Tula Cartridge Works
Tula Cartridge Works is a Russian ammunition manufacturer marketing under the well know name of Tulammo. Tula Cartridge Works has been manufacturing small arms ammunition for over 125 years and is currently the largest small arms supplier worldwide.Contrary to popular belief, Tula Cartridge Works is a “high tech” manufacturing plant and produces low tolerance ammunition.
Tulammo Steel Cased Ammo
Tulammo 40 S&W ammo is polymer coated steel cased ammunition designed for target or combat type scenarios. The steel cases are mild steel and relatively “soft”. They will not damage the chamber or any part of a firearm. The polymer coating prevents corrosion and assists with smooth feeding and extraction. The bullets are full metal jacket of either full copper or bimetal. The bimetal bullets are layers of mild steel and copper. The 40 S&W ammunition is loaded with 180 grain FMJ to a velocity of 990 fps. The retail price is $15.25 per box of 50 rounds.
There is a lot of controversy regarding steel cased ammo. People think it’s the same steel as in gun barrels. It is NOT. It is mild steel that has been annealed or softened via heating. It has to be soft in order to expand upon firing to seal the chamber otherwise gas would rush out the action of the firearm. Steel cased ammo will not harm chambers/barrels.
Bimetal bullets are manufactured from mild steel and copper. The two metals are layered to form the jacket. Bimetal bullets will not harm gun barrels but may wear them slightly faster than copper jacketed bullets. There is increased friction with bimetal bullets compared to copper. The friction increases the heat which causes more wear on the gun barrel. The hotter a gun barrel gets the faster it will wear out.
To give you an idea of the precision that Tula Cartridge Works works with, I weighed 20 or the 50 rounds on a digital powder scale to determine the weight variance. If the variance is great, I would expect the ammo to not group well and therefore not precision made. Lower variances are a good sign of high quality precision ammo.
Here are the stats:
Average Weight – 248.085 grains
Lowest Weight – 245.60 grains
Highest Weight – 250.80 grains
Max Variance – 5.2 grains
Avg Variance – 2.485 grains
The Tulammo data is very good. It’s actually better than most brands of ammo like Winchester, Blazer and PMC. A maximum weight variance of 5 grains is excellent. That’s only 2% variance at a maximum. That’s very small. This shows that the components are low tolerance and excellent quality. I have loaded ammunition where the bullets alone varied 2-3 grains and that’s only one of the 4 components. Powder charges can vary .5 grains also and the brass a few grains also.
Tulammo at the Range
Now for the ammo testing. I’m using my Hi Point 4095 TS carbine to test the accuracy and reliability of the Tulammo 40 S&W ammo. I’m not using any optical sights, only the stock peep sights that come with every Hi Point 4095 carbine. I’m shooting at an indoor range without a gun rest. The Tulammo ammo is shot from a standing position and at a range of 15 yards.
The Tulammo ammo is steel cased with a polymer coating. The polymer coating’s purpose is to prevent corrosion and assist with feeding and ejection. The steels cases are less than slippery at best. When I started loading rounds into the Hi Point 10 round magazine there was some resistance, more than with brass cases. But it was not excessive. Just noticeable.
I fired all 10 rounds into the target staged at 15 yards. I used a semi rapid fire to simulate a self defense/combat scenario. I fired 10 rounds in about 10 seconds. 10 trigger pulls and 10 holes in the target. 100% reliability so far. I pulled the target and found 10 holes in about a 2” circle. That’s definitely a “kill zone” for a human target. This ammo does not lack accuracy.
I staged another target out at 15 yards to test the rest of the ammo. I fired the remaining 40 rounds at a semi rapid rate without any malfunctions. The empties fell several feet from me. Ejection was robust and showed no signs of a problem with steel cases. I picked up several spent cases to examine them. They were clean with no real powder residue on the outside of the case.
I have heard people say that Russian ammo or Tulammo is dirty. I have seen no evidence of that with this lot. All 40 rounds went into a 2.5” circle with the exception of 2 fliers which I caused.
Tualmmo is inexpensive quality ammo designed for target practice. It functioned 100% in my Hi Point 4095 carbine and my Glock 22 but it may not perform as well in other guns. People think if ammunition does not function 100% in a gun, then the ammunition is poor or crap. This is not true. Not all ammunition functions 100% in all firearms. I have experienced failures with very expensive ammunition.
Tulammo accuracy is as good as any when you consider the ranges that handguns are used at.. 10-15 yards. I have shot many brands of ammo and Tulammo stands up to the best of them. I can shoot 2” groups from 15 yards all day long with Tulammo. It’s accurate and reliable in my guns.
Kevin Mazza is a NRA member, experienced hunter, shooter and reloader and has written hundreds of firearm related articles and reviews. Kevin is the owner and editor of Pellet Guns 1.com.