5.56 L Question

Hello Fella’s,

i have a 223 round headstamped FC 5.56 L. The round has a copper primer. The case is Brass. The bullet looks like some sort of brown plastic. It reminds me of maybe a frangable or short range round. Any ideas’s? i Wonder what the L means in the headstamp. Thanks in Advance, joe

Could this be a Federal Short Range M862 I know of them with Blue, White and Black plastic bullets but not sure of brown.



Another SWAG but I think that is some sort of fireworks display type cartridge. For oohs and aahs I think? Look in Ron and Ron Fuchs. I think they show it. No idea what the “L” means.


My guess is that’s it’s a frangible bullet and “L” is for Lead Free priming.

Could the L be that the brass was made at the Lake City Plant, also being a member of ATK? Not saying it is, just a possible suggestion as I have never seen or heard of this one either. I know most letters represent the function of the round. Maybe someone out there has proof of what it means.,…where is Fede?..lol

From Ron Fuch’s 5.56 listing, 2012: Headstamp “ FC 5.56 L “, manufactured by Federal approx… 1993, experimental Limited Range loading, one lot produced, per information obtained from Dave Frederickson of the Federal Museum. Ron lists the projectile as round nose plastic.


Thanks Fella’s,

That settles it.  Wish i had Ron's book.  But that Federal Musium info,  KNOCKED THE COVER OFF THE BALL!   Take Care,   joe

That makes sense as there are also other letters such as S: “S” indicates a “Short Range M862” loading, used for M16 type weapons and was part of a program at Picatinny. And a “b” for a blank loading, “NT” non toxic and “HE” for High Energy… Has anyone seen any other letters on Federal cartridges?


To correct my post - I went back to Ron and Ron’s book and the “fireworks display type cartridge” that I mentioned was something else completely. So, ignore my SWAG (assuming you paid attention to it in the first place).

Brians answer is the correct one.