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View Full Version : The AK and Steel vs Brass ammo



HermosaBeachPatriot
06-25-2008, 09:32 PM
I have read various posts randomly about the AK and using steel ammo....was hoping this forum would give me a better picture of the impact on the AK extractor.

I'm looking for your thoughts/experience with the AK platform and how it handles the Wolf steel ammo - in terms of extractor wear, etc.

I have run several thousand rounds of Wolf through my AK with no issues and very little cleaning:cool: Just curious....does the steel shorten the life of the extractor or is the AK designed to handle steel. It looks to me like it handles steel fine but wanted to get the more informed info from the WT group,

thanks,
HBP

AKGunny
06-25-2008, 09:57 PM
Never heard of anyone having extractor problems on an AK from steel cased ammo. IIRC almost all Eastern Bloc ammo is steel cased and that's where the AK originated.
Those with high round count rifles may have something to add.

Cheers!

HermosaBeachPatriot
06-25-2008, 10:05 PM
Never heard of anyone having extractor problems on an AK from steel cased ammo. IIRC almost all Eastern Bloc ammo is steel cased and that's where the AK originated.
Those with high round count rifles may have something to add.

Cheers!

that's what I'm looking for - is some real info on the AK extractor with steel....my opinion/research points toward extremely long life. For the AR and "american" market the steel seems to be a concern for their extractors....I'm looking for some WT opinion to the question.

HBP

Rosencrantz
06-25-2008, 10:25 PM
I have shot only steel cased ammo in all my AKs. My WASR-10 has run well over 5000 rounds of steel cased ammo through it without a single jam or any other problem.

bonehedz
06-25-2008, 10:39 PM
I've put 4K through each of my Saigas, and at least twice that through home-built Romy and Hungarian AMD...never had any issues with extractors...come to think of it, the only feeding/ extraction issues were magazine related (rusty Chicom Mags, IIRC) and one case, origin unknown, ruptured. (Note to self: include ruptured case extractor in cleaning kit w/ rifle). It, and the lot of ammo it came from, were water damaged (read: RUSTED), so I thought I would entertain myself with an afternoon of FTF/malfunction clearance drills...only had one, although accuracy has, ahem, less than spectacular:dope: . Steel is NO PROBLEMO. FWIW, BH

P.S.I haven't had any problems with Steel case (Wolf) in my SKS's either...BH

youngbuck
06-26-2008, 03:15 AM
A solid 3k rounds through a Romanian Sar-1 and no issues. Just looking at the extractor on AKs, you can tell its beefy and tough. I highly doubt it's a concern at all.

Brass is of course softer, and presumably will cause less wear. But is the differential in wear a concern? In my opinion, NO.

dtom29
06-26-2008, 04:03 AM
Go over to getoffthex.com, they have some people there with Very,Very high round count AK's (over 50,000) all with steel case ammo. Sherm, are you reading this?? Care to comment? The Ak was designed for and uses steel case ammo all around the world.

tradorion
06-26-2008, 06:03 AM
I think this is another of the American Gun Culture's nameless faceless fears... I am not into the many multi-thousand rounds yet... But i have run steel in my Glocks, AR, and AK's and NONE of them seems to have an issue with it so far.

I would like to see where someone can truly SHOW me evidence that stell cases hurt the gun- any aspect of it- extractor, chamber, etc.

R

ScottT
06-26-2008, 06:57 AM
I have shot a lot of steel cased ammo, and I simply don't see it damaging anything in any gun I have used. I don't think it is a big issue.

It is much easier to police your brass though, a magnet takes care of it!

Jim Fuller
06-26-2008, 07:00 AM
The extractors are heat treated to a hardness that is not effected by the steel case ammo.

HermosaBeachPatriot
06-26-2008, 07:19 AM
The extractors are heat treated to a hardness that is not effected by the steel case ammo.

thanks Jim, that was what I had heard but thought it would be good to have it confirmed.

:)
HBP

PinkFeather
06-26-2008, 09:01 PM
I dont think it matters. The price difference between steel cased and brass cased ammo is so substantial that even if 10k rounds caused a problem, it would be cheaper to buy a whole new AK than to use brass cased ammo.

