Using steel case ammo in a bolt action

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by Bigz1983, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. bosun

    bosun Well-Known Member

    I use Wolf 123 grain 7.62 X 39 in a CZ 527 bolt action carbine with nary a problem for thousands of rounds (target shooting). Steel doesn't expand like brass, plus the x39 cartridge is tapered. I also clean the breech with the two sized wire brush that scrubs out the breech and the cone (if it has one?) areas..
  2. Smoke

    Smoke Active Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    S.W. Indiana
    The case is not the problem with the steel case ammo.The problem comes from the projectile. Most steel case ammo has a bi-metal projectile, that means it has a cheap lead bullet with a thin steel jacket. The thin steel cover is what does the damage to the life of your barrel. American made ammo has a copper or brass jacket that is much easier on your barrel.
    Most US barrels are not designed for steel on steel contact & will rapidly wear out your barrel.
    In fact the case on Tula ammo is so soft I have had extraction problems from the extractor just ripping the rim off the case in my 5.56/.223 AR. I switched to Silver Bear in my plinking gun only to find the barrel has worn out after about 1500 rounds. It won't hit a 10" gong at 100 yds. I'm going to set it up to bumpfire the rest of the 1000 rds I have on hand. I mite as well have some fun out of that cheap ammo, it sure won't hurt that barrel anymore. I just wish someone would have told me this about steel case ammo about two years ago. Live & Learn!

  3. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

    Never heard of it neither
  4. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Never used any of it in a bolt rifle but, never heard of that either.
    howlnmad and dbcooper like this.
  5. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    Not trying to argue.. But I think you might have had a junk barrell!

    I bought a used 7.62x39 upper.. Very used.

    The first pack of ammo I ran thru it was a bulk case of tula steel. 1500 rounds right there, not counting the milsutp it eats. Not worn out yet...
  6. Pawpaw40

    Pawpaw40 Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2012
    East Texas
    I think I've posted this link before.

    What I get out of it is that the steel jacketed Tula and Brown Bear will wear out barrels faster, but in an AR-15 the cost difference in the ammo will more than offset the cost of barrel replacement. That may not be true for a bolt action. Then again, it's doubtful that a bolt action rifle will be subject to the repeated firing after the barrel gets excessively hot. Also, this was 5.56, not 7.62x39.

    I believe the OP's original concern is not a problem with bolt actions. The 7.62x39 round has more body taper than most modern ammunition. Combined with the steel case that doesn't expand and "grip" the chamber, it will create more thrust rearward against the bolt and bolt lugs. This caused a lot of the original 7.62 AR's bolts to fail. Bolt actions have a lot more "beef" built into their bolt lugs, so I don't see this as a problem, and most manufacturers have designed out the issues with the AR bolt lugs.
    bosun likes this.
  7. howlnmad

    howlnmad Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Harriman, Tn
    His question is about bolt actions. He bought a bolt action 223 and his buddy told him that steel case ammo runs at higher pressure and could cause bolt damage or catastrophic damage.
  8. Pawpaw40

    Pawpaw40 Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2012
    East Texas
    The last couple of post's had drifted to barrel wear with the steel jacketed com-bloc ammo. My second paragraph addressed the OP.
  9. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I can't seem to grasp the idea that steel cased ammo will wear out a barrel. The steel case does not go "down the barrel".o_O I don't believe that the bullet is made of steel!
  10. mogunner

    mogunner Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Eastern Missouri
    The bullets used are bi-metallic, lead core, but steel jacketed with a thin copper or in some cases now, zinc coating over the steel.
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