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  1. #1

    Default Strange Headstamps and Grooves

    Hi,
    I recently purchased a quantity of surplus .30-06 brass and while sorting-out the ones with Berdan primers, came-across some Boxer cartridge head-stamp markings that I was not familiar with.
    Perhaps someone here can answer my identification questions? What are they???
    I have the following -- all in .30-06 brass:
    1) - FA-30 NM - the neck diameter appears to be smaller than the .30-06's standard .308 dimension.
    2) - RA 1941 - 300-Z - I've never seen the "300-Z" designation before and don't know which arsenal is "RA".
    3) - U.S.C.Co. - 18
    4) - SUPER-X 30-G-1906
    Also, numbers 2 and 3 above have a deep groove machined, pressed or cast into the brass base of the cartridge, apart-from but completely surrounding the primer pocket and I have no idea what its purpose is.
    About the ring surrounding the primer pocket - it does not appear to be a crimp ring because it is located way outside the primer pocket. On number 3, above, the space between the primer pocket and the ring-groove has three indentations pressed into it each exactly 120-degrees apart. I have dealt-with primer crimps before and have swagged them out; but all of them have been inside the primer pocket cavity, just inside the pocket's wall. This strange groove is separated from the primer pocket by at least 1/16th of an inch and completely surrounds the pocket. This groove looks like an outer ring on a target, where the primer pocket represents the black center of the target. Any help would be appreciated? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    1) - FA-30 NM - the neck diameter appears to be smaller than the .30-06's standard .308 dimension.

    Those are 1930 National Match. They are Berdan primed. Unless they are handloads in some other caliber, they will have a normal 30 caliber match bullet.

    2) - RA 1941 - 300-Z - I've never seen the "300-Z" designation before and don't know which arsenal is "RA".

    Those are loaded by Remington in 1941. The headstamp is left over from a British contract. Remington was given permission to use it for ammunition they manufactured for the U.S. The "Z" denotes nitro powder, rather than cordite.

    3) - U.S.C.Co. - 18

    United States Cartridge Company. 1918. Standard Ball issue

    4) - SUPER-X 30-G-1906

    Commercial Western ammo. Likely pre-war.

    Also, numbers 2 and 3 above have a deep groove machined, pressed or cast into the brass base of the cartridge, apart-from but completely surrounding the primer pocket and I have no idea what its purpose is.
    About the ring surrounding the primer pocket - it does not appear to be a crimp ring because it is located way outside the primer pocket. On number 3, above, the space between the primer pocket and the ring-groove has three indentations pressed into it each exactly 120-degrees apart. I have dealt-with primer crimps before and have swagged them out; but all of them have been inside the primer pocket cavity, just inside the pocket's wall. This strange groove is separated from the primer pocket by at least 1/16th of an inch and completely surrounds the pocket. This groove looks like an outer ring on a target, where the primer pocket represents the black center of the target. Any help would be appreciated?

    The deep ring crimp was intended to keep the primer from popping out when used in an aircraft machine gun. That would tie up the gun until the plane could land and the gun cleared. The three "stab marks" are additional crimps added for even more security of the primer.






  3. #3

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    Ray, wow that's great information - thanks for taking the time to share it with me. It's very much appreciated. Rob

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    Rob

    If you are still here, check the headstamp on that FA 30 NM case. Did you read it correctly?

    ray

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    The Groove in the head of the .30 case was an "improvement" for use in Aircraft ammo, to harden the head further, and also allow for a self-sealing "crimp" for the primer. The Idea of the head "gutter" was introduced by the Italians in 1895, to improve head hardness and Primer seal.
    The correct designation of this "grooved" ammo is "Cal.30, ANM2" ( from WW II packets)...the 1918 US C Co ammo of course pre-dates the ANM2 designation by about 10 years, but the design is the same.
    The French introduced the groove in the 8mm Lebel, once they had Pointed bullets, as a "primer Protector;( Tube Mags) They soon found it also acted as a "primer sealer" on firing in both rifles and MGs ( They also had Aircraft MGs in 1915 using 8mm Lebel, although they had also adopted the .303 British in 1915 as well (Lewis Guns.) The "ringed head" continued in the French 7,5MAS cartridges, and even inh Brass 7,62 ( .30 cal M2)) in 1949.

    The US dropped the ANM2 ammo design .30 cal sometime during WW II, as the quality of normal (land) M2 ammo had increased such that head softness and Primer problems had been eliminated in 30 cal production...and also by the obsolescence of .30 cal MGs for Aircraft use.

