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In order to maximize range time while minimizing cost, lots of shooters feed their guns steel cased ammo. The only problem – most of it is imported from Comblock countries. East Alton ammo giant Winchester’s out to give gunnies a domestic option. They’ve just announced their new USA Forged line of steel cased ammunition that will let you shoot more and spend less. Press release after the jump . . .

EAST ALTON, Ill. – Steel shellcase ammunition has been a favorite among value-minded shooters looking to reduce the expense of shooting, while at the same time increasing their opportunities to shoot.

In the new USA Forged™, Winchester introduces a steel shellcase product that is made in the USA. USA Forged represents the culmination of an extensive development project that resulted in new manufacturing methods.

This new line is proudly manufactured in Winchester’s Oxford, Miss., manufacturing facility and utilizes precision-made steel shellcases with a proprietary coating for improved reliability and corrosion resistance. The noncorrosive boxer primers and clean-burning powder are ideal for high-volume range sessions, while the brass jacketed (nonplated) lead-core bullets can be used on any range and can also be used in any pistol type; including ported, vented or suppressed pistols.

USA Forged will be offered in a 150-round box of 9mm cartridges with 115-grain full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets that feature a high-quality brass bullet jacket. The rounds, which boast a muzzle velocity of 1,190 fps were extensively tested during development for functionality and reliability. Shooters should expect great on-the-range performance with this new product.

“USA Forged is proof that better products can be made right here in the United States while driving value for the consumer. We have invested in our Oxford, Miss., facility and USA Forged is just one example of how this is benefiting our consumers,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of marketing, sales and strategy.About Winchester Ammunition

The iconic Winchester brand celebrates 150 years of legendary excellence in 2016—a historic milestone representing a steadfast commitment to the hunting and shooting sports traditions and future generations of sportsmen. A world leader in delivering innovative products, Winchester is The American Legend, a brand built on integrity, hard work and a deep focus on its loyal customers. Learn more about the history of Winchester by visiting or connect with us on Facebook at

Winchester Ammunition is a proud supporter of the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe. For more information on the Own It? Respect It. Secure It.SM Initiative, please log on to:

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72 Responses to Winchester’s New Steel Shellcase Ammo Aims to Leave More Money in Your Wallet

      • My first thought as well. Our local outdoor range is friendly to all case types, but the Athenas and Top Guns that are often ballyhooed by TTAG brass are notoriously hostile to non-brass casings. Won’t surprise me to hear that The Fancy Place in Austin we keep reading about here will be brass only as well.

        • That’s as much a function of the fact that most steel cased ammo is also bi-metal jacket with some amount of mild steel under the copper. It damages backstops and supposedly can be a fire risk because it sparks when it hits the floors and backstops on its way down range. Most indoor ranges have a ventilation system that blows air down range to keep the lead dust and unburned powder from hanging around where the people are on the firing line. This causes an accumulation of unburned powder residue to accumulate down range. At least that’s what I have heard.

          Now the fire hazard part may be urban legend but backstop/ bullet catch damage is a safety legitimate concern as steel plates need to be perfectly smoot to prevent ricochetes from coming back at the shooters.

          I dunno, maybe it’s all just an excuse/ part of an elaborate brass selling conspiracy, but I doubt that ease of sorting is one, just stick some rare earth magnets to the outside of a plastic barrel and tumble the brass a few times…. Presto

        • That might be the case, I don’t know. Seems like it would just be easier to keep pumping out one type of jacketed bullet (or buying just the one type) and pop it into whatever casing is on the line, especially for the big boys in the market.

        • Tex. I’ve seen sparks flying from my bi metal bullets fired out of my Mak. Can they cause a fire? I dunno. But my commie surplus guns get fed steel or they go hungry.

        • Tex, its not an urban myth. I’ve witnessed fires on dirty, high volume, indoor ranges a few times.

      • Yeah, because then they have to sort the stuff before they box up the brass and sell it off to China.
        They charge you a range fee and then you leave them brass for them to re-sell.
        That is why I’m starting to pick mine up.
        I don’t reload. I just pick it up.

        • Quite a few companies are offering brass credit programs now. I buy from Freedom Munitions (or I did before the launch of their terrible new website). They recommend using the flat rate boxes from the USPS. The biggest boxes usually will get you a $75+ credit towards new ammo for $18 shipping fee.

        • Yeah. That would use up the range fees paid by…. one whole person. And still leave change for pack of yard bags.

        • I have that exact one in my garage. It has a broken handle because my son’s friend decided to use it as a crow bar when working on a car. Hollow, thin aluminum tube not up to that task.

    • My local indoor range won’t allow any ferrous ammo (bullets or cases). They magnet check the outside ammo of customers they don’t know. Steel bullets can penetrate the berm and wall. And steel cases mess up the brass collectors.

      • I already do, but if the prices are comparable I’ll choose the American company. Also I assume the powder would be cleaner burning.

        • I hear you.
          I am not yet convinced that these cases are 100% US made.

