Question about Federal Ammo

Question about Federal Ammo

Postby 2k05gt » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 00:54:40

Over the past several months I have purchased Federal .223 55gr Ammunition from various sources and was wondering what the different
markings on the casing mean.

This one has five Dots (From ???)
Image

This one has three Dots (From Federal 100 round Box Wal-Mart BP223BL) and (American Eagle AR 223 AE223J)
Image

This one has three Dots but the FC is smaller (From ???)
Image

This one has one Dot
Image
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Re: Question about Federal Ammo

Postby AlanM » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 02:39:39

I Googled "Federal 223 headstamp" and got a lot of hits (many several years old).
I didn't see anything about the dots however.
The size of the "FC" letters do have a meaning.
It has something to do with the thickness of the brass case.
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Re: Question about Federal Ammo

Postby MarcSpaz » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 05:29:47

Disclaimer... This is coming from me, so take it for what it's worth. I may be mistaken.

A Federal .223 brass cartridge with no circles means that it was made at Federal Cartridge Co., the brass is rated for a max pressure of 55,000 PSI, and the cartridge is made for a barrel with a short leade. The .223 Remington cartridge is called a SAAMI. A leade is the portion of a firearm's barrel immediately in front of the chamber where the bullet travels prior to contacting the rifling. A .223 gun is allowed to have a shorter leade than the NATO 5.56 and is only required to be proof tested to the lower SAAMI chamber pressure of 55,000 PSI. The the higher pressure of a 5.56 NATO is the main reason you can't use a 5.56 NATO round in a .223 gun. Their size is identical.

The cartridges with a circle with a cross in it (not shown in your pics) means the brass is rated for a NATO powder load. The NATO rated brass is good for 62,366 PSI.

Also, in most cases, NATO rounds will also have the year it was made stamped in it. Ex. would be, rounds made in 2012 would have a 12 stamped in the head. One from 1999 would have a 99 stamped in the head

The larger text in the head stamp should have a web thickness (the brass separating the primer from the powder) of about .170". The brass with the small head stamp text should be .186" web or slightly more.

The 3 circles verses the 5 circles... can't help for sure. However, I have LC brass that came from two difference LC facilities. All of the brass from Minnesota has 5 circles and all the brass from Missouri has 3 circles. That holds true even for my NATO brass. There is a 4th circle with a cross in it from Missouri and a 6th circle with a cross in it from Minnesota. But that may just be coincidence. I never heard or read that there is a direct correlation.


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Re: Question about Federal Ammo

Postby dorminWS » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 09:37:13

MarcSpaz wrote:

The 3 circles verses the 5 circles... can't help for sure. However, I have LC brass that came from two difference LC facilities. All of the brass from Minnesota has 5 circles and all the brass from Missouri has 3 circles. That holds true even for my NATO brass. There is a 4th circle with a cross in it from Missouri and a 6th circle with a cross in it from Minnesota. But that may just be coincidence. I never heard or read that there is a direct correlation.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That makes sense. I'll bet you're right. I know that most manufacturers have some way to identify which facility (and usually which machine if they have more than one) produced a given copy of a mass-produced item. This is so they can trace a defect back to its source and also recall defective items made by a particular location or machine.
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Re: Question about Federal Ammo

Postby 2k05gt » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 13:04:09

AlanM wrote:I Googled "Federal 223 headstamp" and got a lot of hits (many several years old).
I didn't see anything about the dots however.
The size of the "FC" letters do have a meaning.
It has something to do with the thickness of the brass case.


Thanks, looking it up since I am planning on reloading in the future.

MarcSpaz wrote:Disclaimer... This is coming from me, so take it for what it's worth. I may be mistaken.

A Federal .223 brass cartridge with no circles means that it was made at Federal Cartridge Co., the brass is rated for a max pressure of 55,000 PSI, and the cartridge is made for a barrel with a short leade. The .223 Remington cartridge is called a SAAMI. A leade is the portion of a firearm's barrel immediately in front of the chamber where the bullet travels prior to contacting the rifling. A .223 gun is allowed to have a shorter leade than the NATO 5.56 and is only required to be proof tested to the lower SAAMI chamber pressure of 55,000 PSI. The the higher pressure of a 5.56 NATO is the main reason you can't use a 5.56 NATO round in a .223 gun. Their size is identical.

The cartridges with a circle with a cross in it (not shown in your pics) means the brass is rated for a NATO powder load. The NATO rated brass is good for 62,366 PSI.

Also, in most cases, NATO rounds will also have the year it was made stamped in it. Ex. would be, rounds made in 2012 would have a 12 stamped in the head. One from 1999 would have a 99 stamped in the head

The larger text in the head stamp should have a web thickness (the brass separating the primer from the powder) of about .170". The brass with the small head stamp text should be .186" web or slightly more.

The 3 circles verses the 5 circles... can't help for sure. However, I have LC brass that came from two difference LC facilities. All of the brass from Minnesota has 5 circles and all the brass from Missouri has 3 circles. That holds true even for my NATO brass. There is a 4th circle with a cross in it from Missouri and a 6th circle with a cross in it from Minnesota. But that may just be coincidence. I never heard or read that there is a direct correlation.



just curious since I purchased some Federal .223 100 round Boxes from Wal-Mart for 34.57 ( 35 cents per round)
and recently I picked up from American Eagle .223 20 round box from Dicks 9.99 (50 cents per round)
and the cartridges are identical, same head stamps, weight.. no difference.

I then purchased some boxes of American Eagle Tactical .223 and they have the 5 dot head stamp

Always can count on you Marc... Thanks
I should have asked you first... :clap:
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Re: Question about Federal Ammo

Postby MarcSpaz » Thu, 04 Jul 2013 22:24:49

You are welcome and I appreciate the kudos.

Funny part is, I'm a newb and would normally be the last person to chime in on this stuff. It just so happens that I want to build an AR-10 for long(ish) range... and I am also making a purpose built ammo waster in the AR-15 platform. The .223's seem a bit less expensive on avg, so I just spent a bunch of time researching the difference between .223 and 5.56 NATO guns and ammo to see what the pros and cons of going with a .223 would be.

For me, the extra few bucks for the gas piston 5.56 NATO seems like the best way to go for a extreme rapid fire semi-auto.


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