64 Responses to The Truth About Wolf Ammo

  1. So it runs a little dirty but is dirt cheap. It even seems adiquet for short range 3 gun and certainly plinking.
    What’s not to like.

  2. i use wolf, silver bear and brown bear ammo in my sks and makarov. they are dirty, foul smelling rounds that work every time. my mosin nagant gets surplus corrosive ammo that’s even cheaper and fouler to clean. they all work.

    the only reason i don’t use wolf in my sigma 9 is i’ve heard that it wears the extractors more than brass. i don’t know if that’s true but why risk it.

    • I have an M16 that has fired at least 20k rounds through it. Some people claim it will destroy the extractor on an AR15/M16. I have never replaced the extractor and it still runs 100%. I’ll burn the barrel out before I have to replace the extractor. I have several rifles that have high round counts through them and none of them have broken their extractors. Rifle extractors have a harder time than many pistol extractors since the claw on the rifle snaps over the rim of the case (whereas a pistol is often times designed to have the rim slide up under the extractor vs. snapping over it).

      The steel used in the cases of Wolf is mild steel. It’s far softer than the hardened steel used in your extractor.

      • thanks for the reply. i’ll get 50-100 rounds of the wolf 9×19 and see how my sigma likes it. i have a good basis for comparing. i’ve had the sigma since feb. and fed it about a 1000 rounds of a wide mix of brass cased ammo without a hiccup.

      • Nice to see you here in TTAG Sturm. I’m a subscriber in youtube and read your fb blogs too. Glad to see that the kind folks here appreciate the quality of your work enough to reference it. My only about you is, I’m still waiting for that shooting video of you and the other nice folks after y’all visited “The Compound” in TN!

  3. Wolf 7.62×39 is great through my SKS. Honestly, the only problems I’ve ever had with Russian ammo was a couple of boxes of Tula 9×19 that had a few duds due to hard primers.

    If your AR won’t run Wolf .223 reliably you have a junky rifle.

  4. Corrosive describes the type of primer utilized and does not necessarily equate to all offerings from a company, nor does it directly equate to rust on the bolt or carrier. Corrosive primers leave a residue of potassium chloride salt, which upon firing follow the other gases. Corrosive ammo in a FNSCAR will pit the chrome on the inside of the barrel. The FNSCAR is piston operated; typically the bolt and carrier are not exposed to gases.

    • It will pit the bore if you never clean it, but you’d have to let it sit in the bore for a while in a humid environment.

      There’s a common misconception that KCl is this immensely corrosive compound. With a pKa of about 7 it’s less acidic than lemon juice. The problem is that it’s hygroscopic and attracts water from the air to the bore. It’s wise to dissolve the KCl with hot water when you’re ready to store the weapon, but it’s not this emergency rush because it will eat your bore after ten minutes.

        • Yeah, made the mistake of firing corrosive ammo through my old SKS, let it sit…years later it was a rust bucket. Ouch.

      • End your shooting sessions by firing a couple rounds of non corrosive ammo to blast out the KCl until you can give it a proper cleaning.

  5. I’ve used plenty of Tulammo in both an XD9 and Mini14 and never had an issue. One concern that had made me toss a few rounds is the jacket of the bullet riding over the mouth of the case like it was just a bit to tight… total 3-4 rounds in 250ish all wally world.

  6. Nice video, and an even nicer collection of rifles…

    My own experiences with Wolf are pretty limited, so this was good info for me.

  7. Thanks, good review.

    Any issues at all with wolf’s polymer lined cases, ever gumming up actions on AR15’s? I heard that used to be an issue, but that they supposedly use a different polymer these days.

    • I have an older video about Wolf that addresses this issue. No, the polymer doesn’t accumulate in your chamber, it’s a myth. What can happen is that carbon will build up in your chamber and cause stuck cases (which I talk about in this video). This myth goes back to the days when Wolf still used lacquer on their cases and people claimed it accumulated in the chamber too.

      • what do they use now if not a polymer and i am looking at Ammo – Wolf WPA Polyformance or Military Classic Steel Case Non-corrosive Ammo Mfg by Barnaul in Russia. is this stuff any good or not? will it jam up or will the coating on the bullet build up in the barrel or action suring heavy use?

