In the Chinese (PRC) Numerical Military factory codes, the final Integer “1” signifies an Ammunition factory, the integer 6 signifies a Small Arms factory, and the integer “4” signifies a clothing/webbing equipment factory.
So we have ammunition plants numbered “21”, “31” “61”, “321” and so on ( even “212121”…a lot of these codes are not actual different factories, but divisions within the same complex)
Since there are always exceptions to the rules, we also have Chinese ammo(export) codes such as “964” and “946”.]
Chinese ammo, especially the 7,62x39, comes in a number of case finishes, being Copper wash ( or "rolled plated)) , “Green lacquer” and “Chocolate lacquer”. These latter two arose in the 1970s, and are still used today (at least the Chocolate finish has been seen on late 1990s ammo) The green colour lacquer seems to have been used in the 70s and early 80s, and then died out.
Could this “1971” lot of “1” coded ammo be a pre-production lot, disguised with a “1” code, which simply signified Chinese manufacture ( as do the other case characteristics) without indicating the specific factory which produced it at the time?
The differeance betwen the types is that the Copper coated cases are drawn from a sheet of steel that has had copper bonded to it by “rolling” (in a mill) and as a result the copper is on both sides of the sheet, giving a coating to the inside of the finished case.
The lacquered cases are made from phosphatised steel sheet (“Bonderising” Process of the 1920s) and then Externally lacquered to give a protective coating. The lacquer is heat set by baking in an oven. These cases can ( and do) “rust from the inside” ( as did the German grey steel cases of WW II.)
A closer look at the headstamp seems to indicate that the “1” is slightly “off center” with respect to the “71” below it; Could this be an indication that the headstamp Bunter for “11” was ground to give a single “1” for an experimental run of cases? or even a larger quantity for field trials?
If so, one would have to identify “PRC Ammunition Factory # 11” to establish which factory actually made this ammo. I am assuming that the “offsettedness” indicates the original number was “11”. and not one of the others (ie, 21, 31 etc).
What do you guys think?
regards, Doc AV