ASC Headstamp


Does anyone know what ASC stands for?

These were found in South Africa & Rhodesia. Common wisdom is that they are FNM Portugal based on manufacturing characteristics. Known on 9x19 and 7.62x51.

From Wikipedia:
This ammunition was provided by Portugal to Rhodesia as part of the cooperation agreement known as “Exercício Alcora” (Alcora = Aliança Contra as Rebeliões em Africa), that was a secret alliance between Portugal, Rhodesia and South Africa. It was formally in force between 1970 and 1974 (last reported “ASC” headstamp is dated 1973).

ASC is Fábrica Nacional de Munições de Armas Ligeiras.

Alcora Exercise (Portuguese: Exercício Alcora, Afrikaans: Alcora Oefening) or simply Alcora was a secret military alliance between South Africa, Portugal and Rhodesia, formally in force between 1970 and 1974. The code name “Alcora” being an acronym for “Aliança Contra as Rebeliões em Africa” (Portuguese expression meaning: “Alliance against the rebellions in Africa”).

The official goal of Alcora Exercise was to investigate the processes and means by which a coordinated tripartite effort between the three countries could face the mutual threat to their territories in Southern Africa. The immediate goal was to face the African revolutionary movements that fought guerrillas wars against the Portuguese authorities in Angola and Mozambique, to limit the spread of the action of these movements in South West Africa and Rhodesia and to prepare the defense of the Portuguese, South African and Rhodesian territories against an expected conventional military aggression from the hostile governments of the African neighbor countries.

Alcora was the formalization of informal agreements on military cooperation between the local Portuguese, South African and Rhodesian military commands that had been put in place since the mid-1960s. Alcora was kept secret and referred as an exercise (not an alliance or treaty), mainly due to the pressure of the Portuguese Government, that feared the external and internal political issues then would be raised if it appeared associated with the Apartheid regime of South Africa and the minority rule in Rhodesia, in a contradiction to the official Portuguese doctrine of the existence of racial equality in Angola and Mozambique.

Under Alcora, South Africa, Portugal and Rhodesia cooperated in the Angolan War of Independence, the Mozambican War of Independence, the South African Border War and the Rhodesian Bush War.

The Alcora alliance collapsed due to the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of the 25 April 1974 and the subsequent independence of Angola and Mozambique that followed.

This ammo is very early for the Alcora exercise, being (19)67. I am not even sure the ASC has anything to do with Alcora.


I have never heard a good explanation for the ASC headstamp code. It is not a simple displacement code like BPD and AOC where the alphabet is shifted one letter.

A similar FNM code is “BF” which was reportedly made for Rodesia, but I have never heard an explanation of what the BF stands for. Known dates/lots are 9, 10 and 13 of 1979.

I hope someone has a good explanation for both of these codes.




Fede wrote here something about ASC meaning:


This is very interesting.

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of information on Rhodesian ammunition types.

The closest I’ve ever had to it was South African Musgrave commercial cartridges, but even those were reportedly made in Austria.