Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 03-03-2010, 04:09   #1
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Steel cased ammo vs. brass cased

Has anyone ever seen any research that proves or disproves the idea that steel cased ammo is harmful in that the steel causes excessive wear in the chamber area. Since brass is softer than steel this would seem to hold some truth but has it ever been scientifically tested?
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:01   #2
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Considering that most of the larger militaries have used steel cased ammo, including the US...................
The steel used is a dead soft alloy, much softer than barrel metal (and not any harder than full hard brass)
Personaly, I wouldn't be concerned about using Steel Case in any quality firearm (which is why the Jennings/Bryco and AR guys hate steel cases)
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:52   #3
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Originally Posted by Ronbow View Post
Has anyone ever seen any research that proves or disproves the idea that steel cased ammo is harmful in that the steel causes excessive wear in the chamber area. Since brass is softer than steel this would seem to hold some truth but has it ever been scientifically tested?
Brass expands when you fire off the round. It swells and forms a gasket in your chamber.

Steel rounds do not expand like brass. Hench when you check the chamber after you fire off several steel cased rounds, you will find the back blast from the shell will put a carbon buildup in 50-60% of the chamber.

The backblast (Heat) of the steel shells going off can erode the chamber over time.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:59   #4
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Originally Posted by Tailgunner View Post
Considering that most of the larger militaries have used steel cased ammo, including the US...................
The steel used is a dead soft alloy, much softer than barrel metal (and not any harder than full hard brass)
Personaly, I wouldn't be concerned about using Steel Case in any quality firearm (which is why the Jennings/Bryco and AR guys hate steel cases)
This Mini-14 and AR owner loves steel cased ammo in my AR. Not so much in my Mini. I shoot Wolf poly coated in my AR a lot, no problem. I tried it in my Mini for the first time last week. It locked up solid on the 22nd round. Had to drive the case out of the chamber with a rod. Nothing but brass for my Mini from now on.
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:17   #5
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I would only use steel case ammo when the funds are tight or as a SHTF situtation. Steel case ammo will void the warranty with a lot of manufactures. A chrome lined chamber helps with the steel case ammo. The US doesn't use it because they concluded that it damaged the chamber after a period of time. I shoot it from time to time and haven't experienced any problems.
My son has a AR15 that doesn't like it at all. The manufacturers can tell if you have been shooting steel case ammo.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:20   #6
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I don't have my manuel with me but it seems like I read in there not to use steel ammo, or use brass cased ammo only. Something to that effect. Given the cost of the rifle, it's not worth it to me to take the chance just to save a few bucks. Brass only for me. (unless of course it's an emergency).
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:21   #7
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Originally Posted by dixokai View Post
I don't have my manuel with me but it seems like I read in there not to use steel ammo, or use brass cased ammo only. Something to that effect. Given the cost of the rifle, it's not worth it to me to take the chance just to save a few bucks. Brass only for me. (unless of course it's an emergency).
I agree with the above. Not to mention, if you reload, you have brass to reload without having to buy new until the brass is worn out. A much better value in the long run. If you don't reload, someone you know will buy the once fired brass.

JK
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:27   #8
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Originally Posted by higgite View Post
This Mini-14 and AR owner loves steel cased ammo in my AR. Not so much in my Mini. I shoot Wolf poly coated in my AR a lot, no problem. I tried it in my Mini for the first time last week. It locked up solid on the 22nd round. Had to drive the case out of the chamber with a rod. Nothing but brass for my Mini from now on.
The reason your Mini Locked up is because you had enough black blast throwing carbon/powder residue into the chamber. After so many rounds, you had enough buildup, that the residue stuck to the shell coming in like glue and walla, its stuck

This can happen in your AR also. This does not happen when you shoot brass because the brass swells and seals the chamber.

If you have SHOT STEEL case out of your gun, before you go shoot brass, CLEAN your chamber well or you might get a brass shell stuck like chuck.
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Old 03-04-2010, 21:14   #9
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Yeah, I figure that there just isn't as much blow back with Wolf in my AR as in my Mini. It was the first steel ammo I have tried in my Mini and was surprised, and disappointed, that it won't handle it like my AR. But, to console myself, I put 60 rounds of Black Hills remanufactured through the Mini today without a hiccup. I almost cried when I saw the $19.95 price tag on the box of 50, though. It was some old stash. I think it's running about $35 a box now.
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Old 03-05-2010, 16:32   #10
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dixokai said[QUOTE] I don't have my manuel with me but it seems like I read in there not to use steel ammo, or use brass cased ammo only. /QUOTE] I have reviewed the Mini-14 Instruction Manual and found no reference to steel case ammo. The manual states that only "Use only clean ammunition of the proper caliber manufactured to U.S. Industry specifications, in good condition." I personally have used steel cased ammo with no malfunctions. It can be a bit dirtier than some other ammo. I clean the chamber and bore after every shooting session. In fact some of the steel cased ammo i.e. Silver Bear, shoots as well or better than some of the less expensive bulk ammo. For me it works quite well.
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Old 03-05-2010, 17:02   #11
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steel vs brass

