5.56 headstamp enquiry

A request for help: can anyone give me chapter and verse on this headstamp (with apologies for the poor picture quality)?

Hello, for me, that looks like a Nato 5,56 , made by LC from 2011, with pusher mark from the gun, (besides the Natosign) and the round marks are from cartridge processing. I cant remember the proper name for that sort of marking, but it was already here in the forum discussed…

Thanks. Any ideas about what gun makes that kind of mark?

Hi Tony,

search the forum for SCAMP dots and you will find some info on this.
don’t know about the gun


Tony, you can make those marks with a AR-15 type rifle:

Really? I’ve seen literally tons of fired cases from M16s, but don’t remember seeing an ejector marking (if that is what it is) that looked like that. Or for that matter, any ejector marking.

SCAMP System: A series of automatic, rotary press systems makes and loads the cartridge cases staring with cups and finishing with complete cartridges, without Human manual intervention. ( can’t remeber the initials, but (SC= ?Self Contained?) Ammunition Manufacturing Program is part of the acronym).

As there are Multiple stages and Multiple die sets (up to 24), these individual stations are coded in the headstamp “dot” matrix layout. That way a particular cartridge case can be linked to a train of dies, and any defects in either the intermediate stages or the final product determined quickly, and the problem resolved.
The System is very high production, with quantities of ammo produced well in excess of ten times that by traditional in-line case and cartridge making, and plate loading (as used by the US).
Only countries needing high volume production in one calibre ( re-setting a SCAMP line can take up to six months machine down-time) can afford to install SCAMP lines ( made and licensed by Gulf+Western, a US company).
Countries using SCAMP include the USA, ROC(Taiwan) and a couple of others.
Australia Trialled a SCAMP unit in 1983-89 or so, and tried to make it do what it could not do, (change from one calibre to another…ie, 5,56 to 7,62 and vice versa)…By 1989, the AFF had returned the Line to G+W, and adopted Manurhin production equipment and other European makers. In 1993, the 7,62 production ceased ( on traditional equipment) and in 1995, the new Factory (ADI-Benalla) started solely 5,56 production, with European Equipment ( sourced by Thales,a French company, the owner of ADI).

Aussie SCAMP (Boxer) marked ammo appears in 5,56 and 7,62 ( Years MF84?,85,86,87, AFF88; Berdan ammo (7.62) made concurrently on traditional equipment, did not have the “SCAMP Dots” and had a HS in traditional layout ( MF 85 F4); the “F4” was dropped from 1988, and the MF changed to the corporate “AFF”.

The various reasons floated as to why the SCAMP line was abandoned include “QA suffered from high rate of production; High wastage rates before machine could be shut down, machine did not work well on slow rates of production, and inordinate time to convert machine from one calibre to another.”
(ie, the idea was that a SCAMP machine would be dedicated to one calibre alone, so multiple calibres==multiple machines.)

The Manurhin and New-LaChaussee machinery was much more verstile ( even though from 1995 to the present, ADI has only made 5,56mm ammo, whilst the .50 cal line is a traditional Tooling line, and 7,62mm and 9mm Parabellum are all imported ( PSD,FN,CBC,WCC,etc.)). There has been some rumour of 7,62 Production starting up again, as high rates of 7,62 consumption (Iraq, Afghanistan) are making this a necessity…although the near-future withdrawal from Afghanistan seem to have dampened the need for Domestic 7,62 production…

Now the “ejector mark”…Not an AR15/M16 type, but probably a Mini-mi (FN) or, if in Britain, an L85? ( or one of its misbegotten variations). Strange that Britain would be using LC ammo (USA)…unless the state of Britain’s ammo production has sunk so low…what is RG doing these days? I know that a lot of MoD ammo is now “made on contract” in Europe, and RG has shed capacity in ammo such as 9mm Para etc…

Doc AV
Brisbane Australia

SCAMP = Small Caliber Ammunition Modernization Program.

Thanks very much for your help, gentlemen.

The case didn’t actually come from the UK - I believe that the enquiry came from the USA.

Radway Green closed down for a couple of years for a complete rebuild of the small-arms factory from the foundations up. Which should bring it from the early 20th century to the early 21st! I’m not sure if they’ve yet come back on stream, but just before the closure they were producing only 5.56mm and 7.62mm. BAE has a 15-year contract with the MoD for ammo supply, which made the cost of the rebuild worthwhile.

In the meantime the MoD placed ammo orders elsewhere. I know that RUAG made 100 million 5.56mm (headstamped L21A1 and L22A1) for British forces, but I’ve not heard of any other contracts. 9mm and .50 cal have been contracted to various foreign companies for a long time.

Tony, what’s the difference between L21 and L22? I’ve shot some L21A1 and that was bit hot as the cases began to stick in a straight-pull AR after 12-13 shots. (CSR Match in april)

[quote=“mausernut”]Tony, what’s the difference between L21 and L22? I’ve shot some L21A1 and that was bit hot as the cases began to stick in a straight-pull AR after 12-13 shots. (CSR Match in april)
Sorry, I don’t offhand know the answer to that.

RG produced two lines of 5.56mm ammo, one internationally qualified (latest designation L15A2) for use in M16 pattern rifles (for special forces and for export) and one (L17A2) for the SA80 family, which has different pressure characteristics. Whether the L21/L22 reflects such a split I’m not sure.

Doc AV, those ejector marks does occur in AR-15 rifles because of a fouled extractor (small bits of brass attached). This is another picture of a less exagerated version of the same marks, also from a AR-15 type rifle:

Yes, possible, but not likely that the two different empty cases shown have the exact same marking unless they were fired in the same rifle. More likely is that these were fired in an M-249 SAW (FN MINIMI) which as I recall has a fixed ejector like the AK-47 types. The SAW/MINIMI has a high rate of fire and a forcefull action especially if the gas regulator is set to the “adverse” setting. I have not fired a SAW in many years, so what the ejector face looks like exactly escapes me…