Russian Bimetal Bullets and Barrel Wear – Is It Worth It?

Most Russian ammo is loaded with bimetal bullets which are mild steel jackets layered with copper with a lead core. The steel jackets are much softer than a rifle barrel but not as soft as copper. So it is a fact that these bimetal bullets do wear a rifle barrel faster than copper bullets as proven in the Lucky Gunner 10,000 round ammo torture test. It is a Proven Fact.

Wolf WPA 762x39 ammo

So we know that using Russian ammo like Wolf, Red Army Standard, Tulammo, Herter’s, Brown Bear, Golden Tiger, etc will cause a barrel to wear out faster than copper jacketed bullet ammo. How much faster? According to the ammo torture test performed by Lucky Gunner, the bimetal bullets wore out the rifling in a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle barrel after 6,000 rounds of rapid fire. The Federal copper jacketed ammo lasted over 10,000 rounds.

So lets look at what this means to the average shooter.

How long will it take you to shoot 6,000 rounds? 3 years? 5 years? It would take me 6 years to shoot 6,000 rounds through one of my guns. So I would need to replace the barrel or gun after 6 years. OK, I can live with that.

So what’s the total cost of using the Russian bimetal ammo?

Russian bimetal ammo (7.62×39) costs about $0.23/round when purchased in cases. The cheapest copper jacketed ammo (7.62×39) is Fiocchi at $0.45/round. The difference is $0.22 per round. So we multiple the cost difference times the number of rounds we’re going to shoot which is 6,000. That comes out to $1,380.00. So by using the cheap Russian or Ukraine ammo, I will save $1,380.00 but I burned out one AK-47 or AR-15 barrel. So I have $1,380.00 to do something with like replace the barrel or the entire gun and I have more than enough money to do just that. I only paid $497 for my Zastava AK-47.

So worrying about using bimetal bullets in your rifle for fear of faster wear may not be such a big issue. I know it’s not for me. I don’t mind buying a new rifle every 5 years with the money I saved in ammo. I really take care of the barrel with proper cleaning and a top notch lubricant (Froglube, M-Pro 7 CLP, AR4200 or CorrosionX), I may be able to stretch the barrel life to 10,000 rounds.

Just some food for thought…

Steel Cased BiMetal Bullets Vs Brass Cased and Copper Jacketed Bullets

OK…here we go. There’s lots of conversations about the steel cased Russian ammo being dirty, not accurate, wearing out barrels, unreliable, junk, poor quality, lacquer coating melting, etc.

Is this myth or truth?

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Well there is a definite answer to these claims and Luckygunner performed a controlled 10,000 round torture test featuring 4 Bushmaster AR-15 rifles and 10,000 rounds of Wolf, Tulammo, Brown Bear and Federal 5.56/223 ammo.

Here’s the short version….the Russian steel cased ammo was not as reliable (but pretty darn reliable…9 failures (Brown Bear) out of 10,000 rounds) as the Federal brass cased 5.56 ammo in these firearms and did wear out the rifling in the barrels much faster (6,000 rounds vs 10,000+). The dirty and inaccurate claims are false as proven in this test. The Federal ammo was actually the dirtiest and hardest to clean.

Another false claim was regarding the lacquer coating melting in the chamber causing the case to stick. There was no such issue during this 10,000 round torture test. The barrels were very hot, up to 750 degrees and there were no signs of the lacquer coating melting or sticking.

If the Russian ammo manufacturers would use copper jackets instead of the bimetal (steel and copper) then it would be some really awesome stuff. I still plan on using Wolf, Brown Bear and Tulammo in my AK-47.

It would take several years for me to shoot 6,000 rounds plus I don’t shoot rapid fire where the barrel heats up to 700 degrees. This high temp kills barrels. I also clean my rifle after every 200 rounds or so. The torture test scheduled cleanings after 2,000 rounds. Plus…Froglube should increase the life to 10,000 rounds or so.

Herter’s 7.62×39 Ammo

I recently bought a Zastava N-PAP M70 AK-47 at Gunbroker and I’m waiting for it to ship to my FFL. In the mean time I thought it would be a good idea to buy some ammo. So off to Cabelas I go.

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I thought as big as Cabelas is they would have cases of 7.62×39 ammo and many brands right?

WRONG!!!

