Steel-Case Ammo vs Brass
You are desperately in search of 9mm ammo and stumble across a website with ample inventory at an unbelievable price. After placing your order, you call your buddy and tell him about your good fortune. Your buddy pulls up the website and immediately says “The reason you got such a great deal is because it is steel-case ammo” and he proceeds to tell you about issues with steel-case ammo such as extraction issues, the wear it will put on your firearm and so forth. After hanging up the phone, you decide to do some investigation of your own on 9mm steel case ammo and proceed to do a quick internet search. Now you are completely confused! Closing your computer, you decide to drive to your local Fin Feather Fur Outfitters and ask an actual expert with hands on experience.
After entering the store, you head to the gun counter where you are greeted by a Fin Pro-staffer behind the counter. You proceed to ask him if he could explain the difference between steel-case and brass ammo. He grinned and said “certainly, let me start by sharing some facts with you”.
- Steel-case ammo normally costs 30-40% less than brass.
- Steel-case ammo was first made in Germany and Russia during World War II
- Steel-case ammo is coated with polymer or lacquer to reduce corrosion
- Imported Russian steel-case ammo is usually made with lower quality components.
- Imported Russian steel-case ammo usually foul actions chambers and barrels quicker due to the lower quality components.
- Steel-case ammo is non-reloadable since it is Berdan primed. Berdan primers consist of two flash holes as opposed to the cup and anvil design of boxer primers for brass cases
- Steel used to MFR firearms is stronger than the steel used to make ammo.
- Steel-case ammo is attracted to a magnet (useful for easy case retrieval)
- Brass ammo does tend to be more reliable in semi-auto firearms since semi-auto firearms are designed for and tested with brass.
- Steel-case ammo normally functions fine in revolvers and non-semiautomatic firearms
You ask the salesperson, “So you are telling me not to fire steel-case ammo through my Ruger 9mm?” And, the rep responds, “Not necessarily, there are some things to consider when making that decision: things like:
- Is Steel-case ammo my only option?
- Do you mind cleaning your firearm more often?
- Is saving money a big factor?
- Do you plan on reloading?
- Are you hunting, competing, or defending your home?
- How many rounds do you plan on shooting?
As he was speaking, you notice the same ammunition you just purchased online on a nearby shelf. After thanking him for his assistance you go over and compare the price to what you purchased online. To your surprise after factoring shipping, you could buy it for less over the counter. The salesperson returns and says “one last suggestion. I would suggest buying both brass and steel and test them through your firearm. Each firearm performs differently and obviously you want the type that performs best through yours.” You take his advice and grab 10 boxes of steel and 10 boxes of brass and decide to conduct your own test. As you are pulling out of the parking lot you call your buddy to tell him to get to the Fin! “They have ammo!”
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