    • The lacquer and polymer myths need to die.

      Steel cases don’t expand as fast as brass, which can result in more gunk buildup.

  8. I know its tough to tell by just feel or whatever, but do you have any sense that the weapons are heating up more with wolf vs brass? Ive always heard that one the reasons for brass is that it carries heat away from the weapon very well.

    • Brass actually dissapates heat faster than steel. The reverse would be true if there were any heat transfer issues. The steel holds the heat longer. I can confirm this from being hit with thousands of ejected cases and I definately know when steel gives me a love tap.

  9. MAC (not his real name) is dead on the money here, gentlemen: steel-cases Wolf and Tulammo are not low-grade corrosive garbage. I’ve put several thousand rounds of them in 9mm, .45 and 5.55 through TTAG test rifles and pistols (Sacre bleu! Nobody tell the manufacturers!) and I’ve had exactly two confirmed ammo-caused misfires and another which might have been the fault of a brand-new and overly greasy bolt. It’s been more than 99.9% reliable, which is better than most guns are.

    I never test a modern sporting rifle without putting a ton of Wolf or Tulammo through it, and it’s never let me down. I buy it in multiples of 1,000 and it’s good shit. And the manufacturers don’t give it to us: we buy it off the shelf.

    • Thanks for the confirmation in your own testing, it’s good to hear the experiences of other shooters that put thousands of rounds through various firearms regularly.

      It’s been my contention that if a rifle won’t cycle Wolf there is something wrong with that rifle. I can say that because I use Wolf in most every modern firearm out there and it’s never given me any problems. If the majority of the weapons I use it in work with it, then it stands to reason the few out there that don’t work with it are the exception, not the rule.

  10. Every time I’ve shot Wolf through my P238 .380, it would fail to eject with the spent case firmly stuck in the chamber to the point that I would have to rack the slide open and manually pull on the casing with fingernails (lots of force, too) to yank it out. Just crap ammo.

    • Some weapons hate steel or aluminum cased ammo. You cannot say ammo is crap because the pistol isn’t capable of working with multiple types of ammunition.

      Also some weapons need to be broken in first before they can run everything reliably.

      • /agree My AR had to have a butt strike against the concrete slab of our local DNR range after after 20 rounds or so to get the case to break loose of the chamber. After about 500 rounds and some serious cleaning, it purrs like a kitten. I think a lot of AR owners aren’t properly cleaning the factory snot from their weapons before they go Rambo at the range. I know I was guilty of that, but this was my first non rimfire semi auto rifle too.

        • I had exactly this experience with my Taurus TCP. I shot it before cleaning knowing that any failures could be because of not cleaning first. Had a failure to go to battery almost every mag, sometimes twice a mag. Shot about 50 rounds through it. Then I gave it a thorough cleaning and it’s been 100% since then.

  11. I purchased 500 rounds of wolf ammo for my Sig 516 and have not had any problems after the break in period for the rifle.
    I would buy more of the bulk ammo when I can find it in stock.

    I can’t say the same for Tulammo with their hard primers.

  12. Wolf has worked fine for me in 9×18 & 7.62×39. the other cheap stuff (brown bear, silver, bear, & tula) works great too. It’s all pretty “dirty” stuff and the tula smells terrible, but it hasn’t failed me yet.

  13. I have run literally thousands of rounds of Wolf Ammo in .45ACP, 9mm, 7.62z39 and 7.62x54R through my weapons and never had a problem with it.
    I have a Russian made(1924 Izvhesk Ordanance Factory) Mosin Nagant 91/30 and I won’t shoot anything but the Wolf Gold Match 7.62z54R through it unless I am shooting my own handloads. The Winchester White box Metric for the Nagant is a lot dirtier and less accurate!!!
    It has run fine in both of my M88 9mm’s and both of my 1911 .45’s!!! The SKS ran the Wolf like it was made specifically for it!!! Is just my opinion but makes really good plinking/target ammo to me!!!

    • Just as a side note all the ammo I have run that is steel cased has never ever given any feed or extraction problems. Just finished rebuilding a Springfield GI45 Lightweight Champion 1911 and ran 300 rds of steel case through it with no feed or extract problems!!