I think its something like $200 per case of steel cased versus $500 per case of brass cased. So after 4 cases of steel cased ammo you could buy a whole new Fuller custom AK instead of shooting brass cased.

Nomad, 2nd
06-27-2008, 01:57 AM
Go over to getoffthex.com, they have some people there with Very,Very high round count AK's (over 50,000) all with steel case ammo. Sherm, are you reading this?? Care to comment? The Ak was designed for and uses steel case ammo all around the world.


Tis true.

Their WASR Rental guns are well over 50,000 rounds.

My personal WASR has over 17,000
And I have a couple other AK's with over 6-7K...

I don't think I've ever fired a Brass cased round through an Ak.

Jack-O
06-27-2008, 08:32 AM
OK, I thought it was common kowledge that steel case ammo in the AK was 100% the norm. in fact brass case use is the rare exception in an AK.

BUUUT, lets just play devils advocate and look at some facts and numbers

-the steel in russian cases is a very soft and pliable steel. this is how it is able to expand and grip the chamber walls during firing then quickly retract for extraction much like brass does. dont believe me? try scratching the case with another piece of steel like the punch from the cleaning kit. Incidently the same thing goes for steel jackets..... very soft stuff.

-the average case of say 5.56 costs ~ $370 for brass, but only $270 for steelcase ammo. thats ~$100 cheaper per case to shoot steel.

-the average case of 308 ammo costs $520 for brass and $380 for steel. thats $140 cheaper for steel.

-the cost of an AR extractor is $15, the cost for an M14 extractor is $20. replacing both is a user function and takes about 1/2 hour with the cleaning kit or simple hand tools

-barrel replacement for an AR-15 runs $350 from fulton with the barrel.

-barrel replacement for an m14 runs $455 from fulton including barrel.


now lets assume that you can only get half the service life out of a barrel. So 10,000 rounds instead of 20,000, and that you have to replace extractors every 2500 rounds (with steel) on a new gun. here are what shooting steel vs brass would cost you over 20,000 rounds

ar-15
- 7 extractors and 1 barrel (due to steel shooting) = $455
- 20,000 rounds of silver bear ammo (no laquer stuff for you right?) $5400
- 20,000 rounds of brass cased ammo $7400 (you dont need any parts with brass cause it just doesn put significant wear on your gun right? so we wont add any)
- steel ammo costs total = $5855

-net cost for shooting steel ammo = -$1545 (that means you saved enough to buy a whole new gun basically)


M14
- 7 extractors and 1 barrel from steel case and projectile wear = $595
- 20,000 rounds of silver bear ammo = $7600
- 20,000 rounds of lithuanian ammo = $10,400
- steel ammo costs total = $8195

- net cost for shooting steel ammo over brass = -$2205 (once again, enough to buy a whole new M14!!)


now lets go back to what I said up top. the ammo wont wear your gun appreciably more than brass and copper will. If you have a chrome lined barrel you will see exactly ZERO difference in the AR and M14.

THAT figuring was for AMERICAN guns not necessarily designed to shoot steel case ammo (the M14 was tho), what do you think the numbers for a gun that was DESIGNED FROM THE START to shoot the stuff will be?:rolleyes::cool:

jack

tokeepandbear
06-27-2008, 09:52 AM
I think its something like $200 per case of steel cased versus $500 per case of brass cased. So after 4 cases of steel cased ammo you could buy a whole new Fuller custom AK instead of shooting brass cased.Or, just a new extractor, and 6 cases of steel-cased ammo. An interesting perspective.

Vanya
06-27-2008, 08:48 PM
Have shot mostly steel case ammo thru Kalshnikov,no problem.Have also run a lot of 7.62x54R steel case ammo thru a Dragunov/Tiger,SVTand DP no trouble except for some Czech grey cased stuff.
It is a soft,ductile steel as stated in other posts.Both of these ComBloc rounds have also a very good taper to the case. This aids in extraction.This is something the 5.56 and the new 6.8mm rounds do not have. Have had experience shooting 98k Mauser with steel case ammo that gave much trouble w/ extraction.Also remember hearing US Army had trouble with mild steel cased .45ACP and .30 Carbine ammo in WWII. It's use was restricted to training only because of extraction difficulties.
Have had trouble w/ WOLF brand .45acp in S&W revolvers,very sticky to extract.
Would not hesitate to run steel case ComBloc caliber ammo thru Kalashnikov,but would be leery of using steel case European/US calibers in any weapon.

