Trouble With Federal Brass?


May 1, 2013, 06:33 PM
Didn't even get to reload it. Found the crack after tumbling. Anybody see this type thing out of FC brass?

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May 1, 2013, 07:36 PM
Ive had several FC .30-06 brass crumble on their first sizing and some 9mm FC split after firing or during their first sizing. It isnt my go to brass but the most of mine has worked out pretty well.

Ive never seen a piece of brass look like that period but havent been handloading too awful long. Is this the only case that done it?

May 1, 2013, 07:45 PM
I ran across one today while loading .223 that looked similar. It was once fired brass and bore the FC headstamp.

May 1, 2013, 07:49 PM
So far the only one. I'll be looking outfit it though on the Federal.

I think I'll avoid the ammo altogether actually.

Carl N. Brown
May 1, 2013, 07:54 PM
I had near case head seperation on some reloaded Remington .303 Brit brass. Maybe 2 out of about 200.

On the other hand, Federal .30-30 was my favored brass in that caliber, then I started using Remington.

May 1, 2013, 08:35 PM
A buddy of mine sold his 30-30 and had 100rd left for it. Factory Federal. I don't shoot factory stuff anymore, but I went through the boxes and about 20% of them cracked the shoulders to the necks, I didn't even get to reload them, right in the scrap bucket they went. Not a fan of Federal after that.

May 1, 2013, 09:30 PM
I've found defects in just about every brand of brass in the past 50 years of reloading. Brass is mass produced and there can sometimes be flaws in the raw material. That's why case inspection is critical prior to reloading.

Hope this helps.


May 1, 2013, 09:49 PM
In rifle-competition circles, it's pretty much an article of faith that you will be replacing Federal cases at least twice as often as those of other makes.

A couple years back, I bought 1000 Federal "once-fired" .223 cases from an on-line seller, and all looked good.

I had MANY splits and a few head separations on the first firing, and many more the next time around. I ended-up firing all the remaining loaded rounds in a long plinking session, to spare me the trouble of breaking them down..... lots more case cracks/splits/etc.

Throwing away over 700 cases wasn't fun, but at least I got rid of them. I will NOT buy any more Federal brass except under the direst necessity.

May 1, 2013, 09:51 PM
Hmm...this is shameful...I have a bunch of it.

May 1, 2013, 09:54 PM
It is common. I'd still put any to use that someone wanted to pass along to me.

May 1, 2013, 09:54 PM
The only problem I've ever had with Federal brass is I have to keep re-loading them! I've never, so far anyway, ever had a piece of brass look like that after no use, or one loading. Thanks for the heads up though!!

May 1, 2013, 10:09 PM
I've had really good luck with FC brass from the AR223 black box ammo. Most is on it's second, third or fourth reloading. Rarely does it need to be trimmed, too.

May 2, 2013, 12:34 AM
Granted that I only reload for pistol (9mm, .38spl, .357 mag, .40, .45), but I have used lots of Federal 3,4,5 times without issue. I understand that rifle cartridge design and internal pressures are different. Just sayin'.

May 2, 2013, 12:39 AM
I've come across defective Lapua brass, so the best is prone to mistakes. Trash it and move on.

May 2, 2013, 12:42 AM
I bought a lot of 280 Rem brass and it was all FC. Only problem was I had a couple of nickle cases that split the neck on firing but that's all the problems I have had so far. But I've had that happen with other brands also.

May 2, 2013, 01:59 AM
FWIW in 9mm Federal pistol brass, there have been a number of complaints of weakness/poor bullet retention in the newer ".FC, FC., or .FC.) the older plain old "FC" brass still seems to run okay. In pistol it's a soft brass and owned by the ATK conglomerate that includes Speer, CCI and some others that are also soft brass...

May 2, 2013, 02:48 AM
I've reloaded about 500 pieces of Federal .308 brass over the last few years and have had zero issues despite all the claims of it being softer and having a shorter reloading life. Most of it has been through a Springfield M1A which is as hard on brass as any rifle out there. I've been able to get 4 firings out of the newest production Federal brass After 3 firings maybe 10% showed signs of impending case head separation and got junked while the remaining 90% went on to a fourth firing without issue (which is the same lifespan I was getting from Winchester brass in an M1A) In my bolt action rifle I was up to 10 reloads with no issues before I re-barreled it in another caliber and stopped reloading .308 for bolt actions. I like Federal brass because in my experience it has less weight variation than most other commercial brands (excluding high end stuff like Lapua) All in all I would say that every brand of brass has some duds from time to time. Always a good idea to inspect them prior to reloading like you did.

May 2, 2013, 03:53 AM
Matter of fact, I ran into my first deformed piece of brass just the other day, it wasn't Federal though. I think it might have some thing to do with the manufacturer's having to double, and even triple the rate of production, in an effort to try and meet an insatiable growing demand, and that may be resulting in a high number of defects?

May 2, 2013, 03:22 PM
Federal brass? I have Federal brass, before FC was Federal it was TW, Federal ran the Twin City Arsenal during WW11, before Federal ran the Twin city Arsenal they only manufactured shot gun ammo.

jagged edge? I have fired different cases by different manufacturer in receivers when testing questionable receivers, as in being warned the receivers were suspect. As always it was not the receiver that failed, it was the case. When testing the receiver and choosing the case I measure the length of the chamber, then choose a case, again, I am not testing cases, I am testing receivers. When it comes to reducing case travel I form cases to fit the chamber. Even then at the ragged edge, case head separation can occur, again, when the rifle fails it starts with the case.

Then there was Ackely, and the Japanese receivers, “Strongest receiver in the world!!”, and, I am quoted saying “Forget the receiver, I want the cases, the cases did not fail? so I want the cases, the strongest cases in the world”.

I have Japanese receivers, I have 5, not fair, all of my Japanese receivers have a cut down the right side, in all appearance they all look like they are cut more than half way through the receiver for the length of the receiver, the cut was necessary for the extractor. Again, case failure happens before receiver failure and I have wondered about that big cut down the receiver on the right side, and thought? if the case failed, that big hole could be used for gas escape, then there are the smoke holes in the top of the receiver, when testing the Japanese receiver I cover the top of the receiver with a white towel, when there is not enough pressure to seal the chamber with the case the smoke holes will cause black dots on the white towel.

I have Norma 6.5mm50 brass, my favorite brass for the strongest receiver in the world is 30.06 brass formed to 6.5 Japanese/257 Roberts. If the FC case is soft, it has to be easier to form, When forming I prefer new brass, when a case has more resistance to sizing than my press has ability to overcome come it does not take me long to figure I am working with brass that has been fired many times or loaded once with a very stout load.

F. Guffey

May 2, 2013, 04:13 PM
Haven't had that experience with once fired, but all manufacturers are subject to material faults. I've loaded a fair amount of Federal brass over the years, but I don't load max loads and it seems to hold up pretty well.

May 2, 2013, 04:15 PM
Factory fails aren't uncommon.

With that said, I dun like Federal- too hard, which leads to work hardening much faster in the neck, and as shown- much faster neck splits.

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