Chinese Spam Can

Hello everyone. I’ve had this spam can for many years. I really don’t wish to open it up quite yet. Is there anyone here that can identify it and provide me some information about it? Thanks so much.


It contain 720 7.62x39 ball cartridges made in 1973. Steel (bimetal) case headstamped 9141 73. Packed in paper envelopes.

Fede beat me to it. My only contribution would be that “56” is the Chinese model designation for the 7.62x39 catridge (M43 in the Soviet Union/Russia).

Thanks for the quick answers. You guys rock! Any idea whether it’s corrosive? Would you keep and use it or should I save it for the apocalypse?

yes it corrosive

From a collector standpoint, this is an interesting spam can. In my experience, the pull-wire method of opening is less commonly seen, as is the green paint. The cartridges themselves are relatively common. As a shooter, the fact of these cartridges having a corrosive primer simply means more attention when cleaning. Many people do not want to deal with this extra effort. Although this ammunition is almost 50 years old it most likely will be 100% reliable in case you need to use it some day. Personally, as a collector, I would open the can from the back and remove the ammunition so as to preserve the interesting details of the front side for display. If you are more interested in this ammunition for long term storage for emergency use, I would leave it as-is.

Thank you AKMS. I’ll probably just let it sit in the closet a while longer in case of emergency.

Surf, if you have a platform that shoots this stuff, I would just leave it in the tin for a “rainy” day. I agree with AKMS, very interesting can, I have several awesome tins myself but none with the pull wires. Congrats!

Factory 914. The 1 is the indicator
For Small Arms Ammo Manufacturer, although its real name maybe XY Light Machinery Plant, or something similar.
The numbers have little sense over all, and some 4 and 5 digit numbers are mere extensions of pre existing 2,3 digit numbers, signifying either a new facility ( expansion of old one) or same facility ( added production line)

All inscrutably Chinese!!!
Only by personally visiting a plant and observing the connection Code number and actual factory corporate name, will one westerner, " Guai Lo" ( foreign devil) ever understand the system.

Doc AV

I forgot I had one with the pull wires lol…

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DocAV, please, can you indicate the source of this information? This is not how Chinese headstamp manufacturers are identified and, in most cases, headstamp code numbers and factory numbers are not related. For example, code 311 correspond to factory 941, but code 9141 correspond to a factory using the same number. Never heard of factory “914”.



The Chinese I believe are using the headstamps as a way to confuse anyone of how much production they actually have. I study the sks carbines and their factory codes. A long time friend and former buyer for Century Arms visited many of the Chinese factories and related to me that many factory codes came out of the same plant. In the case of the sks carbines the Chinese used assembly plants to manufacture some of the sks carbines where they would ship parts from all over the country to a facility who would then build the sks carbines and assign a factory code and store them. Their are over 150 factory codes. I feel its the same with ammunition a factory may have more than one code they can use.

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here is a rare spam can that was in Bill Woodins collection. I took a photo while I was working there. What he thought was this might be a unknown lot can. Maybe a return from the range with no documentation. Anybody know more about this? or have you seen this before?

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Never seen such a tin with so much missing. My guess is that the red lettering is obviously significant. Alls I can tell is that it’s normal CWSC Ball ammo. Nice pic!!

I forgot to mention, interesting comment you made about their factories. Not surprising, makes a bunch of sense, thanks for info.

Hi Howie,

Very interesting can, I have not seen it before. This stencil was only used by the factory using code 651, so we can assume it dates from c. 1968-71. The red marking is 代 (dài), but I don’t know what it means in this context. It may be used to indicate “replacement” or “substitute”.

Thanks for sharing.