Cal .30 M1 Ball "Seconds"

Seldom seen Cal .30 M1 cartons.

Lot 1170, accepted May 16, 1929. Headstamp is FA 29. Crimped and sealed primers with a hint of red primer seal. Manufactured from reject components and miscellaneous lots of powder. Some of these M1 cartridges appear to have only very minor case defects.

Any guesses as to what “Demonstration and Test Purposes” would have been?

“Manufactured from reject components and miscellaneous lots of powder.”

Ray, how do you know this?


HWS. Most particularly Col Hackley.


How come you know these details and don’t know the basic purpose?

Gee whiz guys. I was just trying to generate a little interest in something other than 9mm.



Were these rounds intended to test fire rifles after arsenal shop repair work? ROTC firing range training or demonstraion?



That’s as good a guess as any, I suppose. Arsenal or Armory testing makes sense but, I think they would have pre-dated ROTC. Militia maybe?

My guess is that they were intended to be used in any sort of “non-combat” situation. The very small case defects would not make them unsafe and the miscellaneous lots of powder probably would not affect accuracy to any degree, if at all.

I have several, more modern, cartons of Match ammunition that are marked as “Grade II” or “For Practice” and I would guess they were packaged with the same thing in mind. The notations on those are hand-stamped. I thought it interesting that the two lots of “Seconds” in 1929 (Lots 1150 and 1170) would warrant their own unique printed label.



that’s a great box.
I recently bought a 30-06 collection and one cartridge ( FA 29) was marked "Demonstration & Test"
and I have been wondering since what this is. The foto tells the story.


I asked what they do with the “seconds” at the Lake City plant and was told bluntly that they were melted down and that there were NO seconds used at that facility ever, nor were they sold elsewhere as seconds. She was quite adamant about it. They both quickly nodded and said that they were scrapped.
They made their projectiles on-site and truly have pride in their work. They said ALL LC ammo was match “quality”, so to speak. So They would appear to have NOT assembled cartridges from spare stuff at the LC plant. My Assumption. it seems odd that any ammo plant would admit to piecing together rounds. :)
They DID do pull-downs on occasion tho, and perhaps some of You will have questions about those that I can ask them?
They beam with pride when I ask them certain questions. They were there for 30+ yrs. each, so they are familiar with a lot of the “goings-on” there between 1960-2003-ish.

I don’t mean to start an arguement but, it’s my understanding that LC always has and still does market ammunition that has been rejected by the military for some reason. Previously, they were sold to businesses that broke them down and re-manufactured the components, such as Talon. Today, they market them under XM lot numbers.

The reasons for the military rejecting a lot may be very minor - things such as blemishes, case dents, etc. None of them are unsafe in any way. It takes only a few cartridges from a lot for the entire lot to be rejected.

My information came directly from the “Commercial Sales” department of ATK.

Speaking of Talon, what ever happened to them? Are they still around?


As ATK is the contract operator of LC, they may have the contractual ability to purchase suitable rejects and also actually manufacture ammunition at LC for commercial sale so long as they maintain their government delivery schedule. This is not at government expense and ATK would have to reimburse the government for use of equipment and labor. When Winchester was the LC operator, I know they did some of that. However, I have not seen the LC contract and don’t know any more than anyone else reading this, just stories I have heard.

I brought up the Talon question some time ago and didn’t get any good answers. I lived very close to Paw Paw WV for awhile, where Talon was located. It was a strange arrangement - Talon apparently purchased(?) surplus or outdated ammunition from military stores and “Demilled” it by breaking down rounds, then re-assembling the components for commercial sale as loaded ammunition in their own boxes. I can’t imagine that happening under the current administration. I occasionally see older boxes of Talon ammunition (.30-'06) at gun shows, but don’t know if Talon is still in that line of business. I remember someone mentioning “White Feather” .308 ammunition being sold by Talon.

I bought a bunch of re-assembled 30-06 AP ammo from them years ago.


ATK Lake City very definitely has authority to produce ammunition under private contract or commercial order. It is easily recognized by the “SMQ” lot number.


There might just be an economic explanation to the use (rather than rejection) of this ammunition.

1929 was a time of economic hardship, culminating in the Wall Street Crash in the same year, the onset of a 10 year long depression that was only relieved by the onset of the Second War and the upsurge of economic activity that that generated. If money was short, then might it not be thought a good idea to use something that had already been made, even if it was not perfect in every way, if it could be used safely?

Just a thought.

Happy collecting, Peter

Great info. My reason for asking them was to see if their LC bullets could be purchased as seconds.
Sierra (also nearby here) does sell seconds at reduced prices, and that is why I asked them, but again they both seemed quite sure that they scrapped them. I am NOT referring to completed cartridges. Only Projectiles.