1956 Olympics Match Ammunition

Speaking of the 1956 Australian Olympics and Match ammunition - that was the year and the competition that first saw the new 7.62MM Ball Match T275 cartridge. There were two loadings, Lot 1 at 2250 fps and Lot 2 at 2440 fps. Competitors were allowed to choose the load that shot best in their rifle.

Many references also mention a possible third load. The T275E2, identified by a red primer seal. Documentation of this load is sketchy at best, and can usually be traced back to one cartridge and carton in the Woodin Lab. However, I recently bought a full sealed carton of this ammunition and it seems to shatter all of the previous conceptions. I won’t tell you why, or any of the details, because I don’t want to predjudice your opinion. That will come later.

So, my question - What do you know about that mysterious red primer seal cartridge often referred to as a T275E2 for “Olympic” use?

I know that I can count the number of collectors interested in this kind of stuff on the fingers of one hand and still have enough left to type this post. I know it’s a long-shot at best but maybe one of you know of something that can help put this to rest once and for all.??


Ray, your post sort of begs the question of ‘was there a T275E1’? Or would that have been Lot 2 of the T275 perhaps…?


Yes there was a T275E1. In fact, there were T275E1 thru E4, which was the final iteration and the prototype for the XM118 MATCH.

Lot 2 was in a carton identical to Lot 1, shown above.

I’m of the opinion that the mystery cartridge just happened to be in a T275E2 carton and really had nothing to do with the Olympics.



I cannot help with an answer to your question but I can say I have saved all your posts (and IAA Journal articles) on match ammunition (development and use) because until you started posting said information I knew very little about the subject. So I look forward to any forth coming information!

Thanks for all you’ve done to provide information on and to promote the subject matter of U.S match ammunition.


Thanks for the kind words Brian. I don’t really deserve them because I’m just as ignorant as I was the day I left the farm. Maybe more so, according to the boss (wife).


I always appreciate your posts on this subject as they allow me to correct some of the many errors I have in my database. I just pulled up all of my (+) FA 56 match cartridges thinking that I had one with a red primer sealant identified as T275E2. I do indeed have one identified as such, but it has either a black or dark purple primer sealant. I purchased it from a collector knowledgeable in this field and I assume I pulled the ID from his description, but I don’t have those notes handy to verify this.

I’ve also found what appear to be duplicates of this last round with slightly different descriptions. I need to pull them out and compare them to verify that they are indeed the same, but the other two variants are cataloged as: black primer seal, T275E(2 or 3); purple primer seal, T275E2.

My questions are:

Is it correct that lot 1 has a blue primer seal and lot 2 has a green primer seal?

Were there variants with both black and purple primer seals? Where do they fit in the T275 series?

Here are the variations I have:

  1. T275, lot 1, blue primer seal



  1. T275, lot 2, green primer seal



  1. T275E2 (??), black (??) primer seal



  1. T275E(2 or 3) (??), black (??) primer seal (probably the same as item #3 above)



  1. T275E2 (??), purple (??) primer seal (probably the same as items #3 and #4 above)




The T275 cartridges can be identified by a combination of headstamp, primer type, primer seal color, cartridge OAL, and lot number. Not easy to summarize in a sentence or two.

But, yes, Lot 1 had a blue seal color and Lot 2 had a green seal. Both of them used the FA #26 primer which is rounded and easy to identify. All cartridges after that used a #34, #36, or Rem #72 primer which are flat.

I have a data sheet for all of the T275 variations that I’m aware of. I’m scanning a copy to you.



How much longer do we have to wait for your input/details on the “mysterious red primer seal cartridge often referred to as a T275E2 for “Olympic” use”?

You have an audience of at least one!!!



I keep hoping, against all odds, that someone will have information that will help to close the loop. But, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now. So, I will put together what I do know for sure and add my own conclusions. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible and I’ll post it here for all one of you to read.


I believe the mysterious “Olympic” cartridges with the red primer seal are nothing more mysterious than a pre-production lot of T275E2.

