This is a discussion on Federal American Eagle Brass- Near Worthless? within the Ammunition forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; This is more a gripe than anything
OK so the weather sucks and has since before Christmas
which means all the rifles are spotlessly cleaned ...
OK so the weather sucks and has since before Christmas
which means all the rifles are spotlessly cleaned and lubed
the reloading press is now the remaining option for keeping "Gun Busy"
and I have 1K pieces of Am Eagle .308 brass once fired...
I set up the Small Base die and run 10 test cases...calipers out...the freakin re-sized cases measure 2.027-2.029 OAL
OK so maybe I don't really need the Small Base dies since this brass is scheduled to go into my GI tubes anyway and the chambers can handle Full Lengths...I originally wanted the option to use them in my Rem bolt rifle but... meh
So I set up the FLS die....run 10 more pieces of AmEG brass..calipers....2.024-2.025 OAL...better but still far beyond the 2.015 limit
Now I am pissed...so genius that I am... I decide to measure another fresh box of the once-fired cases before I size them...all came in at 2.020-2.022
I would imagine that Federal set them to 2.015 at initial production,
I know that our rifles stretch brass but what is Federal using for brass? a silly putty alloy? 5 to 7 thou on extraction? these are fired in 1.632 and 1.633 chambers and I know about brass flow during resizing but this is brass deluge
I may have some numbers on just this. I bought some American Eagle M1A spec ammo. Didn't have time to get to the range yet but I knocked 1 apart to get some load data. The unfired case measures 2.009. The bullet is dimensionally the same as a SMK and weighs exactly 168gr. The powder is cylindrical looks like 4895-4064? and the charge is 42.5 gr. I also have a bunch of once fire American Eagle that I ran through my Springfield Std. and it measures 2.0138. This was the 150 gr. NATO equivalent. * 2.009 should be 2.014 and 2.0138 should be 2.018 see post #4*
Last edited by canman; January 8th, 2010 at 04:45 PM.
Reason: wrong data
I may have some numbers on just this. I bought some American Eagle M1A spec ammo. Didn't have time to get to the range yet but I knocked 1 apart to get some load data. The unfired case measures 2.009. The bullet is dimensionally the same as a SMK and weighs exactly 168gr. The powder is extruded looks like 4895-4064? and the charge is 42.5 gr. I also have a bunch of once fire American Eagle that I ran through my Springfield Std. and it measures 2.0138. This was the 150 gr. NATO equivalent.
2.013-2.016 was the sort of stretch I was expecting from a once-fired...that is what I get from once-fired Remington I have used
trimming is one thing...getting out the hacksaw is another
I love FAE Brass. Just shot a couple of bxs. last w/end. It reloads just as all brass. They need trimming. I think some softness might just be a little easier on my cutter than Mil. spec. Little less work to get it to length? Or maybe my bias just might be from the fact I purchase factory seconds through employee sales for $4.50 bx.
First, I'll relate a little anecdote about my personal experience with Federal brass. One of my local dealers was running an ammo sale around the turn of the milennium. I noticed that he had a quantity of Federal Gold Medal Match ammo in three of my favorite flavors, .223, .308, and .300 Win. Mag. Because of the low price I bought 10 boxes of each, the .223 in their 69gr. SMK loading, the .308 in their 168gr. SMK loading, and the .300WM in their 190gr. SMK version with the idea of getting some accurate ammo to practice with at the range plus having some supposed high quality brass to reload.
All was well, the ammo grouped (in all three varities) not quite as good as my handloads ( LC and Winchester brass) but it worked. So I began to work up some loads with my now once-fired Fed. GMM brass and this is where the fun began. Any loads that I worked up that would even approach (in velocity) my standard working loads in all three of these cartridges would seriously stretch this Fed. brass and enlarge the primer pockets enough to make the brass useless for further reloading. I took all the accepted handloading precautions when working up these loads, but all to no avail. The brass was junk.
Then, some time after this fiasco I happened to be corresponding with Lt. Col. Dave Liwanag (aka 'sinister') who at the time was the OIC of the US AMU. He mentioned that the AMU had recently thrown out "a Dumpster load" of Fed. GMM once fired brass in .223 and what crap it was. It turned out that the AMU contracted for a large purchase of Fed. GMM .223 ammo in their 77gr. SMK loading for their Service Rifle team with the intent of using it for the 200 and 300 yard events and then reloading the spent cases with their own 80gr. recipe for the 600 yard portion of the match. They experienced the same results as I did! After having the brass tested, it turned out that it was very soft. When he called Federal about the problem their position was that they (Federal) did not manufacture their ammo with the intent of having the cases reloaded and something like "if you'll notice, we do not sell empty brass to handloaders either".
Since I've reloaded a whole bunch of LC cases manufactured by Federal (ATK) to USGI specs. with no such problems I'll have to believe that Federal is fully capable of making high quality reloadable brass but deliberately chooses to manufacture its civilian cartridge lineup with soft cases.
I realize that this is merely anecdotal, but thought it would make an interesting read.
I've reloaded FGMM .308 brass in the past for my bolt gun, however I'm just getting ready to start reloading for M14/M1A's. Federal is known to be some of the softest brass out there. While it is a little heavier than Winchester brass, it's so soft that you'll often see the primer pockets getting loose if you run fairly hot loads. I'll use it in a pinch for a bolt gun but not for more than 3 or so loadings, or for subsonic loads if I just want to mess around. I really can't imagine it holding up well in a M14/M1A though. I plan on only using military LC or WCC for my SEI build.
Times are hard...and expensive. I doubt that I'd throw out a truck load of Federal brass for being "soft". I'd use it in my bolt guns, instead.
Next time I contact Dave Liwinag I'll have to ask him to ship me the floor "sweepings"...
Our issue load has been 55 gr. Fed Amer. Eagle .223 and I picked up a bunch of once fired brass. Being a Rangemaster does have it's prividges...
Although I didn't test it the brass did seem "soft" when resized and trimmed. It shoots OK in my AR's and my bolt gun LOVES the stuff. I'm getting .3-.4 groups using it, Federal 205M primers, 24.4 gr. N-140, and a 69 gr. SMK.
There is better brass out there, but I'll be damned if I'd put Lapua through a gas gun!
Luckily, all my .308 brass is either commercial or LC Match. The down side is that I may have to get more when my M14SA gets here.
I hate trimming brass, too. A Gracey trimmer helps.