Author Topic: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo  (Read 14013 times)

Offline Heavy G

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Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« on: January 23, 2009, 05:56:53 AM »
In another post, wbo3 said:


When I looked earlier today they still had the 55gr HP and 62gr FMJ Wolf, both of which are Polymer coated, they do have some Brown Bear as well, but I will not run the lacquer crap through any of my guns.


I have been avoiding Wolf .223 for my AR because I was concerned about the coating on the steel casings being a problem.  But this post made me think that maybe "polymer" is OK while "lacquer" isn't.  What's the deal, y'all?

millerized1

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 06:43:21 AM »
One had a tendency to heat up and melt under sustained fire, then build up enough to cause problems like cases sticking.  Once it cooled, it became a real PITA to remove the cases, if not impossible (well, close to imossible).  I think that was the old lacquer.  The new polymer doesn't seem to have this problem.

Now, that comes from from all sides, but mostly ammo snobs (I'll never shoot that Wolf crap in my guns) who heard about it on the internet and never once saw it happen, let alone ever shot a round of it.  I've shot both, both in a 7.62x39 and my AR's.  I've had no problem with either, although I don't have anything that shoots fully automatic.  Am I saying it doesn't happen?  No, I've seen the photo's of the stuck cases, scratched chambers from folks trying to pull the cases out (without the correct tools) and one guy with a destroyed rifle (Failed to extract, ripped the bottom of the case off, fed a new round into it and somehow fired....boom, destroyed the rifle).  What happened up to the point of malfunction is rarely, if ever clear.  Only the end result.  Melted? Dirty chamber? Piss poor quality of a chamber or just plain stupidity? Usually no one ever tells of the "well, I never cleaned it, dropped it in the mud/sand/silt picked it up and fired it.....

I personally have never witnessed a single problem with Wolf (or any other lacquer or poly coated ammo ) other than it's a pretty dirty ammo to start with.  I've shot several thousands of rounds of it (back when it was running about $100-125 per K) Remember, this lacquer coated ammo has been used for literally half a century or longer in the 7.62x39 with little reported problems.  Maybe it's the relatively tight chambering of the AR? Maybe it's using 5.56 ammo in a .223 chamber or vice-versa....few variables to consider.

If you're shooting mag dumps, several thousands of rounds a day and keeping the barrel hot enough to melt platinum, stay with the poly stuff or brass cases.  If you're doing a "normal range outting" where you'll run 1-200 rounds through in 2-3 hours, shoot what you want. And of course, it'll differ between rifles and calibers.

Just my opinion, I'm sure an expert will be here shortly.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 06:45:49 AM by Millerized »

Offline BigDanInTX

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 07:25:41 AM »
As Millerized said, under sustained fire if a round remains chambered, that casing cooks the polymer and it gets transferred to the barrel.  The more it happens, the worse it gets and evidently it's a bitch to get out.

LOL, the person who needs to chime in here is James Yeager...  I forget the whole story, but he went round and round with the company telling them their polymer coating is bad.

If I can find the link to the thread, I'll post it (but I'll probably get pulled into a meeting soon and then forget).

Offline kernal_panic

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 08:24:49 AM »
One had a tendency to heat up and melt under sustained fire, then build up enough to cause problems like cases sticking.  Once it cooled, it became a real PITA to remove the cases, if not impossible (well, close to imossible).  I think that was the old lacquer.  The new polymer doesn't seem to have this problem.

Now, that comes from from all sides, but mostly ammo snobs (I'll never shoot that Wolf crap in my guns) who heard about it on the internet and never once saw it happen, let alone ever shot a round of it.  I've shot both, both in a 7.62x39 and my AR's.  I've had no problem with either, although I don't have anything that shoots fully automatic.  Am I saying it doesn't happen?  No, I've seen the photo's of the stuck cases, scratched chambers from folks trying to pull the cases out (without the correct tools) and one guy with a destroyed rifle (Failed to extract, ripped the bottom of the case off, fed a new round into it and somehow fired....boom, destroyed the rifle).  What happened up to the point of malfunction is rarely, if ever clear.  Only the end result.  Melted? Dirty chamber? Piss poor quality of a chamber or just plain stupidity? Usually no one ever tells of the "well, I never cleaned it, dropped it in the mud/sand/silt picked it up and fired it.....

I personally have never witnessed a single problem with Wolf (or any other lacquer or poly coated ammo ) other than it's a pretty dirty ammo to start with.  I've shot several thousands of rounds of it (back when it was running about $100-125 per K) Remember, this lacquer coated ammo has been used for literally half a century or longer in the 7.62x39 with little reported problems.  Maybe it's the relatively tight chambering of the AR? Maybe it's using 5.56 ammo in a .223 chamber or vice-versa....few variables to consider.

If you're shooting mag dumps, several thousands of rounds a day and keeping the barrel hot enough to melt platinum, stay with the poly stuff or brass cases.  If you're doing a "normal range outting" where you'll run 1-200 rounds through in 2-3 hours, shoot what you want. And of course, it'll differ between rifles and calibers.

Just my opinion, I'm sure an expert will be here shortly.

I used to shoot wolf all the time in .223 in my bushmaster uppered ar-15 but with the recent ammo increases I have been shooting .22 lr with my ciener kit and my own .223 hand loads. i've never had a stuck case with wolf.

oddly the one and only time i saw someone shooting wolf get a stuck case....... he was shooting a norinco mak-90 in .223!

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 05:08:22 AM »
I've been shooting a bunch of polymer coated 62 gr. ammo from Wolf recently.  It's dirty but I've not had any problems.  I don't mag dump...ever, though so who knows.

I've also not noticed any increase in difficulty getting my gun clean after shooting a lot Wolf of polymer coated ammo.  My chamber & barrel are chrome lined though, maybe that helps in the cleaning procedure?

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2009, 06:52:00 AM »
Well, I listened to y'all and got some Wolf .223.  (By the way, I got it on the day Holder announced Obama will move forward with the AWB.  Bulk .223 was selling well at my Cabela's--one guy had a shopping cart full--I mean full--of bulk ammo.  I was surprised the cart didn't buckle.)

I have a bolt-action in .223 so I'll use it as range rounds with that.  Shooting dirty in a bolt action is much less of a cleaning headache and there are no mag dumps on that one.

But it's nice to know that I can use the Wolf in my AR without worries.

Dang, this forum has some great info. 

Offline wbo3

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2009, 11:33:31 AM »
I have never purchased any of the lacquer ammo...I took the advise of a trusted gunsmith...apparently he has seen issues.  I have, and will continue, to use both the polymer and zinc coated (Silver Bear) ammo in my guns.  There isn't any cost advantage locally to using lacquer ammo, so why chance it?  I still prefer brass, I keep all my spent brass, and I intend on starting to reload. (I got my press in this week!!!!), until I can start cranking out enough reloads fast enough to make it a cost advantage to do so, I will continue to purchase Wolf Polymer and Silver Bear.  If it sounded snobbish, I will say I have 1500 rounds of Wolf HP sitting beside my rifle right now...

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Polymer Versus Lacquer Coating on Ammo
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2009, 11:40:08 AM »
Looks like most, if not all, Wolf ammo is poly coated, not lacquer.

Here's a link to Wolf's web site where they show which of their products are poly coated:

http://www.wolfammo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=76&Itemid=115

The 55 gr. standard .223 I got is on the list of poly coated.