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Thread: Steel ammo

  1. #1
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    Default Steel ammo

    This is a just a general question I had, because I read that importing steel core ammo was not legal...correct me if I am wrong. I have seen steel core, in 7.62x39, in some stores but it is expensive and corrosive. My question then is this, why not take the case, primer, and powder from a regular fmj round and make a non-jacketed steel bullet? You could get the proper dimensions of the steel bullet from the fmj bullet with the use of a micrometer, then you would just need to cut and polish it down to size. These seems cheaper to me than buying expensive and corrosive ammo. Would it be legal to do that? Does anyone do that?
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    Default Re: Steel ammo

    I can't imagine how that'd affect the bore, but I can't see it being very good. Very easily could mess up your rifling. Also, I'm pretty sure the only reason steel bullets are illegal is because they can pierce armor. I would imagine the same law would apply to a home made bullet as well. I might be wrong though, especially in light that you found steel core bullets in a store.
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    Default Re: Steel ammo

    Quote Originally Posted by jh664322 View Post
    This is a just a general question I had, because I read that importing steel core ammo was not legal...
    This is one of the more difficult questions, because I'm not certain what's being asked.

    Not illegal...for you. This letter was sent to dealers right after it all went down, for you this means it's still legal to own and possess, but steel core is very expensive since no more can be imported. Thus, it's collectible now. You'll still find it from time to time, but it won't be cheap. You'd be surprised how many people bought pallets of the stuff when it was $70/1440 rds on strippers, and still have most of it...

    Read about it here, click to enlarge.



    If I understand this correctly:

    My question then is this, why not take the case, primer, and powder from a regular fmj round and make a non-jacketed steel bullet?
    It sounds like you're making a non-jacketed AP round. It also has a basic problem if you aren't including a jacket, or at least a driving band. All bullets deform down to a slightly smaller size to make an efficient seal & engrave rifling. Shotguns are an obvious exception to this, but since the context of this is 7.62x39, rifling obviously applies.

    Making a solid steel bullet that can't compress or deform would either strip the rifling clean and burnish the bore smooth, or worse, jam in the barrel leade area (where the rifling begins after the chamber) in which case you'd have a very likely case of catastrophic chamber or barrel failure.

    If the steel is soft enough to compress, it would need a hollow core to allow adequate displacement during initial rifling engagement in the leade area. But them we've essentially made a jacketed bullet without a core.

    Steel core ammunition has a cupro-nickel or other semi-soft jacket material just like any other FMJ bullet, and deforms during rifling engagement just like any other bullet, including lead-core bullets.

    Steel core isn't the same as armor piercing, but you'd never guess it by ATF's reaction (above). ATF's response was based on the so-called cop-killer buzzword being bandied about in Congress a decade or two ago. The rule was, if it's steel core and comes out a handgun, core hardness isn't a factor.

    Armor piercing bullets have an extremely hard core with a sharp point, usually heat treated tungsten-carbide. I saved a range pickup AP core, and I used it as a short center punch. It never needed sharpening. Steel core is a completely different animal, the core is usually a short segment of soft steel rod sheared off at a calibrated length and used as filled material to displace more expensive lead. The big advantage of steel core is a slightly flatter trajectory (since it's a little lighter than lead) and better penetration. For us, it really isn't much different than plain old ball ammunition, but it will spark if it hits rocks.

    Does this answer your question?

    What are you trying to do, or design?

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    Default Re: Steel ammo

    Hmm. Yes you did answer my questions. I suppose there is no real advantage of the steel core vs solid lead....I was looking at financials. Thanks.
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