Australian use of .30 calibre - One for DocAV


#1

On another forum it was stated that Australian M113 APCs are still armed with .30 Brownings in the cupola.

Is this the case and if so, what ammo are they buying?

Thanks in advance,
TonyE


#2

UP to the late 1990s, Australia was using Lake City 1970s Ball ammo ( 1972, 1974, and 1977 (Blank wadded M1909)…in 1989-90, Australia ordered and received a very large quantity of AMA (Denmark) Crimped Blank ( dates seen 1990-91-92).

IN 1999, they ordered and received in 2000-2001 some 50 million rounds of Igman Konjic ( IK 00) Blank, and a much larger, and unknown quantity of Ball (also IK 00 ). The Ball is mostly used for Gunnery training, and Live Field-fire exercises; the blank for “War Games”.
The AMA Blank was Berdan primed, with a 12-14 grain charge of a diamond flake shotgun powder ( similar to European Shotgun powders), whilst I have not dissected a IK blank yet.( the cases are Boxer ( Large rifle) primed.)

The brass of both the AMA and IK cases is AAA quality, we use both for making Movie Blanks of various calibres ( spent brass bought from Defence sources by the Ton)
IN 2005 or so, the Cavalry and Light Horse Units previously outfitted with M113A1s were re-equipped with ASLAVs ( a Canadian design) and Bushmasters ( an ADI design) light armoured vehicles as Fighting/recon/Assault Troop carrier vehicles.
The M113A1 were relegated to Infantry Battalion troop transport duties, and the BMG M1919A4 ( Lithgow rear-sear Mod) were relegated to Reserve status, with a view to scrapping the inventory.

AFAIK ( 2012)the M113A1s are still in the Infantry support role and in Infantry training, and are still equipped with the Turret/cupola with a Paired .50 /.30 gun arrangement; some earlier variants had twin .30 guns. Only the M5?? Command centre carrier and the “Tracked Cargo carrier” still has the open command hatch with a .50 fitted to a Ring.( and the few available are not used any more).

As to quantity of .30 cal Ammo still in inventory, I don’t know…they must be close to exhaustion by now, given the added use for training troops for Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10-12 years. There has not been any sign of new procurement of .30 ammo since 2000.

BTW, from the end of WW II to 1975 or so, Australian Cav/Mounted Infantry Units used WW II production Ball, and AP of US origin ( Den, LC, DM, etc, dates 1942-44); as a member of 2/14th QMI,( 1972-74 incl) I remember stripping open hundreds of SL 44 AP packets for loading into both Canvas and Steel Link belts for Range use;
By that time we were using FN (59 and 61) Red tracer as well( 100 round FN Boxes,to be belted up as required ( 1 in 5 ball).

The US ammo was all “Post-war” acquisition under Treaty arrangements ( Not “lend lease”). During the Vietnam War, new supplies of Lake City .30 cal were acquired, starting with LC67 or so, and then going on till after the War ended, with as late asLC 77 dates. The quantities acquired must have been sufficient till the 1990s; given that no other headstamps of .30cal ammo has shown up in scrap brass, from the 1990s onwards.

WW II use of .30cal was not part of separate Lend-lease arrangements; any .30 cal guns used by Australians (Infantry, Air Force) were supplied with normal chain- of-supply US Military .30 cal ammo, at the local issue level where there was co-operation between US and Australian units. ( US armoured vehicles, Ground M1919A4s in New Guinea, Aircraft fitted with .30 cal Brownings ( Catalinas etc); a lot of the US-origin Aircraft with .30 cal AN M2 Guns had them substituted with the equivalent .303 Brownings.

There is nmuch info still buried in Aust. Archives relating to Logistics and Supply in the 1942-45 period, regarding supplies from the US ( what was Lend Lease, what was US SWP TOE suppliy, etc. ( eg, .45ACP and 9mm used by Australia was all “Lend Lease Commercial headstamp” ammo, but the .30 and .50 was US Military issue HS ammo). Whehter the US Military ammo supply ( mostly to RAAF) was counted as “lend lease” or not is unknown.

Regards,
Doc AV


#3

When were the “MF” headstamped cases made, and were they a military or commercial venture?


#4

As Far as I know, the “MF” .30 cal cases were made in the 60s, (when WW II dated .30 cal was running low) as a “Trial” to see if they could be made on existing Case Drawing equipment; they would have been the first venture into Boxer primed Rifle cartrdge cases as well; but Gov’t Policies on procurement of ammo (Cheapest) saw the continued acquisition of US and FN made .30 Cal ammo.
Thus the trial was dropped, and the manufactured cases ( it is unknown if any loaded ball rounds exist) were sold " Commercially" (MF was also making .38 Special cases for various State Police Forces to load; they also made 158grain lead Bullets in 38/357 as well). But as with all Govt’ run instrumentalities, the MF did not have the commercial “nous” to make any business from its products.

The total quantity of shells made in .30 cal must have been small ( probably a run of 100K) as they are quite uncommon in Australian Collections…I think I have seen one in 40 years…

Regards,
DocAV


#5

Funny, I’ve had one on my table for years. I’ve tried to interest a few collectors in it, but no real excitement. I guess they don’t realize what it is.


#6

Doc AV, several sources mention that those MF Boxer primed cases were made in 1976-1977 strictly for the commercial market, including .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .38 Special and 9 mm Parabellum. Also tin coated lead bullets in .38 and .45 caliber, and FMJ .38. Chris Punnett’s .30-06 bible also mentions a packet of MF headstamped cartridges labeled for Fred Gibbs of Sidney and dated November 1976.


#7

I have a photo (not mine) in my files of 9mm 120gr projectiles and box from MF. They look like they are probably tin coated and the box states
"THESE 9mm 120 GRAIN ROUND NOSE LEAD BULLETS HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED WITH A NEW SPECIAL DRY LUBRICATION."

I would be very interested in any info on any commercial loads or cases produced by MF.


#8

here is the 30-06 headstamp.
Has anybody seen a box for these ?

cheers
René


#9

Fede, me Disculpe…
The Info about 1960s trials of .30 cal Boxer cases was WRONG ( bad second-hand info); during the late 1970s, I was in Europe, and could not follow Aussie ammo developments…my first sighting of an MF marked .30 cal case was at a gunshow,( 1985 or 6) with the info ( from a then-reliable southern source from Melbourne) that the cases had been trialed back in the 1960s…obviously both he ( amd me) were mistaken or misled by others still.

The rest of the info regarding Army use of .30 cal.is from personal experience in the early 70s in Mounted Infantry (1972-74) and from observations of Scrap Military brass from the 1980s onwards. THe info regarding Igman .30 cal was direct from ADF Logistics (ammunition) Command, when buying 7,62 and 5,56 Blank ammo for movie work…they offered me several million rounds of IK .30 Ball and Blank which they siad “didn’t make specification” ( whatever that meant, as they continued using it anyway.).

all members, please disregard my comments regarding the “MF” HS .30 cal empty cases…MY bad info.

Regards,
Doc AV


#10

Thanks for the info and the confirmation abot the use of the .30 Brownings, Doc.

Regards
TonyE