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Discussion Starter #1
is steel cased ammo OK to shoot in an HK 91? I think I read somewhere that brass was less destructive to internals on the rifle.
 

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One could argue that a steel case may cause greater wear on the extractor. You could also argue that the savings on ammo would buy a bunch of extractors. Plus, much of the steel cased ammo these days is coated in some way. The early coatings were not real friendly with chamber flutes but the newer stuff does not seem to have that issue. It's the steel bullets that can be an issue with barrel life.
 

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SudS is correct that the steel "jacket" of the bullet is the issue.
The cases as long as they are not lacquered actually help with extraction/ejection.
MM
 

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Agreed. Steel projectiles wear out the barrel incredibly quick.
 

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I shoot 100% Hornady Steel Match in my PTRs. No breakages and no ammo related malfunctions after 2500 rounds or so. That said there is a big difference between match Hornady loads and bimetal Tula so take that into consideration. Bimetal bullets do wear out the barrel super badly as other have said.
 

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The bi metal bullet is the problem. I have trashed an ar barrel and a glock 17 barrel. The newer american steel case is most likely ok because they are using copper for the jacket on the bullets. Anything magnetic is bad for your barrel.
 

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I'm skeptical about the round count differential between the two. I mean, how much less steel case can you shoot over brass until the barrel is worn out. I have a German parts kits MP5 with a little over 10,000 rounds so far about half in semi and other half in full. I've only had to replace the ejector level spring and extractor spring since it was built 2 years ago. The only unknown is the round count of the demilled kit before I purchased it. It's mostly a early 90's dated coded gun.
 

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The local sheriff's office bought a tactical training range and opened it to the public. While writing up the policies and procedures he wanted to give a logical reason behind the no steel case rule so he cut apart the bullet to see what was inside. Whatever the core was, he couldn't cut it. He reached out to the manufacturer in Russia to ask what the metal was. The answer he was given was they have no idea, whatever they can get their hands on at any particular time was used for the core. Whatever went into this particular bullet was especially hard and would have been very destructive to the bullet trap and probably the firearm.

So the no steel case rule became permanent.

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I don't shoot steel case ammo in any of my HK rifles, but that is because the steel case ammo I've have come across is lacquered to seal it. The lacquer is really what I am avoiding by not shooting steel case ammo. If you have steel case ammo that is not lacquer coated, I would defer to the above posts, as guys like Suds, HK21man, and Oicani are more knowledgeable about such things than I am. That said, I find Warbirds post very interesting and informative as well.

good luck, whatever you buy, buy lots of it, and shoot shoot shoot!
 

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It's weird though because I have some AK's that have seen 20K plus rounds of steel ammo through them. Yet an AR barrel wouldn't last that long. Who knows.

I stopped buying steel cased/jacketed rounds but I still own tons of it. Thought about selling it all off along with many of the rifles and getting down to a very small collection.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm taking delivery of a new to me HK 91 on Fri. I've been looking around on ammo seek at prices. What would be a good plinker grade ammo for me to get? 140, 150gr etc? Any favorites out there in terms of mfg etc?
 

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The bi-metal bullet will wear a CHF non treated barrel faster than a full copper jacket yes, but if you're only shooting semi auto then I wouldn't really worry about it. The HK91 was designed to be used with steel case if brass ever became short supply when originally designed. Just keep and eye a little more on the extractor and ejector since steel is harder than brass.

I've shot both lacquer and poly coated steel case ammo and both ran fine. Full auto as well. I never had any issues with either coating melting and clogging the flutes. However Poly is more common on commercially available 308 in the. Shoot it and enjoy.

SGammo is also running good deals on brass case for just a little over .50$ a round.
 

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I had one miserable experience with lacquered Wolf 9mm in an MP5. The gun ran about ten rounds then never worked again. Inserted a mag with brass cases and after a couple more stoppages while things cleared out it ran like a sewing machine once again. The poly case stuff is great but I stay away from lac cases in fluted chambers.
Never tried it in a rifle caliber.
 

