FC .223 Unusual Headstamp


Just picked these up from a range and my curiosity was piqued by the headstamp. I’ve never seen FC .223 with this headstamp. The numbers other than the year ranged from 1 to 11 then there were several instances of 21, which lends lie to the idea that it would be month. Also, they were all found in one group from one firing position. Could it be that the bunter is specific for each loading position? Curious. Cheers, Bruce.


I think this numbering system replaced the assorted “dot” combinations used at Lake City for the Octal numbering system used to identify loading stations on the SCAMP machinery. Federal is currently operating Lake City if I remember correctly. These just started to show up in the past year or so…



Kinda what I thought. Thanks, Bruce.


A little nit pick - Federal does not operate Lake City AAP. It is ATK (Alliant Techsystems). ATK also owns Federal (among many other businesses) but operations of the two facilities are in no way connected.



They maybe separate but I don’t know if I would say there is no connection. Last week I bought 2 boxes of Federal American Eagle .50 BMG ammo. All of the cartridges are loaded with what looks like standard military FMJ bullets and the cases all have Lake City military headstamps. To me that would seem to imply a connection.


I don’t know if Ray is right or wrong as it depends on how you view a “connection I suppose,” but the fact of the .50 MG ammo mentioned in reply could be simply as a result of a sales connection since Federal is an ATK company, and not a result of any actual connection between Lake City and Federal as to day to day operations of either plant. Just a thought.



My post was in reply to a previous one that said, "Federal is currently operating Lake City. . . "

John worded it better than I did.

Do the cartons of Cal .50 have a lot number? Would that lot number indicate contract overruns, or rejects by a govt inspector?



Lake City AAP is operated under contract with the U. S. Army by ATK Small Caliber Systems, which is a part of the ATK Defense Group. Federal is part of the Ammunition Division of the ATK Sporting Group (along with CCI, Speer, RCBS, and several others). Other than ATK being the umbrella parent organization for the various groups and divisions composing ATK, there is no commonality of management between the Lake City AAP and Federal’s operations. Therefore, Federal is not the contracted operator at Lake City. But there is cooperation on several levels. At one time, and possibly even at present, Federal was performing some services at Anoka for Lake City, probably as a subcontractor to ATK Small Caliber Systems. And vice-versa.



I googled Federal American Eagle ammunition and much of it has an “XM” lot number which means contract overruns which may or may not meet all military specs. That doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. It could have been rejected for very minor nicks, dents, or blemishes. Since an inspector will reject an entire lot rather than trying to pick out the rejects, a large percentage could be otherwise perfect.

XM lots are often bought and sold by various businesses. Federal would obviously have a leg up on everyone else since they and LC are brother and sister.



It seems as I may have shot my mouth off to quickly (again). I was not at home when I posted the earlier post about the .50 BMG boxes. When I got home I looked at the boxes again (and fired a few rounds). The boxes do not say “FEDERAL” on them anywhere. They only say “AMERICAN EAGLE”. I would check on the lot numbers for you but I am not at home again.



I believe I have an answer to the origin of these shells. Federal is currently getting the 5.56 ammo (XM193I) used in their “INDEPENDENCE” brand of ammo from Israel. The extra numbers on the head are markings used to ID stations in one or more of the Israeli lines.


The problem I have with Israeli origin is that the lot number (FC12L001-014) on the Independence box is in the format Federal would use for ammunition supplied to the Federal government. The Federal M882 (9mm) Ball ammo box I have with FC 11-headstamped “FACTORY SECONDS” is in the same format: FC-11C001-017. No question the FC 11 9mm ammo was made by Federal.


That lot numbering format is identical to MIL-STD-1168B used by Lake City AAP, and other Govt contractors and agencies. I suppose the system is unprotected and can be used by anyone, but it would be surprising to me if someone like Federal would use it without some modifier. The headstamp would be an obvious means of identification, but maybe there is nothing to keep anyone from using it also since headstamps are not MIL-STD, as far as I know.

Can anyone comment on this?



II discussed this ammo with my contacts at Federal today and was told the 5.56 cases utilized by Federal for the
Independence brand (XM193I) did originate from Israel. I agree the package has a military style lot number, but remember
All the other XM193 ( LC 5.56) being sold to the public by Federal/ATK has military lot numbers also usually beginning with SMQ. If one looks at the Independence box it states that it is made in Israel and since it meets nato specs that is why
It has a military lot number.