  14. Friends don’t let friends shoot Wolf ammo.

    Well, except for their .22LR “Extra Match” ammo, which is actually made by SK and is awesome!

  15. I have a Norinco MAK-90 that I believe I paid $250 for in 1994. I’ve fired nothing but Chinese surplus and Wolf out of it, and I’ve NEVER had a malfunction. Cheapest possible AK with cheap ammo, and it works.

    Fairly accurate, too. My standard for the AK is can I hit a man-sized target center mass at 100 yards with regularity, and it will do that all day with the cheap stuff.

  16. The only significant problems I’ve had with wolf is the casing rusting if not properly stored. I made the mistake of putting some 7.62×39 wolf in a cabinet in my humid basement just in the cardboard box it comes in (not thinking about it) . After a year you could see reddish brown rust on the casing. I’ve also opened up some that was in a surplus spam can (sealed) that had been in my basement for a few years and it was fine. I now use ammo cans (with gasket) or store in my safe (with heating rod).

  17. I have had poor experience using Herters, which I believe is manufactured by Wolf. In my M1A in 308 I found the loads to be very inconsistent with evidence of primers backing out in numerous, but not in all cases, perhaps 20% of the time.

  18. Minor quibble. Ejected cases are damn hot. When you’re jammed cheek-to-jowl at the local (only) range and your left-hand neighbor is using Wolf in his AR, it can be very unpleasant. Had one case land on my arm – still can see the scar a year and a half later.

    • steel has a much higher heat capacity than brass. so it is actually more efficient at transporting heat away from your gun.

  19. I haven’t had any issues with Wolf ammo, but I’ve only used their 9mm caliber. So far, it’s been over 3,000 rounds downrange in my Ruger P95 and High Point 995.

    Sure it’s dirty, but after a normal range outing isn’t all ammo dirty?

  20. I dislike the switch from steel to brass, so I rarely shoot steel cased ammo. The dirtiness of the steel ammo makes the extraction of my favorite brass cases ammo more difficult. I shoot practice ammo, and then routinely check the accuracy and function with high quality self defense loads. Therefore I tend to stay with brass. CMMG has warnings not to shoot steel cased ammo out of their uppers, and I honor that.

    For high round counts and plinking, steel makes sense. My buddy’s M&P sport shoots crappy Wolf, Tula, and Herter’s ammo all day long.

    • I shoot Wolf because it is the ammo that I have stored its cheap and firers every time with out fail. If you only firer top of the line ammo in your weapon, how do you know it will firer any ammo when you really need it to. I will not own a picky gun if it won’t eat what I feed it I won’t own it. Those of you that do are setting yourself up for failure.

      • Not so. It’s pretty easy to stock up on M193 and M855. PMC ammo is also cheap, clean, and reliable. The SOST Mk 318 and M262 style ammo is pricey, but some of the best stuff you can shoot out of an AR for “social work.”

  21. I have a chrome lined stag arms 5.56 AR upper and had a Wolf steel case that got stuck in my chamber after about 100 rounds down range. Couldn’t knock the case out at the range, so it ended my shooting for the day. Took it out a few months later and shot the 200 rounds of the Wolf ammo I had left with out issue. That was the only issue I ever had with my AR, and I do blame the ammo. I haven’t shot Wolf since but, would be willing to try again as long as its cheaper the PMC bronze I usually shoot.

  22. One thing I have been seeing around here, our ranges will not allow steel cased ammo. They say that the steel cased stuff uses steel instead of lead in the actual bullet, and therefore tears up the back stop more. This particular range is indoor if that helps. Any truth to that?

    There is another range around here that is outdoor (one of the very few remaining) and won’t let us shoot FMJ, or thirty caliber and above on the rifle side. About every year or two, we see stories on the news (I know, I know) about bullets skipping the berm and injuring/landing in people’s living rooms etc. Question here is hollow point safer for this kind of shooting, or is this another attempt to shut another range down with some back door gun control?

    Well done on the video.

    • There are indoor and outdoes ranges that do not allow steel core ammo. Usually steel cased ammo has a steel core bullet, which is harder on range backstops inside and more likely to cause fires outside. Check your local range rules.

