Do you shoot a lot of ammo loaded in brass casings? Most of us, even rimfire shooters, do. If you reload, you’ll need to.
But not all of us do, and often, the higher prices associated with brass casings just aren’t worth it.
But we can already hear the howls of detraction, “steel ammo will destroy your gun!”
Except it won’t. That is, as long as it’s high-quality, steel-cased ammo like TulAmmo.
Consider this example. TulAmmo, which is produced in Russia at the Tula Cartridge Plant, meets both SAAMI and CIP certifications and is loaded into annealed steel casings.
Why does this matter? Because it blows away the biggest conceivable gripe about steel-cased ammo.
It’s All About Heat Treatment
The main concern among shooters is that, since steel is harder than brass, the steel will scrape or scratch your chamber, irreparably ruining your gun (or at least requiring you to get your chamber polished).
But the keyword here, annealed, changes all that. Annealed steel is steel that has been heated up to a specific temperature (it depends on alloy and steel chemistry) and then allowed to cool very slowly.
Doing so helps relax impurities in the steel’s grain and increases its ductility while reducing its hardness. That is, it is softer.
So no, quality steel-cased ammo (like TulAmmo’s 9mm) loaded into annealed steel casings, will not damage your gun.
Will It Shoot Dirtier?
Another complaint from shooters is that steel-cased ammo shoots dirtier than brass-cased ammo.
While, no doubt, this is partly due to the propellant used in the load, there might be a mite of truth here.
Steel-cased ammo (even annealed steel) is harder and less flexible than brass. Consequently, it flexes less on firing and does not press as evenly against the chamber walls.
As a result, some fouling can get around the cartridge neck and spray backward into the chamber and onto the bolt face.
This phenomenon, though a pain to clean up afterward, will also not damage your gun.
“But wait,” you shout, “there are potassium chloride salts in fouling! Salts are hard, and the crystals will scrape my gun’s chamber and ruin it!”
You think you have us cornered, but again this is fake news. Yes, there are salts in fouling, and salts are hard (sort of) but in this case, nothing like iron.
The Mohs hardness of Sylvite (a crystal of potassium chloride salt) is about 2.5. Even native iron (not steel) is about 4.5.
Now keep in mind your gun’s chamber is made with hardened steel, and not native iron.
So no, once more, steel casings are not going to damage your gun.
What About Aluminum?
These suspicions do not simply extend to steel-cased cartridges.
Although cartridges like CCI Blazer Aluminum 9mm are not loaded into steel, they will also not ruin your gun.
Aluminum is much softer than steel. Also, since it’s softer, you might not even have the same problems of “dirty” ammo. And even if you do, you’ll just need to be a bit more conscientious when cleaning.
Just keep in mind that, like steel-cased ammo, you also can’t reload aluminum – even aircraft-grade aluminum cases.
Stock Up on Steel (and Aluminum) Online
Now that we’ve dispelled the myths associated with steel-cased ammo, feel free to round out your range bag with some backup loads.
You can get steel and aluminum-cased ammo, like TulAmmo 9mm and Blazer Aluminum 9mm, online at BuckingHorseOutpost.com.
And for you purists, worry not. They also carry a wide range of other brass cased rounds, including but not limited to Remington Range, Federal, Venom, Norma, and Speer ammo, among others.