A few weeks ago, a friend bought a case of Independence brand 5.56x45 M193 equivalent, and gave me several 20 round boxes to test. I have not seen these before. I note it is sold by Federal, and marked as made in Israel. Therefore, am I correct in assuming IMI manufacture? I fired it all last weekend in my scoped Armalite AR-15, and I found that its groups are about twice the diameter of my usual 5.56mm plinking handloads. CEP of the Independence loads was 3.75 MOA, while the CEP of my handloads was 1.85 MOA (50 shots each, 5-10 shot groups), fired from a benchrest. I am surprised at the magnitude of the difference. Another strange thing is that they are packed in the usual 20 round boxes (2 rows of 10), but are loose in the box. No inner tray or separators of any kind.
I think that you are quite correct in presuming that the Independence ammo was made by IMI.
The new Independence 9mm 115JHP load has boxes marked “Made in Israel” and in the attached link to this ammo from SGAMMO.COM, in the 2nd photo you can read on the side of the case MADE IN ISRAEL and what appears to be a product code further down:
As a side note, the Indep 9mm 115JHP ammo uses the IMI EX-STAR bullet and the cases are marked F C 9mm LUGER.
Some pictures of the Independence (Federal) brand 5.56 x 45 mm manufactured by IMI, load/item number is XM193I (I = IMI):
Box front and end flap:
Representative headstamps, F C 1 5 with the other numbers identifying the SCAMP machine that manufactured the cartridge case
For me it seems odd that Federal is marketing ammunition produced by IMI while Federal’s other “brands” compete by marketing the same product. But the entirety of the industry world wide seems to defy explanation as to who is producing ammunition for any given company at any given point in time.
That Long Outside Case Code is nothing to do with the ammo itself, but is an approval and origin code for the outer case, ( required by IATA and UN) describing the case material, its grade, who made it,
when, etc. It differs from country to country, with different materials, etc ( found on Cardboard, Wooden, Plastic, and steel crates/cans.).
This ensures that the Outer case/crate/box meets international safety and load standards. ( Having that marking also makes the Container cost more to the manufacturer of the ammo.).
Also, it cannot be applied by a Label (stick-on) but must be printed or stencilled onto the Container itself, by the manufacturer of the Container.
The Dangerous Goods or Hazmat regulations of all Code-adhering countries require the Information before the Ammo (or other explosive) can travel by any type of Carrier. (Road, Air, Sea, etc.).
The label information indicates the ammunition is overruns from a contract. As such, it should not be expected to perform any better than the specifications laid out in the original contract.
Federal selling of contract overruns is a big part of their business. It does not mean that the product is competing directly against newly made Federal ammunition. It is a seperate market.
The 11 digit lot number is typical of Federal overrun products, as is the “XM” product code.