FA 57 Match in .30-06

OK so I have a BUNCH of older .30-06 cases and there was about 2 dozen Match cases from FA and LC ranging from 1957 up to the mid 60s I think.

I read about problems with FA Match 57 and reloading because of a 2 draw process. But I also heard the same about LC. Don’t you just love the internet??

Can anyone chime in on the draw process of Match cases and was it problems with FA, LC or others as well? Was the problem rectified in later years? I was told that the problem was with the primer pockets.

I know this sounds like a reloading question but I’m really looking for records on the manufacturing and dependability as reported.

Thanks in advance,

During the big war, primers were crimped in place so the exact dimensions of the primer pocket was not too critical. When FA started production of the T291 in 1957 they still used the one-draw pocket forming process and, without the primer crimp, there were reports of the pockets being too loose. So, they returned to the pre-war two step process and the problems went away. Frankford recommended that the one-draw cases not be used to reload and shooters have been questioning the quality of the FA 57 cases ever since. In real life, I know many shooters who have used the cases without any problems so there may or may not be a reason to be alarmed if you have any of FA 57 brass.

I can’t say if the '57 cases from LC had the same problem. The chances are slim that you’ll ever find out because the LC 57 cartridges were made in very small numbers and you’ll probably never see one.

FA did produce two lots of T291 test cartridges, one used the one draw and the other used the two draw process. They were identified with special primer seal colors and sent to Marine and Army MTUs for testing. You’ll likely never encounter any of these either. They are sorta semi collectable.

Isn’t it amazing how the Internet has taken minor issues from 55 years ago and made them into mountains?



I always tell my fellow shooters, “Never believe anybody on the Internet. Not even me.”

So, I have a bunch of T291 FA 57 MATCH fired cases. I grabbed a couple and de-primed them. Then I tried seating a new CCI primer. The pockets were as tight as a . . . well, they were very tight.

Nuff said.


As a 20+ year high power competitor shooting in 3 A course (200 to 1000yds) matches a month the FA 57 brass was a problem particulary in rapid fire. It was touted as the best case of its era when it first came out. Most shooters dropped it within a few months. Seemed to be too soft, cases flowed (lengthened) and primer pockets expanded. Just checked still have a full gallon mayo jar of them under the loading bench. Even Martin Hull who was one of the top high power shooted at that time and an employee of Sierra did not think much of it.


I absolutely believe what you said. I’ve been around shooters my entire adult life and if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that they seldom agree on anything. I believe that the Match ammunition and components produced by Frankford Arsenal and Lake City AAP are some of the best ever made. I know that it will shoot better than I can. Others think it’s not worthy of shooting at tin cans. But, we’re both right. That doesn’t seem logical, I know, but what works for me may not work for you. That’s why we have both blondes and brunettes, Fords and Chevys, vanilla and chocolate.


Thanks everyone for the input. I wanted information for the reason of collecting but if I was to reload an FA 57 Match case, would swaging the pocket help?



Swaging pockets to tighten them is a waste of time, in my opinion. You need special tools and you seldom get uniform results. In the end, you’ll probably throw the tools and the brass away, and get new brass. There are so many sources of good new brass that it hardly pays to nurse the old ones. Not like the olden days when brass was as good as gold.


Just curious.

Was the durability for reloading even a factor considered by FA in 1957 when they got back into the match ammo business?
Or, was it strictly to produce accurate ammunition for match use as originally loaded by FA, with no expectation that they would be reloaded?

Did they sell loose primed or unprimed FA 57 Match cases through DCM or other outlets, or were the intended strictly for in-house production line use?

JohnS, That is a good point don’t remember seeing any cases or NPE for sale through the then DCM only new ammo. Never used any arsenal primers or factory ammo anyway. Remember civilian shooters scrambling to pick up ejected brass from G.I M-1’s when FA 57 first came out. There was a lot of hype that it was the end all brass at the time but that soon faded. FA 57 shot very well compaired to run of the mill military cartridges.


Someone like Frank Hackley could better answer this but, I think it was some of both. Their goal was to manufacture the best ammunition possible for the National Matches and other competition, but they also realized that civilian shooters in particular would use the empty cases to load their own. Decisions such as omitting the primer crimp were made to facilitate reloading the cases and had nothing to do with accuracy. But, I believe the number one goal was the best and most accurate ammunition possible.

