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  #1  
Old 02-15-2017, 02:59 PM
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Once Fired FC .223 brass


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I know around 7 years ago I remember reading on some forums that Federal 223 Rem brass should be avoided for reloading because it's so soft and primer pockets get loose fast..But at the range Sunday a fella next to me fired several factory boxes through his AR...He asked if I wanted the brass, so I gathered up about 250 pieces..Its headstamped "F C 223 Rem"...No date code or anything...I didn't see what the brand was on the box...So is this stuff destined for the recycling bin? it looks to be in good shape, but wanting some opinions before I set out sizing, trimming, and loading.
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:39 PM
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Once fired "FC223 Rem" that you know is once fired should be good. Inspect, prep, and load.
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2017, 03:55 PM
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I've got a bunch that I've loaded, (not yet fired) for a 3rd time. No issues. In general, I usually have to test and see for myself, because there is simply too much baloney on the internet that gets repeated as fact that everybody knows, but nobody has experienced first hand. Lets say the pockets are soft, and you don't get as many reloads. It is free, and you only get 3 reloads instead of 10. Still sounds cost effective to me!
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2017, 04:03 PM
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Thanks guys, that's why I asked here..I get solid answers, not rehashed, outdated or incorrect information. I think it may be a case like with CVA muzzeloaders, and Ballistic Tip bullets wherein once upon a time there was an issue, but has long since been corrected, and the bad reputation has lived on and assumed to be the gospel.
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:48 PM
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Really have no preference when loading the 223 brass. Federal works just as well as all the others.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2017, 07:45 PM
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I got into some bad .308 brass. The heads had expanded enough the primer pockets were too loose after the first cycle. Some were loose as once fired.

But in Federal's defense I have some of their .22-250 brass thats standing up pretty well.

My advice would be prep up that brass and reload it. Let us know your results.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2017, 09:14 PM
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5 years ago I wouldn't have thought twice about loading Federal brass. But that all changed when I had a primer pocket completely let go all the way around on brand new Federal brass. I primed these cases one at a time, I always pay attention and feel for loose pockets, all of them felt fine. I fired 39 cartridges and fortunately only one let go. When I measured the fired case heads and compared to the brand new brass remaining in the same lot/bag it was obvious they were all soft and had excessively expanded.

So no, that was an eye opener for me, I've never had a bolt face get messed up before, so I won't use inferior brass again, I'm just don't need brass that bad.

SMOA
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:11 AM
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All of the bad news I read about Federal brass was with their 308 GMM ammo. I experienced it myself, when I could seat a primer with just my thumb nail on once fired and sized cases. I set that stuff aside and bought some W-W cases.
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2017, 03:40 AM
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It depends

I pick up a lot of once-fired brass in .223 of various brands. If the cases pass my careful inspection they get reloaded. As a personal preference I usually toss brass after three reloads. So it depends. All the best...
Gil
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:01 AM
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I say check for all the signs stated and if it all past use them till they start to show problems.That is what I do with any brass i get.I seen some factory rounds go bad also. So it dose not matter who makes it over all .Yes there is some better then others.Use what you can get and go from there.
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  #11  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:49 AM
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I wouldn't just trash once-fired factory loaded brass on internet advice either. I believe in reloading it until signs show up that indicate further reloading is unsafe. Even if that were to happen after the first reload, I would have gotten some use out of the brass before disposing of it. It would be highly unlikely that new, factory loaded cartridges would be loaded with defective brass. OTOH, new brass that was loaded by a reloader might be suspect since there is no way to tell what the initial load was. But I would still reload once and watch for signs.
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  #12  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:46 AM
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I have a hunch (no hard proof) that some of the problems with the federal 223 brass was a specific stamp. At the club where I shoot, the majority of people shooting rifle, shoot 223. Lots of ARs. Other than LC brass, Federal is the most common that I pickup.

I have noticed that there are probably a half dozen different types of stamps on FC brass. I really cannot decode what they are telling me. Some look like they are marked in a way that LC does it, some are marked like civilian brass. A while back, I read a thread somewhere that went through some of the markings, but not all of them.

My hunch is that the reports of problems with the brass may have been with a certain FC stamp or stamps. Perhaps, if I get bored tonight I will sift through my supply and take pics of the different versions.

So, for those of you who had problems in the past, or may in the future have problems, please note the stamp and lets see if we can find a pattern.
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Last edited by Dimner; 02-16-2017 at 05:47 AM. Reason: clarity
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  #13  
Old 02-16-2017, 09:45 AM
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A few yrs ago I weighed some cases esp military and compared to commercial. Youve all heard that military brass reloaded should be downloaded slightly cause it is "thicker" than commercial.

