.50 Browning


Is this a normal WW2 head stamp?



Yes. I do’t collect .50s, so don’t know how many factories included the Cal.50 in the headstamp.

I actually have not seen the WRA Version before, which means absolutely nothing since I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to this caliber, but I have had several of these from Frankford Arsenal over the years, most with dates in the mid to late 1930s. I don’t know what year they totally quit putting the “Cal .50” on the headstamp. Wish I knew more about this stuff - I am a real stooge on it.


Yes, looks like export to the UK.


Could be, EOD, but I can tell you that rounds with the Cal. .50 were not just for export. A dear friend of mine flew P47s in the last year of the War. When he came back from his last mission, he still had most of his ammunition left because he his words, “there was nothing left to shoot at.”

He had his crew chief save him the round in his number one gun as a souvenir. About fifteen years ago, he gave it to me, but somehow I lost track of it and it got away from me. I do recall clearly that the headstamp 3a FA with a mid to late 1930s date (36 or 39, I believe), and it absolutely had the “Cal. .50” on the headstamp. I was quite shocked that the headstamp was almost 9 years old when he had his guns loaded with the stuff. I just had figured, without knowing anything special, that so much ammo waas used in the war that the fighter planes would be shooting stuff hot of the production line. But then, when I was in the Army in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we were still shooting Evansville Chrysler WW2 .45 ammunition!


Hi Dutch, if you go to the link below for our 50 Cal BMG Book, Section 156 - Winchester Repeating Arms, I think you will see the info you are seeking. All our best,
Ron and Ron J.

50 Cal BMG Book Link

cid-cef023994dde93cc.office.live … 20Book.zip


From Relics found in old ( Pacific) airfields in Australia, it seems that FA stopped adding the “.50” at the end of 1939 ( have not seen any FA with later dates having “.50” ( FA 40, etc) All the other wartime relics ( HS) of 1941 onwards are also absent the “.50” marking.

Winchester, on the other hand, had a large Export market ( many Latin American countries had Watercooled BMGs on Naval Vessels for AA use); it is possible the use of the “.50” mark was initially for these countries…or even for “Lend lease”. ( Britain used .50s in its US Purchases B17s, and other Aircraft early in the war. .50s were also fitted to a lot of other (Fighter) aircraft as well.

Another small twist in Ammunition History to unravel…

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Bill Woodin’s book explains the signif of the Cal 50 in the headstamp and the start/stop dates of it appearing in the headstamp. 39 was the last year, but WRA still used in on 42 production.