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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just wondering if anyone runs steel cased ammo with non-corrosive primers through the HK416 and G36? How does the 416 and G36 perform when using steel cased ammo?

I heard an internet rumor that steel cases wear out extractors more. Is this true or is it just a rumor?

I know steel case ammo is cheaper than brass but are there any advantages other than cost. What are the disadvantages of steel cased ammo compared to brass cases?
 

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It is very hard on extractors, especially on AR type weapons. Works fine in the weapons it was designed for...the AK series. The only advantage to the steel cased stuff is cost. Doesn't make sense to me to buy an expensive weapon then damage it by using cheap ammo..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One reason why I was wondering why ppl run steel cased ammo in the HK416 and G36 was b/c there are efforts to develop stainless steel cased ammo in order to reduce weight. I'm not sure if stainless steel has the same properties as the conventional steel cased ammo.
 

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Steel case ammo isn't THAT hard on extractors. Sure it wears them faster than brass ammo, but its not like steel cased ammo is going to destroy an extractor in 1000 rounds. A brand new HK416 extractor is listed for $76 on HKparts.net (if a standard AR15 extractor is compatible they are even cheaper). Shoot one case of steel ammo and you've saved more than enough to replace the extractor. Many people have shot thousands upon thousands of rounds of steel cased ammo through ARs with no ill effects.

Hell, Hornady's steel cased training ammo tends to get high praise.
 

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One reason why I was wondering why ppl run steel cased ammo in the HK416 and G36 was b/c there are efforts to develop stainless steel cased ammo in order to reduce weight. I'm not sure if stainless steel has the same properties as the conventional steel cased ammo.
The stainless steel is "thin walled stainless steel" to offer some weight savings over thicker walled brass cases. It still has issues. Brass is truely hard to beat for legacy weapon function.
G3Kurz
 

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My Sl8/G36 clone WILL NOT feed steel properly at all. It seems to have too much drag on the bolt causing it to short stroke. It will feed if I alternate steel brass (for a while) but ultimately chokes on the steel. (bummer)
 

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I've used a lot of steel cased ammo over the years. My primary gun being a DI M4 style gun for the last 6 years and in that time i've gone through at least 6 cases of steel in addition to the cases of brass ammo that I also shot during the same time frame.

The original bolt/carrier still has the original extractor in it and it still works fine.

I say "original" because I switched to a NiB BCG about 1500 rounds ago just before I decided to go the MR556 route. And for what it's worth, in the rifle never had a malfunction that wasn't magazine related or accessory related in all that time. It was, and still is a fantastic rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The stainless steel is "thin walled stainless steel" to offer some weight savings over thicker walled brass cases. It still has issues. Brass is truely hard to beat for legacy weapon function.
G3Kurz
Thanks for the info G3 kurz and thanks for the update on the stainless steel case efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback everyone.

@Grumpy, do you know approximately how much rounds of steel cased ammo your DI M4 has gone through so far. In a presentation by Troy Smith who is in charge of the Mk46/48 programs for USSOCOM, he stated that M4 bolts last 3000-6000 rounds in rough firing schedules and 6000-10,000 in regular firing schedules (not sure how much rounds extractors last but the M4's MRBF is around 6000). I just want to know how much more wear steel cased ammo puts on the M4's extractor?
 

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I've used quite a bit of steel crap in my MR556. No sense in wasting money when you're shooting at 25-100 yards in carbine classes and other such stuff at minute of man accuracy. While it works fine, I still would just rather use good brass stuff or even M855. For me, the issues are less about the extractor, as it seems that the steel cased ammo is loaded very lightly, which makes for an annoying ejection pattern. I'm not an expert, so while I think that running a lighter action spring might be a good idea when using this ammo, I'm not about to do so unless I hear from someone who knows better. That said, I did recently have to replace my worn action spring and I've not fired steel cased ammo since, so it's likely I was shooting with a weaker then spec spring anyway.

