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Practically Shooting

FC 9mm Luger Ammumition


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Hi guys, I came across a 9mm FC round in the range the other day that looked identical to the FC target ammunition I was using. As you'll see from the pic, it's labelled FC NT. As far as I can see, the rest of its characteristics appear to be the same as the standard FC ammo but I couldn't understand what the NT stood for. After some exploration, there are some people who think that NT stands for Non Toxic which refers, presumably, to the chemistry either used in the propellant or in some other component part.

I wondered if any of you have come across this and whether you can shed any light on the subject, the photo isn't that great, but you can read it ... the NT ammo is on the right.

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I didn't know Federal was selling NT ammo commercially, but I don't buy much factory ammo.

Winchester and some others have been making NT ammo for a while, which does indeed stand for Non Toxic (at least to Winchester). They use a lead-free mix in the primers and the bullets have the jacket covering the entire lead core or even use another material for the core, like powdered iron. (Most regular FMJ has the lead core inserted from the base, which is crimped over but mostly left open toward the powder.)

It's all to reduce airborne lead, either in indoor ranges, on police ranges, or both. City and county governments fear future lead issues.

Different branches of the military are working on it. The army has some they say is ready. Maybe it is. The 5.56mm costs something like four times as much as 5.56mm M855 ammo, maybe more.

Thunder Ranch training facility has required "green ammo" since opening the Oregon facility. This has caused some complaining due to the added expense of an already expensive endeavor for most people. The head guy says he understands and that while he has no trouble with lead, he doesn't want to die someday and leave his wife with a multi-million dollar cleanup on her hands because a law was made 20 years from now. I guess I can see that.

The first NT ammo I saw for sale commercially was Winchester .45 ACP in the USA line. Same USA-style white box with "WinClean" added to it. They used small size primers instead of large like other .45 AP ammo, and they also have a larger than standard flash hole diameter (the hole from the primer pocket into the case). The larger flash hole was to keep reliable ignition, but whether that was needed to compensate for the smaller primer with less priming mixture, or because of the new mixture giving less brisance (fire), I don't know if Winchester ever said.

I don't know if they still do, but Winchester used to have a note on the box saying they did not recommend reloading WinClean cases.

Why? I'm not sure if Winchester ever really answered with the reason why for sure here either, but I know they went back and forth on the whole reload or not thing a couple of times. The speculated technical reason for not reloading of those was due to the flash hole size. Some think the larger hole will give higher pressures when used with standard primers. I tend to think that should be the case. The speculated non-technical reason is because they don't want anyone to see the NT stamp on a reloaded round and assume it is a new NT round, fire it on an NT-only range, and nasty it up. I think it's some of both things.

Whether this Federal NT has anything odd about it's primer pocket, flash hole, or anything else, I don't know. But I did want to put it out there, because IF it has a larger flash hole, and if a larger flash hole does cause higher pressures when regular primers are used, it could be a bigger deal than with .45 ACP ammo since 9mm is running around double the pressure to start with.

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I hate the stuff in 45ACP because it has small primer pockets, which really ruin a reloader's day when you get one in a progressive press.

One of our IPSC and IDPA regulars said he is going to use all Winchester NT .45 brass this year. He got a bunch of it cheap or given to him, so he is going to use it at matches since we seldom get all of our brass back and he won't mind losing it as much.

To say everybody is displeased with him would be an understatement.

Can you imagine the mess that will make when we pick up brass after a match and his is mixed in?

If he wasn't one of the nicest guys on the planet (otherwise) he might not make it to any matches due to his broken legs or fingers. That, and he's as big as any two other guys.

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