Cal .30 Alternate/Alternative revisited


Looking at a post made last month concerning the title, I’ve gone to my can of shooter stuff and low and behold, I have several US boxes of .30 cal. M2 Ball. From my reading, I also thought that the Alternate M2 Ball was supposed to be GMCS, but when testing with the magnet, the box with BALL, CALIBER .30 M 2 ALT., AMMUNITION LOT D.M. 20166 (D M 42) DOES NOT attract. Wait, it gets even better. The boxes marked BALL, CALIBER .30 M 2, Ammunition Lot E.W. 28189 (E W 43) AND BALL, CALIBER .30 M2, LOT W.R.A. 23140 (WRA 45) DO ATTRACT!! Not a mark of ALTERNATE, ALTERNATIVE or ALT. on them. There goes several years of belief out the window.

I would love to post pix, but every time I have tried to on other forums, I make an awful hash of it. For anyone going to the Denver, PA show, I’ll bring them up.



99.9% of the confusion, I believe, is the result of the cavalier use of the words "Alternative and Alternate, and the abbreviation Alt. And not by collectors but by those in charge, who should have known better. It’s going to take someone with the time and inclination to do the necessary research and to actually examine cartridges that can be positively associated with box labels. I don’t think anyone is willing to do this and, even if someone did, it may be futile.

For now, I’m going with the fact that cartridges from SL, box labeled “Alternative”, are not magnetic and are, in my ignorant opinion, Cal .30 M2 Alternative. (And apparantly certain lots of DM 42, even though labeled “Alt”, appear to be the same.) Any cartridge from any manufacturer that is GMCS is Cal .30 M2 Alternate, or M2 Alt.



I have a feeling that as the war progressed, the ALT. became the norm. As was posted during the original thread, ‘43 was a decisive year, with us being THE producer of war material, fighting on numerous fronts and loosing millions of tons and tonnage trying to supply our allies to the bottom of the Atlantic. Copper was THE strategic metal. We raided our currency production for it by making pennies out of steel and cutting around 50% of its’ use in nickels and replacing it with silver and manganese (the nickel going to steel). The windings of the huge generators at Oak Ridge were “borrowed” silver from the Treasury. Copper was in almost everything that was needed for war. So if there was a way to scrimp and save even a teeny bit, and these being people that had survived the Great Depression (my mother wouldn’t throw ANYTHING out), they would. Especially since they thought that they were going to have to finish the Japanese off and fight another 1-2 years of bitter drawn out expensive battles. Plus, steel has always been less expensive to produce.

I know, preaching to the choir. We wouldn’t be on these forums if we weren’t students of history.