Author Topic: FC .223 Brass  (Read 15613 times)

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Frisco Pete

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FC .223 Brass
« on: January 08, 2008, 12:32:54 PM »
As reloaders we are all a bit cheap and when it comes to brass we like to use everything we can get our grubby little hands on.  However this can occasionally be to our detriment as reported on other reloading forums and sources.

One case in point seems to be Federal FC headstamped .223 Remington brass.  This common brass that is available in both Federal and the loss-leader American Eagle brands has a couple of characteristics that can be less than desirable when it comes to reloading.  In fact, they can contribute to either over-pressure or perhaps a case-head failure in certain circumstances when the brass has been reloaded a few times.  Late '90s FC seems to have been the worst offender, but avoiding all FC would be advisable.  Be aware that Federal has also been known to use high quality LC military headstamped brass in their American Eagle line as well, and that is good brass - SEE CONCLUSION #1 BELOW.  Also be aware that in chronographing, reloaders report that AE factory ammo is a bit slow, indicative that it is loaded to less pressure and for good reason.

FC cases have less case capacity. This is because FC cases have a thicker case wall than any other brass manufacturer. When measuring case capacities of different brass, most common commercial (Winchester, Remington) are very similar to Lake City (LC) and WCC military brass. However, Federal commercial has a lower case volume. When a hot load is worked up in other brass, and then that same load is used in FC marked brass, over-pressure is more common because of this lower volume.

FC cases, when cross-sectioned show thinner webs, and thicker case walls.  See the photo below illustrating the difference between FC brass and military or other commercial .223 brass.




          FC 07 left / FC 223 center / LC 08 right
The center FC 223 with the thin web is not safe to reload IMO
Mil-Spec FC 07 is the same as LC 08 and both are good.

CONCLUSIONS:

1.  The old Federal Eagle made before ATK took over operation of the Lake City plant has a very thin web surrounding the primer cup. Most reloaders consider this brass good for one reloading, then the scrap bucket. The primer pockets are too loose to hold a primer after the second firing.

Now that ATK is operating Lake City, Federal Eagle brass is showing up with LC on the headstamp (since about late 2006 or early 2007). The assumption is that it has dimensions identical to pre ATK brass made when Winchester operated the plant, but I haven't seen a cross sectioned case to confirm whether that it true.

2.  Separate all FC headstamped .223 brass from your other headstamps.

3.  If a load has been worked up in other brand or military .223 brass - reduce load and start all over again if you just have to use FC brass.

4.  DO NOT use FC .223 brass for maximum loads.  If you have to use it, save it for reduced or plinking loads.

5.  Be aware that the thin web is a ticking time bomb and using FC .223 brass over and over again is not advisable.

6.  If at all possible, avoid picking it up, or just throw your, on hand, FC .223 brass away and save yourself a possible headache down the road.

IF YOU WANT TO CHECK YOUR FC HEADSTAMPED BRASS - HERE IS A THREAD ON HOW TO DO IT FROM AR15.COM :

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=42&t=276154&page=1


A case-head failure with FC .223 Remington brass in an AR15 with a standard reload.



Another, more catastrophic case of FC .223 Rem case head separation in an AR15.  When the case is not sufficiently adequate in head thickness, the chamfer at the end of the chamber allows gas cutting as evidenced in the picture. This causes the brass to fly.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 12:03:53 PM by Frisco Pete »
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luvmysks

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008, 03:49:34 PM »
 :shock:
Thanks for the heads up.
I dont have any of that brass and I will be sure I dont now.

wvdeerhntr

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008, 10:31:17 PM »
thanks for the heads up i have about 300-400 FC brass polished up for reloading looks like ill scrap it and stick to the remmy brass

762Ghost

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2008, 03:07:58 PM »
I wouldn't scrap it, just work up a suitable load. Heck, they will be cheaper since you can attain the same pressure with less powder...
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captaincrunch

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 10:28:44 PM »
Great pics - Now I am afraid to experiment with my Fiocchi .223 brass...

Frisco Pete

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 11:16:33 AM »
Section a Fiocchi case and check it out and also compare how much it holds compared to your current favorite brand using water or a fine ball powder. 
I haven't heard anything bad about Fiocchi.
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gunlover

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2009, 11:31:51 AM »
First thanks for the info, do you have a photo of a headstamp of this defective case? The reason I ask is I purchased some Federal (not AE) plinking ammo value packs and wanted to know if it was the same...

Thanks GL
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longspring

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2009, 11:34:42 AM »
First thanks for the info, do you have a photo of a headstamp of this defective case? The reason I ask is I purchased some Federal (not AE) plinking ammo value packs and wanted to know if it was the same...

Thanks GL
Quote
This common brass that is available in both Federal and the loss-leader American Eagle brands
If it says FC , it must go .  :cry:
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gunlover

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2009, 11:46:31 AM »
First thanks for the info, do you have a photo of a headstamp of this defective case? The reason I ask is I purchased some Federal (not AE) plinking ammo value packs and wanted to know if it was the same...

Thanks GL
Quote
This common brass that is available in both Federal and the loss-leader American Eagle brands
If it says FC , it must go .  :cry:

 8) Was not sure if the headstamp was stamped FC Thanks....   GL
"No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson & Gunlover

Frisco Pete

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2009, 09:59:42 AM »
The bad brass is headstamped "FC" and "223 Rem".  
Sometimes Federal loads their American Eagle and other FMJ stuff in Lake City military brass.  This LC is good stuff.
I recently examined a case of Federal XM193F ammo.  This was loaded in LC 07 cases and represents LC military factory seconds.  The brass is good.  Federal is one of those that "take turns" running the Lake City ammo facility.

