308 Federal Brass

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by JonM, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. JonM

    JonM Well-Known Member

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    I have seen several remarks to the effect that Federal brass is inferior to Winchester or Remington. It also seems that the Federal Gold Metal Match seems to set the bar for factry ammo. How is it that they make top notch ammo if their brass is inferior? Or is their brass inferior just because it won't reload as many times. I have reloaded 3 batches of ammo with the FGMM brass and haven't seen anything negative yet. (Although I'm an admitted newbie and may be missing something)

    Also, I have some Winchester brass that has a heavy 6 sided crimp. Is this okay to reuse. (Winchester white box)

    Thanks,
    Jon
     
  2. dbhostler

    dbhostler Well-Known Member

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    Never had a problem with Fed brass in .308 or any other cal. It's funny that some of my rifles will group tighter than other manufactures brass. Rem brass groups better in my .300 Rum than Fed Prem. My Eagle Arms AR likes IMI brass better than Lapua. Go figure.
    As far as your Win brass, it depends how bad the neck is tore up after firing. Resize it and check it out. Probably be ok.
    db
     

  3. green 788

    green 788 Well-Known Member

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    The FC cases are heavy, and thick... and softer than brass from other makers. You'll see pressure signs sooner, even with reduced loads.

    What ends up happening is the neck tension begins to vary too much from one case to the next with the FC cases. You'll seat one bullet, and it's snug... the next bullet almost falls in, even though both cases were sized the exact same way.

    I haven't examined any of the FGMM ammo lately, but they may (MAY) be using a slight crimp on the case necks to even out neck tension to some degree, plus when the brass hasn't yet been fired, neck tension is going to be more uniform--most likely.

    For the .308, the Winchester brass really works well. Lapua is of course better, and IMI (if you can find it) is every bit as good as Lapua. I don't like Norma cases, for the same reason I don't like the FC cases... heavy, smaller volume, not as tough.

    All I can tell you is what has--and has not--worked for me. As they say, your mileage may vary. :)

    Dan
     
  4. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    It's been a few years but I have shot a few thousand rounds of Federal match 308 and 223 brass. Similar to previous posts, I also experienced variable neck tension as well as a large percentage of cases that had excessive neck runout that full length resizing wouldnt cure. I would have to sort the cases which meant trashing about 20-25%. Usually got about 5-6reloads out of the sorted cases before the primer pockets opened up too much. Having said that I did get superb accuracy from my sorted cases. I ended up switching to Lapua cases, and got more than twice the reloads, consistent neck tension, and less than .003" of runout. Equivalent accuracy. Remington brass was crap and this continues to be the case with some rrcent with loose primer pockets after one or two reloads. Wichester,is Ok, but the brass is thin and required a bushing change. They didn't have the accuracy of the Federal and Lapua brass.
     
  5. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    I just have to jump in here. What about LC in 308. Isn't LC and Federal one in the same or is Lake City better? or worse? Lots of LC primed cases out there.

    Lake City is pretty much the defacto standard in .223 (5.56 NATO) brass. I know the difference so lets not go there. I'm using that for reference.
     
  6. JonM

    JonM Well-Known Member

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    I thank you for your replies. I'll plan on upgrading once what I have on hand shows signs of fatigue.
     
  7. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

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    No, it's not the same. Federal, or more precisely ATK (who owns Federal) has had the contract to run Lake City for many years now. The brass produced at Lake City has to be done to military specifications, with regards to alloy, capacity, hardness, etc.. The brass produced by Federal in Anoka is done to their in-house specs and can (and does) vary from what the military requires. The confusion here probably comes in due to the fact that any production above and beyond what the military contracts for and be sold by the contractor (ATK) who currently runs the installation. So, while you can find LC cases used in Federal or American Eagle ammunition, you won't find Federal brass in LC M193 of M855 military type ammo. Shouldn't, anyway.

    I've heard that ATK lost their last bid on the Lake City contract. If that's true, the new operators will take over the plant and make the usual changes that go with such a switch; new powders and things of that nature. The crew at Lake City will probably remain the same, at least it has in the past. Knew a bunch of the guys out there when Olin had the contract and they all wore "Olin" marked smocks, uniforms and caps. When ATK got the contract, you found the same crew, now wearing smocks, uniforms and caps with the "ATK" logo instead.
     
  8. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Good information Kevin. I've had very good luck with OFLC in 556 Nato to resize to .223. Actually, over the years I've bought thousands of them, mostly from Widners, who, also have the OFLC in 308 plus primed 308 LC.

    I always understood that there was little, if any turnover in personnel at the Lake City munitions plant.

    At least I know Lapua brass is always good, I use that too, just not in .223 though I might get some in 308.