  23. From what I can gather Wolf’s negative reputation comes from the days when it was laquered and corrosive, neither of which are true these days. It’s hard to change perceptions once they’ve become ingrained.

    I’ve used Wolf ammunition extensively, and can report mixed experiences…

    I started shooting .223 Wolf in my AR-15, and it’s been absolutely reliable. Never any ignition problems, and it has no problem cycling or ejecting. Great cheap practice ammo. I know a number of high-volume shooters who use .223 Wolf without any issues, including in training courses from respected instructors.

    My positive experience here led me to give it a try in my 9mm handgun, along with a number of other fellow shooters. That was less positive. While the ammunition was [i]reliable[/i] in terms of ignition, we started to notice frequent problems with the ammunition in Glock and M&P magazines. Often times the follower would get stuck down, making the magazine unable to deliver rounds to be fed into the chamber. Amongst all of us, this happened pretty frequently.

    At first I noticed that it required a bit more effort to load the magazines with Wolf versus regular brass or even aluminum cased ammunition. This has led me to the conclusion that the steel-casing experienced more friction, which between the rounds and the walls of the magazine left the spring unable to do it’s job. While Wolf’s steel cases are polymer coated, it still seems to generate too much friction.

    So I’ve given up on using Wolf in pistols, but I’m quite happy to continue using it in rifles. I’d suggest everyone at least give it a try, rather than accepting the mantra that Russian-made ammo is bad.

  24. Sorry I’m late to the party, but I wanted to add something that I haven’t seen addressed yet. Steel-case ammo is great for another reason–cleanup.

    When I’m done shooting in the desert, I take a jobsite magnet out and use it to pick up spent casings. Easy-peasy, no bending required.

  25. Steel Core 7.62 x 39 was banned for import in 1994. What you are seeing now is a bi-metal case and bullet.

    The steel core bullet, erroneously known as AP, has not been generally available for many many years. What is still around is being hoarded for what may be described as “social” reasons, or, otherwise, just in case.

    Many range officers will grab a round and connect it to a magnet, thus “proving” it is steel core and forcing you to either buy their stuff, or leave. I leave, as I do not suffer idiots gladly. I once offered to pull a bullet and cut it open to show the cretin there was no steel core, but he refused. Oh well. There are plenty of places to shoot.

    Incidentally, shooting steel core indoors is asking for trouble. If you have it and shoot it, do so outdoors. And don’t miss the damned berm.

  26. I recently purchased an Armalite def10 which is part of the A series. I haven’t had a chance to get out and shoot it yet but before it came in I ordered a bunch of Wolf zinc plated steel cased ammo. I ended up emailing Armalite to double check because I saw someone in a forum having problems. I didn’t mention the ammo I bought but they said I should use 168 grain brass of any brand would be ideal then next sentence said DO NOT use Wolf steel cased ammo. I thought I was going to cry because I’m new at this and the money spent on ammo was upsetting. I emailed back and asked why is that and they said plenty of people use it and it’s fine but most likely it’s going to scratch your barrel so if you don’t mind that then go ahead. I’m confused how it would scratch a chrome lined barrel. I mean it is pretty much a competition rifle but still. Any thoughts on this? I know you mentioned the steel getting hot and might have problems if you don’t have a chrome lined chamber.

  27. I’ve read some research on steel-cased ammo… some of it is relatively objective and measured. What I read of one wear-and-tear torture-test in several AR-s, was that the steel-cased wore out barrels more quickly, and had a somewhat higher rate of misfires, FTF, FTE, etc. BUT, they did a complete cost analysis and found the steel cased ammo was far and away cheaper, even after replacing barrels that demonstrated significant wear.
    My grief with steel-cased ammo (especially pistol rounds)- reloading is not an option, but, more importantly, indoor ranges won’t allow the rounds with steel in the jacket, regardless of safety. I think they really don’t feel: 1.) that they can scavenge empties to their benefit, and they can’t scavenge the lead (feasibility) with the steel jacket. I think my 9mm rounds are supposed to have a 1/32″ jacket of steel. I wonder if they stamp a cup and simply pour lead into the cup, possibly costing less than producing conventional bullets.

  28. I have an entry level Ruger 556, shutting more than 2000 round of Wolf Polyformance 223 not malfunction ever.

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