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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All!

This is my first post, as I just joined this board. I have an interesting question that perhaps somebody here can answer. I've seen steel cased .45 ACP shells from Wolf, and Tula, both Russian, both the same company I've been told. I know that these cases have wrong dimensions for the rim of the case, and because of that can break extractors unless they're specifically modified for those case sizes. I was on Hornady's website the other day, and see that they now offer a bargain brand of ammo that's also steel cased. From the pictures on the website the cases sort of looked just like the Tula cases, but of course looking at a picture on a website isn't exactly a way of measuring a case. Does anyone here know if their ammo is in fact loaded for them by Tula, and if so will they have the same problems as the Russian steel cased ammo has?

At the moment I have a Cimmaron Thunderer being re-barreled from 44 Special to 45 (both 45LC and 45ACP), and it was the gunsmith doing the job that told me to avoid the Tula made ammo (well, at least in any of my autos, unless I want him to modify the extractors), and to shoot it in the revolver he's working on as the case rim won't apply to extraction on a SA revolver.

Also, looking at the Hornady ammo, it was selling for something like $35.00/50 I don't really call that a bargain, so I probably won't buy any of it anyway, I'm just curious if it's being made for them by Tula using their standard 45 ACP cases.

-MikeS
 

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This is the first I've read about rim-dimension problems. I've shot a lot of Wolf in several calibers, including a lot of .45 without problem.
If you're interested, Wiki has a fairly detailed article ("Wolf Ammunition"), that I feel is accurate. That said, if you're not comfortable with Wolf, simply pass on it.
While I don't mind it in my full-size guns, I stopped firing it from my Kel-Tec 9mm pistols, since they are so small (and lightly built for that reason) and they happen to be S/D guns.
 

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I don't know how to put this delicately, but your gunsmith may be poorly informed.

The SAAMI specification for the rim of the .45 ACP is 0.480" with a tolerance of -0.010. In other words .480-.470 is in spec.

I just measured the rim of 5 Wolf .45 steel cases they all were 0.472
Then I measured 5 Speer cases, they were all 0.475.

I have shot a couple of cases of Wolf .45 ammo and haven't broken a single extractor nor have I had anyone tell me of that.

It is true that Hornady and Black Hills are going to load steel case ammo made somewhere in Russia but I don't know where. Nor do I know how one can tell where the Wolf ammo was made. It all looks the same to me and markings are the same too.

Whenever somebody tells you something as fact it's often a good idea to ask, "how do you know this?"

If they tell you "I heard it" turn your BS detector on high :!:
 

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CeePee, have you read the Wiki article? I'd like your assessment of its accuracy.
 

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I inherited a few cases of Wolf .45 ammo in a transaction that flopped. I had no problems at all with is other than the residue inside the guns was tough to clean. It all went bang, and it works great in Grease guns
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, the info I have came not only from my local gunsmith, but from the 1911 forum as well. I know that doesn't really mean much, but when I hear something from 2 totally separate sources I tend to take it with a slightly smaller grain of salt :) Also, Auto Ordinance in their manual for the Thompson says to not use steel cased ammo, that it would void the warrantee, and to only use brass cased ammo. While they say only brass cased ammo, I've had good results in my M1927A1 (semi auto 16" barrel version) using CCI's Blazer aluminum cased stuff. When you're stuffing either 30 rounds in a stick mag, or 50 in a drum, the slight weight savings of the aluminum ammo does seem to add up. BTW, my gunsmith also told me not to use the Blazer in the Thompson, he said the cases are too soft for the rough handling of the ammo the Thompson gives them, but as I said, I've nothing but good results using the Blazer ammo.

As for Wolf leaving a residue inside the gun, that's because they coated the shells with a sort of shellac based coating. Supposedly when they stopped using the Wolf name, and started selling the ammo under the Tula brand, they now use a different coating, and the box of Tula that I have definitely has a different coating then the Wolf stuff did. While I was told to avoid both the Blazer and Tula ammo, I kind of figured the Blazer stuff is soft, so probably couldn't hurt a gun, while the Tula was steel, so I could see where if it wasn't made properly it could mess up a gun.

On a side note, I thought that CCI's Blazer ammo was supposed to be berdan primed, and so is not reloadable, but I looked at some of the empty cases, and they only have a single centered flash hole, so that would indicate that they're boxer primed, with a smaller primer than normal 45 auto, so I wonder if it could in fact be reloaded? If so, I would imagine it would have to be a fairly light load, as aluminum isn't as strong as brass, and might work harden faster, etc. Also, I'm not an expert on primers (or most anything else for that matter), but it's possible that the primers in blazer aren't even as big as small pistol primers, they really look tiny, maybe that's so they can't be reloaded?

-MikeS
 

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Shep I don't have much faith in wiki, but just read the article on Wolf and it is generally accurate.

I do take issue with the statement that shooting brass case ammo after Wolf could cause a stuck case or that it is difficult to clean. That has not been my experience. It also states that steel cases do not obturate or seal the chamber as effectively as brass but the empties out of my guns are not smoked or showing any sign of that

Wolf has not used lacquer in many years which is stated correctly and they also state that it conforms to SAAMI specifications and is, "safe to use."