In 1956 the T275E1 designation was assigned to a cartridge intended for use by the AMU in newly acquired Swiss rifles. But, apparantly, the AMU opted to use another cartridge and so production of the T275E1 was delayed until 1959 when it was manufactured as Lot FA 7 with a FA 59 MATCH headstamp.

In the meantime, Ordnance notes indicate that a special loading of Olympic Match Competition ammunition, designated by the next “E” number available, T275E2, was to be manufactured with a red primer seal and an OAL of 2.950. But, except for those mysterious single cartridges that every collector seems to have, cartons of this ammunition have never been found. At least not in that configuration and not with any “Olympics” designation.

That is, until a few months ago when I found and bought the carton shown here.

This carton contains the special lot of Olympic cartridges exactly as the notes described. Unfortunately, the “P” lot records have been lost or destroyed so there is no way we can be sure. Since it is a P lot, the use of old cartons with the original lot number crossed out is reasonable.

Production lots of T275E2 are known with cartridges of 2.95" OAL, at both 2600fps and 2640fps (Lots FA 3 and FA 4) but with a black primer seal.

So, again, I believe the mysterious cartridges are all from the pre-production lot. Contemporanous accounts by 1956 Australian Olympics shooters make no mention of such a cartridge so I’m of the opinion that they were not manufactured in time for the Olympics but were, instead, issued for practice purposes. Many cartons of T275E2 stamped “PRACTICE” are known to exist in collections. I have 3 myself.

I believe the “Olympics” connection to the T275E2 cartridges started when someone penciled in the word on a T275E2 carton. I have talked to the collector who supposedly made this notation but he could not recall ever having done it. Of course, that would have been more than 50 years ago so that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. As it often happens, I think other collectors picked up on that and repeated it, and then another, and then another.

So Brian, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it for now. If anyone out there has any information that would contradict mine, or if they have a different opinion, I would like to hear from them. Mine is not set in concrete and I’m open to change any or all of it.



Great detective work and box!

So if I understand this correctly the T275E2 cartridges with the red primer seal are probably from a 1956 pre-production lot. I assume a pre-production lot was a short test production run to make sure the production line was setup correctly and the end product proved to be correct (within specs) after testing. Being a short test run then might explain the lack of boxes, such as yours, in collections.
Once regular production of the T275E2 was started it was probably to late to be used in Olympic competition and much of lots FA 3 and FA 4 were relegated to practice status, thus the high number of boxes with the “PRACTICE” stamp.

You may have covered this before but I cannot find it and that is the lot prefix FAP, what does the P signify?




Yes, that’s my boring conclusion in a nutshell. I almost wish someone can come up with other cartons and prove a different story and time-line.

“P” lots are Pilot, Prototype, Pre-production, Initial production, or Production control lots. There are other similar designators such as “X”, “E”, and “T”. Since there are 26 letters in the alphabet, I’ll bet there are at least 26 designators. :-)



Thanks for the response and information.

Being a green horn on this subject (actually the more I read and learn about cartridges in general the more I realize how ignorant I am) I have another related question.

Looking at the article 7.62MM M118 LONG RANGE EVOLUTION OF THE ULTIMATE SNIPER ROUND by Jim Frigiola
smallarmsoftheworld.com/disp … icles=2108 , there is a picture of a 1956 T275 International Match carton with loading data, bullet data and velocity data the same as yours shown above but the lot designation is FA X2449. Do you have any idea how this fits in the T275 “family tree”?
Its hard for me to imagine what a flow chart would look like when trying to keep this straight!



FA X2449 was an early loading of T275 (maybe the first) sent to the International Rifle Team at Ft. Benning. It was loaded the same as the regular production Lot FA-1. Who said collecting Lot numbers is no fun?

The only “smart” collectors are those who haven’t been at it for long. The rest of us get more ignorant every day. As I said on another thread, I’m more ignorant today than I was when I left the farm so many years ago. ;-)