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 Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 8:00 pm
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Post Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates
The Federal Cartridge Company has used several lot numbering schemes, which include the encoded manufacture date, on the ammo and primer boxes since at least 1965.
I. 2004-present (2009)
The format is ###L###, where # is a digit and L is a letter. The letter is the year:
H = 2004
Y = 2005
R = 2006
V = 2007
W = 2008
Z = 2009
The digits following the letter are the Julian day plus 400. In the Julian system (a one-up numbering of days 1 thru 365/366) 1 January is day 1, 31 January is day 31, 2 February is day 32, 31 December is day 365, or 366 in a leap year.
The very first number probably is the work shift, numbered 1 thru 3. Occasionally a letter is found in this position, I don't know what it equates to. The next two digits are the production line:
10 = 38 Special
11 = 40 S&W
13 = 44 Magnum
16 =357 Magnum
17 = 38 Special
22 = 9mm Luger
23 = 9mm Luger
24 = 9mm Luger
25 = 45 Auto
26 = 45 Auto
28 = 45 Auto/380 Auto
38 = 45 Auto
39 = Auto
42 = 40 S&W
43 = 9mm Luger
45 = 40 S&W
46 = 45 Auto
47 = 223 Remington
48 = 40 S&W
Examples:
1 42H527 = 1st shift, 40 S&W line 42, 2004, day 127 (6 May)
3 24Y694 = 3rd shift, 45 Auto line 25, 2005, day 294 (21 Oct)
123R756 = 1st shift, 9mm Luger line 23, 2006, day 356 (22 Dec)
246V431 = 2nd shift, 45 Auto line 46, 2007, day 31 (31 Jan)
U43W689 = U=unknown, 9mm Luger line 43, 2008, day 289 (15 Oct)
117Z429 = 1st shift, 38 Special line 17, 2009, day 29 (29 Jan)
II. 2002-2003
###L### format same as 2004-2009, shift and production line numbers the same, Year N probably = 2002, J = 2003; Julian days without adding 400. Examples:
117J064 = 1st shift, 38 Special line 17, 2003, day 64 (5 Mar)
146N213 = 1st shift, 45 Auto line 46, probably 2002, day 213 (1 Aug)
III. 1994-2001
######L### format, except where letter = X where it is #####L###. Letter is year:
H = 1994
Y = 1995
R = 1996
I speculate V = 1997, based on V = 2007 in 2004-2009.
W = possibly 1998
Z = 1999
T = possibly 2000
X = possibly 2001
The three digits following the letter are the Julian day without adding 400. The very first tow digits are the production line, same as 2004-2009. The next four digits, or 3 in the case of letter=X, I don't know. Examples:
281623H242 = 380 Auto line 28, 1623=unknown, 1994, day 242 (30 Aug)
095018Y326 = 380 Auto line 09, 5018=unknown, 1995, day 326 (22 Nov)
094992Z105 = 380 Auto line 09, 4992=unknown, 1999, day 105 (15 Apr)
IV. 1992
Similar to 1994-2001 except the year, in the 7th position, is a 2 not a letter and 400 has been added to the Julain day. Examples:
2240352720 = 9mm Luger line 22, 4035=unknown, 1992, day 320 (15 Nov)
3846522530 = 45 Auto line 38, 4652=unknown, 1992, day 130 (9 May)
V. 1984-1989
#L-####, ##L-####, or ##-L#### format. First digit or first two digits probably are the production line; line numbers are probably not the same as 1992-2009. Letter is always A or B, probably for 1st and 2nd shifts. First digit after the hyphen is the last digit of the year: 4 = 1984, 9 = 1989. Last three digits are Julian day plus 400. Examples:
5A-4592 = 5=unknown line, 1st shift, 1984, day 192 (10 Jul)
22A-7682 = 9mm Luger line 22, 1st shift, 1987, day 292 (19 Oct)
22-B9469 = 9mm Luger line 22, 2nd shift, 1989, day 69 (10 Mar)
VI. 1975-1982
Same as 1984-1989 except 400 is not added to Julian day.
VII. 1965
My one example from 1965 appears to have the same numbering scheme as 1984-1989.


Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:03 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 8:00 pm
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Post Federal Dates
Fantastic Information. What a job you have done on this!!!


Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:10 am
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I. It is at least possible that Federal lot numbering schemes changed every ten years beginning in '64, '74, '84, '94, and '04 -- from the lot numbers I observed. Once I noted that possibility, I also found a reference that Federal started producing ammo in 1934 -- another year ending in 4. Heck of a coincidence. Unfortunately, I've studiously avoided Federal ammo and boxes until recently and don't have anywhere near enough evidence for my Federal "lot number scheme change every ten years beginning in years ending with 4" theory. Regarding my previous thread on Remington ammo manufacture dates, I also encounted Remington boxes with '77 or '78 printing dates and lot numbers beginning with L or M. That could indicate Remington's "first letter changes every six months alphabetically skipping I, O, Q, and V" lot number scheme could have been in continuous use since at least 1978.
II. QC'ed boxes
I noted recent standard 50-round (*) Federal, Winchester, and Remington pistol ammo boxes where one-in-twenty (Federal) to one-in-forty (Remington) have the lot number stamped on the inside (brown side) of the box tab. Normally it is stamped or impressed on the opposite side of the tab (Remington and Winchester) or stamped on the outside of the box (Federal). Beside their relative rarity, several of these Remington boxes show obvious human intervention, where a person hand wrote over unclear characters in the lot number, with a fine point black felt-tip pen, to make them clear. The last two Remington 9mm Luger boxes I encountered with the inside stamp also had black plastic (polypropylene) trays, noteworthy since Remington went back to styrofoam trays for its 9mm Luger ammo several years ago. From that evidence, I theorize these inside-stamped boxes are, in fact, those that have been individually QC'ed.
* Until recently Remington inside-stamped all of its 25-, 100-, and 250-round boxes.


Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:14 pm
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It occurred to me that I need to illustrate what I hypothesize the Remington lot number scheme first letter represents. Those letters with no parenthesis are those I have solid evidence for, those in parenthesis are postulated:
year / 1st half / last half
1973 (A) (B)
1974 (C) (D)
1975 (E) (F)
1976 (G) (H)
1977 (J) (K)
1978 L M
1979 (N) (P)
1980 (R) (S)
1981 (T) (U)
1982 (W) (X)
1983 (Y) (Z)
1984 (A) (B)
1985 (C) (D)
1986 (E) (F)
1987 (G) (H)
1988 (J) (K)
1989 (L) (M)
1990 (N) (P)
1991 (R) (S)
1992 (T) (U)
1993 W (X)
1994 (Y) (Z)
1995 (A) (B)
1996 (C) (D)
1997 E (F)
1998 (G) (H)
1999 (J) (K) (skip I)
2000 L M
2001 N P (skip O)
2002 R S (skip Q)
2003 T U
2004 W X (skip V)
2005 Y Z
2006 A B
2007 C D
2008 E F
2009 G (H)
2010 (J) (K)
2011 (L) (M)


Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:21 pm
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More great info!!! Wonderful.


Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:32 pm
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Post Re: Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates
At the request of dArtagnan, this topic has been moved and revived for editing/updating.

Chris.

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Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:15 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:55 pm
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Location: Peoples Democrat Socialist Republik and Casino Empire of Maryland
Post Re: Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates
Several corrections and a couple notes:
1. In describing the Julian date system in section I. I said "1 January is day 1, 31 January is day 31" and I should have then said 1 February is day 32.
2. The 1984-1989 section (V.) can now be expanded to 1984-1990 with the addition of a 9mm Luger box sporting lot number 22C-0524 (9mm Luger line 22, probably C shift, 1990, (524-400=124) 124th day. It also has the printing date of February 1990. Also, despite being printed in October 1964, the "1965" 380 Auto box mentioned in section VII. is actually from 1985 (section V.), which would account for its lot number 9B-5710 conforming to other lot numbers in 1984-1990 section.
3. Two additional older boxes have come to light, a 45 Auto Match box printed in October 1974 with the lot number 2A-5C21, and a 303 British box with what might be a printing date of 76A-10-71 and lot number AD-20LF. Neither of these lot numbers can I equate (yet).
4. Those boxes in my possession printed in 1981 or before bear the Minneapolis, MN address.
5. In the 1985 Gun Digest (copyright 1984) they report Federal announcing most of its pistol calibers will then be packed in plastic trays, presumably those like those still used. Another reason to believe the box printed in 1964, which has a plastic ammo tray, is actually from 1985.


Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:25 pm
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Location: Peoples Democrat Socialist Republik and Casino Empire of Maryland
Post Re: Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates
Section IV. 1992, can now be expanded to 1991-1992 because of the find of an American Eagle 38 Special box, copyright 1991, with printing date 4-91 and lot number 2014151661 -- line 20 (not encountered before), 1415 unknown, 1 = year 1991, (661 - 400 = 261) day 261. The box differs from American Eagle boxes copyright 1992 thru 2008 in that the eagle is dark blue and white whereas the latter boxes have a black and white eagle.


Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:08 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:55 pm
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Location: Peoples Democrat Socialist Republik and Casino Empire of Maryland
Post Re: Federal Ammo Manufacture Dates
For years I couldn't find 1991 Federal boxes and within weeks I find two. Anyway, a second Federal American Eagle copyright 1991 box, this time 9mm with lot 2247981703 (9mm line 22, 4798-unknown, 1=1991, 730-400=330th day (26 Nov)) has come to light. It, too, has a blue and white eagle.


Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:28 pm
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