I think I saw 3 brands of 7.62×39 ammo….Herter’s, PPU and Hornady. That’s it!!! WTH?

PPU and Hornady were expensive for target shooting but may be good for hunting or self defense. I went back to the Herter’s shelf. I wasn’t sure who makes Herters 7.62×39 ammo but it was cheaper…$5.99 a box. Not knowing anything about this ammo, I only bought 1 box to try.

I also looked at 2 CIA WASR AK-47’s they had on display. They were pretty nice but $699. Way too much for a WASR. I bought a Zastava N-PAP M70 AK-47 for $467 on Gunbroker.com. SWEET!

Anyway after I opened the box of Herter’s 7.62×39 ammo at home I discovered who makes it. The brass case has Tualmmo on it.

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You can see the Tualmmo logo on the lower right.

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You can see it’s made in Russia if you look underneath the “20 Cartridges” on the right.

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Tulammo is steel cased and Berdan primed with non-corrosive primers. The steel cases are polymer coated to prevent corrosion and assist with smooth feeding and easy extraction. The FMJ’s are bi-metal which is a layering of copper and soft steel. Regardless of what people say about bi-metal bullets, they are softer than rifle barrels and should not wear them out faster.

Tulammo is manufactured at the Tula Cartridge Works plant in Tula, Russia. They have been manufacturing ammo since 1880. It is one of the largest cartridge manufacturing plants in the world. The Russian military have been using ammo from Tula Cartridge Works for a long time in all their AK-47 rifles. That says a lot!!

I have read many articles and reviews on Tulammo. It appears to be really good ammo for AK-47 type rifles. It is very cheap too. I’ve seen it sell for about $0.21 per round or $219 for a case of 1,000 rounds.

I may run over to Cabelas and get 10 more boxes of Herter’s 7.62×39 ammo. That’s 200 rounds for $59.90 plus tax.

7.62×39 Ammo for Sale – Super Cheap

7.62×39 Ammo for Sale as low as $0.219/round. If you buy Russian ammo by the case, you can really get a super deal.

Tulammo 762x39 ammo can

Here’s where I buy most of my ammo (see link below). Shipping is fast and prices are the best I could find. Inventories are huge and up to date so you know if they have any in stock.

Tulammo runs $219 per case of 1,000 rounds. It’s great ammo for the AK-47 and its variants. It’s steel cased ammo with hollow points or FMJ’s. There are a number or brands that are all very cheap to buy. 20 round boxes start at $5.00/box. A few of the Russian brands are Tulammo, Wolf, Red Army Standard, Brown Bear, Silver Bear and WPA.

762x39 tula ammo

Tulammo is good quality ammo that is about as accurate as any 7.62×39 ammo. Typical 100 yard groups run about 2.5″.

Tualmmo ammo is steel cased and seems to worry some people. These steel cases are annealed or softened to allow it to expand during firing and seal the chamber. The steel case is much softer than the barrel and chamber of a gun. Steel cases will not scratch or damage a rifle barrel chamber or the bolt.

Tulammo steel cases are polymer coated to prevent corrosion and facilitate easy feeding and extraction.

Tulammo primers are non-corrosive and so is the powder. Tulammo is manufactured in a huge plant in Tula, Russia. It is the same ammo issued to Russian military personnel.

Tulammo also manufactures ammunition branded with Wolf Ammunition on it for US importation. It is one of the largest ammunition plants in the world. Tulammo was founded in 1880.

762x39 wolf wpa ammo

Wolf 7.62×39 WPA Polyformance ammunition is manufactured in many different plants in┬áRussia and Ukraine. Wolf does not manufacture ammo, they import it under their brand. It is steel cased factory new ammunition. The steel case is annealed or softened in order to expand and seal the rifle chamber during firing. The steel case is coated with a polymer (non-toxic) to prevent corrosion in harsh environments and assist with smooth feeding and easy extraction. The primers are Berdan and non-corrosive.

Wolf WPA ammo is loaded with bi-metal bullets which means the bullet jacket is composed of layers of copper and mild steel. The jacket is much softer than a steel rifle barrel and will not damage it.

Wolf 7.62×39 WPA Polyformance ammo runs about $0.235/round or $235 per case of 1,000 rounds.

762x39 wolf white box ammo

This is another packaging of Wolf 7.62×39 ammo. It’s the “white box” edition. Same great ammo and low price.