          Russian (and likely other combloc) steel cases are polymer coated, and the description in the presser sound rather like those cases. Which makes me think they may be buying the cases from overseas manufacturers and assembling the ammo in the US.

  1. ” a steel shellcase product that is made in the USA”

    I’ve seen Winchester-branded boxes of ammo containing PPU and other Euro-made products.
    So I have to ask: are they producing every component from scratch in the USA, or importing components and assembling here?

    • The other question is the quality. Mostly new-hires, working for joke money, with little motivation to be skilled, save for desperation.

      Ammo is mostly automated, and I guess they may have it dumbed-down to the point where a fast-food dropout (which is what Winchester pays now, and why Olin moved the plant from East Alton) can work the machines, but I have my doubts.

  2. I hope it compares to Federal Aluminum in cost. I buy Fed Alum almost exclusively for 9mm and .45 just because nothing else competes in price.

    Tula steel and Perfecta (which might be reman’d) are similar in price, but inferior in quality.

    • Yup.
      For defensive drills within 5-7 yards you just need the bang and the operation of the action. You’re not going for ragged holes, so cheap does the trick. And aluminium IS the most abundant metal on the planet.
      I see mostly Blazer aluminium cased ammo here. Is it cheaper than the Federal Aluminum?

      • Federal Champion aluminum-cased 9mm is $9.97 per 50 at Walmart. .40 and .45 versions of the same load run $14.97 per 50. How does that compare to the Blazer ammo in your area?

        • I have not paid attention to the specific price. I just grabbed a bunch of boxes of whatever was cheaper (Blazer Al vs brass) a couple months ago.
          Just checked my LGS’s site. The Blazer Al is $2 less than the Blazer brass. ($13.99 vs $15.99, respectively; 9mm Luger, 115gr).

        • I don’t think any stores in my area carry Blazer aluminum-cased any more. At Walmart, the Blazer Brass in 9mm is at least a couple of bucks more per box, so the difference adds-up quickly. $60 gets you about 200-250 rounds of Blazer Brass, or 300 of the Federal Champion aluminum (plus tax, of course).

          Generally, I don’t shoot the cheap-o imported stuff; I draw the line at Fed Champion aluminum and Blazer Brass. I’ll let other folks try this new Win steel-case stuff for a year or so, and see if any problems are revealed; if no obvious problems surface, I may try some later on down the line. The consumer-beta-tester role is not for me.

  3. Perfecta is worse than Federal Aluminum? That’s not been my experience but I suppose others may have different ones. The federal had a few FTE in my 1911, really the only issue I’ve ever experienced with it in 1000 rounds of various 9mm brands.

    I’ve shot thre boxes of this USAForged stuff. It makes your finger tips silver and it’s dirty but so far it’s gone bang everytime and no problems with feeding or ejections when sent through a Glock 19, 1911 9mm and Sig 938.

    I think it’s about 31 bucks at wallyworld IIRC.

    • So if $31/150 for the 9mm is accurate, it costs more than the Fed Champion aluminum-case stuff.

      Unless it shoots significantly better (unlikely for me, as the Champion aluminum shoots reliably and fairly accurately in my pistols), I see no need to change to a slightly more expensive load.

        • I feel…enlightened.
          Like I suddenly understand the meaning of life, and the entire universe.

          All because of your comment.

          Thank you for this priceless gift to humanity.

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        • Geoff PR,

          Turn your phone sideways or look on a laptop, and all will be revealed.

        • I’m on a laptop, not seeing it, I just copy-pasted it into notepad and futzed with the margin width, at one point, it *kinda* looked like a middle finger or a mushroom cloud or a male appendage…

          I’m blind I guess.


          Don’t sweat it explaining it, I’m kinda dim…

        • Geoff,

          No worries. Different computers format things differently, and the Picard Facepalm is in the eye of the beholder. You should see some of the way our government computers “format” things…

  4. This is…new? I’ve been shooting this stuff since at least January if not earlier. Cabelas has had it for months.

  5. I’ve shot this ammo. It’s ugly but gets the job done. I’d buy it again, but only if I’m going to an outdoor, unregulated range. My local indoor range doesn’t allow steel.

    • I’m lucky, I guess. Of the two indoor ranges in my area, one allows anything, and the other allows brass and steel but no aluminum-case stuff. Which means they don’t get very much of my range business.

  6. I’ve eyed this ammo with interest. Is it harsher than brass on your gun? I don’t want to shoot this cheaper ammo only to have to conduct (and pay for) repairs on my 9mm guns.

    • Some claim that steel can wear out the extractor and/or feed ramp. I’ve never seen it happen, but I guess it’s possible.

      I’d say with the money you save on the cost of ammo, you could probably just buy a new extractor and barrel and still come out ahead.

  7. I’m not an ammo snob and I don’t purchase guns which are, either.

    Bring on the cheap stuff.

    • Just curious as to how you determine whether or not a gun is an “ammo snob” gun, prior to purchase and testing? And how you know your existing firearms will handle the next generation of cheap ammo that has yet to be invented/tested/marketed?

      • “Just curious as to how you determine whether or not a gun is an “ammo snob” gun, prior to purchase and testing?”