As I recall FC was heavier than military. Ive used it right along w/ others inc military.

Just for the fun of it weigh 10-15 FCs and like amt of militray and see whet you get. PS let us know.

Anyone else done this? How did they compare?
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
All of the bad news I read about Federal brass was with their 308 GMM ammo. I experienced it myself, when I could seat a primer with just my thumb nail on once fired and sized cases. I set that stuff aside and bought some W-W cases.
Jason, Gold Medal Match was exactly what my defective .308 cases were.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:28 AM
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I have read where people said that Federal brass is junk. I have federal brass that I have loaded 11 times and on this 11th reload the primer pockets are now to the point that I will not reload this batch again due to the primer pockets becoming loose. My thought is the Federal brass is good to go. You can get a bad lot of brass from any of the manufactures. To say Federal brass is junk is wrong. I'd process the brass given to you and have at it. MC
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:01 AM
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Jason, Gold Medal Match was exactly what my defective .308 cases were.
That's weird that their Gold Metal Match ammo was the problem. You'd think those would have the best QC. I've been loading some plain-jane blue box Federal cases that were originally cheap 150 gr SP .308 factory loads costing $15 a box with no issues for five or six loadings now.

It happens to all manufacturers at times. I once bought a box of Hornady .308 bullets that had a handful of .264 bullets mixed in it. The only soft primer pockets I've ever had was on some WW .30-06 brass. None of that turned me off from those brands. To this day I still shoot more Hornady bullets than all others except maybe Sierra, and load more WW brass than all others brands. I'd love it if someone gave me a bunch of once fired Federal .223 cases.
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  #17  
Old 03-06-2017, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hunter24605 View Post
. . . but wanting some opinions before I set out sizing, trimming, and loading.
Stir 'em up in a big pot, grab half a dozen and reload 'em. Six out of 250 is about 2.5 percent, which I will hazard the guess, is far greater than industry uses for random QC testing of things made by the millions or even tens of millions.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:21 AM
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All good points

Brass is cheap and when I work at the local gun club as a Range Safety Officer there are vast amounts of once-fired brass available. Some I keep and some I give away. As I said before, if the brass passes my careful inspection it gets loaded. That includes all major brands and I have not had any problems. Brass is probably the weakest link in shooting so after three reloads it gets tossed. Just a personal preference. All the best...
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  #19  
Old 03-06-2017, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimner View Post
I have a hunch (no hard proof) that some of the problems with the federal 223 brass was a specific stamp. At the club where I shoot, the majority of people shooting rifle, shoot 223. Lots of ARs. Other than LC brass, Federal is the most common that I pickup.

I have noticed that there are probably a half dozen different types of stamps on FC brass. I really cannot decode what they are telling me. Some look like they are marked in a way that LC does it, some are marked like civilian brass. A while back, I read a thread somewhere that went through some of the markings, but not all of them.

My hunch is that the reports of problems with the brass may have been with a certain FC stamp or stamps. Perhaps, if I get bored tonight I will sift through my supply and take pics of the different versions.

So, for those of you who had problems in the past, or may in the future have problems, please note the stamp and lets see if we can find a pattern.
Up until the event with the new factory FC brass I actually preferred FC over some of the other commercial head stamps. I'm also very stumped, as I have piles of 6mm Rem. brass as well as a bunch of other chamberings, all FC. Sure would be nice if we could identify a manufacturing aspect so we could know with some level of certainty which is the good stuff, and which is the soft stuff.

At present the only aspect is age. The older FC and Federal head stamps have been fine. I have .243 win., 6mm Rem., .270 Win., 7mm RM, 30-06, and 300 WM that I've loaded more than a dozen times, some of the .270 and 7mm RM have seen at least 15+ loads without a single issue. Problem is, I have no idea as to the production date or any other manufacturing criteria to associate with it, just that it is older than the stuff that let go on the first loading.

I've never had a pocket ever completely let go, had a few leak after many loading's, but never any problems with new or once fired brass. And case head expansion confirmed that, that particular lot was soft. So it sure would be nice if we could identify a head stamp trend.

SMOA
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  #20  
Old 03-06-2017, 03:31 PM
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Prime a hand full of them. If there's pressure you're good to go. If not.. throw them away.

I personally have never heard or read FC brass is no good for reloading.
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