7.62x63 question


#1

How rare (or not) is this headstamp? I assume the answer is “very common”. Then the next question is why? Wouldn’t the military use up the 1st production year stock quickly in shooting tests and alike? Or they squirreled it away and did not use it in WWI? How does the Army work?


#2

Vlad - I am not sure I understand your question. Does it indicate that you believe this round is dated 1906 and represents the first U.S. Military Headstamp for the .30-06 cartridge?

Actually, this is a commercial headstamp. The “1906” on the headstamp is part of the cartridge designation “.30 G. 1906.” as in “.30 Caliber Government Model 1906” or simply “.30-06.” It is not the date the case was made.

I don’t know what bullet is in this case, but the Nickel primer would certainly date the round long after 1906.


#3

Forgot to answer your question about how the Army works on ammo. Basically, it is “shoot up the old stuff first.” Some of us call that, regarding warehousing, “in the front door, out the back door” meaning that as new ammo is brought in, the older ammo that has been in the warehouse is issued out.

Of course, this does not mean that the dates of ammunition in issue Army wide at any given time are uniform. That would depend on how much ammunition is stored at any specific location, when they required new shipments of ammunition, their rate of use of that ammunition (how much is being fired in a given time), etc. Even within those parameters, there will be differences. Obviously, for example, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the issuance of ammunition probably increased on the day they knew invasion was imminent 1000-fold or more from even the previous week.

When I was in the Army (peacetime), every unit had in storage on-site an emergency ration of ammunition (basic issue per man, plus whatever the regs called for as immediate resupply), based on the unit’s TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment). That ammunition was basically not touched and for range firings, etc., the proper amount of ammunition to complete the unit’s annual qualification firing was drawn from higher command warehouses. Not having worked as a company articifer, I cannot say how long the emergency reserve was kept before it was issued for standard firings and replaced with fresh stock. I never saw that happen in any unit I was in, but then, my longest tour with any single unit in the Regular Army was 18 months, and perhaps not much longer than that in the Reserve, except for about two years in a Military Police Crime Lab (Reserve) unit.

Of course, 18 months is not much time in the life of ammo. As I have said before on this Forum, during my service in the 1950s and 1960s, I saw only WWII small arms ammunition until we received a small issue of 7.62 NATO ammunition for the few M14s we had for familiarization. Perhaps towards the end of my service, we might have had some Korean War vintage .30-06. Its been a long time and I forget. My last berth was with the 91st Division (Training) which by that time was no longer a TO&E Infantry Division, but rather a Training (Cadre) Division, and while our issue weapons were still of the WWII genre (M1 Rifle, M1 Carbine, BAR, etc.), we had to have a few M14s because the Regular Army were getting them, and at our summer camps, we gave two weeks of their Basic Training to boots from Fort Ord, California. We had to be familiar with the rifle they brought with them. I think we were allowed one or two M14s per station (our division was split between about a dozen Reserve Centers) around Northern California, as I recall. The ammunition we were issued was only for those Cadre Instructors involved with small arms and marksmanship training, so they could qualify with the rifle on the range before going to a summer camp. The rest of us were shown how to field strip it, load it, etc., but we didn’t fire it. To this day, I have never fired a real M14, although I have owned several cvilian equivelants.


#4

Thanks, John, yes, I saw “1906” and took it for a date. I am going through a collection of 30-06 I’ve bought a year ago. Serves me right to do this tired after midnight. thanks for correcting me. Here is more from the pile, i know these are military.


#5

Hi Vlad - yes, those are some nice early Frankford Arsenal .30-06 rounds. I never collected the .30-06 cartridge, but I have always liked it very much. It is a great cartridge to shoot, and there is plenty to interest the collector. When I first got Jerry Marcello’s book on that caliber, and then later, Chris Punnett’s, I almost wanted to collect it, but simply had no room nor the resources to go after still another field.