HermosaBeachPatriot
06-27-2008, 08:52 PM
Thanks for all the input....since Mr Fueller confirmed what I had always heard I know the answer:D I have several thousand rounds of wolf through it already, and several thousand more on hand to try:D

HBP

TXP7M8
07-07-2008, 06:22 PM
Aks love steel ammo, so don't waste your money on anything else. My.02

Herk
07-10-2008, 10:26 PM
FYI, Vz58s love steel too; I have yet to shoot anything but steel cased, steel jacketed, corrosive, 40+year old Czechoslovakian surplus through mine and I have had ONE malfunction (which was caused by LOTS of wet sand in the action!) so far. Then again, I've only shot about 3000 rounds through it.

tmedna43
09-08-2011, 10:44 AM
Only thing to consider is that if you fire enough rounds to really heat up the barrel and chamber, THEN leave a polimer coated round in the chamber a long enough time for it to melt and then cool down it could stick. And that is why someone makes an extractor for broken cases. The next time you cut loose a round it could rip the neck off the case. Then try to get it out. Most people I know don't leave a round in the chamber so no issue.

barnetmill
09-08-2011, 12:51 PM
Only thing to consider is that if you fire enough rounds to really heat up the barrel and chamber, THEN leave a polimer coated round in the chamber a long enough time for it to melt and then cool down it could stick. And that is why someone makes an extractor for broken cases. The next time you cut loose a round it could rip the neck off the case. Then try to get it out. Most people I know don't leave a round in the mag so no issue.
Are you sure you have that right. The lacquer coated 5.5 steel rounds in the AR were sticking in some rifles in the scenario that you describe. I have never heard of it in an AK. Do have information showing that it does happen in AKs with any kind of ammo?

ZMB HNTR
09-08-2011, 02:42 PM
Well it is a thread that is over 2 years old, perhaps some "new information" has come to light. :finger: :wink:

tmedna43
09-08-2011, 08:20 PM
Not too sure because I have not fired my new 762-m10 (ak) that much. Only heard a horror story from a friend that had a lacquer coated round that he forgot in the chamber while he took a break. After the next hammer drop the case head broke off and the poor guy had no way to get it out. He took it to a smith and that guy used a two dollar tool to pull it out. (broken case extractor) Now for "just in case" I keep a case extractor in my kit.

barnetmill
09-09-2011, 11:33 PM
Not too sure because I have not fired my new 762-m10 (ak) that much. Only heard a horror story from a friend that had a lacquer coated round that he forgot in the chamber while he took a break. After the next hammer drop the case head broke off and the poor guy had no way to get it out. He took it to a smith and that guy used a two dollar tool to pull it out. (broken case extractor) Now for "just in case" I keep a case extractor in my kit.My question for the stuck lacquered case: was it an AR or AK in which this happened? If it was an AK then maybe I need to get a broken case extractor. I thought AK's were immune to this type of malfunction.

Jakob1944
09-10-2011, 12:12 AM
My question for the stuck lacquered case: was it an AR or AK in which this happened? If it was an AK then maybe I need to get a broken case extractor. I thought AK's were immune to this type of malfunction.

Ahhhhh.....the old Mosin Negants.......some with a rough chamber.....or rusty chamber

tmedna43
09-10-2011, 10:51 AM
For sure an AK. The poor guy had the thing smoking before he took a break. I am surprised he did't "cook off" a round. The case extractor is available almost anywhere for a a few bucks. I think it is worth it.

DC950
09-13-2011, 12:42 PM
My question for the stuck lacquered case: was it an AR or AK in which this happened? If it was an AK then maybe I need to get a broken case extractor. I thought AK's were immune to this type of malfunction.

there isn't a cartridge using firearm made or that will ever be made that isn't susceptible to a ruptured case head. Assuming the chamber and head space are in spec, it's an ammo problem, not a gun problem. I had it happen a month ago in an AK. It had nothing to do with a round cooling off in a hot gun either. Considering the way the magazine blew up I tend to think the round was double charged. Get yourself a case extractor before you need it.