Cal .30 Match Headstamps

Did you ever wonder why some Cal .30 Match cartridges are headstamped MATCH and some are headstamped NM? You don’t care? Well then, you’d best move on to the next thread because I’m about to tell you.

When the new T291 and M72 Match ammunition was manufactured beginning in 1957, Frankford Arsenal would select one lot to be sent directly to Camp Perry to be issued for the Excellance In Competition (EIC) matches. The selection was based on accuracy tests, and while the best lot was usually the one selected, the other lots were equally good. In real life, it’s unlikely that the average shooter could tell the difference between the “Camp Perry” ammunition and all other lots, which were distributed for practice, lesser matches, and establishing zeroes. Frankford did not mark the cartons, boxes, or cases in any way. Only the lot number identified the ammunition.

In 1962 the manufacture of all M72 was transferred to Lake City Arsenal, soon to be renamed Lake City Ordnance Plant. From 1962 until 1966 they marked the Camp Perry cartons with special wording and the case headstamp was changed to NM. The NM cartridges were manufactured with extreme care, special attention to detail, constant inspections, using the best bullets available, and loaded in quantity only after rigouous testing. All other Match ammo for those years continued to be headstamped MATCH.

Hi Ray,

as always, great info.
Good to know that LC only produced NM headstamps from 1962 till 1966.
I have all, so no need to look further. However I also have a LC 67 Match Headstamp.
Does that mean that LC didn’t do a NM production run in the last year(s) of 30-06 production?



Beginning in 1967, Army support for the National Matches was cut back and providing match ammunition was limited to the Services, and for EIC matches. Ammunition used by civilians was provided by shooters from their own resources. So, the 1966 NM was the last “Camp Perry” M72. Any remaining stocks of 66 NM were used at the '67 and '68 matches. The last lot, for any purpose, was MATCH LC 12258 , made in 1968. You’ll find that many cartons dated 1968 actually have 1967 cartridges, indicating a desire to use up any remaining stocks.

On a different but similar subject, I have found only 4 lots of T291 that were manufactured by Lake City in 1957. There could be as many as 4 more since there are 4 lot numbers that I have not been able to account for. It was reported that at least two of the lots were designated for practice. I have not seen anything to indicate that any of the 1957 LC was sent to Camp Perry.

As you probably know, the headstamp on the 1957 LC is a little different than it was on later production beginning in 1961.

I guess no one cares about Match ammunition as much as I do because I would have expected someone to ask about 7.62mm NATO M118 Match. But, in case anyone does care, 7.62mm NATO Match made by LC between '64 and '67 followed the same pattern, with two different headstamps. '68 and later is all headstamped MATCH. When the M852 was adopted in 1981, the first 3 years of production were all headstamped NM. But, by then, use of the NM headstamp had lost it’s original meaning. All subsequent production used MATCH in the headstamp.



I had another look through my boxes and saw hat I have two boxes from Lake City from 1962
with the Camp Perry text on top of the box.

One “normal” box with lot number LC 12125

and one box that is stamped: EMPTY FOR DISPLAY ONLY on the front and back
This box has lot number LC SA-10-62

Why this funny lot number ?



Yes, Lot 12125 is the Camp Perry lot for 1962. The other carton held plated souvenir dummy cartridges handed out at the National Matches. That’s a very good carton. You don’t see them very often.



Thanks for the information. For those of us with a limited budget for cartridge collecting the information posted on this website is much appreciated.