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Is FC Headstamp .223 brass OK to load?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by EddieCoyle, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. EddieCoyle

    EddieCoyle Consigliere Moderator

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    I read somewhere on this forum (but I can't find the thread) that Federal (FC headstamp) .223 brass was crap, and that it should be avoided.

    I didn't think I had much of it until I sorted my brass, and now I find that I have several hundred cases.

    Is any of it OK to load? There are several different styles of FC headstamp, some with and some without crimped primer pockets. Is it all crap?

    TIAV
     
  2. cdkayak

    cdkayak Member

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    I don't personally have any experience with it, but the topic comes up a lot. On other forums as well. There were some more extensive threads around but I couldn't find them at the moment.

    FC Brass thread on Arfcom
     
  3. Gammon

    Gammon NES Member

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    I believe FC is the headstamp used for military brass. I just bought a bunch of it and it works great. I have heard complaints about the Federal civilan 223 brass. This headstamp would be Federal with the caliber .223. Military brass should have the initials of the manufacturer (FC) and the year of manufacture with no caliber. The stuff I just bought reads FC 05.
     
  4. bpm990d

    bpm990d Member

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  5. My experience with it in .223 and .308 has not been good.

    It is known for being soft brass, thin walled and primer pockets loosening after the first firing and definitely after a second or third, making it unsuitable for multiple reloads.

    I've since made the decision not to reload Federal rifle brass anymore.

    If I were using it stricly in a bolt gun, I might reload it once as long as the primer felt good upon repriming and the case wasn't stretched. Since 99% of my rifle loads go through semiautos, I just don't reload it.

    Go for Lake City brass in .223 if you can, it reloads excellent and lasts several loads if your gun is properly headspaced and you're not maxing out the loads each time.
     
  6. Gammon

    Gammon NES Member

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    That was my experience with the civilian brass. The military stuff is much stronger. The FC military brass I am using now is every bit as good as the Lake City stuff.
     

  7. Having been able to find a sufficiently large supply of LC in .223 for a good price at the time , I just chose to go all LC and not to use Federal at all. With several different FC headstamps, sorting became tedious compared to full lots of all LC in excellent condition, ready to process.

    In .308, I've found very few FC that were not stretched, even those that had been fired in bolt guns by police at the range. Their guns must have had generous chambers as they looked very much like machinegun fired stuff with that distinctive stretch mark at the base of the case wall. That stretch is a casehead separation waiting to happen. When put one through a resizing die, you can see that bright shiney ring around the case.....bad juju.

    Which FC headstamp is the military quality stuff in .223? Are they crimped?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2008
  8. BoB13

    BoB13 Member

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    I've gotten 2 reloads with it. After that the primers are subject to "falling out". ARF.com has some extensive data on FC brass and how the web is a little thin compared to other brass.
     
  9. Gammon

    Gammon NES Member

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    The military brass bought was stamped FC 05 and came with a crimp that was extremely difficult to remove.
     
  10. Mauser88

    Mauser88 New Member

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    I usually get two or three loadings and then the primers fall out.
     
  11. Patriot

    Patriot NES Member

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    How many loads do you get out of other .223 brass? I'm about to start loading this stuff
    and I'm starting to think that if I only get a few loads out of most .223/5.56 brass and I've
    got to continue to scrounge or buy new for this stuff I might be wasting my time.
     
  12. center442

    center442 NES Member

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    Good question. I'm in the same boat as you. I've been acquiring brass but haven't yet started to reload. I'm junking any Federal brass based on this thread. I am curious how many reloads folks are getting from their cases.

    On a slightly different note: I have some cases marked with a "G" "5.56" and a year stamp. I believe these were from some Guatemalan surplus ammo I bought. I tried looking up the "G" headstamp and the only likely manufacturing source seemed to be Federal. I'm tempted to just junk these cases also. Can anyone with more knowledge/experience on these issues give an opinion?

    Thanks!
     
  13. Gammon

    Gammon NES Member

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    I get my brass (once fired military) from Bartlett's Reloaders. The owner, Jeff, claims you should get five or six reloads out of a case.
     

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