.30-06 fa 36nm


Is there any difference between “match” and “national match”?


That’s a huge question, but without going into too much detail the answer is “yes & no!”

From a 30-06 point of view there were basically three matches which Frankford Arsenal (and later Lake City) provided the ammunition - either for the whole event or to the US team. These were the National Match, the International Match and the Palma Match.

Ammunition destined for the National Matches used either “R” or “NM”, and from 1957, “MATCH” on the headstamp. Prior to 1920, the service ball ammunition was used without special headstamp.

The ammunition for the International Match used either “INM”, or “R”, and from 1961, “MATCH” on the headstamp. NB: “I & P” was also used on match ammo intended for both the International and Palma matches from 1927-1929. Prior to the early 1920s, the service ball ammunition was used with no special headstamp.

For the Palma Match, ammunition had either “R”, “P”, “PM” or the aforementioned “I&P” on the headstamp. Prior to 1920, service ball ammunition was used. By the way, the Palma match was an “invitational match” and not held each year, but Frankford Arsenal normally created batches of ammunition in case it was to be held.

So “NM” appears on only National Match ammunition but “MATCH” appears on rounds intended for the National and International matches depending on the year.

With a few exception most match ammo used 172-grain boat-tailed bullets with minor variations on the angle of the boat-tail. Prior to 1921, it was normal to use the service bullet (150gr flat base) in match ammo.

The above is a generalization and their are minor exceptions. To give the whole story would take a small book.


Thanks. Since I am not a competition shooter, could you enlighten me to what Palma Match means?


Back on November 9, 1875 the NRA Board of Directors instituted a new match event with a trophy that was designed by Tiffany & Co. (This was the US NRA and not the British NRA). The word “PALMA” was engraved on it as the latin word for “prominence, valour and victory” and the trophy and match quickly became known as the Palma. It was first shot in 1876 and in 1877 but then nothing until 1901. It is an invitational match so it is only held when someone answers the invitation. The trophy, which was 7.5 feet tall and contained 280 ounces of silver, disappeared sometime between 1928 and the early 1960 and (to my knowledge) has never been found. In 1988 and new trophy was presented by Herbert Aitken of Wisconsin.

Further info can be found in a great booklet published by the [English] NRA in 1995 which contains more history of the matches and articles on the ammuniiton used by the various national teams that competed.


Interesting footnote - to me at least. The 30-06 is no longer a Palma legal cartridge. Only the 7.62x51 and 5.56x45 can be used in US Palma and only the 7.62x51 can be used in International Palma competition.