-W
 

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Thanks for the feedback everyone.

@Grumpy, do you know approximately how much rounds of steel cased ammo your DI M4 has gone through so far. In a presentation by Troy Smith who is in charge of the Mk46/48 programs for USSOCOM, he stated that M4 bolts last 3000-6000 rounds in rough firing schedules and 6000-10,000 in regular firing schedules (not sure how much rounds extractors last but the M4's MRBF is around 6000). I just want to know how much more wear steel cased ammo puts on the M4's extractor?
That particular M4 style rifle was born in late 2005. I've put about 11500 rounds plus through it. As I said, I have purchased aprox 5k rounds of wolf and have put at least 1k of other peoples steel case through it. The rest has been Federal bought by the case, or small lots of other types of ammunition ranging from south american surplus, to Hornady TAP and even re-loads.

I changed all the springs at intervals between 3 and 5k rounds depending on performance degredation. Shooting suppressed (which accounted for about 3k of the rounds fired) tends to wear parts more. It's only on its second set of gas rings strangly enough and I replaced the gas tube for the first time a couple of months ago because when I removed it to inspect it, I found that it had eroded a hole in the top of the gas tube directly over the gas port. It still worked so it was no biggie, but I like to make sure.

I expected to change the extractor, ejector, etc. somewhere in there but found that simple spring replacement brought the performance back to where I felt comfortable.

Keep in mind, I pay attention to brass throw and like to keep it "optimal" using Mil-spec parts (none of that stupid aftermarket crap like fancy buffers and whatnot) so when I say that I brought performance back to where I like it, I don't mean that the weapon failed, just that it wasn't exhibiting proper bolt speed characteristics, etc.

No bolt issues so far and the original BCG still headspaces properly.
 

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On M4carbine.net there is a member who has a 5.45x39mm AR upper by Smith and Wesson. He has put in excess of 16,000 documented rounds of steel cased ammo through it on the original extractor. This, along with plenty of other people's experiences with steel case ammo, like Grumpy's, seems to make the extractor wear boogeyman one of those over-hyped internet worries.

Bottom line, I would not let worry over excess extractor wear even factor into your decision whether or not to use steel cased ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
On M4carbine.net there is a member who has a 5.45x39mm AR upper by Smith and Wesson. He has put in excess of 16,000 documented rounds of steel cased ammo through it on the original extractor. This, along with plenty of other people's experiences with steel case ammo, like Grumpy's, seems to make the extractor wear boogeyman one of those over-hyped internet worries.

Bottom line, I would not let worry over excess extractor wear even factor into your decision whether or not to use steel cased ammo.
Thanks for the info and it does seem broken extractors are over hyped worries.
 

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My Sl8/G36 clone WILL NOT feed steel properly at all. It seems to have too much drag on the bolt causing it to short stroke. It will feed if I alternate steel brass (for a while) but ultimately chokes on the steel. (bummer)
Did you try different varieties of steel ammo, or just one brand? To only fire one type and lump them all into it's failures, is like refusing to own a Ford because you once drove a Pinto.
 

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Did you try different varieties of steel ammo, or just one brand? To only fire one type and lump them all into it's failures, is like refusing to own a Ford because you once drove a Pinto.
100% correct. Because 1 kind of steel cased ammo worked for 1 guy, does not mean that other chinese made crap will perform the same. I personally will never buy steel ammo for any of my weapons, but I know guys that do run it with only minor problems.
 

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No.

Most of the companies that use steel cases make dirtier ammunition, but its not caused by the fact that they use steel cases. Hornady manufactures steel case training ammunition (same ballistics as their TAP ammo) and it's just as clean as any US manufactured Brass case ammunition.

Nobody that I know of manufactures corrosive ammunition anymore, steel case or otherwise.
 

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Late to the thread. Have not shot a lot of steel case through a 10" 416 and a G36C, but have never had problems. Have used the polymer case Wolf and some Silver Bear.
 
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