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Warning about Lake City Surplus Ammo

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by cslinger, Sep 27, 2003.

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  1. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    We bought 400 rounds of Lake City .223/5.56 Surplus ammo on stripper clips the other day and took it out to the range today. The ammo was experiencing splits in the case head, on two occassions it tore the bullet out of the casing on feeding and basically sucked.

    I don't have the case lot number or anything else to provide other then it came in a GI ammo can on strippers. The ammo looked poorly stored.

    We returned the rest of what we had and got store credit.

    I now have an AR upper at a gunsmith because one of those friggen rounds must have ruptured because my bolt is locked in tight.

    Anyway just thought I would let you know.

    Chris
     
  2. Chugach

    Chugach Member

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2003
  3. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    Lake City ammo is SUPER-hot stuff... If you were going to have a problem firing 5.56 in a .223, that would do it! (I know the verdict isn't in on what yours is chambered for...)

    Same with Winchester Q3131A (white box) It's nearly as hot as the LC stuff.

    Lake City Ammo is considered the best over in the Ammunition forum on AR15.com. I've personally not had any problems with it, but QC can always go down with any company...

    Hope you get your rifle back soon.
     
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Lake City Surplus .223????

    When was it made?
     
  5. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    We have Bushmasters with 5.56 chambers. The ammo did not seem to have been stored properly and was definitely in bad shape.

    I don't know the lot number or where it came from etc.
     
  6. Grampa

    Grampa Member

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    I bought a 500 round brick of this stuff. It's lot #35, mostly headstamped LC 02. A few cases are LC 01, but not many. Yeah, it has some minor dents and isn't polished, but man does it bark! I have to admit, it looked pretty dirty out of the box, so I've been tumbling it for 15 minutes or so before I load it in the mags. (Donning my asbestos...)
     
  7. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Member

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    I know you said you don't have the Lot number, but is there any way you can find it out?
     
  8. AR-10

    AR-10 Member

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    400 rounds of Lake City .223/5.56 Surplus ammo on stripper clips


    Packed in ammo pouches, sold in the original can marked L.C. Ball.

    Saw some at a gunshow yesterday. Think a sign said it was made in '87. Headstamp would have the date on it. Did not look at it closely, but what I saw looked pretty clean. It was never shiney, as they do not tumble it after it is assembled. Lake City always looks a little crappy because of this.

    Offered at a good price, did not pick any up. Never enough money to spend at those darn shows.

    The stuff Grampa is tumbling is brand new XM193. That's as clean and pretty as it gets. The "X" stands for "Overrun, not for the government, we can sell this stuff to the civilians and make a little more money". CSlinger's purchase is not XM193, but rather M193. Surplus from before Clinton. Made at the same plant, but not by the same company, as Winchester ran it back then, and Federal runs it now.
     
  9. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Member

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    AR-10:
    It could mean this, but probably doesn't. The batch I have (Lot 2) clearly didn't get the same quality production that government production gets, and that means a lot of things were different, possibly/probably including powder, anti-flash additives, case cleaning, etc. (In a previous life I had charge of a government QC organization.) In this case, "X" simply means "this isn't M193." Q3131A is a better round, IMO.

    Jaywalker
     
  10. 0007

    0007 Member

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    Not to throw gas on this fire, but I always thought that tumbling loaded ammo was a big no-no. Something about possibly causing overpressure due to the action of tumbling on the powder charge. That is is "grinds" the powder to a finer powder which causes faster burn time etc., etc.
     
  11. AR-10

    AR-10 Member

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    Jaywalker,

    When Federal took over the plant, there were a lot of components and unboxed ammo laying around in bins. As Federal tooled up, they performed test runs.

    All this ammo, which did not meet government standard for various reasons, was boxed up as XM193, and sold on the open market. Some of it is badly dinged or slightly more tarnished and dirty than you would like. Some of it is not sealed. Some of the early batches had mixed headstamps packed into the same box. There was a bit of a snit over whether Federal would be allowed to sell it, because it is government property, but in the end they were allowed to.

    It seems that they continue to sell run starts and "oops" overruns. The ammo for the most part is loaded exactly to the same specs as M193, but as I said some of it, individually or as batches, has flaws. Most of the guys at AR-15.com drool over it, but it does not excite me that much. Winchester Q3131A is loaded to the same specs and has more consistant quality.
     
  12. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Chris,

    Unfortunately, you don't have any idea what you bought. There is a good possibility you bought handloads or something from a small manufacturer that was sold to you as surplus USGI. There is no way to tell. Legitimate USGI surplus M193 seldom makes it to the surplus market. I would guess you bought reloads someone made from surplus brass and loaded on stripper clips.

    I value my weapons more then to ever take a chance on ammo like that. USGI M193 loaded on stripper clips comes packed 840 rounds to the can and the stripper clips are in cloth bandoleers. The lot number is on both the can and the bandoleer. If anyone is selling ammunition that is allegedly USGI make sure it's packed correctly. If thing don't match, don't buy it.

    Jeff
     
  13. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    ... never mind.

    :neener:
     
  14. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Member

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    AR-10,

    Right, there are pieces that are surplus to government needs, but there are also likely "planned overs." I bought some because of the drooling at AR-15.com and was disappointed in it. I posted a question there to "Ammoman," who apparently had the concession to sell the stuff, as to whether the components were mil-spec, and the response he passed on from Federal was elusive, which I found indicative of a "no" answer. ("Ammoman" has a good rep, BTW, and stands behind what he sells.)

