5,56 M193 Remington Box

was this a civilian or a Military contract? and was this the package, how it was delivered to the Army?
The headstamp of the ammo is ( R A 6 4 ) and the lot number given is RA 1-17

thx for help

This was a military contract, for U.S. Forces. I don’t quite know what you mean by “how was it delivered to the Army,” but probably couldn’t answer the question no matter what the meaning.

This was one of the very early loads for the M16. I have seen similar (perhaps identical) boxes from Remington that contained FMJ-bullet loaded ammunition with a Commercial
REM-UMC headstamp, as I recall.

I have a box very similar - white with black print, label marked as follows:


5.56 MM
BALL M 193
LOT WCC 6078


The headstamp on the ammo is W C C 6 4. My understanding is that the Remington ammunition performed better in the very early days of fighting in VN that did the Winchester, primarily because the latter was loaded with ball powder, which fouled the gas tube and bolt carrier rather quickly. True? I can’t guarantee that.

I kept this box only because years later, we had a fairly large quantity of this Olin ammunition in our store, and this one is stamped with our Store name and address, and the required “Keep out of the reach of Children” warning. A couple of years ago, someone gave it to me as a gift because of the marking. I stamped dozens of these boxes myself.

John Moss

The problem with the fouling & stoppages was not so much the ball powder but the powder coating that was used.

Pete - I think you are correct, but I think the coating that caused problems was only on the Ball powder. Will have to read the Congressional report again; I have a copy of it. Of course, it all comes down to poor cleaning habits, even if exacerbated by the powder coating. Unfortunately, the first military “issue” manual on the M16 was a Training Circular. One of those was sent to my office by mistake (we were not on the Distribution Guide in the Manual) when I worked for the DA, and oops, it somehow found its way in my library. A dear friend wanted it very badly as he collected military rifles, so I gave it to him. I had my instruction manual from Colt that came with my early AR15 (4 digit serial number) anyway. At any rate, the TC, the number of which I don’t recall, stressed how reliable the rifle was with a minimum of cleaning. BIG MISTAKE! The 173rd Airborne was one of the first, if not THE first, regular unit to get the black rifle, and had it for a few months on Guam (? - I think that’s where they were, time fades memory). The soon found out with the rifle was and what it was not. They had no significant problems in VN with the M16 because of that “wringing out period” and the better overall discipline of the airborne units. I think the 82nd Airborne got it early too, and had no big problems in VN with it, but again, I might be wrong. It is all in the Congressional Report, plus I had a dear friend I still correspond with that was a Platoon Leader in the 173rd. He stopped at my house before going overseas - we took him to Travis AFB - and the first time he saw one of the ARs was at my house, as I already had my AR15.

By the way, I fired many thousands of rounds through that rifle, most all handloads of my own, and never had a single malfunction of any type in it. Of course, I was not dragging it thru the jungle nor using any ball powder in my loads. Hard to compare civilian use with real combat conditions.

John M.

Early on in VN there was a shortage of cleaning materials to boot. The two most popular items in our store early in the war, with guys going over there (mostly professional Army), were .22 cleaning kits and when we could get them, the little 3X Colt Scope that locked to the top of the carrying handle.

Sad that guys had to buy stuff in a gun shop to go with there issue weapons!

John M.

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John, I think the substance you mean is calcium-carbonate in WC846 ball powder.

Please forgive me for not being more explicit. What I meant to say is it was the coating on the ball powder that caused the problem.
I believe Peelen has the correct name of the chemical coating.

This information was passed on to me from L. James Sullivan. An Armalite employee ca. 1957 & was responsible along with Bob Fremont for miniaturizing the AR10 into the AR15. So from an original source.

Pete - good info. Can’t beat documentation from people involved in the whole project. Of course, that type of fouling required close attention to 1st echelon maintenance - the soldier himself - and in many units, that was sadly lacking.

Thank you Peelen, also, always there with good info. I probably never should wander into the tech considerations of ammo. I am cartridge-history oriented, and no scientist at all! Still, I guess the two subjects sometimes are hard to separate when the technical ends sometimes create the history.