I know it’s anecdotal but I had some shitty AR back in the day when I was a kid that ran steel just fine. So I don’t think it’s even an issue with the platform but the quality of that specific rifle if it won’t run steel well.


Personally I think the real take away from the Lucky gunner test is how one runs their AR and perspective towards barrel life. For the average AR guy, running steel ammo casually is really a non issue. Now for someone who runs their rifle/carbine hard (rifle classes, comps, etc… regularly) then the question is whether they are willing to invest in the barrel changes, which with a AR is not a big deal. It also depends on what type of shooting they plan on. My M4gery has eaten a steady diet of brass and steel for years and accuracy is still very acceptable. Now my ARAK hates certain steel ammo and definitely prefers brass. My MK12 only gets high quality brass along with my specific “roll my own” using good civilian brass or LC stamped cases.

IMO I think decent steel ammo is a o.k choice and does make it financially easier for most shooters to get trigger time in on their rifle/carbine. Any decent AR with a good in spec 5.56 chamber really should eat steel with little to no problems. The barrel might wear quicker but barrels really are a plug-n-play part, like pretty much everything else on the AR platform.


That argument is correct. It’s basically a barrel issue. PWS ARs run reliably with steel cased ammo. I just don’t use it in mine. It’s more economic to me as well because I sell off my brass to reloaders. I have zero use for steel cased ammo.


I can’t blame you for not using steel for sure. Hell I rarely use it in anything except my .308 when I am gonna be mag dumping with a friend.


Using steel cased 308 ammo is one thing I can indeed understand as the price of 308 ammo in general is simply too steep. I’m not entirely against the use of steel cased ammo. It’s fine in any AK or AK derivative.


Only issue I see with steel is the slobs at the club who do not clean up after themselves…Brass tends to be swept up and taken to reload or put in the provided bin for people to collect if they like. Rules are, sweep up after shooting…but I notice steel case being left.


I have used steel case ammo in all my firearms including pistols. I believe if it’s a manufactured ammo in the caliber that my firearm is chamber for that firearm should be able to perform just as well with it as brass case aluminum case etc. I myself don’t like any firearm to be ammo picky, I think that it should be able to take whatever is manufactured on the market for purchase.


Is chamber unoiled, dry as it’s supposed to be? Cases are supposed to expand and grip chamber
at max pressure, then relax for extraction. Combloc ammo has lots of case taper so it feeds dirty, built
so it’s not an issue, but virtually all other firearms using steel or an oily chamber increases thrust
load on locking lugs. Mil surp Enfield lockup is super stong, but I’ve seen more than one small-ring
Spanish Mauser with visible damage to lugs. Most are go/no go checked before sale, and these weren’t bringbacks.
Importer marked/retail sold, so damage probably(WAG) occurred with current owner. Brought 'em to me when they had to tug up bolt handle HARD to extract surplus ancient ammo cases after firing lots of it for years. Indifferent cleaning, not high end gun owners.
Don’t know if there was ever a high pressure 7x57 LMG load that shouldn’t have been fired in these?
I defer to you folks with more experience. I’ve been wrong, and will be again…


I won’t use steel cased ammo in anything I have . But I do use a lot of alum. Cased stuff in my handguns.


My thoughts exactly.


Steel cased or brass/copper jacket steel core? One tends to wear the barrel faster.

Reliability, well, shouldn’t this be more depending on the manufacturer? I think that Wolf-brand .308 steel cased rounds have been known to have head separation. However, most of the French military used steel cased ammo in their FAMAS rifles and 8mm Mauser has been made for the military in many countries using steel casing at least since WWII.


I’ve had a bullet separate from an aluminum casing inside the magazine of my CZ 75 Compact while firing. That was an interesting jam to clear. Never using the stuff again.