POTD: High Quality Gun Food

I heard on the grapevine that Hornady’s steel cased V-Max 5.45×39 and 7.62×39 ammunition has since the beginning of this year been loaded in lacquered steel cases, versus the polymer-coated steel cases that had been the basis for Hornady’s ammunition in those two Russian calibers previously. Sam of SG Ammo confirmed this rumor, and I promptly put in an order for some 5.45×39 V-Maxes.


Lacquered steel ammunition is more weather-resistant than its polymer-coated steel cased counterparts. Hornady has made the right choice requesting lacquered cases from their Russian supplier, and 5.45×39 caliber rifle owners in particular now have access to a modern expanding/fragmenting round they can store for long periods without worry of rust or corrosion.


  • Riot

    That magazine looks wooden

    • It’s bakelite.

      • Lance

        Got to love 70s and 80s era Soviet and East German bakelite AK-74 mags!

        • They look quite sharp with an all-black Arsenal AK, I gotta say.

          • iksnilol

            Or an AK with wooden furniture.

        • iksnilol

          There’s also bakelite mags in 7.62×39.

          I like them, any sources that aren’t price gougers deluxe? I mean outside the US. Importing from the US doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Rey

      If you look at the feed lips, you can see the metal lining the bakelite. I am not sure if it actually bakelite, but it is close.

    • El Duderino

      Bakelite plastic, yo.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Putin carves them by hand.

  • Vitsaus

    I don’t get why they don’t set up tooling here to make proper cases in brass domestically. The caliber has been growing enough, and Hornady already loads some obscure stuff. I’m not sure if the more obscure calibers are done overseas as well, but with the restriction on importation of the surplus stuff if would be nice to have some boxer primed reloadable brass.

    • FightFireJay

      Price point. Very few people reload for AKs, so why bother with something that doesn’t matter. Single use accuracy and consistency should be fine, their steel cased match ammo can attest to that.

      • Bear The Grizzly

        Exactly. The AK market is nothing like the AR market. There’s a huge portion of AK owners who scoff at the idea of plastic on their guns. You can get quality x39 brass ammo from Winchester and Federal, but the practice fmj stuff is needlessly expensive. I buy a box or two of Fusion then save the brass. The reloading components are out there, but it’s a very niche market.

    • jcitizen

      Polymer coated steel cases perform better in some of the machine guns I have occasion to shoot – especially in German roller lock rifles that have fluted chambers. The modulus of elasticity for steel is better than brass, and will extract with less fuss and muss. Plus the metal quickly degrades in the environment so you don’t have permanent trash laying around on your favorite practice assault course. Brass will last in the soil for over a hundred years or more. I never reload myself, I buy ammo by the case whenever possible. I was lucky I got mine before the last ammo panic! There is an old proverb that states that slightly corrosive Berdan primers will last longer in storage than their non-corrosive boxer primed counterparts. I have my doubts about that, as I used to shoot a lot of WWII boxer primed ammo, and still do occasionally. Of course that is corrosive as well. Much of it performs very well compared to Berdan primers.

      • buzzman1

        In 87 I shot .50 cal ammo packed in 1939. It fired as well as any modern .50 cal I’ve every used but it smoked worse than a black powder muzzle loader.

        • jcitizen

          I know what you mean buzzman1! I got hold of some 1945 .50 ammo for my ma deuce, around 1975 and it shot great, but holy moley was that ammo nasty! I nearly ruined the barrel, because I was just a stupid kid back then and didn’t use the right formula of cleaning supplies to do the barrel afterward. Later I discovered that wonderful old surplus bore cleaner marked POISON on the green can, and discovered the best dang cleaner bare none. I even used it for black powder rifles. It is about as nasty as the ammo though!

          • buzzman1

            I had to laugh at your description because it was spot on. Pop off a 5 round burst and you couldnt see if you hit anything because of the smoke!

  • Esh325

    I wonder why there hasn’t been any brass cased 5.45×39 yet? Do you think brass could yield higher accuracy compared to steel cased?