I also think the criticism of Blazer is based on suppositions rather than fact. I have shot a ton of Blazer too with no problems. Early on there were rumors that it would harm MP5s or subguns and I shot a bunch with no problems.

I also did an in depth story on Blazer manufacturing and addressed the issue of hardness but much of the process information was off the record.

I haven't seen any new Blazer so they could have changed, but all I checked was Berdan primed.
 

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I know that these cases have wrong dimensions for the rim of the case, and because of that can break extractors unless they're specifically modified for those case sizes.
Mike you didn't answer the question... how to you know that?

One nice thing about 1911 extractors is that the hardest job in the installation is opening the package. Usually you put it in the gun and it works. "special modifications" are often just a tool to extract money.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Charlie Petty said:
Mike you didn't answer the question... how to you know that?
You're 100% correct, I don't KNOW that. It's what I've been told by multiple sources, all probably quoting the same original source that has/had it wrong. I think next time I go to the range, I'll take the Tula ammo I have, and try it for myself, after all there's nothing like first hand experience with something to help you make up your mind. If it works out fine I might buy a few of the sealed cans of 450 rounds I've seen for sale. I would imagine (but again I might be wrong) that the sealed cans (kind of like a sardine can I gather) would be good to keep for long term storage. At the moment I have a couple of cases of Blazer, and was thinking of getting a few more to keep my stock of ammo up there, but wonder how well it will stay in storage as opposed to the Tula's sealed can packaging?

-MikeS
 

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Unless you let it get wet or boiling hot storage life isn't a problem.

Just for curiosity measure the rims of some Wolf you have and see if it is out of spec. or varies.

I know the manufacturing process pretty well and with the cup and draw method the rim is probably the least likely to suffer variation in diameter.
 

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Has anyone seen Blazer Aluminum ammo lately?

Geoff
Who has been looking locally and finding nothing but Blazer brass at a good price.
 

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Charlie, thanks for taking the time to read the Wiki article and commenting. I really appreciate it.

I gathered that the comments on obduration problems were from long ago, possibly the earliest runs of Wolf ammo. Both lacquer and polymer-coated Wolf ammo has gone through my guns without problem.

Of historical interest, didn't the US make some steel-case ammo in WWII?
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What annoyed me most about the Blazer aluminum ammo was that sellers would charge nearly the same price as brass ammo. :x
 

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During 1944-45 Evansville Ordnance depot produced quite a bit of steel case .45 ammo

Not long ago an importer found a bunch of it- supposedly in Russia- and sold it here. I'm sure some folks are going to learn painfully that it is corrosive as heck just like I did in the 50s.... :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Skeptic49 said:
Has anyone seen Blazer Aluminum ammo lately?
There are a couple of folks selling 45ACP Blazer aluminum on gunbroker. I bought a couple of cases one from each, and found out that one of them offers free shipping while the other adds $32.00 for shipping. There's also somebody selling it in less than case amounts. I'm probably going to buy a few more cases of it, or perhaps the brass ones so I can reload them (just getting back into reloading after not reloading for over 30 years), and now that I hear the Russian steel case stuff isn't the evil gun breaking stuff I've been led to believe I might buy a few of the 450 round sealed cans of it to keep for long term storage as well. I wonder, what amount of ammo is consider too much? I would love to stockpile ammo so I could go a few years without having to buy ammo unless I wanted to.

I like using the blazer aluminum ammo in my Thompson either in the 30 round stick mags, or the 50 round drum, as it IS lighter than brass cased ammo, and when holding that many rounds in a mag you can feel the difference! I still need to dig out my scale, or buy a new one, but by feel it seems like the 50 rounds of 45 ACP that I reloaded seems heavier than the 50 rounds of steel cased Tula ammo that I have here, which really surprised me! I wonder if Kahr's warnings about using steel cased ammo in the Thompson is based on tests they've done, or if they've heard the same stories I have about the steel cases being the wrong size, and breaking extractors?

If I can shoot the steel cased Tula in the Thompson, as well as my handguns, it would be good to have like 10 cases of the stuff just put away for when the s&^t hits the fan! I don't plan on doing a lot of reloading for 45, but I do like having the capability of doing so if I need to.
 

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Are the current production Thompson semi-auto carbines easier on the brass than the pre-Kahr versions. I remember picking up some pretty badly mangled brass. The firing pin was large and crushed not just the primer, but the edge of the primer hole as well. The brass was also scared and burred by the extractor and ejector.

Geoff
Who is not tempted, too heavy. But a locked breech 5 lbs or less .45ACP carbine would appeal.
 

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I work in a gun shop. We have plenty of blaser ammo in both aluminum and brass. I have noted that the brass .45ACPs have small pistol primers in them. Just thought I'd mention that.
 

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Is that a non-toxic load?

Federal changed to small primers for their lead free ammo some time ago and Remington may have done so too, although I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Is there any benefit to using small primers rather than large ones? Are the small primers less powerful than the large ones? The small amount of reloading I've done so far has been with the classic Lee Loaders. and some operations I've used a Lyman 310 tool (which I'll be switching over to as the Lee Loader seems to take much more effort than the 310 tool) and both are setup for large primers. If I get one of the hand held priming tools can they be setup to use small primers for .45 ACP?

-MikeS
 
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