.223 Ammo - Deal or no deal?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Bulldawg182, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    In preparation for the arrival of my AR15, I'm shopping for decent range ammo and came across this deal for 1000 rounds for $195.00.

    Is anyone familiar with this ammo? Will it suffice for what I need it for?

    BrownBearAmmo

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    Ad:

    "This is .223 Brown Bear 62gr. Hollow Point Ammo. This ammo is manufactured by JSC Barnaul Machine-Tool Plant in Russia. Barnaul is considered to be the premier ammunition factory in Russia, and it supplies most of the ammo to the Russian Military. This ammo has the traditional lacquered steel case but it shoots much CLEANER than any other Russian brand, such as Wolf. I sell both brands and have shot both brands, and I prefer the Barnaul Brown Bear ammo over the wolf ammo, hands down. This ammo is 100% non-corrosive and the primer is sealed for moisture protection. It comes packed in 20rd boxes, 500rds. per case."
     
  2. GunNut

    GunNut New Member

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    Personally I'd stay away from the lacquered case ammo. Wolf has some about the same price that is polymer coated which I believe is less likely to gum up the gun.

    As for the steel case ammo, I still have mixed thoughts on it. I like the cheaper price, but don't know if it is worth the chance of wearing out parts in the gun.

    I do have some .223 wolf I still plan to shoot thru my AR that I bought before reading about all the +'s and -'s of steel/brass ammo. I do not plan to buy any more steel .223 for it though.

    The exception is my AK, I have no problem running steel ammo thru it.

    Just to muddy the waters a little more, there is also other coated steel case ammo, such as silver bear, gold bear, and barnauli (sp?). I believe it is either nickel or tin plated. I'm not real sure on this stuff if it is easier on the gun or if brass is still the best choice.
     

  3. pro2am

    pro2am New Member

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    I can't answer your question...however, I did run across this link over the weekend and thought I'd share. It might increase your sources a bit.


    http://www.gun-deals.com/ammo.php
     
  4. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

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    I'd use it in an AK...not so sure about an AR. Russian...think Wolf. I believe it's along the same lines. I don't have any more brown bear 7.62 rounds, otherwise i'd look at a brown bear and wolf side-by-side.
     
  5. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I ran a few hundred rounds of Wolf through my AR with no issues. I would buy it again if the PMC for $4.99 isn't available. There are several guys on http://www.ar15.com that have run a few thousand round of steel cased Wolf through ARs with no issues.
     
  6. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    Thanks....it might not be the best and it might not be close....but at $195 per 1000 rounds, I just ordered 1000.

    Worse comes to worse.....it'll sit in my safe till SHTF day! :lol:
     
  7. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    I wouldn't, but that is just my own personal preference.
     
  8. moga

    moga New Member

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    Could you elaborate on this subject a little more? Like Larryg2, I'm waiting for delivery of my first AR15 and I don't know much about the system beyond the basics. I also need to make an informed choice of ammo.
     
  9. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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    Only guns I'll put Russian (or Soviet) made ammo through are Russian (or Soviet) made guns.

    For example, my Mosin seems happier with a can of old Bulgarian ammo dug up from under some apartment house than it does with a box of Winchester match-grade 7.62, but my Taurus won't even feed Wolf reliably.
     
  10. GunNut

    GunNut New Member

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    I have read on several forums where people recommend against using steel case ammo mostly of fear of wearing out internal parts faster. In particular the barrel and extractor. I don't know that any actual studies have been done, but I don't believe it is worth the chance as the cost of a barrel goes a long ways towards the difference in price between steel and brass ammo.

    There is also the dirtyness factor of the Russian ammo. From what I have seen, it leaves a lot more residue behind...not really a good thing for an AR.
     
  11. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    I have to admit I'm a little confused here. Most everyone says that Wolf ammo is fine for an AR15 and Wolf is a Russian ammo. Why would this be any different? BTW, there are multiple users on AR15.com who say they've used this ammo without any problems and will continue to do so.

    What am I missing here?
     
  12. USMC - Retired

    USMC - Retired Active Member

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    Well besides the chance that the steel casings may cause extractor wear there is the fact that Wolf ammo has a coating on the case that when hot melts and leaves a coating on the chamber of your rifle. So if your shooting alot of it rapidly (which is why most folks by cheap ammo), your gonna get a real mess in your chamber that is near impossible to get out.
     
  13. moga

    moga New Member

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    I found the following information while researching the consequences of using steel cased ammo in the AR15.

    Q. Is Wolf-brand (or other steel-cased) .223 ammo okay to shoot in my AR15?

    Well, if you didn't start a flame war with the M193 v. M855 question, you have now.

    Many former Eastern-Bloc countries use steel ammo casings in place of brass, as the cost of steel is much less. The steel casings would quickly rust if left untreated, so one of four methods is used to treat the steel cases: "copper-washing," lacquer, "nickel" (really zinc) plating, or most recently, polymer coating. Copper-washed ammo is a blotchy bronze color, and usually the entire loaded round is coated, leaving the bullet and case the same bronzy color. Copper-washed ammo is usually only found in the East-Bloc calibers.

    Until recently, lacquered cases were the type most commonly found. The outside of the steel case is covered in a grey or green heat-resistant lacquer to inhibit rust. There have been some problems with the lacquer, though, as it tended to leave drips and runs on the cases, which can make extraction more difficult. Until recently, most Russian and Czech-made ammo used this method.