    The stuff I received could not have been manufactured on a Mil-Spec assembly line, as that is much more than simply a final inspection. I observed more muzzle flash than would be apparent if anti-flash components were added to the powder, for instance. Dented, dull, cases would never have been loaded as they would have been rejected prior to that point. Asphalt neck sealer speckled all the cases and, when fired, remained in the chamber.

    Again, I draw on my experience as a QC supervisor to suggest that these rounds (Lot 2), at least, probably were not "suplus to need," or "production overrun," but a new run with rejected and incomplete components. However, I agree that there are better loads available for less money.

    The key thing to keep in mind is that "XM-193" is not USGI. USGI M-193 may or may not be available, but this isn't it.

    Jaywalker
     
  15. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    There is one fella that is always selling "Lake City" ammo on Gunbroker and he seems to get good prices for it. I don't think I'd buy it but that's a personal prejudice.

    This is the text describing the product..........
    Gunbroker Ammo Auction
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    nemesis,

    That's exactly what I was getting at.

    I don't think the government has made any loaded .223 Lake City ammo available to the public for sale. At least not for a very long time...

    What he's almost certainly got is demilled Lake City ammo.

    Broken down into components and then reassembled. Since he doesn't know who broke it down or who reassembled it, he knows nothing about the ammo.

    My understanding was that the original primer AND powder must be discarded in the demil process. More variables...
     
  17. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. I think the most plausible explanation is that it was reloaded ammo of some sort or another.

    The bright side is I went back out to the range with some SS109 new stuff from and S&B and everything was back to normal and accuracy was very good. That ammo felt very warm.

    Live and learn.
     
  18. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I am sure everone knows this, but just in case...

    Commercial ammo, made in Hungary, is being sold in white boxes that look a lot like the old match ammo boxes and are marked "Lake City". They make a number of calibers and use the "LC" headstamp, but with the commercial caliber marking rather than the date. All I have used has been excellent, but don't confuse it with U.S. GI ammo from Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

    Jim
     
  19. Bigjake

    Bigjake Member

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    this is a stupid question, but isn't .223 and 5.56 the exact same thing? :scrutiny:
     
  20. nemesis

    nemesis Member

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    Close. But no kewpie doll.

    Five point five six requires a slightly larger chamber (leade) and runs up to 20% more pressure.

    You may safely shoot .223 in a .556 chamber but are pushing your luck with a 5.56 in a .223.
     
  21. sigg

    sigg Member

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    can someone respond to 0007 comment? I by far am not ammor guru, but I understand that to be a "no no" as well. I would like to know for sure though, cause I have alot of this 5.56 surplus ammos that could use a shine :)
     
  22. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    I tumble loaded ammo to clean and give it a shine. Been doing it for years and have never had any problems. I tumble it for 10 or 15 minutes and its good to shoot. Maybe if it was tumbled for hours it could brake the powder down but for a few minutes to clean I don't see a problem.
     
  23. krs

    krs Member

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    A response by Clint McKee of Fulton Armory :

    "Would someone care to comment on shooting 5.56 mil spec ammo in a .223 SAAMI chrome lined AR? I've heard everything from yea to nay on other lists and am looking for the voice of reason here. I have an Armalite M15A2 on order that I was told by Armalite would have an M16 Nato chamber (I specifically asked this before I ordered). Now they say all their guns have SAAMI spec chambers but they are going to switch the chrome lined ones to Nato in the future due to customer demand. I know that SAAMI says not to shoot 5.56 in a .223 chambered gun, but Armalite says it's fine." --Chance

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    If we are talking about .223 Remington SAAMI-spec chambers in an AR15, OH NO!

    Do NOT use such a chambering if you EVER plan on shooting any military NATO 5.56 ammo, which happens to be only the most common, least expensive and most widely used AR15 cartridge available in all the world. In other words, NEVER buy/use a SAAMI-spec chamber in a battle rifle, especially if the barrel and chamber are chromed, as you cannot fix it!

    Here's the problem. Many NATO cartridges have bullets that will become jammed into the rifling of a SAAMI chambering (the throat is too short). This is VERY DANGEROUS, for a grat number of reasons.

    Fulton Armory uses a "5.56 Match" chambering in its rifles/uppers/barrels (in fact our barrels are marked as such), which is a slightly modified SAAMI chamber with a tad longer throat to accommodate NATO bullets. The Fulton Armory 5.56 Match chamber allows for the safe and reliable use of all SAAMI and NATO ammo, while offering the accuracy potential of the SAAMI chamberings with match commercial cartridges. Remember, there's often a large difference between bolt guns and military rifles. This particularly true for the 5.56 vs .223; Fulton Armory is well known for the finest performance for any given platform, and our 5.56 Match chamber is one way we achieve that performance with the AR-15-type rifle.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,

    Clint McKee"
     
  24. Rubber_Duck

    Rubber_Duck Member

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    +1 for it being reloaded. I've seen A LOT of reloaded ammo using Lake City brass.
     
  25. CU74

    CU74 Member

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    [​IMG]

    A once-a-fortnight subject on almost every firearm-related forum. For every "account" of damage due to tumbling finished ammo, there are many "I have done it for years" posts. IMHO, tumbling finished ammunition for 15-20 minutes in a vibratory tumbler to clean off case lubricant is not a problem. YMMV, etc...
     
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