7.62x51 "FA 50" dummy

I got these linked dummies because I got a similar belt a long time ago and remembered how someone commented on how early (1950) these were. There was a similar topic before but about functional rounds (not dummies) viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2836&p=17701&hilit=earliest+.308#p17701.
So, what is the earliest .308 dummy headstamp?


First, I didn’t see anything in that thread about 308 dummies. Also, it pre-dated my research and JOURNAL article on the 308 Winchester and we’ve learned a lot about them since then.

But, to your question - the cartridges you pictured are, of course, a mix of Cal .30 Light Rifle and 7.62mm NATO, and not 308 Winchester. I know I nit pick about the difference but in the case of your question it is important. Are you asking about the earliest 308 W dummy or the earliest Cal .30 LR dummy, or the earliest 7.62mm NATO dummy?

I don’t know when the earliest 308W dummy cartridge was manufactured but would guess that it was in 1952 or 1953, around the same time as the 308 Winchester itself. The headstamp would have been SUPER SPEED or SUPER-X.

The earliest Cal .30 LR would have actually been a pre-T65 using the .300 Savage case, headstamped either SUPER-X 300 SAV or REM-UMC 300 SAV. I have one of the latter. The earliest T-65 Dummy would have been the T70 with an FA 45 headstamp. The T70 E1 thru T70 E5 would have been the normal progression until the NATO cartridge was adopted in 1953 with the first US NATO headstamps in 1954.

Darn, you ask some tough questions. That’s a good thing. But, I probably made it more complicated than you intended. Did this help?


Now you got me confused. Here is the same belt with several “Nato cross LC 55” headstamped rounds on the right, I even inserted one into a link. They are 51mm length, I called them .308 W, but I guess they are 7.62mm NATO, correct?


This is an example of why I am so nit picky over calling cartridges by their correct name. Cal .30 LR and 7.62mm NATO are military cartridges. 308 Winchester is a commercial cartridge.

7.62mm NATO cartridges will have headstamps no earlier than '54. (Except for some FN that have '53, but let’s not go there for now). Cal .30 Light Rifle cartridges will have headstamps from '45 to '53. They can be found in three lengths, 1.87" (47mm), 1.95" (49mm), and 2.01" (49mm). Those dated '45 thru '47 will be 1.87". The 1.95" can be found dated '48 thru '50. Cases 2.01" long will be dated '49 thru '53. As you can see, there is some overlap which doesn’t help someone who doesn’t collect them.

308W cases are 2.01" (except some of the prototypes, but, again, let’s not go there). They will have commercial headstamps.

We could get into the same discussion about Cal .30 and 30-06 but I’m tired of fighting the battle. I’m too old and some of the naysayers can get downright nasty.


Internet says that Cal .30 Light Rifle use .30 Carbine cartridge, which is different from the ones in my links. What is Cal .30 LR?


Don’t believe half of what you read on the Internet and even less of what I say. Do your own research and you’ll be surprised how wrong Google, Wiki, and Bing can be about some things.

Anyway, Cal .30 Light Rifle is the name given to the 7.62mm pre-NATO cartridges developed by Frankford Arsenal between 1944 and 1953. They get their name from the Army’s desire to develop a “light rifle” to replace the Garand, Carbine, and SMG with one rifle firing one standardized cartridge. The rifle became the M14 but I suppose you could argue that the “light” part of it was compromised long before its adoption. NATO came into the picture in 1949 and and like anything involving more than one country, it only got more complicated.

But, that’s what makes collecting the LR and NATO cartridges so interesting.



But, that’s what makes collecting the LR and NATO cartridges so interesting.


Interesting indeed.

Even on the Eastern side of the pond these early cartridges turn up in dummy form reasonably frequently and I’m always happy to find a new 'un.

Happy collecting, Peter

Natodave is out of town (way out of town!) and sent this reply:

“These are pre-NATO and certainly before the intro of 308 win - I’ll be surprised if Ray Maketa hasn’t got something to say about these. I think the earliest T65 dummy is either F A 45 or F A 46, but don’t quote me on that.”

Don’t tell him that I quoted him!

I was hoping Dave would comment. I know he’s out of the country (again) and checks his emails, but I wasn’t sure he can watch the Forum.

I see that he isn’t positive about the first year T 65 Dummy either. I said '45 but I don’t actually have one with that date. I do have it listed in my notes as having two holes in the case so I either saw one or heard of one sometime in the past. Unfortunately, I didn’t note who or when. But now, I can quote Dave on it. ;-) ;-)

Dave must have missed those '58 and '60 headstamps in Vlad’s photo. Truth be told, I didn’t see them the first time either.


Yeah, the IAA is apparently blocked as a seditious entity where Dave is currently to be found. I send him stuff when it looks relevant.