Bay of Pigs Bandoleer?

A gentleman posted elsewhere that he found a full .30-06 bandoleer. The rounds are on 5-round strippers and they have a “C N 40” headstamp. The cloth bandoleer has similar markings. He wants to know if it’s “collectable” and what it might be worth. I said “yes”, but I don’t really know how scarce the item might be. Any thoughts?

Those are from Lake City. There have been quite a few previous postings here about the so-called B of P ammunition, which can be found with a search, but I don’t remember any discussion aboout rarity and value. I’d think there would be some premium associated with a full bandolier. I have only a few individual examples of loaded rounds having these headstamps, which I remember picking up about 20-25 years ago at a flea market for basically nothing.

Those “Bay Of Pigs” cartridges were made on contract and were intended for any clandestine or covert operation that they chose to use it in. I’ve seen no evidence to indicate they were made specifically for the Bay Of Pigs.

IMHO, the cartridges and the bandoleers, like all other covert ammunition, are collectable. But, exactly how collectable is in the eye of the owner. It would take someone with an interest in specialized things like this to appreciate their value. They certainly are not rare.


Ray, I have no evidence that this ammo was made specifically for the Bay of Pigs, I visited Lake City in 1970/71 when they had just started making the 7.62x39mm ammo and the long serving senior civilian in the Government contract oversight office was kind enough to spend most of the day with me. He told me, as part of one of his stories, that this ammo was made for the CIA in support of the Bay of Pigs. Where he got that from I don’t know but he had been at LC for about 20 years. There was lots left over and the agency has a process to make this kind of stuff available to people they are authorized to supply to.

During this visit I was told the LC 7.62x39 was reverse engineered from the Lapua round. The LC round had a GM bullet jacket but they were considering going to a CMCS. The engineer on this project did not get on well with the technicians and other “workers” at LC. He finished the design data and sent down a workorder for a test quantity (say 5000 bullets or so). Before he left on vacation he threatened the technicians with what would happen if these cartridges weren’t on his desk on the Monday he returned from vacation.

The guy hosting me walked me to this engineers desk (vintage gray steel that was standard in the military), and it had a distinct bow in the top and the two legs on one end were pointed straight out to the side. That end of the desk was supported by bricks and the center drawer had a crimp in the middle and would never open again. It seems that the shop had made a small error and made 50,000 bullets and the technicians had stacked them all in the middle of the engineer’s desk. My host took great delight in the story so he must not have been a good friend of the engineer either.

Indulge an old man by letting him tell a story.



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