Colombian 7.62x51 Headstamp on cigarette lighter


The Venezuela thread reminded me of a South American cartridge I have from Colombia. It is a 7.62x51 Case headstamped “IM 78” that has been made into a cigarette lighter.

I remember asking NATO Dave at SLICS if he had this headstamp. His records did not show an example, although he had a few other dates. Is this ammunition uncommon or rare to find outside of Colombia?

The cigarette lighter is interesting in iself as it has obviously been made from two 7.62x51 cases which come apart in the middle to reveal the lighter. It is now longer and actually a 7.62x54mm. However it still retains the 7.62 shoulder and has an empty 7.62 bullet jacket for a projectile. When I first picked it up I thought it was actually a 7.92 round before I had measured it. I think it may have been a factory reject case as it has an empty unfired Berdan primer fitted.

As it looks to me like a factory reject case I wonder if it was made in Colombia and someone picked it up on a trip there. It came in a flip-top plastic box like cheap jewellery would come in, and looks to have never been used. I bought it when I was in high school at the local flea market for £1.

So, after the long decription, what I am really asking is “how common is the IM 78 headstamp”.

Thanks for any info.


Does no one have any idea how common / uncommon the IM headstamps are?

Were they ever imported into the USA in quantity for sale as surplus or are they only seen as the odd single specimen?


I seem to recall the same headstamp was run as machine-acceptance in Fritz Werner or MEN before the machinery eventually went to Colombia. Very few of such fired cases, 5 or 10, reached collectors around that time originating directly from the trial. A few years later I found more IM 78 marked cases at a local range.
I’m not well informed about this calibre but it is my impression you will not encounter Colombian SAA on the continent very often.


Thanks Hans. Do you have any examples of these fired cases you would be interested in trading? I would like an example of the “real” case as well as the lighter.

The lighter must have been produced on a commercial scale as the lighter mechanism is factory made and its box has a vacuum formed insert to fit the lighter.