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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kel Tec KSG Owners,

I recently purchased a bulk quantity of Estate 12 gauge ammo from the Sportsman's Guide. Picture and Q&A section led me to believe ammo was high brass. The shipment arrived today and the shells are low brass. The sticker on the KSG owner's manual states it is not recommended to use low brass aluminum or steel case heads.

Has anyone had any issues with their KSG and using low brass ammo? If so, please comment.

Thank you,
New KSG Owner

963 Posts
This is the KS7 section, but the KS7 is just a single tube KSG... well, sorta. Same barrel anyway.

You bought low brass, and the manual says don't use low brass aluminum or steel? Brass is neither aluminum or steel. I use low BRASS shells in my KS7 with no problem. Frankly I don't see what difference the brass head makes since the brass is extremely light gauge metal and is there for extraction. The pressure of firing is held by the steel of the chamber walls.

Maybe I'm missing something?

380 Posts
Most inexpensive shotgun ammo these days have STEEL case heads that are usually brass plated.
In fact, a great deal of all shotgun ammo is steel.
To check, just use a magnet.
Some ammo these days may have aluminum case heads.

The problem with steel and aluminum case ammo, whether shotgun or rifle-pistol is that the cases aren't as elastic as brass.
When fired the case doesn't expand as well as brass and, critically, it doesn't contract as well back to size.

When fired steel and aluminum cases don't seal the chamber as well and that allows fouling to foul the chamber more then brass cased ammo.
The fouling causes extraction problems.

After firing the cases don't contract as fully as brass and that causes the case to tend to stick to the chamber walls.
This is made worse by the increased chamber fouling.

Soviet firearms and ammunition were specifically made to operate with steel cases, so the chambers in these weapons are more tapered to use the more tapered cases.
This increased taper makes feed and especially extraction more reliable.

Western ammunition and weapons were designed with no thought at all to using steel cased ammunition.
Western ammo has less case taper, which gives an increase in accuracy.
The Soviets were comfortable with having more reliable weapons with less accuracy and the use of cheaper steel cased ammo.
The problem is when steel cased ammo is used in straighter cased firearms that were never designed to use steel cases.
This is why there's often a problem with extraction and increased fouling in chambers when using steel cased ammo in American arms.

The same problem can happen in a shotgun when fired with steel cased shells.
The case doesn't contract as well and in a rougher or more fouled chamber it can cause extraction problems.

Classic problems with inexpensive steel case head shells are often seen in lower priced "budget" model shotguns like the Remington 870 Express that often have chambers rougher then the higher end Wingmaster, and in the Kel-Tec KSG and KS7 shotguns that have parkerized chambers and bores.

The rougher parkerized Kel-Tec chamber may tend to cause cheap shells to adhere to the chamber walls and fail to extract.
The "fix" for this is do a simple chamber polish to smooth the roughness.

So, because the Kel-Tec parkerized chambers "may" cause problems, the factory just recommends not to use cheap steel case ammo.
This is not a certainty, and many people shoot budget shells without trouble.
The test is to simply SHOOT the gun. If you have extraction problems either buy better ammo or try a chamber polish.

Why does Kel-Tec allow the parkerizing to cause possible problems?
First, in order to prevent the parkerizing into the bore and chamber during manufacture it would require plugging the barrel like is necessary with rifled barrels.
This would cause greatly increased labor charges and a high priced gun.

For the same reason, polishing the chamber after parkerizing would cost even more.
Kel-Tec has made the decision not to do either and just recommends using better quality shells, which you really can't fault a manufacturer from recommending.
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