Friday, July 22, 2011

Lacquer vs. Polymer coated Ammo

Lately since we are in the middle of a hot and steamy summer in a lot of the country, I've been seeing a lot of posts about polymer ammo getting surface rust.

I get surface rust on any polymer coated steel cases that sit loaded in my mags. When loading magazines with polymer coatings I now wear gloves to stop my sweat from starting surface rust (I have clammy hands a lot). I might use a slightly oily rag as well but I generally like to avoid chemicals with my ammo because you don't know what might penetrate a primer or case neck and make the round a dud. Overall, Wolf Military Classic rusts the worst but it is also my largest amount of ammo that sits in my mags so it may be an unfair sample. My Hornady hasn't been that bad yet but I don't have as much of it and it is from the first lot.

The rust makes me miss when everything 7.62x39 was copper washed or lacquered. Those coatings have much better rust resistance. Lacquer is still available in many loads even though the Wolf and their suppliers (Tula and Ulyanosk) stick to polymer. Golden Tiger and Brown bear are two exceptions. However, lately I and others have noticed with concern that there is Brown Bear that is coming as polymer. I emailed them and they assured me they will continue to offer both:
"We will be stocking both types. This allows us to work around Russian government orders as they specify polymer, making lacquer available. Also some of our customers have a preference for one or the other.
Bart Eaton
" (DKG Trading Sales)

DKG Trading, who owns the Bear lines, also offer their rust resistant Silver Bear (zinc coating) and Golden Bear (brass coating).

I find it interesting that the Russian government prefers polymer, although not a surprise since Wolf Military Classic is suppose to be Mil-Spec ammo.

Honestly, I was blaming the AR guys for demonizing lacquer as what made Wolf go to all polymer coating, turns out I might need to blame the Russian military instead (sorry AR shooters!).

But while the surface rust is bad looking and needs to be watched, has anybody actually experienced a malfunction due to too much rust on a case in an AK? On the flip-side, anybody have a gummed up chamber cause stuck cases or other malfs from lacquer?


  1. Yea, I hate to say it but polymer gummed up my plr-16. I hesitate to buy anymore because weapon malfunction is a no-go. It has to work. But then again, I love the prices. I have friends who shoot it through rifles with no issue, but the plr melts it after long term use. Maybe it just isn't vented enough...I'd like to find a solution because ammo is so expensive these days

    1. The "laquer" coating is the best, followed by the polymer and metal coatings. It does not "melt" as some AR-15 people have claimed, but they are just using crappy AR-15s, such as BM's, Rock Rivers, etc instead of quality ARs, or have them improperly gassed, since Russian .223 is lower pressured than 5.56 nato stuff.

  2. great sir! thanks for sharing this information.

    polymer coated ammo