.30-'06 box picture


Can anyone provide me with a good picture of a US military .30-'06 box (20 rounds) typical of the pre-WWI era? I need something that could have gone into Mexico with Pershing’s punitive expeditionary force in 1916.


While I do not have a 20 round box of 30-06 from this era I did come across a can from 1911. It is steel 1200 round from Frankford arsenal. To me it looks like something that would be used for pack animals. I can E mail pictures if you are interested.


Lotsofammo–Please post the pictures here. I don’t remember anyone showing a large can for .30-06 that old before.


I think this is the metal crate he is describing.

I would like to know more about these myself.


I was afraid someone would ask to see this I am not good on this computer. The can was sold as dating from 1916 but looking at it there is a period after the second one in the date. the chains look like they have always been there.


Great pictures. I can’t make out very well what the 4th line says, the one below “FOR MODEL 1903 RIFLE.” that has .30 CALIBER. in the middle and 1916 at the end. Maybe it’s a lot number? What a treasure to have one of these cans. I’m still looking for a picture of whatever was originally in this can.


I believe it says Lot 294 of 1916. Not sure if the 1916 is the year or the total number of lots.

Since the primary (only) use for the Cal .30 cartridges would have been in the new 1903 rifle, and the individual soldier carried his ammunition in the Model 1903 Infantry or Cavalry Cartridge Belt with pockets for the 5-round clips, I’d guess that the ammo in the steel boxes came in cartons of four 5-round clips.

But, just a SWAG.



But what comes before the “.30 Caliber.”? I would think what follows means lot 294 of the year 1916, as no one at Frankford would necessarily know that there would be 1916 lots produced in any given year, as that could easily change at any time. Seems like a high number of lots for the period (as the US was not yet actively involved in WWI), unless each lot was a relatively small number of rounds.


At the end of one year, or the beginning of the next, an order would have been issued for the ammunition to be produced during the new year. So, it is possible that the total number of cartridges (and lots) would have been known. But, I do tend to agree that the 1916 refers to the year.

I have no idea what comes before the .30 Caliber. We need better photos.

The Cavalry adopted the M1912 Bandolier sometime before WW I but you’d have to examine period photos of the Pershing Expedition to see if the troopers actually had them in their possession. Regardless, the bandoleer had 12 pockets for clipped cartridges so issuing the ammunition in 5-round clips would not have changed.



I hope these pictures help the bandoleer is a standard 6 pocket 60 round with the load card.

It still looks to me like the date is 1911 but if so why a period after the date?


Missed this one


The bandolier shown is a 1909 Pattern Rifle Cartridge Bandolier (primarily Infantry) that was used all the way thru WW II and the KW. It has six pockets each holding 2 clips for a total of 60 rounds. It differs from the Cavalry Bandolier which was more like a belt, with a tongue and buckle, and with snaps on the pockets. The 1909 Pattern was used more as a means to carry extra ammunition, it was disposable, and a soldier could carry as many as he was strong enough to handle.

Dennis - I did find one photo of a Punitive Expedition Trooper taken in Chihuahua, Mexico. It shows him with a M1909 Cavalry Cartridge Belt modified for adding the 1911 Pistol. No sign of a bandolier of any kind.

Of course, it still doesn’t answer the IP question of what the cartons looked like.


The picture of the 1911 bandolier loading card makes it fairly clear that 1916 must be a year, not the number of lots to be produced. It seems there is a logical question here - was there actually a cardboard carton even produced at this time by FA, or was all .30-'06 production intended for the M1903 rifle packed in bandoliers? The pictures of the ammunition can markings don’t provide any clue as to how the ammunition was packed, other than it held 1200 rounds, which could be 20 bandoliers of 60 rounds each. During the same period, the Benet-Mercier was the “Official” light MG, and is the only other weapon (besides the M1904 Maxim which used belted ammunition) using the .30-'06, and its ammunition would have been packed in the metal strips specific to the Ben-A. So what would have been the need for a 20 round box? Maybe that’s why no one seems to be aware of one.

I did long ago have a 20 round cardboard box of FA ammunition (which I remember was packed in 5 round clips) dating from the mid-1930s, but it’s lost to history now. So at least some time prior to the advent of the M1 Garand, FA did pack 20 round boxes. Of course, such boxes were common during WWII, and I have lots of those.



I’ve learned from a very good source that prior to WW I, the numbers on the boxes corresponded to the powder lot number which also included the year the powder was made. This lot system usually included the initials of the powder manufacturer, such as the CP on the loading card shown. Pyro DG is the powder type, of course.

It would be odd if there was no 20-round carton system in use at the time. Such cartons were used to pack earlier cartridges, before the adoption of the M1903 rifle. HWS Vol I shows many examples of carton labels from the period.



Both HWS Volume I and Chris Punnett’s book on .30-06 show some box labels that appear to
be pre-1919, with the former book having actually more 30-03 labels that early 30-06, it seems.
Frankly, though, I am surprised at how few either book has. They must be pretty scarce boxes.
Odd, since earlier .45-70 and .30-40 boxes, while getting scarcer and scacer as times goes on, are
certainly not rare (with exceptions, as always, of course).


I have six pretty good photos of Pershing’s troops in Mexico, many of them carrying '03 Springfields. Most can be seen to have belts with ammunition pouches around their waists, and two soldiers have holstered .45 M1911s on those belts, one with a swivel Cavalry-type holster and one with what appears to be a plain flap holster. None of the soldiers seem to be carrying or wearing bandoliers, as far as I can tell. But wouldn’t it be normal to fill the waist pouches from the bandoliers?