The Pros and Cons of Brass vs Steel Case


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Bear Creek Arsenal Breaks Down the Pros and Cons of Brass vs Steel Case

I don't know about rifles but I had a student here Saturday with a 150 round box of Winchester steel cased 9mm, 115 grain. He got repeated double feeds and stuck casings in the SIG P320 pistol and I noticed a number of the cases were deformed. Definitely not any problem with that pistol. We got him some brass cased ammo and it worked fine. I have not used much of this stuff but I don't think I will buy any of it. Just my limited experience with it.
Along the lines of pros and cons of steel cased ammo I have never ever had any interest in trying it for any reason.
And the only aluminum Blazer I have purchased was 45 Colt and that was to get the Speer flying ashtray bullets. So pardon the pun when I sat Im just stuck on brass.
I don't own an AR but it's on my wanted list. For all my firearms, I never shot steel or aluminum cased rounds and brass has never given me a problem so I'll just stick with it. I don't mind paying a little more for quality ammo. No criticism intended for those who feel otherwise but my Dad ingrained "brass only except for your shotgun (plastic shells preferred)" into my thinking.
I only use steel in my 7.62x39 rifles. The AK's and SKS rifles are built for steel ammo, so I don't have any concerns about running it in those guns. When 5.56 and .223 disappeared from shelves last year, I built an AR chambered in 7.62x39 using a Bear Creek Upper and a PSA lower (lovingly referred to as an AR-47). The AR has run fine so far, but I've only put a few hundred rounds through it. I'm interested to see how the rifle holds up in the long run.

HayesGreener's observations of Winchester Forged steel-cased pistol ammo matches what I've seen. I've know shooters who have run large amounts of Barnaul and Academy Brand Monarch Steel through their guns with no issues. I've even heard shooters report good experiences with Wolf/Tulammo. The few times I've seen anyone try using the Winchester steel, they were lucky to get through a full magazine without a stoppage.
I've shot thousands of steel Wolf rounds through my 1993 Eagle Arms A2 H-bar. Never any problems, no primer problems, no modification to anything to run steel. Same firing pin, same extractor, still 100% factory.
Yes I shot steel Wolf .223 through my Remington 700 heavy barrel varmint synthetic. No the steel will not expand as much and yes I get spot marks on the case. No it does not shoot it well, my groups opened up to 3" from the size of a dime for brass at 100yds.
Back yrs ago I bought over 5000rds of Wolf .223 at CTD years ago. The most I paid for 1000 was 200.00. I had been buying it for 150-165 for both HP and FMJ. When the price of Wolf jumped to close to 300.00 for 1000rds I stopped as it was too close to what I could reload it for so it made no since to buy at that point.

I've not once nor will I run steel through any of my pistols, that's just me.
What a coincidence. I was at the range Saturday with my jarhead buddy. We were both shooting ARs. He had a Bear Creek M4 and I had my latest home rolled model with a .223 Wylde Bear Creek upper. I was shooting brass and went through about 200 rounds with no issue. He was shooting mostly brass but a little steel too. Towards the end he stopped and we were talking. I was getting ready to go down range and move a target out to the 200 yard berm. He wanted to shoot his last 2 real quick first. He shot one. I said, "Eh, you mean last one". He said no, it's stuck. Sure enough he had a spent shell stuck in the chamber. I looked at him and said " Steel"? He looked down and said, " Yeah". He tried for 15 minutes to get it out. Slamming it down on the table ( I forget what people call that method). In the end he had to wait until we got back to my place and I got it out with a steel cleaning rod and a smart smack with a hammer. It was Extremely hot and sunny and humid. i assume the steel case expanded or was out of spec. I never use steel.

I almost posted about it Saturday night. Strange that someone posts this article from Bear Creek today. :)
Well I'm not a fan of BCA and there tomato stake barrels on most of the tool-marked stuff they put out but you can't dispute what they state except for the AR's not being designed for steel cases. (please....I know there are good uppers that are BCA but they are the exceptions and not the rule of their quality control mass production business module).
Their AR's may not be built for cycling steel but the overwhelming majority of AK and AR civilian semi-auto AR/AK's have chambers that can and do run steel just fine! Aluminum cases, not so fine due to their lack of mass and expansion under heavy firing.
I "may" own an AR or two in different calibers and they never ever see steel. This is mostly because I "may" reload a little to support range trips and anything fired that I can't pick up and reuse is blasphemy. :unsure:
I do believe that steel does add to the wear of a rifle and all parts in contact plus steel rounds are never as accurate as what can be found in brass. Steel is a very inexpensive factory offering for those who don't reload and just want to plink to a 1.5" MOA or above and it has it's place in the market. It's just not my cup of tea.