Brass-Plated Steel Cased Ammo: Brass-Plated Steel Casings Explained
Brass-plated steel casings are a rare but useful cartridge type in the ammunition world. While they aren’t as well known in the U.S. as full brass or steel casings, they surprisingly offer the best of both worlds – the affordability of steel with the reliability and reloadability (Boxer only) of brass.
Brass-plated steel casings are a staple of the Russian and Eastern European militaries, but their popularity in the U.S. is quickly growing. This type of cartridge can sometimes be used at indoor ranges, as it can be reloaded (if Boxer-primed). But if it’s purely a recycling facility, these cartridges will likely not be allowed.
Brass-Plated Steel Case Reloading
An interesting aspect of this cartridge type is that it fully functions like a brass casing, and is just as easy to reload multiple times as full brass. The electro-plated steel remains non-corrosive and is very strong – so you’re essentially getting steel with all the characteristics of brass, and this works wonderfully for this particular application. Make sure you order correctly if reloading, as this only works with Boxer-primed ammo.
To check used rounds, simply take one case and give it a deep scratch or cut it in half, then look at the component metals. It’s easy to tell brass from other plated metals (and don't forget to toss the one you’ve scratched).
Brass-Plated Steel Cartridge Availability
Many shops and ranges will carry this type of ammunition, with Wolf and Brown Bear as the most recognizable manufacturers. This particular type may be more visible when brass is at a high cost or if there’s a shortage, but it’s almost always for sale. Ammo.com is a great way to get it any time at reasonable prices – which vary according to manufacturer.
There is an ongoing debate about plated ammunition with regards to reloading and range use. If you’re a reloader, you already know what works and what doesn’t, so that shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re using an indoor or outdoor range and aren’t sure of the policies, it only takes a minute to ask.
Overall, most types are looked upon favorably by target shooters, pros and hunters. For shooting at home or hunting, brass-plated steel ammo is a great choice – it’s affordable and it gives you the option to reload. And for those looking to get rid of spent rounds, there’s always someone or some company more than happy to take them off your hands. If you don’t know any, ask your local gunshop or check online.