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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that the days of cheap Russian ammo are history, what country will take the crown as The King of Steel Cases? Instinctively I feel like Serbia or Bulgaria will want to grab the marketshare. There is talk of American made steel cased ammo, but I'm skeptical it will reach a significant market share.
 

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I've never fired steel cased ammo as I don't have an AK, Mosin-Nagant or other Eastern Bloc firearms. I wonder if the cost advantage is more due to labor than materials with steel being the more available raw material in those regions. Pistol ammo produced here in non-brass never appealed to me for the slight cost savings as I hand load.

Remember also that the Russian situation may not last forever. Just a few years back the POTUS hated the Saudis and now he's flying thousands of miles to kiss their sandals.
 

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Steel ammo was never particularly "cheap" on any shelves in my vicinity. Aluminum isn't particularly cheap either.

Czechbikr makes a good point that the cost difference may have been a matter of lower cost of labor where steel was more available.
 

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I used to buy Norinco mail order by the case. 1000 rounds of 7.62x39 was something like a C note IIRC. Those days are long gone. Norinco was Chinese. I still have some of it.
 

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Winchester has been making steel cased 9mm for years. Used to be inexpensive. I remember my dad buying a Hugh box of it several years ago. Might have been 1000 rounds. He said it was horrible stuff and made his Taurus pistols jam up.
 

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There's nothing good or cheap about Russian steel cased ammo unless you're using it to feed an old soviet rifle or something similar. I can't say I'll miss it.
 

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I've used a lot of Russian steel 9mm as it used to be the equivalent of buy two 50 round boxes get the third free compared to most brass.
Not anymore!
Never had an issue with it in my PT809, PT111, or 995TS. Still have a large amount of Barnaul steel and Federal aluminum on hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Steel and aluminum cases cannot be reloaded, but you used to be able to find boxes of Russian steel cased 9mm for as cheap as $5-6. Reloading costs around $0.07 a round, last time I checked, so at $0.10 it made a strong argument for saving time.

After seeing True Velocity's 6.8 mm cartridge, I'm convinced that polymer is the future, but that doesn't mean WWII cartridge technology will die. Russia uses steel cased ammo because they don't have large domestic copper reserves. Russia basically invented the steel case, and they had perfected it by WWII. Germany also lacked copper, but they were late to develop steel cases, and the early 98k rifles were overpressurizing from the steel jacketed bullets and the MG34s were tearing case heads off. I think some other national armories still use steel.

The biggest issue with steel cases is actually the bimetal jackets. If they often barely use any copper in the top coat and it basically just lubes to barrel a little bit. Thick bimetal jackets work great. The big reason for most people not to use steel 9mm is the rules at indoor ranges. They say something about steel 9mm chewing up the rubber backstops.
 

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Isn't steel hard on some actions if used by the thousands? Plus it cannot be reloaded-correct? That's mainly why I never tried it.
I have read that the main issue for steel is the ejector will wear out faster but the savings of the ammo may be much greater than the cost of replacing the ejector a little sooner.

I recently read a long forum discussion somewhere from 2011 about difference between steel and brass cased ammo. One posting stated that back then steel case ammo was about $4 cheaper than brass cased ammo. I recently bought Tula steel case ammo from Bucking Horse Output on sale for $13 a box or about $4 cheaper than brass. I don't know offhand what the prices were back in 2011 but assume they were lower so a savings of $4 on steel was a bigger percentage discount.
 
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