I thought that is why ruger went from .308 barrels to .310 in there minis. Because of the clamer to be able to shoot the cheaper surplus European block ammo that had become so prevelant?
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:24   #12
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I have only about 100 rds of steel case 5.56 left.Its shoots ok for blasting ammo,but not too impressive for accuracy.I used to use a lot of it at MG shoots along with copper washed steel 7.62 ammo in the belt feed M60.When it would start sticking in the chamber I would just spray the mags and belts down with WD40 and run it though with no problem.Almost all of my 5.56 is brass case,plus most of these brass cases are reloadable.I think I saved about 7000 5.56 emptys of LC and TZZ.Most of my 5.56 is handloaded with 55 fmj,55 sp or 60 sierra Hp.
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:16   #13
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Originally Posted by higgite View Post
This Mini-14 and AR owner loves steel cased ammo in my AR. Not so much in my Mini. I shoot Wolf poly coated in my AR a lot, no problem. I tried it in my Mini for the first time last week. It locked up solid on the 22nd round. Had to drive the case out of the chamber with a rod. Nothing but brass for my Mini from now on.
I have had the reverse reaction. My Mini 14 runs steel like a top and my Bushmaster short strokes and jams. I have run over 2K rounds without one malfunction in my Mini-Amazing!!!
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:54   #14
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Originally Posted by jerry curlin View Post
I have had the reverse reaction. My Mini 14 runs steel like a top and my Bushmaster short strokes and jams. I have run over 2K rounds without one malfunction in my Mini-Amazing!!!
Do you run Wolf, or does it matter? My son's S&W AR will run Wolf till the cows come home,as will my AR, but Silver Bear will lock his up before he gets through the first magazine.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:50   #15
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Originally Posted by higgite View Post
Do you run Wolf, or does it matter? My son's S&W AR will run Wolf till the cows come home,as will my AR, but Silver Bear will lock his up before he gets through the first magazine.
In my Bushmaster Varminter, I mainly ran Wolf- Classic Mill and BlackBox. CM ran better but shortstrokes and failure would occur after about 100 rounds. I only shoot brass now in my AR. I have shot Silver bear, Tula and Wolf in the Mini without any problems and any cleaning. Hope that helps
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:54   #16
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Originally Posted by dixokai View Post
I don't have my manuel with me but it seems like I read in there not to use steel ammo, or use brass cased ammo only. Something to that effect. Given the cost of the rifle, it's not worth it to me to take the chance just to save a few bucks. Brass only for me. (unless of course it's an emergency).
I just did a search on the PDF and the manual makes no reference to brass vs. steel cased ammo. Still, I'd stay with brass. Just a personal choice. I've even heard of aluminum cases, which I wouldn't go near. Last thing I need is the bottom of a case popping off and the case staying in the chamber. Who knows where some of this crap is made and what alloys they're using. JMHO
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Old 03-08-2010, 13:13   #17
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My AR didn't like Wolf at first. I replaced the hammer spring and adjusted firing pin protrusion, and it will now fire Wolf.

My Mini eats it right up.
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Old 03-08-2010, 13:41   #18
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Talking Disposable Mini? (Tongue-Firmly-In-Cheek)

Price being equal, few would argue that brass is best. However, for me, there is a price differential at which I'll opt to go with the cheap option (so long as it appears to work), even if it is a shorter-term solution.

Up here in the great Republik of Canuckistan, my Mini-30 represents one of the holy grails of firearms: a relatively affordable, reliable, semi-auto rifle in a huntable calibre, for which there is a cheap ammo option and plenty of parts available. With the installation of a Wolff hammer spring, my stainless Mini appears to happily eat the ubiquitous (at least in my neck of the woods) 127 grain Sellier & Bellot steel-cased Czech milsurp all day long.

Will the steel casings cause more wear in the chamber than brass? Probably a little. However, once I've made my way through the first 1120 round crate of the steel-cased stuff, I'll have saved enough money to buy another brand new Mini.

