Steel ammunition is a favorite among many shooters. However, how does it compare to other types – such as brass?
In the end, nothing is perfect – and that goes for ammo as well. But, like anything else, it’s important to consider the costs and benefits of your ammo to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck (literally).
That’s why it’s important to examine…
The Truth About Steel Ammo
Steel Is NOT Less Accurate Or Lower Quality
Firearms lovers have been adopting this belief that steel ammo has less quality than brass ammo. However, is this myth actually a fact?
As it turns out, there’s actually nothing about steel-cased ammo that makes it inferior to brass.
However, it’s important to remember to compare their production quality. For instance, steel ammo production doesn’t have nearly as strict tolerances as brass production. Steel production also inherently has less consistency than brass. However, this is generally due to the fact that steel ammo is marketing to less affluent markets.
However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. For instance, Hornady’s Steel Match ammunition is made for competitions. And its superior quality and detail compares just as highly as any brass offering. In fact, Steel Match easily shows up most of the cheap brass ammo on the market.
Steel Is Typically Less Expensive
One of the factors that draws many shooters to steel ammo is the fact that it’s so cheap. That’s because most steel ammo is made at the same standard as brass ammo. However, it’s strategically marketed to demographics with a lower socioeconomic status.
This difference in pricing causes a lot of debate among gun owners. After all, some people are under a strong belief that steel ammo is lower quality. And, due to its inconsistencies in production, they feel you should not use steel ammo for a long amount of time.
However, other shooters are just fine with steel ammo, and believe the money they save more than makes up for the difference in quality.
When it comes down to it, the real difference comes down to what you’re using the ammo for. After all, NOBODY should settle for cheap ammo (brass or steel) when they’re competing, hunting, or defending the home.
However, if you’re just going to the range, it’s often best to go with the more affordable option.
Steel Requires Case Coatings
Because steel is not nearly as slick as brass, this often attributes to its “stuck case” issues. Since this is the case, steel ammo often comes with a coating. This makes it easier for extraction, and helps keep rust off it (which can also make extraction more difficult).
Steel coatings typically come in one of two forms: polymer or lacquer. Polymer is generally more expensive, and lacquer is cheaper.
Because of its price, lacquer is often thought to be less reliable than polymer. Many shooters also feel that lacquer also tends to “melt,” causing lots of gunk to “gum up” the chamber.
However, others disagree and have never had this issue.
When it comes down to it, it’s often best to try out both, and see which works best for you and your firearm.