Steel Vs Brass Ammo – A Thorough Comparison For You!

In the firearms industry, manufacturers are releasing products ranging from different models, brands, qualities, materials, etc. Consequently, customers may feel a bit overwhelmed when deciding which to purchase.

Even between the steel vs brass ammo, few people can distinguish these two types of ammo. However, there’s no need to be worried as this article will solve your problem. Check it out now.


Steel Vs Brass Ammo Comparison

Instead of comparing specific categories related to these two ammo materials, we will examine their pros and cons. From each one’s advantage over the other and their drawback, you will find it easier and more practical to make your decision.

Brass Ammunition

Some people mistake brass itself as a natural metal, but it is an alloy instead. Brass is a combination of zinc and copper. The ratio of these two ingredients will vary due to your using purposes. Commonly, if you use brass for casing a bullet, there will be about 72-80% ratio of copper, and the rest is zinc.


Run Cleaner

If you tend to use a large sum of bullets, you should consider using cleaner rounds for more consistency in your performance. Thanks to its construction, brass ammo is such a soft metal that it can expand and secure the seal in the chamber tighter. Therefore, the chance of unburned powder and gas blowback into your gun will decrease, leading to a cleaner gun.

Better Firmness

Although brass is quite a soft material, the casings made from this metal are still adequate to avoid split and resist the effect of deformation and overpressure. With the excellent softness and firmness balance, brass ammo provides considerable reliability and allows users to modify their mistakes that may damage the gun.

Won’t Scratch Gun Parts

Another advantage that brass bullets have over steel ones due to their softness is the minimal risk of scratching the gun’s parts. Since brass is more malleable and softer than steel, it won’t cause scratches in the barrel and chamber within constant use.

Won’t Cause Fire When Interacting With Metal Parts

Be aware of its interaction with metal parts is the foremost factor shooters must focus on when shooting at ranges because there are numerous casings at this place. If the casing from your bullet is easy to catch fire, it may cause a dangerous fire in the ranges. Luckily, this casing material won’t lead to sparks when approaching other metals, thanks to the brass elements.

On the contrary, ammunition with a steel core has obvious potential for causing fire due to backstop sparks.

Multiple Reloading

This feature may be the most apparent distinction between steel and brass casings. While steel casing is for one-time use, you can reload the brass ammunition multiple times. In detail, brass is malleable, so you can bring brass bullets to an ammo shop for reshaping and extending their lifespan.

For this reason, if you are interested in shooting a high volume of bullets in the ranges, you can opt for brass bullets to save quite a big budget for buying new rounds.


According to an experiment on the Internet, we can see how brass bullets are more reliable than steel ones.

The person who conducted the experiments used four similar AR-15 guns and set them to shoot 10,000 bullets continuously at the same time. The bullets are either brass or steel. Before this test, he maintained all of these four guns with identical conditions to guarantee precise results.

He recorded many statistics and figures during the test, but the most impressive one that made brass bullets stand out was the number of times stoppage occurred. When the guns with steel ammo, within 10,000 continuous shots, stopped 9 and 15 times, guns with brass bullets kept shooting until the last round.



When you leave the brass ammo under harsh conditions or contain them in leather holsters, tarnish will happen. However, this is just a minor disadvantage of brass rounds, and it only impacts the aesthetics but not the efficiency. You can retrieve the brass ammo’s shiny outlook by proper polishing.

More Expensive

In comparison with other metal casings, even steel, brass is more expensive. You can only notice the extra cost of brass ammo when buying loads of them instead of a few ones.

More Prone To Getting Wear And Tear

Being malleable and soft also means being less tough. Therefore, unlike hard materials like steel, brass is prone to wear and tear after quite a long time of use.

Steel Ammunition

Steel is also an alloy, and it is a combination of iron and carbon. This metal ammo case is famous for its versatility and reliability. Besides, thanks to their reasonable price and strength, steel bullets provide shooters with endless uses.

Steel-Cased Ammo – Image by Arielnyc2006 (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Affordable Price

Manufacturers have to spend more money on producing brass than on steel, making steel bullets cheaper than brass ones. As mentioned above, the cost will vary according to the number of bullets you buy: a bulk or a small pack. Therefore, steel rounds are suitable for shooters who don’t want to reload ammo but still want to economize their money.


Naturally, the steel alone is likely to get corroded and rusted if you don’t treat it well. Nevertheless, the bullet casings makers rely on polymer and lacquer to avoid steel from rusting.

Easier To Clean Up

Unlike brass, steel is magnetic, so you can effortlessly clean steel bullets up after shooting loads of them at the shooting range. It’s extremely beneficial for people who want to collect used ammo for reselling or reloading.


Creates More Risk When Reloading

We do not recommend reloading them for the sake of your safety. Steel is a hard metal and not malleable like brass, so reshaping them will cost you much time and effort, and this work is only for professional shooters or ammo experts.

Not Allowed In Some Shooting Ranges

Almost every shooting range has the habit of collecting brass casings for reselling due to its reshape-capability, whereas steel ammo is not a good choice. Hence, some ranges don’t allow steel casings to save up their cleaning fees and make money from the brass casings.

There May Be Malfunctions

Above, we have mentioned the 10,000-bullet experiment. As you can see from that test, the stoppages happen numerous times with two guns using steel ammunition. These malfunctions, in any case, especially the emergent ones, will decrease the trust of gun owners in steel bullets.


Despite being simpler to clean up, steel ammo casing may cause your gun to be dirtier while using. While the brass rounds can expand their size to be adequate to the chamber’s size, steel ones can’t. Consequently, there will be an excessive amount of powder and gas blowback into your gun and resulting in a gun’s dirty outlook.

Lack Of Quality Control

Manufacturers can save up more time and money on producing steel than making brass ammunition, resulting in underestimating or neglecting the quality control process. Yet, a low-quality steel bullet is only an occasional error when you buy a bulk of them.

Bottom Lines

Generally speaking, steel vs brass ammo is among the most prominent and widely used ammo types globally. Each one has advantages over the other, and also has its drawbacks. 

The way you choose your optimal round between these two bullets must depend on your practical need, budget, and guns. If we have to pick the better one, we will choose the brass ammo due to its commonness, safety, and better cooperation with the guns.

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