The worst "FC 223 rem" brass, with the most failures was made in the '90s and QC evidently was suffering.  If you knew when your FC 223 rem brass was made it would make a difference, however you can't tell.  No matter what, FC commercial .223 brass still suffers from thick walls and a thin web area.  If you do load it, don't use it for full charge/maximum loads.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2010, 09:27:38 AM by Frisco Pete »
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allesennogwat

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2009, 11:29:26 PM »
From the U.S. military drawing, which may be different from other countries, the measurement thickness shown in the photo is shown as a minimum of 0.065". The U.S. has maximum and minimum case weight limits which are narrower than some other NATO countries and countries not in NATO can have their own standards.

Frisco Pete

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2009, 01:29:38 PM »
The data is from several threads by the most reliable pros in the reloading forum over at AR15.com that addressed an issue that seemed to be cropping up with reloads using FC brass.  Despite what you may think are chamber striations or gas escaping marks in the picture (I can't see what you are talking about, having seen real HK-fired brass with chamber striations), the case-head separation was in an AR15 (as the picture caption indicates) - but the specific AR15 brand is not noted, because the issue was not one isolated to a particular rifle or brand, but rather pertaining to the construction of the brass itself and could (and did - as to failures noted) apply to any .223 rifle.  The fact that the fluorescent lighting of the photo and the original lack of shine of the reloaded brass may contribute to your perception.  

The brass was sectioned and the thinner web combined with a bit thicker case wall further up was felt to be the issue.  The old Federal Eagle made before ATK took over operation of the Lake City plant has a very thin web surrounding the primer cup. Most reloaders consider this brass good for one reloading, then the scrap bucket. The primer pockets are too loose to hold a primer after the second firing.  In addition, to answer you on
Quote
...an overabundant amount of powder of the wrong charge...
this would be possible with this old FC headstamped brass because, as mentioned in the original post
Quote
FC cases have less case capacity. This is because FC cases have a thicker case wall than any other brass manufacturer. When measuring case capacities of different brass, most common commercial (Winchester, Remington) are very similar to Lake City (LC) and WCC military brass. However, Federal commercial has a lower case volume. When a hot load is worked up in other brass [Hence my terming it a "standard reload"], and then that same load is used in FC marked brass, over-pressure is more common because of this lower volume.
  This would be true no matter what .223 rifle you are using.

Now that ATK is operating Lake City, Federal Eagle brass is showing up with LC on the headstamp (since about late 2006 or early 2007). The assumption is that it has dimensions identical to pre ATK brass made when Winchester operated the plant, but I haven't seen a cross sectioned case to confirm whether that it true.

IF YOU WANT TO CHECK YOUR FC HEADSTAMPED BRASS - HERE IS A THREAD ON HOW TO DO IT FROM AR15.COM :
www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=42&t=276154&page=1

The tester made a case web checker tool by using a 3/16" dia rod which he cut to 2 inches in length.

Next he drilled a hole in the center of the end of the rod to clear the flashole burr (drill bit).  This is unnecessary if you have previously deburred the flash hole using a flash hole uniforming tool.

Insert the test rod and measure as shown in the picture.  You can then zero out the caliper and sort all your FC 223 rem brass.  Anything below a .185" is tossed.
The .185 figure was derived from measuring a large sampling of LC, WCC, Rem, and Win brass.  All of those measured more than .185.

Cases checked had FC and 223 rem in small letters on the headstamp. Primer was not crimped.

AND HERE ARE A COUPLE OF PICTURES SHOWING THE CHECK PROCEDURE AND THE MICROMETER RESULTS:


This one doesn't have much web - pretty iffy.


This one is good.


Very thick and good - but because of that charges need to be reduced up to 2 grains over LC/WCC/Remington/Winchester brass.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 03:22:04 PM by Frisco Pete »
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saintdeath

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 02:40:01 PM »
 FriscoPete

So In a Summary towards the federal casings we should all measure the brass just as you demonstrated in your pics and what do we assume as to reloading those brass because I have some and DANG SHO WANNA BE SAFE LOL.

My AR is too darn expensive to replace! So what advice are you offering say for 55gr. Hornady V-MAX and 50 gr. Win. Ballistic SilverTip? and where can I buy that piece to measure my cases with my caliper?
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saintdeath

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 02:46:29 PM »
In another words summarize what to do with such brass and in laymans terms so some people get the FAST Idea! I am not ignorant to realoading but I ain't no dadgum einstein either lol! :violent2:
Trespassers Will Be Shot !
Survivors Will Be Shot Again !
Liberals Should Be Annihilated !
Veterans Must Be Respected !
Protect the Constitution !
Teach The Youth GUN SAFETY!
Keep America ARMED!

Frisco Pete

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Re: FC .223 Brass
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2009, 12:49:45 PM »
The very safest and easiest thing is to not use the FC .223 Rem headstamped brass.  You can turn it in for scrap if you want some money out of it.  LC military brass, or even FC military with the year stamped (like 07, for example) is now becoming more available again, with prices around $89/1000 for good LC 07 & 08 headstamped once-fired brass from Widener's
Quote
www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=1373&dir=278|282|909|948

If you can't stand to part with a very large stash of FC .223 Rem brass, then reduce the load by 10% over what you would use in Winchester, Remington, or LC military brass.  Reload it only once.

If you really want to know exactly if your FC .223 Rem headstamped brass has the thin web, then use the check method shown above. 
You will have to find a steel rod that fits in the mouth of the .223 case and is somewhat around the length shown in the pics.  Of course it could be cut to length, so that is not a big problem.  Where to find such a rod will be a matter of individual search.  A machinist friend would be a wonderful thing to have.

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