Good question. I can see how steel cases could be tougher on extractors, steel jackets on barrels, I don't know.
I don't use steel cases because I like to reload and dont buy the blended metal bullets so YMMV, but some of the heavy shooters on forums like M4carbine.net use the cheap stuff by the ton for carbine classes. Mostly the "fighting range" type shooting vs. long range.
I think you would have to do the math. Would the money saved on cheaper ammo still be cheaper in the long run if you have to replace components? Depending on the volume of your shooting it could very well be.
Originally Posted by tgace
Other factors such as twist rate , overall loaded length and just how hot the average load is running and other assorted individual factors.
Example , though of limited cross application because it involves bolt rifles , I see about a 5000 round average useful life out of a .22-250 barrel kept to mild loadings in the 3700 ro 4000 fps range , out of a .22-250 AI that regularly sees 4500 fps and above I'll see about half that before throat erosion etc sets in and accuracy begins to degrade.
And I've had some barrel burners , I flat out bailed on 7mmSTW because it was costing a
frigging fortune with Bartlein and Shilen , and really it's a tossup between it and 7mm rem mag or any of the new short mags in .284.
These factors minor though they are pile up to affect barrel life , and quite frankly barrels are a maintenance item , just like brakes or tires on a truck.