View Full Version : natec polymer cased ammo

02-27-2004, 15:10
at the last SHOT show, i saw this ammo:

anyone else who was there (reaper) - any thoughts on this stuff?
i saw their video of belts of this stuff going through a SAW. some of the claims on their brochure/website raise the B.S. flag for me (like increased accuracy), but i'm definitely no expert. but if the claims are true, it's interesting stuff.
i asked the rep about concerns with temperature and was assured that the the polymer cases would withstand high temps.
i was concerned with the issue with closed bolt weapons - letting a round sit in the chamber after firing bursts etc. it'd be a melting or charring concern for the polymer case instead of a cookoff with brass.
the rep didn't really answer my question - directing me to the video of the SAW. but firing it thru a SAW didn't address that issue for me since it's open bolt and you never have a case in the chamber long enough to melt.

The Reaper
02-27-2004, 15:34
I have the same concerns.

Others have tried caseless or plastic cased rounds and found the same problem you identified.

The cases melt, or leave residue like the lacquer for the steel cased ammo. When that happens, you are in for one long, tedious, combat-ineffective cleaning requirement.

You shoot enough video, you will eventually get the results you want. Let them guarantee an certain number of rounds MTBF (Ammo related), and I might consider it. Let me have 1000 rounds of their ammo, several 100-120 round drums, or 30x30 round mags, and I suspect that I can show you some bad things.


02-27-2004, 16:56
TR, that's exactly what i'll do if i can get some samples - a few 30 rnd mags or a beta through an M4, then chamber a round and let it sit for a while in a hot chamber and see what happens.
if natec ever answers my inquiries, that is.
but if it performs as advertised in all areas, it's got potential.

here's a link to a small arms symposium presentation on polymer cased 5.56:



04-29-2004, 00:27
FYI - for those people following this.

If there were any misgivings on poly cased ammo, I found this over at ar15.com:


not that those are scientific tests, but yep - it looks like it sucks.

04-29-2004, 13:10
We got a few boxes of this stuff here at the dirt. I don't think we have sold any and it's been on the shelf for a while now. Looks like the masses aren't interested in a plastic cased cartridge.

08-29-2004, 21:06
sorry to resurrect this old thread, but i got a chance to do a bit of informal testing with the polymer cased PCA ammo over the weekend. i had two different loads with me - the commercial 55 gr FMJ load with grey cases (lot # PCA04 jul B) and the new "military load" 62 grain (lot # PCA M855 0604) with white cases. the neck tension in the commercial load was a concern - the bullet could easily be removed just by pushing it over with the thumb. when pressed against a hard surface, the bullet would be pushed back into the case. however, with the military load, the neck tension is a lot stronger, and i'm unable to push the bullet into the case or remove it by hand. PCA addressed the neck issue on the military case.

here's a summary of our shooting session:
rifle A - LMT MRP upper receiver with 14.5", 1x7" twist barrel. Colt bolt carrer, LMT enhanced M4 bolt.
rifle B - bushmaster upper receiver with 11.5", 1x9" twist heavy barrel, bushmaster bolt and carrier, Troy Industries MRF-C rail forend.
rifle C - Stag arms upper receiver with 11.5", 1x9" heavy barrel, ARMS SIR forend

lowers were all bushmaster select-fire registered receivers.

magazines used were 30 rnd USGI and 30 rnd thermold.

ambient temperature at time of testing was approx 92° F and humidity was 45%

1. rifle A - commercial load, 20 rnds semi - no malfunctions. 20 rnds FA, 2-3 round bursts - no malfs.

2. rifle B - commercial load, 28 rnds FA, short bursts - no malfs. 28 rnds FA, long bursts, no malfs.

3. rifle C - military load, 28 rnds FA, long bursts - no malfs.

4. rifle B - military load, 80 rounds in 4 magazines, short and long FA bursts, no malfs.

5. rifle A - military load, 50 rounds in 2 mags, long bursts, no malfs.
50 rounds in USGI mags, short bursts, semi and double taps - no malfs.
50 rounds in 2 thermold mags, both unloaded in 25 round continuous bursts, no malfs. a round was loaded in the hot chamber and allowed to sit for about 5 minutes immediately after, and when examined, no melting or effect on the case was observed.

i had soaked 20 rounds each of the military and commercial ammo in a container of water for about 48 hours. all rounds were completely submerged. water was drained at the range and the ammo loaded and fired immediately.

commercial load in rifle A - no malfs.
military load in rifle A - 1 failure to fire. primer had normal strike on it.
i fired the remaining ammo out of rifle A and B using a combination of mags, on the move, on both semi and full auto, with no more malfunctions. my inital concern with being able to remove the bullet in the commercial load with thumb pressure is still a concern.
some of the commerical cases suffered partial seperation at the neck, while the military cases showed no sign of it. i'd feel a lot better about using the commercial load if the cases held up like the military load.

summary: 120 rounds commercial - no malfunctions.
400 rounds military load - one malfunction (soaked round, failure to ignite primer).
it seems that with the military load, PCA might have worked out some of the bugs that the commercial loads were experiencing.


The Reaper
08-29-2004, 22:46

Appreciate the research.

Now get an M-249 SAW and link up 1000 rounds.

Pull the trigger and hold till ammo is expended to simulate firing an FPF. You can even use the 200 round ammo packs, if you change them quickly enough.

See if you can do that with the plastic ammo. Then cut the chamber down and inspect for residue.

Sounds fine for plinking, if it is that much cheaper than brass, and you don't need the brass for reloading. Not ready to use it for war yet.

Just my .02, and I genuinely thank you for the info.


08-29-2004, 23:02
TR - if i could, i would :D
i'm sure that if the PCA ammo shows enough promise, it'll eventually be put through those kinds of tests.
like you, i'd be interested in seeing if it performs as well as brass, or if it ends up being relegated to civvie plinking-only ammo.

09-05-2004, 01:39
I picked up a few boxes to test. I will post the results within the week. It should be interesting. :confused:

09-07-2004, 11:56
We tested it lat year it sucked. When you guys check it you will find that it shoots about 1 minute of trash can. We did not have any problems with the cases melting or jamming like tha told stuff we played with in the 70s. Some more testing of hte newer stuff may prove better though.

09-24-2004, 12:28
any updates?