    Recently, the Barnaul plant began offering zinc-plated ammo under the name Silver Bear. Aside from some problems with incorrectly-sized cases, this ammo seems to work well, but the zinc process is more expensive, and as a result, the price of the loaded ammo is a little higher.

    Most recently (near the beginning of 2004), Wolf announced that their new ammo would be polymer coated. The polymer process leaves smoother cases than the lacquer, but is much less expensive than the zinc plating. To date, no problems have been encountered as a result of the polymer coating, making the new process an overall success.

    There have been problems with steel-cased ammo. Through 2002, Wolf ammo came with a thick red sealant around the primer and on the neck of the bullet. This sealant was the cause of many problems, as it would build up and become sticky under high heat, leading to severe extraction problems as cases would literally be "glued" into the chamber. It would also gum up the firing pin channel and bolt face, causing further problems. Wolf wisely dropped the sealant on their .223 ammo in 2003, and reports of problems have dropped off considerably.

    There is still some understandable apprehension with using steel-cased ammo in .223. Unlike the Soviet-designed cases, the 5.56 cartridge has very little taper to the case and its length to diameter ratio is very large. The result of this is that 5.56 ammo has more friction during cartridge extraction and comparatively less extractor surface area. This usually isn't a problem with brass cases, but with steel cases, especially lacquer-coated case, stoppages are more frequent. This is likely to due with the difference in expansion/retraction properties between brass and steel.

    These problems aren't limited to .223 either, as some guns, such as the HK USP line of pistols, is notorious for having feeding and extraction problems with steel-cased ammo.

    Still, the Russian ammo manufacturers have been steadily improving their products, and many have found that problems experienced with older ammo aren't present in the current offerings. Plus, the competition from this bargain ammo helps keep the cost of all .223/5.56 loads reasonable, which is good for all shooters.


    The above was quoted from www.ammo-oracle.com. I found very detailed, yet easily readable, explorations into many topics related to 223 Rem & 5.56 NATO. I expect that I'll often return to it as a reference as my involvement with the AR platform expands.

    Happy trails.
     
  14. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    First, thanks for finding and posting this. It's very informative for a .223 neophyte.

    It appears to me that the Wolf ammo thru 2002 was the greatest violator of fouling, etc. From what he has to say, it's this ammo which is associated with damaging the rifle.

    In discussing the steel "lacquered" rounds, the only problem cited was "can make extraction more difficult". Yet he chose not to mention any potential problems concerning lacquer rounds and "sticky", "gummy" or "gluey" fouling. If an increase in extraction difficulty is the only downside to these rounds, would they not be adequate for single shot target plinking?

    Again, am I defending an indefensible position?
     
  15. moga

    moga New Member

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    As far as I can tell, there are two issues to consider when discussing the possible use of Russian steel-cased ammo for an AR15.

    1) Guming. It appears that Wolf/Barnaul currently use other methods than lacquering to protect the steel casing from rusting. The early problems with the messiness of lacquer are no longer an issue. The red polymer around the primer and neck that caused much of the guming of chamber, firing pin, and extractor by the first polymer protected cartridges has been replaced by a better compound, rectifying the problem.

    2) Extraction of steel cases. There seems to be some merit to the problem of the steel casing interacting with the chamber of an AR15. Something to do with surface area and expansion characteristics. However, it seems that the prime symptom of using steel cases is FTF/E, not necessarily premature wearing of the extractor, chamber, etc.

    I can't think of a single reason that this ammo wouldn't be well suited for single-shot rifles. It may not be bad for the semi-auto rifle either, as many have attested.

    Both issues related to the guming of the upper seem to have been adequately addressed and therefore it is my opinion is that there are no longer any glaring reasons NOT to use Wolf or Barnaul except due to personal preferences. Further, the improvement in the quality of the ammo over time is likely the explanation for the varied experiences and opinions that shooters hold of these products.

    As each rifle has differences in tolerance of the chamber area, I'd wager that steel cased ammo may work for some and not for others. Basically it's a crap shoot.

    So, no. I don't think you've taken an unreasonable position on Brown Bear/Wolf. Rock on if it feeds reliably in your firearm and agrees with your budget.

    In the same breath, I've pretty much decided to stick with M193-spec ammo for both plinking and home defense, even if it means I won't be doing as much pleasure shooting as I'd like.

    Cheers.
     
  16. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    I give up! I called Ammunition to Go and bought 1000 rnds military surplus - .223 DRS 55gr. FMJ Ammo for $299.95. They were great about taking back the 1000 rounds of Brown Bear for a full refund.

    I just can't see taking the chance on messing up a brand new rifle.....if and when it ever shows up. I'm sitting here with a new EOtech 512 sight and 6 new Magpul 30 round mags just chompin at the bit.
     
  17. foshizzle

    foshizzle New Member

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    Well, there is a 100$ price difference per 1k rounds. If you shoot 4k rounds before you destroy your upper (which I doubt), you've just saved enough money to BUY another upper.

    I shoot the cheap stuff.
     
  18. Bulldawg182

    Bulldawg182 Active Member

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    Definitely worth considering. Maybe I'll just keep that 1000 rounds lying around until I decide.
     
  19. Crazy Rick

    Crazy Rick New Member

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    Ammo .223

    I just bought 2k rounds for me and a friend yesturday at Bulls Eye in Lawrenceville. They have it in stock for $250 per 1k. It is the brass stuff from HSM, Police Ammo 223 Remington, 55 grain, Full Metal Jacket. I have put over 1,500 roounds thru my AR with no trouble.

    They also have Wolf, but I will not use that stuff.
    CR

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  20. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    When is your rifle supposed to come in?