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Old March 16, 2001, 02:25 AM   #1
Join Date: November 2, 2000
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Just wondering if the load specs were alot higher and the brass was heavier than the civilian stuff.

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Old March 16, 2001, 11:07 AM   #2
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I assume you're talking about US military 5.56 and 7.62. I know that most of it was made by various US arsenals (Radford, Lake City, Twin Cities) but I know that Winchester made quite a bit of our ammo. It uses what most refer to as "GI brass" USGI 5.56 usually has about 2 grains less case capacity due to a thicker web and thicker walls. Load specs are about 3200 fps for M193 55gr. FMJ using WC844 powder so on the hot side. Anyone who knows better feel free to correct me!
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Old March 16, 2001, 06:05 PM   #3
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I know Israel sometimes makes ammo for both us and themselves. I believe they sell some to South Africa and to Columbia and Argentina as well.
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Old March 16, 2001, 09:31 PM   #4
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Federal and Winchester make all of the 9mm (M882).

All of the current-production .223 and .308 is Winchester or Lake City (LC is a government arsenal).

Radford and Twin Cities are former government arsenals, so you may see old .30-06, .45ACP, .50BMG, or other calibers with their headstamps.

IMI (Israeli Military Industries) supplies ammo to US troops in the region sometimes, as it's far easier to ship from, say, Israel to Saudi than from the US.

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Old March 18, 2001, 12:36 AM   #5
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A lot of our 9mm ammunition in the military today comes from IMI, Most from Federal and Winchester. All of the brass that the military uses is heavier and thicker than the civilian loads. Also, primers are "crimped" in the military loads and not in standard loads. There are some ammunition that is made for "machinegun" specs that is hotter than standard loads. In the rifle calibers this tends to make no difference as they will handle the machinegun loads. In the 9mm, however, the pistols will not handle the machine gun loads adequatly, but there is very little of that around and is normally well labeled.

As far as older ammunition, older than 1990, there are a lot of US headstamps that one might see. TW,Twin Cities; LC, Lake City; RA, Remington Arms; WCC, Winchester Cartridge Company; WRA, Winchester Repeating Arms; EC, Evansville Chrysler; DEN, Denver Aresnal; DM, Des Moines; FA, Frankford Aresnal; U, or UC, Union Cartridge Company; UsCCO, US Cartridge Company; These are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head but there are others as well.

If you reload, It is not quite as bad in handgun brass as in Rifle brass, but you want to reduce reload rates a little in the military brass to reduce overpressure situations.

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Old March 18, 2001, 12:49 AM   #6
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The last time I qualified with the M-16 we used ammunition stamped "LC 73." They told us that even though it was the "old stuff" with the different twists, it would work well enough for our purposes.
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Old March 19, 2001, 08:42 PM   #7
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The original .223/5.56mm M16 ammo is M193, and uses a 55gr FMJ bullet. The newer, "enhanced long-range penetration" bullet is called M855, and uses the 61.5gr SS-109 FMJBT bullet with a mild steel penetrator sitting on a lead core. This bullet was designed by FN for use in the M249 SAW, and was adopted for use in the M16 during the "A2" update.

Because of the compound core of the SS-109 bullet, the bullet is quite a bit longer than a leadcore 62gr bullet would be, and requires a faster rifling twist of about 1:9. However, the US military also adopted a new tracer round (M856) which is longer still, and would ideally need a 1:5 twist. So, they compromised and went with a 1:7 twist for the SAW, and later for the M16A2.

The original M16s and M16A1s had a slower 1:12 twist which will not stabilize the longer SS-109 bullets, which keyhole after about 95 yards. In order to identify this ammo so it isn't accidentally used in M16s & A1s, M855 has a green bullet tip. The old M193 ammo works fine with the faster twist rate of the M16A2s, A3s, and A4s, though it can be a bit less accurate, as it takes a bit longer for the bullet to "settle" into a smooth rotation.

For most "combat" purposes, M193 is actually better than M855 for the M16. Because velocities are higher with M193, it has MORE penetrating power close-in, and has a longer range until the bullet drops below 2700fps, below which usually it won't fragment in tissue. M855 is better for very long ranges, and punching through light cover at longer ranges, but when you've got people shooting back at you, you'll be more concerned about the close-in performance than the long-distance shots. Besides, that's what the SAW is for...

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Old March 20, 2001, 07:55 PM   #8
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Olin (parent company of Winchester) ran the lake City Arsenal for many years, but I believe Alliant Technologies (Hercules powder spinoff) won the most recent bid to run it.
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