7.62x51 NATO API (wts & extra info)

All, I have a cartridge here that looks right, but according to History of Modern US Military Small Arms Ammunition, Vol lll, it only shows LC 69 as legit API. This is LC 68… any comments?

You would want to either compare the total overall grain-weight of the cartridge against a known example, or else pull the bullet wit an inertia hammer to compare the projectile against likely stuffers such as a 1950’s FN 30-06 API projectile.

The (+) LC 69 headstamp is the only one that I have seen in reference to the Incendiary and API 7.62mm loadings. These rounds used the M1 and M14A1 projectiles respectively with an added cannelure to allow for crimping at the proper OAL. If you were to nudge the projectile out a bit with a puller you would be able to see whether or not it has that added smooth cannelure. You can then easily re-seat it to the original length after inspection.

The report from the testing of these is here:
a022357.pdf (1.0 MB)

On page 14 there is mention of the “recanneluring” of the projectiles.


Unfortunately I don’t have another one to weigh against nor do I have any tools that would allow me to pull it. I’m just gonna have to turn this one down for now

I too have + LC 69 (smooth cannelure)


  • WRA 68 (no visible cannelure with kinda a “dash” crimp all around (the correct word escapes me) The paint does not have the perfect horizontal cut off length

my notes only say bought at SLICS 2010 and Incendiary

Mine looks identical to your 68 without the ring crimp below the case mouth. Mine has a real pretty annulus seal too but unfortunately I can’t find any verified API outside of LC 69.

Pepper is it possible for you to get me the overall weights of your two API’s? I want to compare. Thanks!

yes stay tuned

Thanks pepper appreciate it… at your convenience please, no rush at all!

(1st photo) previous silver tipped +LC 69 = 24.730 g

(1st photo) previous silver tipped WRA 68 = 23.610 g

Not to be confused with 2nd photo

Silver tipped Tracer + FA 71 = 23.215 g
(my notes = Improved tracer lethality steel core no mg in igniter)

the “real notes” = HWS III page 238
“During the early 1970s, Frankford Arsenal experimented with an M62 tracer with increased lethality and penetration. It is not clear if this was prompted by a user inquiry or was generated internally by the Arsenal engineering staff. In any case, this round was designated the M62 Mod. and the first experimental bullets had a steel core replacing the lead alloy slug ahead of the tracer cavity. These were identified by an aluminum colored (silver) bullet tip and were loaded into cases headstamped + FA 71 and +FA 72 with brass primer and red sealant.”

I may as well keep going (as I have this other cartridge too)

“A 2nd design had an elongated lead alloy slug which increased the bullet length slightly. This design was identified by a olive-drab bullet tip and it was also loaded in to cases headstamped + FA 71 and + FA 72. Both design used igniter I-136 and red tracer mix R-284”

Thanks Pepper. The one I have weighs 24.6 grams so it would seem right. Also the annulus seal looks right, just my HS is off by one year. What else would you suggest I do to check my silver tip? It is magnetic from the casing where the patina changes color to the tip as well. I wanna believe it’s real but with my limited knowledge I’m not sure how else to confirm. Thanks and those are great pictures of the enhanced tracers, do PM me if you have extras for trade! Hope I can obtain sometime soon for my collection. V/r Henry

I don’t know anything about these rounds, but would like to point out that your cartridge is not necessarily “off by one year.” I the case was made very late in the year and the 1969-dated rounds loaded very early in that year, you could be talking a couple of months, weeks, or for that matter, even days. With a box lot number, you can’t even be sure that your 68-dated case wasn’t actually loaded in 1969.

Your primed case, irrespective of the load, is absolutely legitimate. That purple color seal is one of the standard colors that shows up on LC cartridges, and has no significance to the loading itself. Your tip color matches the color of the 69 cartridge, going by the two rounds side by side in the picture above, perfectly. The irregular bottom line of the paint-job is not at all unusual on military ammo.

I am not saying your round is an original loading - I haven’t a clue. It sure looks good to me though, and you say the weight of the round “would seem right.” So, it looks like the only way to be sure is that second bullet cannelure.

I just point this out because sometimes things are not quite as they seem with ammunition.

John Moss

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Thanks John. I know it will get better with experience. For now, I tend to use the books I have as gospel, especially HWS but as I keep hearing, no one knows everything all the time and I’m sure there’s no way to absolutely document everything. To me this looks good enough to me. If I saw the smooth cannelure I would be more certain for sure. Is it safe to tap this round with an inertia hammer?

My wife would argue with that…

Yours and mine should go bowling together lol

DANG YOU!! I just blew a mouthful of coffee all over my keyboard!! LOL

Lol… ok back on track here… I’ve decided not to pull this bullet later. It seems like it’s the same as peppers 68 specimen, with no smooth cannelure but since the rest of it looks perfect I’ll call it good, at least for now till proven wrong, again…

Here is an LC69 Nato round with a Star light tracer tip to look at

As an add on I found some more I have an FA 1962 Orange Tipped one Black Annulus??
And a LC 61 what seems to be a ball load red annulus I have other ones out of the 1950
in various cases but the pic taking is a problem.

Very cool! I have about 7 of those dim tracers, all LC 69… very neat cartridges. I like collecting all the different tip colors! I recently can into a yellow tip Observation round from the 50s. I’ll send a picture later.