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The issue isn't the case for barrel wear it's the actual steel projectile that kills the barrel. The copper "washing" is a joke, if I had to make an educated guess that's why Tulaammo moved away from the "washing" and now The bimetal projectiles are covered in a clear coating.

At least with copper jackets you know that the copper is softer than the barrel and isnt going to wear out the rifling

Here is a great read that talks about the difference between them:

http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/brass-vs-steel-cased-ammo/

I'm skeptical about the round count differential between the two. I mean, how much less steel case can you shoot over brass until the barrel is worn out. I have a German parts kits MP5 with a little over 10,000 rounds so far about half in semi and other half in full. I've only had to replace the ejector level spring and extractor spring since it was built 2 years ago. The only unknown is the round count of the demilled kit before I purchased it. It's mostly a early 90's dated coded gun.
 

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The issue isn't the case for barrel wear it's the actual steel projectile that kills the barrel. The copper "washing" is a joke, if I had to make an educated guess that's why Tulaammo moved away from the "washing" and now The bimetal projectiles are covered in a clear coating.
Is this why the first box of tula 9mm I bought to try out had normal copper-colored bullets, but the case of 1000 I ordered later are silver? Or do they actually make some copper jacketed stuff? I don't remember the kind of sparks I see now on the backstop being thrown with that first box. But maybe I just wasn't paying attention.

Is the wear from bi-metal jackets any better on polygonal barrels? Now I'm worried about sending the rest of that case through my VP9 or P30sk...
 

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If you are seeing sparks on the backstop of an indoor range you are doing damage.

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Yes, up until 6 months ago(ish?) Tulaammo looked like it was copper jacketed, yet if you took and house key a scraped it the copper would come off. Now it looks steel and has a transparent coating on it - no idea what the coating is.

The copper color was just "washed" on copper that would lightly plate it, imo doing nothing except confusing consumers.

Real copper jackets provide three benefits, maybe more:
1. Allow the projectile to really "bite" into the bore of the barrel so that the twist rate effects the projectile as the manufacture intended.

2. Copper Is softer than the CHF barrels, which allows the barrel to get hot from sustained fire without being damaged by a cold steel (cold means harder because it's not hot) projectile.

3. Damage on target. Copper jackets fragment on impact causing more damage than a projectile that just goes straight through.

All of this being said certain things should be taken into account, most people with with semi auto rifles will never shoot a rifle enough to wear out a barrel, especially if you have multiple rifles that you shoot. I've seen a hand full of studies similar to the one I posted and barrels run bimetal projectiles fine if the gun is allowed to cool. And then cost, idk what it cost to rebarrel and HK now, maybe 700-1000 bucks? Well if you can shoot 10-15k(likely more in semi auto) rounds before rebarreling the rifle, saving $100+ per 1000rds then you still come out on top by shooting the bimetal steel stuff.

Personally I run my belt fed with the Russian stuff because I can change the barrels myself and the $500 is easily off set by the savings on ammo. (1919 and a Shrike to be specific). I runs mix through my clones based on what ammo I have available to me and I only run copper jacketed ammo through my real HK because I do want to replace the original barrels.

As for the Sparks on the back stop, I'm not sure. I would think that's normal with any real copper jacketed steel core ammo. But idk, I really only shoot outside.

Also no idea how polygonal barrels wear, I've never seen anything about that. But I've run 4-5k of .45 Tulaammo through my glock 21 with a polygonal barrel and it's still dead on.

That's my opinion, based on the studies I've read, personal experience with HK's other rifles and belt feeds.

Is this why the first box of tula 9mm I bought to try out had normal copper-colored bullets, but the case of 1000 I ordered later are silver? Or do they actually make some copper jacketed stuff? I don't remember the kind of sparks I see now on the backstop being thrown with that first box. But maybe I just wasn't paying attention.

Is the wear from bi-metal jackets any better on polygonal barrels? Now I'm worried about sending the rest of that case through my VP9 or P30sk...
 
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