762x39 wolf military classic

Wolf 7.62×39 Military Classic ammo is the same great Wolf ammo loaded with hollow point and soft point bullets for hunting or self defense or training. It features coated steel cases and non-corrosive primers. This ammo was made for the AK-47 rifle.

762x39 silver bear ammo

Silver Bear 7.62×39 ammo is manufactured in the Barnaul Machine plant in Russia. The Silver Bear name comes from the nicely polished Zinc plated cases. The Zinc plating is yet another method of preventing corrosion. It sure looks really cool too!

The Silver Bear ammo is loaded with Berdan non-corrosive primers and FMJ bullets and is not reloadable.

The Barnaul Machine Plant supplies Russia with military ammo as well as America, Europe and Asia.

Silver Bear 7.62×39 ammo is slightly more expensive than Wolf or Tulammo at $0.31/round or $155 for 500 rounds. $.31/round is still very cheap rifle ammunition.

762x39 brown bear ammo

Brown Bear 7.62×39 ammo is manufactured in the same Barnaul Machine Plant in Russia. The difference is the steel case. Brown Bear cases are polymer coated while Silver Bear are Zinc plated. This ammo is primed with non-corrosive primers and powders and is not reloadable.

Brown Bear 7.62×39 ammo runs $0.25/round or $125 for 500 rounds. It is excellent ammo for the AK-47.

762x39 red army standard ammo

Red Army Standard 7.62×39 ammo is not from Russia but from the Ukraine. It is very similar to Tulammo and Wolf ammo. It is polymer coated steel cases with non-corrosive Berdan primers. It is pretty much the same quality too.

Red Army Standard 7.62×39 ammo runs about $0.25/round or $255 for a 1080 round case. That’s cheap shooting for sure.

762x39 PPU ammo

PPU or Prvi Partizan 7.62×39 ammo is manufactured by Prvi in Serbia. It is brass cased with non-corrosive boxer primers and soft point bullets. It is reloadable and more expensive.

PPU 7.62×39 ammo runs about $0.75/round or $15 per box of 20. It is great ammunition for hunting or target practice.

762 x 39 american eagle ammo

American Eagle 7.62×39 ammunition is American made and features Federal brass cases. This ammo is reloadable. It features FMJ bullets and boxer non-corrosive primers. It’s excellent quality.

American Eagle 7.62×39 ammo runs about $0.95/round or $19 per box of 20. That’s almost a dollar per round….yikes!

If you are shooting a semi auto like the AK-47 or one of its variants then the Russian steel cased ammo is perfect. These rifles are made to shoot steel cased ammo and have been doing so for 60+ years. The AK-47 will shoot any ammo available. It’s not picky and is extremely reliable.

Expensive Defense Ammo – G2 Research RIP

I was browsing Gunbroker Ammunition, looking for some new ammo to review when I saw an ad for G2 Research RIP 40 S&W ammo.

G2 Research ammo

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G2 ammo is way different from any other defensive ammo you will ever see. The bullet is uniquely constructed featuring a serrated nose. It is supposed to be devastating on soft tissue. I’ve seen gelatin and pumpkin tests and they looked spectacular.

Anyway, I wanted to get some and run it through my Glock 22 at the range for reliability and accuracy testing.

Well…..I halted my purchase when I saw the price. $147.00 for 2 boxes of 20 rounds. I’m not that excited about testing or using this ammo. If it performed over and above other ammo then I might consider it for home defense but there are other options that are proven effective in the field. Cutting Edge PHD ammo is just one that I really like and it performs extremely well. Lehigh Defense is another.

Multiple Projectile Ammo

We all know how effective the 12 gauge shotgun is with buck shot. 9 pellets hitting a target simultaneously is devastating. Shotguns are not as fast to draw into action as a handgun so… what if we could fire a multi-projectile round from a handgun?

Lehigh Defense multiple projectile 44mag

Here you go… Lehigh Defense .44 Mag multi-projectile defensive ammo.

5 projectiles fired at 800 fps. The pattern is effective out to about 35 feet which is typical self defense range. Penetration is from 6″ to a max of 12″. Over penetration is not a concern here.

Lehigh Defense Multiple Projectile ammo is available in .44 Mag, .44 Special, 45 Colt, 45-70 Gov’t and 458 Socom.