If I make it through a second crate of the Czech milsurp, perhaps someone here will help me make the case to she-who-must-be-obeyed that I've now justified the purchase of TWO more Minis?
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Old 03-08-2010, 14:28   #19
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7.62x51 STEEL CASE, Made by the Lake City arsonal in 1956 (not my cartridges)
45ACP steel case was made by the BILLIONS at the Evensville Chysler plant for the US army, they also made 30 Carbine in steel.
A very high percentage of the WW-2 German Mauser ammo was steel cased
Most (all) the MP-44 7.92x33 was steel cased

IOW the military dosn't care if it can be reloaded as long as it works (but they're not going to run something that puts excessive wear on the weapons either), and if you want to be honest about it neither do most shooters.
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Old 03-08-2010, 21:46   #20
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Hi,

I've been away for a while...I sold my Mini-14 ATI a while back and I now own a new 581 Mini-30. I always wanted the Mini-30 to go with my other 30 Caliber rifles but could never find one until last week...after over a year of waiting and watching all the local shops! A rare bird indeed! Now as for the ammo...I am a bit confused/concerned regarding things I read pertaining to the difference in the C.I.P. and SAAMI standards. All the numbers mean nothing to me but, one thing I have noticed is, Remington UMC ammo drops into the chamber tight...I have to dig it out with my fingernail. The Golden Tiger steel case Russian ammo drops into the chamber and will literally rattle around a few thousandths...it will fall out easily when I roll the barrel up. Is this typical of the steel cased stuff? I am concerned now because I just ordered 400 rds of MFS ammo from Cabela's. It is brass, boxer primed and reloadable. A good deal at $7.99/20 rds and free shipping over $150. The MFS ammo is manufactured to C.I.P. standards. My question, will anything, steel or brass, made to CIP standards rattle around in SAAMI 7.62x39 chambers? Another thing, the base just above the extractor groove is actually SMALLER on the Remington SAAMI case so, I assume the rattle is caused elsewhere?? They both seem to seat to the same depth. I actually removed the extractor/firing pin and when I tried to manually rotate the bolt closed on a round, the bolt encountered resistance at exactly the same point...the bolt on each would go ALMOST fully closed with thumb pressure on the boss for the op rod. And finally...the primer on the Russian stuff is seated consistantly .003" deeper than the Remington UMC...cause of misfires? ALL of these observations are without having fired a single shot through this thing! I am waiting for a rail and red dot to arrive.

Sorry for the long rambling post...I guess I'm bored.

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Old 03-09-2010, 05:58   #21
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Originally Posted by BLAMMO!! View Post
I just did a search on the PDF and the manual makes no reference to brass vs. steel cased ammo. Still, I'd stay with brass. Just a personal choice. I've even heard of aluminum cases, which I wouldn't go near. Last thing I need is the bottom of a case popping off and the case staying in the chamber. Who knows where some of this crap is made and what alloys they're using. JMHO
Yup, I just went through my manual again and couldn't find anything about steel/brass. I must have dreamed it. It does say ammo loaded to some U.S. standards. Does steel meet those specs? I suppose it does if they sell it here.
I just can't help but to believe it will accelerate wear in the rifle but as someone else said with the money you save you can buy another mini. Still brass for me though.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:35   #22
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Originally Posted by dixokai View Post
Yup, I just went through my manual again and couldn't find anything about steel/brass. I must have dreamed it. It does say ammo loaded to some U.S. standards. Does steel meet those specs? I suppose it does if they sell it here.
I just can't help but to believe it will accelerate wear in the rifle but as someone else said with the money you save you can buy another mini. Still brass for me though.
At least you Yanks seem to have affordable options for 7.62 x 39 in brass. North of the 49th Parallel, if you can actually find it, it tends to costs more than $1 per round. By comparison, the steel-cased milsurp is less than $0.18 per round. Perhaps the US State Dept would be kind enough to grant me an export permit to go and pilfer some of your ammo
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Old 03-13-2010, 14:35   #23
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Just got back from my shooting my new 581 tactical for the first time. and man does she shoot. One thing to say on this topic: I fired 3 different kinds of ammo, White box 55g BT FMJ, Federal LC 55g FMJ, and some steel case Wolf. ALL the brass fired beautifully, and I was actually suprised at how accurate the stock mini was at 50 yards or so. I hit a couple cans at least three times in a row, with iron sights, this is with a fairly warm barrel. I shot the Wolf last and 3 shot into my 20 rnd factory mag, it jammed on an empty casing, (FTE, is that what its called?) it then proceeded to do this 3 or four more times before the mag was empty. Glad I only bout one box of wolf, and stocked up on the LC! Hope this helps....

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Old 03-14-2010, 19:00   #24
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box-o-truth

Originally Posted by higgite View Post
This Mini-14 and AR owner loves steel cased ammo in my AR. Not so much in my Mini. I shoot Wolf poly coated in my AR a lot, no problem. I tried it in my Mini for the first time last week. It locked up solid on the 22nd round. Had to drive the case out of the chamber with a rod. Nothing but brass for my Mini from now on.
on this vary same thing. google box of truth.
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Old 03-14-2010, 19:15   #25
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Originally Posted by cdevon1200 View Post
on this vary same thing. google box of truth.
cdevon1200
Can you be a little more specific where in The Box O' Truth to look? They cover an awful lot of ground.

I did see where they had an article about brass cases sticking in the chamber after shooting Wolf ammo, and the reason for it. But, my experience was with Wolf after shooting brass ammo. I don't think the brass ammo had anything to do with Wolf sticking in my Mini.
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