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Old December 14, 2012, 12:47 PM   #1
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Rank order of 223 military headstamp desirability

Of all the military .223 headstamps, how would you order them from most desirable to least and why?

I'm new to reloading and have been collecting/purchasing .223 brass from various sources. I have observed feeding frenzies over LC stamps but not so much others.
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Old December 14, 2012, 12:53 PM   #2
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LC Lake City is definitely the 1st choice followed by Winchester WCC. Also IMI military nato brass is top notch but less available.
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Old December 14, 2012, 01:18 PM   #3
5R milspec
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Remington for plinking/hunting rounds ( really no need to prep just load and shoot ) you can put many many loads on this brass with mild loads,its been a long time since I've had to buy any from the number of loads I've got.( plus I can pick it up free )

Nosler is a test still waitting to happen so no answer yet ( just bought some for the price was good )

Now lapua for bench shooting ( no other brass in my eyes for this ) just right out great brass.Just cost ya to get after that its great.I have got 14 or more firing's on one case with hotish loads in my 223 with a 69gn bullet.All so ( little prep )

thats it for me I've used no other brass.
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Old December 16, 2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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Depends on what you are loading for I guess. I don't know of any high power shooters who don't use Lake City for service rifle AR-15s.

The main reason is that it is generally available, economical, and year to year consistency is very good.

If I were shooting F Class with a bolt rifle, I'd probably stick with LC brass as well, unless I got an itch to purchase Lapua or Norma brass just for the bolt rifle.

Machine guns are awesome until you have to carry one.
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Old December 16, 2012, 03:45 PM   #5
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I can take any brass case and turn it into a shooter. I like them all, even federal. Anything but steel cased garbage.
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Old December 16, 2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input.

I'm mostly plinking for now, although would like to get into competition shooting with my son in the next 6 months.

While I'm sorting headstamps I'm wondering if there is some subset that I should cull out and save for competition. It looks like I have about 40% LC, 20% WCC, 10% FC, and the rest mixed civilian.
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Old December 16, 2012, 05:57 PM   #7
Marco Califo
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#1 LC
#2 LC
#3 LC
Others OK, but 2nd grade: Fiocchi, Hornady,
I set aside and then toss out Federal, especially if crimped primers, because they seem to vary from all others and slow me down.
I do not consider Lapua or Norma because I reload and shoot 223 to take advantage of mil surplus inexpensive high quality brass.
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Old December 16, 2012, 06:03 PM   #8
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I'm starting to see the picture here...
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Old December 16, 2012, 06:14 PM   #9
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I pick up a lot of Lake City of various year stamps. They are as good as any.

My preference is Hornady for my bolt action. No primer pocket crimps, they go a lot firings without needing trimming. They stand up very well to repeated firings, and the primer pockets stay tight for a long time.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:45 AM   #10
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FIL had 3000 assorted date LC cases all weight sorted & measured... I have them in ammo cans stored until I'm ready to wring out that heavy barrel Remington 700
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:52 AM   #11
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I actually like s&b as well.
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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The military cartridge case specs are more detailed than commercial cartridge specs. They have recommended brass hardness profiles, for example, and thickness specs at key places, none of which SAAMI has for commercial cases. As a result, the military cases tend to have more reliable toughness. For an AR or a Mini-14 or any other self-loader, they are recommended for that toughness; especially at the rim, which gas guns tend to bend.

If you are shooting a bolt gun, however, that toughness doesn't matter very much except that you don't want brass so soft the primer pockets get loose prematurely (Federal is frequently accused of producing brass this soft, though I've also seen complaints about recent Winchester production). If you want the best made brass, dimensionally, Lapua and Norma brass from Europe will be the choice, but you'll pay a pretty penny for them. I find that if I make a bulk purchase of LC brass, I can usually sort out about 15-20% or so that randomly happens to be about as tight as Lapua and Norma and wind up paying about the same price. But have to put the time in for the sorting and flash hole deburring that the Euro brass doesn't require. On the other hand, you wind up with a lot of additional brass for plinking, off-hand and rapid fire match shooting, and other lower precision requirement shooting, so the best ones can be sequestered just for long range precision loads.

Then you have to ask if the extra precision matters in your gun or not. The only way I know to do that is to use gage tools to identify the most perfect brass I can, work up my best accuracy loads with it, then start putting that same load into the worst of the 80% of cases that didn't make the cut to see if the groups really average larger or not. In many instances, if your shooting platform doesn't let you tune a geometrically perfect load down below 1/2 moa with the best 20% of your brass, you don't see much difference with the other 80%. Some chambers seem almost immune to such variations while others seem sensitive to it, so you just have to try it and see if your gun cares.
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Last edited by Unclenick; December 27, 2012 at 11:12 AM.
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