I bought some Federal XM193BK (LC 10) 55 Grain Ball ammo to plink and reload.
I fired 26 rounds through a WOA service rifle upper and had no issues. (Don't really care about 55 gr score performance in this upper.)
I captured all the brass in a catcher and tumbled it straight away before removing the primers (they came out way too easy). I then followed reloading routine and ran it through a Body die first, then a Redding type S bushing die before length trimming and inside-flash-hole deburring. The pockets didn't look too dirty so I left them alone and checked for the crimp burr by running them through a Dillon primer pocket crimp swage tool. My observation on the swage tool was that the tool did no work since the crimp was almost non-existent and there was nearly zero force feedback.
My concerns started when I used a Lee Hand Prime tool to install Rem 7 1/2 primers and felt like they dropped into the pocket as contrasted with crimping in. There was little to no resistance felt through the tool?
I didn't have access to my Deltronic pins at that moment, so I finished off the cartriges at magazine length of 2.250 with SMK 77 over 24.0 RE-15
I single fed 6 rounds over a chronograph and saw no primer issues at this point, and measured about 2670 fps and StDev 15 fps.
None of the primers popped out or showed gas leaks at this point. I started to think maybe they were okay, but......
My wife wanted to start hammering away so I loaded 5 into a clip. The first round went off normally, but she got a click on the second trigger pull. She stopped for me to clear the weapon.
I noticed the round came out without the primer in the pocket and I found the primer on the bench. Some of the other rounds in the clip showed signs that the primers had backed off their seated depth and were now flush to sticking up. The dead round would have not had support from the clip behind the primer pocket, so I assume that was why only the #2 round lost the primer and further rounds might have done the same if the primer wasn't against the clip wall.
Out of curiosity, I put the primer back in the pocket by hand (way too easy) and single fed that round and it went off normally. I didn't allow any more of those rounds for the session. Out came the Deltronic pins to gage the holes, all bad.
My question(s) for the forum :
I have spoken with a few folks who say that current LC 10 ball ammo is of very poor and un-reloadable quality. Now that I have gaged several of the twice fired, once fired, and un-fired LC10 cases, I can state that these are out of specification and only held by a (substandard) crimp. Pocket diameters are above .1760 and are too large for specification.
Does the forum also see the same observations on Federal LC10 ammo and brass? Especially with respect to primer pocket diameters and crimps? Are they knowingly selling their rejects?
To my knowledge .223/5.56 Federal Cartridge brass is worthless for reloading for the very reasons your seeing. Another one was (is?) that the web may be too thin and may rupture on the second loading.
eta: and while it may have been made at Lake City, FC brass is very different from LC brass. Check headstamps
If his ammo was XM193BK this should be LC brass, not FC brass. But, if it didn't appear to have a crimp that could be a sign that it was not as advertised. I haven't bought 5.56 in a while and have no LC10 to refer to but it should be just like 08-09.
Is there a colored waterproof sealant visible in the primer/primer pocket interface before 0X firing? Is there a tar like substance between the bullet and the neck of the 0X unfired round (may have to pull a bullet to verify)?
IIRC, there is currently no "Military" stream of MIL-Spec M193 being produced. So, the XM193BK may be a "commercial" stream from the get-go. No NATO stamp, etc. If that is the situation, then ATK/Federal may not have to meet other traditional requirements of the brass case, such as case hardness. If sealants are missing, that would be a flag that these may indeed be a "commercial" stream and not a "military" stream derived product.
It is interesting to note that the original military crimp (albeit "almost non-existant") over the primer, kept the primer from falling out into the action, after firing and upon extraction. That is, of course, the intent of the crimp.
Good point on the neck sealant, there wasn't any.... There was typical sealant on the primers in addition to a (poor) crimp.
The Federal package says XM193BK, but I agree that isn't a guarantee these days.
I have some new Lake City brass and it all gages just fine as far as primer pocket diameters.
I am guessing that since the crimp may be flimsy and there isn't any neck sealant, that this may be ATK commercial and not really up to M193 standards.
I don't mind leaving these behind if the brass isn't going to be reliable, I was just unaware that this brass wan't going to be reloadable.
I'll try and look though the other sections and see if I can learn to ID the differences in commercial and reloadable etc. when the marking otherwise looks Mil-Spec.
I have 1200 rounds of new .223 Federal V-Shock loaded with 55gr Sierra Game Kings and I bought the first ~800 a few months ago and it's loaded in LC-09 NATO brass with sealed primers but the last ~400 rounds I have checked are loaded in new FC brass but still has the primers sealed. I haven't shot any of it yet(LC or FC) to compare the brass but I know the LC is GTG as it has the NATO cross head stamp just like my new 5.56 LC brass, all the once fired Mil. brass I have bought has had the same LC NATO head stamp and a good crimp but very rarely are the primers sealed in the OF LC brass I have bought.
Well, the more research I do, the more it looks like the Federal M193BK isn't really up to Mil Spec and this brass will not be as useful as the seller claimed when he sold the rounds.
No worries since I only intended them to be plinker rounds, but I did wish to reload the brass...
Is there a better version of bulk Mil Spec ball ammo which is reloadable or do I need to buy commercial 20rnd boxed ammo?