You have to remember, when Frankford Arsenal re-started the production of Match ammunition in 1956, they had not regularly produced match ammunition for almost 15 years. Most of the old employess with the detailed knowledge of match production had retired and the new employees learned as they went. Everything considered, the quality of the ammunition produced from the beginning was outstanding.

Some of the old Ordnance officers such as Hatcher and Whelen were as much shooters as they were Army and you can see their influence in a lot of what was produced at Frankford. It would be hard for me to believe that they didn’t have their finger in the pie.

I’m not aware of empty cases being produced in 1957 but I know that they were available as early as 1958. Match bullets were available as early as 1957. Even though production of M72 stopped in 1968, both new empty cases and bullets were available through the old DCM for many years after. A lot of them are still found on the various auction sites. I think you still list them from time to time. Here’s a photo of both from my collection.


More bullets

Just bumping this thread. Ray, What other lot did FA make besides 17. Just bought two boxes of them at a gunshow, one semi-opened without the Eagle label on the back and the other pristine. Thanks, Bruce.


I’m not sure I understand your question. What did you mean by the “17”? Did you mean “57”?

Cartons of M72 Match without the “eagle” on the back could mean at least a couple of different things. I’d have to see a photo of the carton, both front and back. In fact, I’d like to see front/back photos of both cartons. I keep a big file of the different carton labels used by FA. Maybe some day I will write an article on them.



After reading your post 3 more times, I think I get your question. You bought two cartons of FA Lot 17 and want to know what other lots they manufactured???

Some of this will be in HWS III but maybe not the exact details. Anyway, Frankford Arsenal manufactured Cal .30 Match from 1957 to 1961. It was first designated T291 and later M72. 131 lots were manufactured. 6 of those lots were manufactured especially for the National Matches at Camp Perry.

Lake City manufactured 258 lots between 1957 and 1968. 5 of those lots were for use at Camp Perry.

10,460,000 rounds were made for Camp Perry. I don’t know the total production, but it was a BUNCH, considering the average lot size was +/- one million rounds.


Ray, You had posted earlier in this thread (Sept 20, 7:21pm) that FA produced two test lots of T291, one a one draw and the other a two draw. I think I misunderstood your post. The FA 57 T291 is common, but there were two special lots with different primers seal colors. If that is the case, what lots were they? The lot on my boxes is 17 and the primer color is red. As far as the back label missing, that’s easy, somebody ripped it off. Since I don’t do photo bucket anymore, I’ll post pix on BOCN. Cheers, Bruce.

OK Bruce. I got your post over on BOCN and asked you a couple more questions about the backless one.

The 2 special lots for the primer pocket tests were FA 27 and FA 28. The primer seal colors are yellow and gray-rose (which looks more whitish than gray or rose).


As far as reloading problems there is nothing dangerous, they are the heaviest weighing casing for 06 I own and mine are from 1960 to 1963 Frankford Arsenal Match of those years. Now the only problem Is what application u are doing. I have benn crunching powder for over 20 years. On the side I make ammo for hunters who want consistent ammo souly for that rifle as well as some bench rest shooters among myself. I have a 1903 A3 turned into to a medium class long range rifle. If u kno ballistics then u kno that the 06 for being the parent of so many cartridges is way overlooked and underrated. With its powder capacity the sky is the limit. If you are hunting or just having fun trying to blow thru cans of hand at 100 and 200 yds, they are fine and u will get a lot of shots out of each one. They are not so good for trying to make your 06 hold 1/2" 5 shot or even 3 shot groups at 100 yards. The problem is the inconsistent weight. Some are even 6 grains apart as compared to my nosler custom 264 win mag brass that is usually no more the 3 tenths of a grain. Of course u can turn your necks down, changer the inside of the cup and ream your flash holes like u would ww Winchester or r&p remington which are usual 4 and 5 grains apart as well. Also with them weighting about 14 grains more than Winchester brass like most reloading Manuals test with, u will have a higher cup pressure than what u think u are getting. Not that it’s that dangerous in an 06 but why chance hurting your throat or bolt. But they will last a long time they just didn’t have the machinery then that we have now to make things almost perfect.