30-06 Match ammunition - Lot - Chest - Box numbers


I was having a discussion with the King of Match ammunition (Mr. Ray M.) about lot numbers
and we came to a point where we stumbled across following:

In 1930, the ammunition for the National Matches came in boxes with a lot number.
See picture for example

But two years later this was changed into Chest number

This although normal Ball ammunition would have normal lot-numbers.
see example for a box from 1934

However in 1935 (or maybe earlier; but I don’t have a box from 1933 and there were no matches in 1934),
the Chest number was changed into Box number

Does anybody have any info on why Chest or Box numbers instead of Lot numbers were used ?




Nice boxes! Here is a 1935 NM 1500 round box with both box and lot numbers. Was this a “chest” a few years earlier?




We know that all Match had ammunition lot numbers. For 1935 the numbers were Lot 1846 and Lot 1872. What I am trying to learn is, what are the “Box” and “Chest” numbers that appear on the cartons?

Perhaps the 1935 Match cartons that came from that box were labeled as Box 1665 ?? That would mean there were potentially 2000 such boxes, each with their own number.?? And 2000 different carton labels.?? Once the cartons were removed from the box there would be no way to know the ammunition lot number - information that would be much more important.

But why do some cartons have a Lot number while others have Box or Chest numbers?




I don’t know what Lot or “Chest” vs. “Box” is about. I just thought my old wood box for the 1935 NM would be of interest and perhaps related to the thread.




That box very definitely is of interest and is related to the thread. If we can somehow verify that the number on the wooden box is the same as the box number on a carton, that would be great. But it stills begs the questions of why the cartons are marked differently, and why a box number vs. the ammunition lot number is on cartons? A box number tells us nothing. An ammunition lot number tells us everything.




I think the Major shot up all the ammo from that box long before I was able to get my hands on it. None of the cartridges and smaller boxes I did get were Cal. 30 so no chance to link carton markings to box markings here.

Couldn’t numbering cartons with “Chest” or “Box” numbers simply be a means of further identifying particular cartridges more specifically? While an ammunition lot would represent many thousands of rounds manufactured over a given period of time, grouping by every 1500 rounds would likely allow for determining the particular day of manufacture (and persons/equipment involved) for quality control purposes. It does seem a bit extreme! Is there any other unit for this ammunition larger than a 1500 round case and smaller than an ammunition lot?




I just got this from a very reliable source. You’ve nailed the reasoning behind “Box” and “Chest” numbers. The DCM, NRA, and shooters were concerned about variations in accuracy between the beginning and end of large lots, such as the 1935 Lot 1846 which consisted of nearly 3 million rounds. The answer was to break it down into smaller quantities or sub-lots, such as the 1500 round “Box”. That way, a shooter could be issued ammunition that he could reasonably assume was consistent. Or at least more consistent. Whether it actually worked out we have no way of knowing although it probably gave a shooter more confidence in his ammuntion, and you should never underestimate confidence as a factor in winning or losing.

But, as I said before, once out of the box, the ID of the ammunition lot number is lost, unless you had a list of Box numbers cross-referenced by lot number. And, it doesn’t explain why some cartons were marked with the lot number and others weren’t. And, it doesn’t reconcile things such as the 1930 Match where over 3 million rounds were manufactured and yet all cartons were labeled with the lot number. But maybe the “Box” thing was something that evolved over a period of years.

Do you suppose shooters back then fought over who got ammo from Box 1156 because it was so much better than Box 1292? There’s no doubt in my military mind whatsoever.




Great info. Thank you for sharing that.

With about 2000 different box numbers potentially out there for that one ammunition lot, there would seem to be no end to this collecting thing…

What box number(s) took home the trophy in 1935? I’ll bet not 1665…



While accuracy may have been a factor driving the use of “box numbers” I suggest (without any documentation) that custody and accountability issues may have been equally important.

If a team was issued Boxes x, y and z and somehow the ammo disappeared, or mysteriously showed up on the civilian market, they would have a means to track down where it came from, or should have been. Or, if ammo on the firing line appeared to be tampered with (to achieve some supposed accuracy advantage) it could be compared with other cartons from the same “box number.”

I could probably confirm that all 75 cartons inside a wooden crate (“box”) have the same box number as stenciled on the wooden crate, but I prefer to leave my crate unopened.


Apparently this box number marking carried of for several years. I went and looked at a 20 round box of FA 1939 NM .30M1 ammo and it is marked Box Number C 789 FYI



On behalf of the slightly unbalanced collectors who keep records of such things - thank you. Yours is the 1st “C” box number for 1939 Match ammunition that I’ve seen.

Anyone else having box or chest numbers, please post them.