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Smyth Busters: Will Steel Cased Ammo Damage My Gun?

Author Caleb Savant
3 years ago
"If you run steel through your gun, it'll ruin the chamber." "If it doesn't run steel, it doesn't deserve brass." The debate over steel-cased ammunition seems never-ending. Or is it? Brownells Gun Techs Steve and Caleb are here to explain why steel-cased ammo WILL NOT ruin your gun! Steel cases are used mostly in inexpensive ammo imported from Russia and former Soviet Bloc countries, which may be the source of the "Steel is Bad" myth. Early imported steel-cased ammo had corrosive primers, which DID result in chamber damage for folks who didn't clean their guns properly.

Sub-Myth #1: the slick polymer coating on steel-cased ammo will melt off in the chamber and gum up your rifle. No, says Caleb - and he explains why. (A rough chamber will scrape off some of the polycoating and create something akin to shotgun wad fouling. The solution, again, is cleaning.) Sub-Myth #2: the steel case will wear the chamber.... but it won't because the steel of the shell is MUCH softer than the steel of a rifle chamber.

Two things are true: Steel-cased ammo will run dirtier because the case doesn't expand and seal out the fouling as well as a brass case. You just have to clean your gun more often. And steel cases DO wear the extractor more because they aren't as malleable brass cases. But with what you save on the cost of ammo by shooting steel, you can afford to replace the extractor a couple extra times. Today's score: Another myth BUSTED.


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