Home Projects Reviews Columns

Steel Cased Ammunition: Always Have a Spare Bolt/Extractor Handy
By George Ross Jr. February 21, 2021

It was February 5, 2021 with my first shot at the range that day when I learned that steel cased ammunition was harder on the AR-15 style of extractor than I thought it to be. Before the great ammo drought I had always avoided steel cased ammunition because it had a reputation for being hard on extractors. I just didn’t realize “hard on extractors” meant you got to fire much less than a thousand steel cased rounds before the extractor give up the ghost. An extractor is not that expensive or hard to install, but like everything else gun related right now good luck finding one. If I had a spare bolt around I could have kept shooting 7.62x39 that day at the range and wouldn’t now have a pretty single shot rifle that requires a rod to eject a spent casing.


The above images show what can happen to an extractor having been used less than a thousand times with steel cased ammunition. So take it from me kids. Always have a spare bolt or extractor on hand if you are going to be messing around with steel cased ammunition. Because if you don’t you may find yourself in the same shoes as me. Owning a pretty single shot AR until I can find a bolt or extractor in stock somewhere.