Mil- Spec ?


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blarby
December 8, 2013, 03:44 AM
Had a question from a buddy I wasn't quite sure how to answer, so I figured somewhere here could probably fill in the blanks for me to relay to him !

What "qualities" separate NATO Mil-Spec ( bearing the NATO cross) ammunition from civilian ammunition in the following cartridges :

5.56
7.62x51
45 Automatic
9mm

Is it a velocity/pressure issue ? Dimensions ? Primers ? Accuracy requirement ?

Thanks !

He's a new reloader I'm teaching.... we all snag on weird things to set our standards to, and he wants his ammunition to meet the NATO spec, even though he's not 100% sure what it is :scrutiny: !

He got the idea in his head when he saw the NATO IMI ammo on the wideners website. Who knew ?!?!

I told him I thought it required crimped in primers, which is gonna be a doosy for handloading, but that i'd ask about the rest

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primalmu
December 8, 2013, 04:07 AM
I think for handgun calibers its probably just the crimped primers. 7.62x51 is loaded to lower pressures than .308, while 5.56 is loaded to higher pressures.

Steve C
December 8, 2013, 05:26 AM
Mil Spec is whatever the purchasing agency specified for the particular batch of ammo it orders. It changes over time and is different from country to country. There is a base NATO specification for NATO ammo however different countries load to slightly different standards of pressure, bullet weight, and velocity. The ammo is often loaded to meet the needs of specific weapons, IE SMG, or Belt Fed MG's but all NATO ammo is expected to work in various member firearms though the SMG ammo may be much higher pressure than ammo for handguns.

If you find a copy of Janes - Small Arms and Ammunition you can find the NATO general specification and the ballistic information of ammo from various countries.

Below is a PDF copy of the page showing the 9mm from Janes.

lightman
December 8, 2013, 08:27 AM
Just a few things that I can think of; The primers may be harder/thicker, the primer will probably be crimped, the primer may be sealed, the bullet may be sealed. I'm sure that there are accuracy and pressure specs that can be researched.

Rule3
December 8, 2013, 11:45 AM
Means they can put the little cross on the headstamp:)

Have your friend read this and he may no longer care.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO

medalguy
December 9, 2013, 12:50 AM
Well my company made things for the military for many years. MILSPEC simply means the item conforms to applicable specifications. What are those specifications and what do they cover? Everything possible for the item under consideration. For ammo, the brass metal content, the hardness, the dimensions and tolerances, the metal grain size, the marking on the base, the depth of impression of those markings, the smoothness of the inside and outside of the case, and tons more.

Further, milspecs cover all the component parts of a cartridge, the paper comprising the cartridge box, the thickness of the paper, the printing on the box, color of ink, chemical composition of the ink, amount of recycled fiber in the carton, the type of glue on the carton, the color of the paper used, the type of paper used on the label, just so much more. This is for the primer, powder, bullet, clip or link, and everything else you can imagine.

Before the spec center went to online specs, I had in my office a whole bookcase full of volumes of specs. They updated those specs weekly and we had someone making pen and ink changes as the updates came in. One of our regular government inspections was to be sure we had the latest changes to all the specs.

Most people think specs are just a couple of items, but that's not the case at all. Every single aspect of an item has a specification for it. Every one. Otherwise some manufacturer would make something that didn't work somewhere for some application. That's how $800 hammers happen- some procurement clerk decides that instead of 10 inch handles on the hammers he's purchasing, he wants 10 1/2 inch handles, so the manufacturer has to acquire special wood lengths and change the whole operation over to accommodate the longer handle, thus increasing cost and selling price.

So there's no real short answer to your question. Commercial ammo is made to entirely different specifications which don't cross over to military specs. Even SAAMI specs for outside dimensions are not the same as military specs and the differences go from there.

blarby
December 9, 2013, 09:11 PM
Have your friend read this and he may no longer care.

Oh great, thx

Not only have you created another 6.5 spc junkie, but he wants to know where to find 855a1 bullets for reloading. That helps :D

For ammo, the brass metal content, the hardness, the dimensions and tolerances, the metal grain size, the marking on the base, the depth of impression of those markings, the smoothness of the inside and outside of the case, and tons more.

Further, milspecs cover all the component parts of a cartridge, the paper comprising the cartridge box, the thickness of the paper, the printing on the box, color of ink, chemical composition of the ink, amount of recycled fiber in the carton, the type of glue on the carton, the color of the paper used, the type of paper used on the label, just so much more. This is for the primer, powder, bullet, clip or link, and everything else you can imagine.

If you knew this guy- you would know those would be the #'s he wants. And he'd probably sell lefty to get one of those manuals you had :D

I assume I'll have to tell him " what specs matter to you" and have that discussion. I ( ignorantly) assumed that what he was asking for could be found. I thought the NATO stamp meant XYZ, apparently not !

I will however look for the Janes manual- thanks for that !

medalguy
December 9, 2013, 11:20 PM
Just FYI: Each item is covered in a separate spec. In other words, there's a spec for powder, one for bullet construction, one for case construction, one for primers, one for assembled ammo, one for packaging, one for stripper clips, one for bandoleers, one for ammo cans, one for wooden wirebound crates, and so forth. It's really easy to end up with a large assortment of specification sheets.

DC_art
December 10, 2013, 11:27 AM
As medalguy says: There's a spec for everything.
I'm not well versed (or at all familiar) with the spec for the ammo, but I'm willing to bet there is a spec that states that it must be UNFIRED brass. Therefore his quest to reload mil-spec ammo is unobtainable (or granted REALLY expensive loading new brass one time.)

Maybe he should just strive for Mil-Spec performance, which should be easier to define and obtain.

blarby
December 11, 2013, 08:01 PM
Ok, since he's not going to be able to crimp in new primers, amongst other specifications...

He's willing to "settle" for pressure, velocity, and accuracy requirements.

When I told him he could more than likely load them blindfolded and end up with more accurate ammo, his taste for this one is waning.

1SOW
December 12, 2013, 12:47 AM
Just from "WCC" NATO 9mm experience:
The primers are crimped
The cases are NOT the same hardness as WCC non-nato or WIN cases.
The WCC NATO cases are definitely harder/thicker. I've reamed the primer holes and cycled several thousand through pistols and keep a few thousand on hand.

My understanding was that Europeans (NATO) use 9mm in a wide variety of weapons including automatics, and NATO ammunition components require that versatility.

WCC NATO cases are the only ones I've done this with due to a big influx of 9mm WCC Nato cases laying on the ground to be picked up---especially 2011, 2012, 2013 year groups..

blarby
December 12, 2013, 01:14 AM
WCC Nato cases laying on the ground to be picked up---especially 2011, 2012, 2013 year groups..

I noticed a lot of these this year, too. I wonder if a big lot of either the ammo or the brass snuck out somewhere due to the shortage- or ins pite of it !

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