    RA 300 Z British contract Remington .30 cal ANM2 ammo, for Early ( 1939-40) purchase US built fighters and light bombers fitted with .30 cal ANM2 Brownings...also first batch of B17s for Britain still had .30 BMGs as armaments...the use of .50BMGs was only widespread in B17s from the later models on ( late 1940...). This originally Private Purchase and then Lend Lease Ammo was NOT sold on to US(govt) Users, but was sent to a lot of Allied users direct from US.( so much so that at war's end, one could find this "300z" ammo in almost all ex-British colonies,as well as the Dutch East Indies and elswhere. What has come onto the US Market has been through the likes of Interarms etc, who imported it back to the USA in the 1950s and 60s.


    Regards,
    DocAV

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    DocAV

    I believe the RA 300 Z cartridges found in the US are Remington made for use here. As i said earlier, Remington was given permission to use the ring crimp and headstamp since their machinery was still in place from the British contract. The cartridges can be found mixed with the regular RA 41 headstamps. Ordnance Dept asked Remington to cull the headstamps as much as possible to prevent confusion, but the mixed headstamps in one lot was not sufficient reason to reject the ammunition. The ring crimp on Remington cartridges can still be found as late as 1945 although the headstamp bunters were changed to show the correct year.

    All of the USCCo cartons of the aircraft ammunition that I have seen are marked Model 1906. RA cartons are marked M2. I have never seen any aircraft ammunition with ANM2 designation. AN simply means the ammunition meets both Army and Navy specifications and is usually found on cartons of Ball.

    Ray
    Last edited by Ray Meketa; 02-05-2013 at 10:58 AM.

  7. #7

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    Thank you Ray and DocAV - I've enjoyed your exchange of great information and realize I still have a lot to learn.
    Ray - I'm sorry I missed your last message. I've been in for some minor surgery, which went well and am recovering now - just back to the computer today. Yes, I did check the FA cases, as you suggested and you were correct. When I cleaned the base of the case with solvent and removed the grease it read "FA 39 NM" - I actually have two of them with identical markings. They have powder residue inside, however the primers are intact and unused. Also, they are Boxer primed. I believe they may be from the same manufacturing lot, as the brass has that muted pink color you sometime see with old cases. I never checked the case neck diameter when I inserted the first case into my full sizing die because it appeared to be a .30-06 and that was what I believed the Frankfort Arsenal always manufactured. However, the case neck immediately flared when I raised it to contact the expander mandrel. I've since measured the second case with my calipers and discovered that the case neck interior measures .270" and the exterior measures .305". So, it remains a mystery to me. Your thoughts? Rob

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    Rob

    FA 39 NM is, of course, Frankford Arsenal 1939 National Match. Only the 1930 Match cases were Berdan primed. All others are Boxer.

    If the cases have powder residue inside it would indicate they have been fired and re-primed. A neck inside diameter of .270" and an outside diameter of .305" suggests that the cases were made into 270 Winchester, a very common practice when 30-06 brass was plentiful and commercial .270 was not.

    The original primer would have been brass, slightly rounded on top. It would have been crimped in with a circular crimp and have a black or other dark color primer seal.

    Ray

  9. #9

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    Thanks Ray, you're right -on. While these are brass primers with a rounded top there is no circular crimp present at this time. Also, whom ever did the resizing did a very good job because there is no outward signs of neck or sholder discoloration or brass distress. So, I guess I'll just discard both of them and move on. Thanks again for the education. Regards - Rob

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    Dear Ray, Whilst I aggree that "AN" suggests common use by both US Army and US Navy, how come the Browning .30ANM2 MGs were specially engineered ( thin frames, Lighter bolts and barrels, higher rates of fire) for specifically the USAAC/F and the Navy Aircraft???? And of course, then "ANM2 ammo" would have been routed to these users, as a priority...at least before use of standard (Army) M2 and M2(Alt) became universal because of its increased reliability...but then, since the Aircraft use of .30 cal dropped away by mid-war,( replaced by .50, even in flexible guns), there was no more need for specifically Ringed head "ANM2" ammo, and so it went into the Pool.

    regards,
    Doc AV

  11. #11
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    Clyde is offline Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocAV View Post
    Dear Ray, Whilst I aggree that "AN" suggests common use by both US Army and US Navy, how come the Browning .30ANM2 MGs were specially engineered ( thin frames, Lighter bolts and barrels, higher rates of fire) for specifically the USAAC/F and the Navy Aircraft???? And of course, then "ANM2 ammo" would have been routed to these users, as a priority...at least before use of standard (Army) M2 and M2(Alt) became universal because of its increased reliability...but then, since the Aircraft use of .30 cal dropped away by mid-war,( replaced by .50, even in flexible guns), there was no more need for specifically Ringed head "ANM2" ammo, and so it went into the Pool.

    regards,
    Doc AV
    The ANM2 30s and the AN-series 50s were all intended primarily as aircraft guns. Army Air Corps and Naval Aviation... hence - AN... Don't forget the aviation in the US was Naval or Army until after WWII when we most mistakenly followed British practice and established a separate Air Force. At least we did learn from British erros and did NOT hand naval aviation to the USAF as was initially done in Great britain.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

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