Anyone having issues with Federal .223 brass?


December 31, 2006, 09:35 PM
Specificially the FC 03 head stamped brass. I am noticing that Federal brass stamped with the FC 03 have very loose primer pockets. This is from once fired brass. CCI mag primers as well as Winchester SRP primers are very loose and sometimes even falls out. I have about 200 empty brass with this stamp on them and they are pretty much useless.

Was wondering if anyone else ran into this issue with the FC brass.

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December 31, 2006, 11:19 PM
Federal brass in .223 is known for having oversized primer pockets. The brass seems to be soft and very few people I know will attempt to reload it. On the other hand, if you run across Lake City .223 (5.56), it's good stuff, once you remove the primer crimp.

The Lake City Ordinance plant is run by ATK, the holding company who now owns Federal, Speer, CCI, Alliant Powder and RCBS. It would be nice if they would tell Federal to use tougher brass for their rifle cases. Their pistol cases are fine, though, so I don't know what the explanation is.

Hope this helps.


Car Knocker
December 31, 2006, 11:21 PM
FWIW, I have read this in numerous forums about Federal .223 brass.

December 31, 2006, 11:23 PM
I use it and have no issues....I have about 400 LC cases to uses when the 300 reg federals burn out

January 1, 2007, 08:36 AM
Federal 223 brass is notorious for enlarged primer pockets after just a few reloads, and the same for 308. The brass is not worth messing with. I would rather have RP, WW, or LC.

January 1, 2007, 03:33 PM
I have around 1,500 empty LC brass that I acquired from our range here and use that exclusively now. The Federal is bagged up and will most likely go to the recycle yard.

January 2, 2007, 10:12 PM
I've had the same issues with Federal .223 brass but I was using Winchester Primers. Does anyone know if using some Federal primers in Federal brass improves primer pocket problems? I'm suspecting that the brass isn't very useful but I had to ask because I have access to Federal Brass at work.

January 2, 2007, 10:35 PM
I had extremely poor case life with Federal 223 brass (once-fired Fed headstamp from their 'Americal Eagle' loadings) due to loose primer pockets, and I won't use it any more. I was using both CCI and Winchester primers.

January 2, 2007, 11:26 PM
I just threw away some re-sized and trimmed Federal .223 brass that got primed because I wasn't looking at the case heads. Whenever a primer slipped in with absolutely zero effort I verified it was a F C headstamp and just chucked every one of the the darned things. It cost me about $5 to do it but I felt good doing it.

I've spent more for breakfast.

January 4, 2007, 12:04 AM
Is it just Federal .223 & maybe .308 that has a problem? Or is it all rifle brass? How is Federal pistol brass?

January 4, 2007, 10:37 AM
Pistol brass seems to be fine. I have Federal pistol brass in 10MM, .45 and .44 and 30-06 and haven't had issues with any of them. Just .223 so far. I don't have a 308 so I can't help you there.

January 4, 2007, 12:53 PM
I recently did some loads with once fired Federal 30-06 brass and I noticed the sloppy primer pockets immediatly. I've only used R-P brass in the past and I've never had this problem. The older cases seem to split the necks before the primer pockets get loose.

January 10, 2007, 12:07 PM
I've also noticed my FC .223 brass typically has enlarged primer pockets. I tried using Remington BenchRest primers I had lying around. They seemed to be slightly larger and worked ok. It's worth a try if you already have the primers, but not worth the bother or expense if you don't. As a rule, I use Rem primers in my commercial brass, and Federal or Winchester in mil-spec brass.

January 10, 2007, 02:44 PM
Somebody on some forum did a cross section cut on some federal brass. Directly along the length to show the web/primer pocket area. He also did one of each R-P WW and S&B. The federal cases had MUCH less brass in the case head/web area around the primer pocket. Hence the problem with loose primer pockets!

I went through all my .223 brass, chucked all the fed junk into the re-cycle bin. IF I pick up range brass, I'm carefull NOT to keep any federal brass,,,in any caliber!:cuss: :banghead: :fire:

January 10, 2007, 03:45 PM
The part that just doesn't make sense is Federal rifle brass is soft, and doesn't stand up to reloading, but their pistol brass is among the best. This is especially true in .45 acp, where it ranks right behind Winchester as being some of the thickest, and accepting many, many reloads.

It looks like the two brass making lines need to talk to each other and the pistol brass line needs to tell the folks on the rifle brass line how to properly make brass.

On the other hand, Federal doesn't make brass for reloading, only for factory consumption, so they're not worried about it's reloadability. You can buy Remington and Winchester brass for reloading, but not Federal. This may explain the thin bases and loose primer pockets after just one firing of the rifle brass.

Hope this helps.


January 10, 2007, 04:36 PM
After going thru the 1800 rounds of empty .223 brass that I have I came up with 221 Federal cases. Guess I'll toss them into the recycle bin.

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