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AR guy:

I am going to apply some common sense to your question:

When a bullet goes down the barrel the surface of the bullet runs against the surface of the bore. If the bore is steel and the bullet is lead, there is little wear on the bore. If the bore is steel and the bullet a gilding metal jacket (copper and zinc mix, both softer than steel) or solid copper then the bore wear is still small. But when the bullet is steel and the bore is steel there might be significant wear on the bore.

I would never shoot steel jacketed bullets but I have never seen any before. A common military bullet might have a steel core covered by a lead outer core then jacketed in aluminum (significantly softer than steel) or gilding metal (common called a copper jacket). Are you sure the bullets you saw were steel or just steel cored (perhaps covered in an aluminum jacket)?? That is possible.

In the latter case they would be acceptable from a bore wear consideration but some ranges do not allow steel cored bullets on their ranges. That is because if they hit something hard they can spark and start a brush fire. I personally saw a single steel cored bullet hit a rock and start a brush fire that required a Borate bomber to put out along with several hundred firefighters. In indoor ranges with backstop made of metal the steel core upsets the surface and can cause ricochets back at the shooters. Using steel cored ammo may limit your shooting opportunities.

LDBennett
 

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RAJBCPA:

Lead is not outlawed in California. There are hunting areas and portions of the state where birds of prey of prey are common where lead is not allowed even for target practice. But anywhere else in the state lead is not outlawed.

Now, some indoor ranges have use rules (and have had for decades) of no exposed lead bullets. That is to reduce lead dust indoors, in general, and lead dust being exhausted outside via fans in the range building that keep the lead dust at the firing line low. That is one of the reasons Rainier and Berrys bullets are popular here, as they are totally plated in a thin copper coating to cover the lead.

On another note, steel core ammo is a cost saving thing as steel is much cheaper than lead. The core is a thin cylinder of steel and is not the same as armor piercing ammo. Some foreign surplus ammo is steel cored.

LDBennett
 
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