.308 BF question

This NATO symbol 30 80 BF .308 is made in either Portugal or Norway. How to tell?

Vlad - the “BF” headstamps I have seen on 9mm Para were made in Portugal and all came out of Southern Africa. I don’t know what the significance of “BF” is and as far as I know, even the Portuguese didn’t. Factories make headstamps to demand - there is no requirement, generally, that the customer reveals the meaning of a headstamp even to them.

Don’t confuse this “BF” with Bakelitefabrikken of Norway, who only in recent years started to headstamp their PLASTIC cartridge products with “BF.” For years, they either had no headstamp or someone else’s.

Edited for bad spelling. Thanks Morten.

Here in Europe was the explenation that FNM made the cartridges to fill a contract that won Bakelitten fabrikken. As they made by them self blank and plastic training they has to look for an other factory. Nothing is proven just a possible explanation. Bakelitten fabrikken used the code BF for a long time on there boxes. I have one of 1978 of short red plastic 7.62 NATO blanks with these code.
Wishes, Jan.

There is no indications whatsoever that these BF-headstamped cartridges have any connection to Bakelittfabrikken, or Nammo Bakelittfabrikken AS which is the correct name after they became a part of the Nammo company in July 2005 (note correct spelling).

From other sources, it was said that the BF headstamped 7,62 mm N ctgs had been made in Portugal with a cryptic hstp for a contract to circumvent the embargo on Weapons and Ammo for So.Africa, but this possibility has to be ascertained.


As friend of mine had a bunch of this ammunition, as it was common surplus here a few years ago. Looking at the cartridges and box label, it sure looks like Portuguese production. I too have heard that this ammunition was given a “fake” factory code so it could be exported to S. Africa via a third party to avoid an embargo. It probably came into the US along with the large shipment of S. African made surplus 7.62x51mm.


There is no question that this ammunition was made by FNM of Portugal. It was identified as such on this Forum some time ago by one of our Portuguese friends.

It is probably true that the “BF” on the headstamp of this and its 9mm Para counterpart are spurious identifiers - that is, have little or no meaning. However, what it means or doesn’t mean was not necessarily known to FNM, and in this case, it would appear they didn’t know if it had a meaning or didn’t have a meaning. They supplied what the customer asked for.

There is also no question that the ammunition was shipped to Southern Africa. I am not pinning it down to RSA because it has shown up in other Southern African countries - at least the 9mm version had - but that may have been due to distribution by RSA.