.30 Carbine Headstamp L C 4

No typo in the OP, this .30 Carbine round was stamped L C 4, with a single digit:

Where did this cartridge come from and what is it? Presumably Lake City, but beyond that, I dunno. It came in this box of 50, though:

What’s weirder is it was in with some LC 52 and LC 43 headstamped cartridges as you can see here:

What’s the deal with this cartridge and the others headstamped like it? What does that headstamp mean? Does the strange headstamp incur any extra value (the shop wants $24.99 for a box of 50). I’ve been unable to turn up anything with a fairly cursory Googling, and I was wondering if the forum could help.

Looking at it again while uploading the images, it almost looks like a misprint.

This is a very common U.S. .30 Carbine round made for the Armed Forces of the United States, although I am sure plenty of it found eventual homes elsewhere. The single digit “4” derives from a “43” dated bunter with the “3” ground off, and indicates 1944 production. You also see U.S. cartridges with a signle “5” indicating a “55” date. Bunters had the “3” (or the “4” in the case of “54” ones) ground off for use the next year, as a money and labor-saving device. Before lasers, bunters were much more expensive to make then they are now. Occasional you see the single-digit dates with the single digit centered in relation to the manufacturer’s mark. This is a result of the need for a new bunter, but meeting the regulations that the year “44” be represented by a single digit so they could sinply remove the “3” from the bunter to get it.

There are also headstamps with the single digit “6” for the same reasons. A '65 bunter with the “5” ground off.


John & Ray, were these exclusive war time measures only as the dates do all fit US war involvements.

Huh. Shows how much I know about .30 Carbine headstamps, hahah. Weird that it didn’t turn up in Google research, though I admit I didn’t spend too much time on it.

Is there a good resource online for American headstamps (probably is, of course, but consider me worth educating)?

EOD - Actually, the dates 54 and “5” do not fit war involvement by the US. The hostilities of the Korean War ended in 1953, although only in Armistice - technically, We and South Korea are still at war with North Korea. The “6” series fits Viet Nam, but pretty early. I am not counting the “Cold War.”

The only “6” I have is an LC Cal .30 (30-06) case. I would think the Cal .30 cartridge would not have been in much demand in 1966, even including use in Viet Nam. Using old bunters in 1966 was probably a simple cost-saving step and not necessarily driven by wartime demand.

We tend to think that the single digit bunters were made from prior year bunters, but the Ordnance Plants could have used any bunter from a previous year that had the numerals needed. For example, the “5” could have been made from a '51 or '52 as easily as a '54. I’ve never seen any documentation on this. Anyone else?

Tau - there are several headstamp lists on-line. The one I use the most is right here on the IAA site. But, it’s interesting that the list does not show the single digit headstamps, even though they are well known. I’ve not noticed that before.



Ray - interesting comment on the possible use of bunters other than just those of the previous year. Very, very possible, and something that simply never came to my mind (whatever is left of it, that is). As you say, just theory now but regardless, very much so “food for thought,” and absolutely logical and possible.

Ray, you are mistaken in the use of .30 cal in Vietnam…all APCs (M113) carried either a single or double BMG, sometimes a 50 with a 30. Australia used BMGs 30 & 50 in its armoured vehicles (APCs)
both at home and in SVN; they were a standard mg; The ARVN also used them extensively…and the AATTV and the US Trg.Teams preferred the reliability of BMGs for vehicular mounting and as “Back up” in the Highlands ( Montagnard units.). I would hazard a guess that use of .30 cal in Vietnam was equal to use of 7,62 Nato. ( Garands, BARs etc were on issue to ARVN and Local Militia units.)

I am still using LC Vietnam-era fired cases for Blank manufacture ( have come across LC 4, and LC 5 and other “5” H/S in M1909 recycled case Blanks by LC in the 1960s ( for Jordan)…ex Private Ryan and Great Raid Blanks).