    • Doug73

      Probably because 5.45 shooters are, for the most part, very price sensitive. After all, the biggest reason many people got into the 5.45 game was because at one point entire 1080 round tins of the ammo could be purchased for $120. It was the cheapest centerfire cartridge one could buy and shoot.
      And since brass cases generally don’t make a huge difference in the types of guns the 5.45 round is usually shot through, there just isn’t much market demand for a brass-cased 5.45 round. (Accuracy in AK’s isn’t helped by brass cases. Perhaps certain brass-cased PROJECTILES might improve accuracy, but I don’t think the case itself would make a bit of difference in an AK.)
      In fact, I can’t really think of any reason someone would want brass-cased 5.45 ammo, except to reload. Which itself would likely be as or more expensive than just buying the steel-cased ammo.

  • Lance

    I want brass cased boxer primed 5.45mm ammo and components!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • AlexP

    Pretty sure Hornady does not make a v max projectile for 7.62×39. Hornady 7.62×39 bullet is an SST which is nothing like vmax.

    • FightFireJay

      According to Hornady’s website, which does NOT list all their products unfortunately, they have 7.62×39 in SST and Z-Max and in 5.45×39 they have V-Max.

    • You’re right; sorry for the ambiguous wording. It would have gotten a little clunky to say “V-Max 5.45×39 and SST and Z-Max 7.62×39”.

      Also, IIRC, Z-Max is just V-Max with a green tip.

      • superflex

        Are these effective on zombies or do I need to keep buying the zombie max’s.

  • Nicks87

    I thought the polymer coated rounds were better because they didn’t gum up rifles like the old lacquered stuff does. When it comes to steel cased ammo and AR15s polymer coated always functioned better. I guess with AKs it doesn’t really matter though.

    • I’ve got six and a half thousand rounds almost entirely of lacquered steel cased 5.56mm down the spout of my Colt, and I’ve never had a problem. A few times, I checked the cases after shooting, and found that the lacquer doesn’t melt, so I don’t think that’s the reason people are having problems with it. If I had to guess, I’d say that the ammunition dimensionally-speaking just isn’t very compatible with some US chambers, as both 5.56mm and CIP .223 chambers tend to be a lot bigger than SAAMI .223 Remington chambers.

      If someone’s having problem with lacquer and not polymer, it might be that the lacquer adds just enough dimensionally to cause problems, and maybe the polymer does not. That’s all speculation, though.

      • Nicks87

        My P.O.F piston gun was really finicky with the lacquered stuff but it fed the hornady steel training ammo just fine. Now, after 1500 rnds or so, it eats up whatever I feed it. My Colt 6920 never had any problems with steel ammo but it wasn’t as accurate as the P.O.F either. Match barrel/chamber vs. milspec, maybe?

        • My very strong suspicion is that it’s actually a chamber spec thing, yeah. Now, if somebody sends me a photo of them with hot lacquer stuck to their hands from a fired case, then maybe that won’t be such a strong suspicion anymore… 😉

    • BattleshipGrey

      IIRC, people were having problems only after switching to brass cartridges after lacquered. I think Old Painless in the Box O’ Truth demonstrated that you could shoot lacquered cases all day in an AR, but then switching to brass without cleaning would cause issues.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      Generally, lacquer is a plus on cartridges as it’ll make feeding and extraction easier along with keeping it fresh. If you had problems something else was at play. Lacquer does not gum up anything. It’s a stupid old myth. FN actually lacquer coats 5.7×28 cartridges to keep them feeding properly in the P90.

  • USMC03Vet

    I thought the picture was a cake designed to look like gun stuff because you said food.
    Now I’m hungry.

  • OldOldLawyer

    I was introduced to the M16 at the start of my 23 year military career and later carried a mini14 as a police officer. Then startted reloading 5.56 for a bolt Howa and has seen gillions of guns in that caliber….that being said, some of the newer ARs have very tight chambers and when the get a little dirty, I have seen lots of guns cry fowl…now, move over to the 7.62 x 9…I got the SKA AK bug abou 1990..and ave bought may cases of stell ammo….I also shoot the x39 in a mini-Mauser bolt gun and a Mini-30….and can say that I have never had a problem with the steel ammo in those platforms….the 5.56 yea, the x39, never even one time….and for what it is worth, I reload the steel Tullamo and Wolf in 45 acp and it lasts longer than brass….and never a problem..Elmer Keith said if they ever made steel cases, the pressures of handgun ammo could go up dramativally…yep for the same price I will take brass, but otherwise, I love the steel..FWIW