7,62x51 headstamp


#1

I was at an Army range near Thetford, Norfolk in the UK last week and picked this fired cartridge out of the grass. It would seem to be a military case as it has three crimps around the primer pocket and a black seal around the primer. The headstamp 7.62 WA 80 R1M1 seems an odd one to crop up on a British range. There might have been a black ring on the neck of the case as this doesn’t appear to be a powder mark.

It’s probably extremely mundane but I’d be interested to know a bit more about it.

Peter


#2

I don’t know the meaning of the “W” but aside from that, this is a typical South African headstamp.


#3

The war in Afganistan and Iraq is having an effect on the supply of 7.62 ammo for target shooting in the UK. This is not unusual, after the Falklands it dried up completely for a while.
The expensive stuff like Lapua and RG greenspot doesn’t seem affected but the budget/surplus end is. Smallmark has gone up from


#4

That cupro-nickel (?) jacketed German 7.62x51mm is showing up here in the US as well. I was under the impression that it was newer, like 1990’s vintage. I don’t shoot this caliber, so I did not look all that close at it, but thought the jacket material was odd… Any ideas what that is all about?

AKMS


#5

Many thanks for the contributions so far.

The range I found this on is almost only used by the British military. They take a few civilian bookings but these are often cancelled if an ‘official’ need arises. Thus far I’ve not seen this ammunition for sale on the surplus market here in the UK, is there any chance that this was being used as GPMG fodder?

It would seem that the stores are being emptied of the GPMG and that they are being bolted onto anything and everything in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Given that they serve to keep the other fellows heads below the parapet I wouldn’t suppose quality of ammunition was a prime consideration as long as sufficient training had been given in clearing stoppages.

Peter


#6

No one has really aimed at the original question, but I’ll try. All my 7.62 Nato notes went with my collection.
As I recall, the “W” signaled a change in PMP production to the “Walter Process”, or something like that.
I hope somebody (David!!!) will come along and improve my answer.


#7

The addition of the W to the usual A headstamp is supposedly a tribute to one of the employee’s at PMP. The Walter plant uses a manufacturing technique that has one less draw stage. Known variations are
WA 79 7.62 R1M1 Ball (headstamp uses a serif 7)
WA 80 7.62 R1M1 Ball and dummy (headstamp uses standard font)

A similar RSA headstamp is LA from the Luther plant. This one is more common than WA.

Dave S


#8

[quote=“enfield56”]Many thanks for the contributions so far.

The range I found this on is almost only used by the British military. They take a few civilian bookings but these are often cancelled if an ‘official’ need arises. Thus far I’ve not seen this ammunition for sale on the surplus market here in the UK, is there any chance that this was being used as GPMG fodder?

It would seem that the stores are being emptied of the GPMG and that they are being bolted onto anything and everything in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Given that they serve to keep the other fellows heads below the parapet I wouldn’t suppose quality of ammunition was a prime consideration as long as sufficient training had been given in clearing stoppages.

Peter[/quote]

That is entirely possible. I doubt very much that the Radway Green factory, now the only “official” source of 7.62, could possibly be keeping pace with the current demand for ammunition. Not if its making 5.56mm as well. Its really quite small you know, I went there on a visit years ago.

Every time you see troops on the TV they seem to be using the GPMGs a lot.


#9

[quote=“AKMS”]That cupro-nickel (?) jacketed German 7.62x51mm is showing up here in the US as well. I was under the impression that it was newer, like 1990’s vintage. I don’t shoot this caliber, so I did not look all that close at it, but thought the jacket material was odd… Any ideas what that is all about?

AKMS[/quote]

My understanding is that its steel jacket with a nickel wash as opposed to the more usual copper wash. I cant see any particular advantage in doing that. Nickel bullet jackets in general are a thing of the past.

Those of us “of a certain age” who remember the nickel bulleted surplus .303 ammunition will know that nickle fouling in a barrel is harder to get out than copper fouling and if allowed to build up is detrimental to accuracy. The old wisdom was that you shouldn’t mix copper and nickel.


#10

Just an update. I was down at Bisley on Thursday, came home yesterday. No sightings of these cases down there so it looks like your theory about the army using it might be right.
Interesting times for the ammo collector. Supplies are poor and prices are sky high. This will mean all sorts of unusual ammunition will be turning up.

The NRA are selling some Russian surplus (DAG? Its not known to me) 7.62x51 for


#11

“DAG” is German surplus ammo.


#12

I heard last week that Radway Green are currently producing over 200 million rounds a year, 7.62 5.56 and a small amount of 4.6 Apparently they are not yet at full capacity.


#13

Thanks for that Hoplite. This is not a good time to suggest it but when things settle down would sufficient members of the forum be interested in a visit to Radway Green if it could be arranged?

I went about 18 years ago and all I had to do was ask.


#14

I’d be interested in doing that, if they allowed it, but I’m sure they would find a reason not to.