        I only buy “proven” guns. No more wiz-bang-5000, latest and greatest, brand new gun for me.

        “And how you know your existing firearms will handle the next generation of cheap ammo…”

        Clearly, no one can see into the future… How do I know I am not going to die today? How do I know my hair isn’t going to fall out? How do I know I’ll still like beer and titties in ten years? So, what is your point?

        • Nope. Not gonna say it.

          You guys are making it tough on me this thread.

          And why am I having to sign in for every comment?

        • jwm, thanks for mentioning the signing-in troubles.
          I’m experiencing it too, I thought it was just my computer acting up.

      • Well, I’d put it this way. If you got an average gun like a Glock, M&P, XD, Hi Point, Lorcin, etc. then throw all sorts of steel and / or cheap ammo in it. There’s nothing particularly special about those guns. It’s always a good idea to visually inspect ammo before you load it. Even premium ammo occasionally gets a bullet seated way too deep, improperly seated primer, light powder charge, etc. Range reloads are worse. If you shoot enough you’ll get something out of spec, or you’ll wear out something in your gun until it breaks or goes out of spec. If you break something just replace it. Or buy a new gun. Would I put steel cased ammo in a gun that’s $2000 or more? In a limited edition gun? No. No, I wouldn’t.

        I’ve put steel cased ammo in ARs, Glocks, and in my Benelli shotgun. All of those guns are fine, except a Glock 27 thats so beat up it might be easier just to replace the gun, and that gun has dozens of thousands of rounds through it.

  8. I avoid Winchester pistol and rimfire ammo like the plague. I have had nothing but trouble with their brass cases. Their rifle ammo is generally ok.

    • The Winchester PDX .223 and Ranger .40 are our duty ammo. They work pretty darn well. The .22 LR 36 grain CPHP in 222, 333 and 555 round boxes works like a champ, although I like CCI Mini Mag better. Winchester white box seems to have issues from time to time. YMMV.

  9. The only problem – most of it is imported from Comblock countries.

    Why is this a problem?

    • A few years ago, I had a case head separation in my FAL shooting wolf steel cased .308. it blew the remaining ammunition out the bottom of the magazine and scared the shit out of me, along with ruining a magazine. I had the gun head spaced checked by a gunsmith and it was fine. it eats zqi brass case from wal mart all day long. I was running the gas system at a low setting. I am no expert but I blame it on the comm block steel cased ammo. I’ve never shot any more of it, and I’ve never had another issue.

  10. Yup as mentioned Cabelas has this stuff. And it’s MORE than the (I think)high quality brass cased Herters(which is usually on sale.$11.49per50 vs. $35.99per150. No thanks…btw I’ve shot thousands of rounds of Herter’s with zero problems. Loaded by Sellier & Bellot.

  11. If it’s less than $10 per 50 rd box for 9mm, it makes reloading 9mm a waste of time for plinkers.

  12. Dunno, overall not about it. I’m going to get into the hand loading 9mm club which means that. Maybe for stash ammo but even that I tend to reload if I can. If I was into factory I’d certainly be more excited. Then again 9mm range brass lasts forever so even if it declines in availability I probably have a long time supply as it stands short of stash.

  13. What’s with this “COMBLOC” stuff? Those countries haven’t been communist for a quarter of a century. Can we finally get over the fact that the cold war has been over for a generation and move on? You don’t have to worry about those dirty reds poisoning the integrity of our bodily fluids anymore — we won and most of those “COMBLOC” countries are as full of McDonalds and Toyota dealerships as anywhere else.

    Might as well call them “Byzantine Empire” countries if you’re gonna drag up ancient history.

  14. Hoping they add .223 to the steel case but non-bimetal jacket bullet ammo line. I would buy up a bunch for use and for a rainy day. I reload these days just because I don’t want the wear on the barrel of the ARs, and the cost isn’t horrible when I reload.

  15. I followed the sale link in the article to Cabela’s. They have Remington UMC and Blazer brass for the same price, so why would I bother with steel?

  16. “In order to maximize range time while minimizing cost, lots of shooters feed their guns steel cased ammo. The only problem – most of it is imported from Comblock countries.”

    Wow I didn’t get the memo that we’d traveled back to the 50’s.

  17. I saw the stuff at Academy. Not interested.

    In my world ammo lasts for a decade or more. I don’t trust steel (or aluminum) cases to resist corrosion either externally or internally. The com-bloc crap ammo is/was mostly steel, so bad optics. Nuff said.

    • Well, I can’t address the ammo they are making today, but I still own and have shot CCI Blazer aluminum-case pistol and revolver ammo that was 20+ years old, with absolutely no problems at all. It shot as well it did the day I bought it.

      I still have a sealed case and maybe 6 more loose boxes of Blazer 9mm that was made with Gold Dot JHP bullets back in the early-to-mid 90s. This is a load that I routinely use to accuracy-test new-to-me 9mm pistols — it’s THAT good. Velocities run fairly warm, too, not like the current neutered target/range ammo.

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