D.A. NATO Headstamp Question

Hi all, been away for quite a while. I ran across a headstamp in what’s left of some US .30 M2 DAC 55 that I’ve had for many years and that I can’t explain, hopefully someone can help. It is D.A. 55 with the NATO design symbol circled-cross. From what I know of NATO symbols, the STANAGs were agreed upon in the mid-50’s, but didn’t include the .30 cal M2, just the 7.62x51. And the symbol wasn’t approved for unilateral use by NATO until about 1959.
I have photos, I’ll try to post after reading the FAQ’s…
Any help is much appreciated!

photobucket link attempt


The first is a normal DAC 55, Dominion Arsenal (Quebec) Canada, which I have maybe 100 ctgs left.
The second, also Dominion Arsenal Quebec, is the one in question…
both are .30 cal M2.

The Use of the Nato Symbol ( cross in circle) was not concretised until late in the 1950s, when it was restricted (a) to ammo meeting STANAG specifications AND (b) made in Nato-member Countries…Australia used the Symbol from its first 7,62 Manufacture in 1956, til mid 1962, when it was told in no uncertain terms, to delete the Symbol from its ammo…which it did by grinding off the part of the Bunter ( 1962 made ammo can be found with and without the symbol., the Ground-off HS looks “lopsided” as a result. From 1963 onwards, the HS was a 120 degree layout ( MF 63 L2A2).

As to what calibres it was applied to, several countries still had .30 Cal as their major calibre before adopting 7,62 Nato…and it was admitted as a “NATO use” Calibre, by default. Hence thru oversight or misunderstanding, some countries used the Symbol on .30 cal. BY the end of the 1950s, the rules of application had been tightened up, and from then till the 1980s or so, only 7,62Nato carried the Nato Symbol in ammo made in the memebr States.
With the adoption of 5,56, this was added to the list, and 9mm parabellum sort of fell into the "symbol somewhere along the line ( Still Not universal on Nato used 9mm ammo). The Symbol was applied to the outer containers of other (Large calibre) Ammo as well ( .50 cal, Artillery etc) where these Items were a “NATO standard”. Some European .50 cal carries the Nato Symbol.

BTW, the two “DA” headstamps…DAC^ ( arrow inside “C”) denotes Dominion Arsenals (Canadian Gov’t owned & directly operated) and DA ( without the “C”) denotes the Public Corporation “Dominion Arsenal” with only indirect Gov’t Involvement. It was eventual merged into Valcartier Industries (IVI for the Bilingual), a wholly non-government Corporation.

And in another situation, Israel, which is NOT a member of Nato, also supplies ammo with the Nato Symbol from time to time ( usu. 5,56) for specific European orders.

Doc AV

DAC^ and DA were the same crown corporation, Dominion Arsenals. Never saw the Nato stamp on Cdn 30-06 before. Could have been applied by mistake.

That is an unusual headstamp. The first use of the (+) that I’m aware of was the FN 7.62mm loading in 1954. Both US and Canadian cartridges used the symbol in 1955. I’m wondering, as orange suggested, if maybe it was a mistake using the 7.62mm bunter, or perhaps D.A. simply found it convenient to use but one bunter for both cartridges?

Whatever the case, that’s a great cartridge for headstamp hunters, IMHO.


Thank you all for the replies. That’s pretty much what I thought, not knowing much about Dominion other than the ctgs I’ve had for many years, I figured it was at least a non-normal HS. Kind of like a printing error on paper money.

For now I’ll set it aside so it doesn’t get put up the pipe by mistake.

Maybe one other question to this topic:
All Dominion Arsenal cartridges I have (ranging from 1918 to 1964) have
D A (plus sometimes C + Broad Arrow) as headstamp.
I have no specimen with D.A. (plus dots).
Do these exist at all or was the H/S with dots only used for 7,62NATO
or were 7,62NATO headstamps also normally without dots ?


I don’t know about the 7.62 NATO that Dominion might have produced. But I thought it would be useful to veify the ctg was indeed an M2 cal .30, at least to the extent that you believe my photos. The left in my post above is the left here, and right is right.

Based on the examples I have seen, it would appear that the D.A. format was used on 7.62x51mm cartridges dated 55 and 56. Cases from 57 onwards use DA with no dots. Having said this, I’m sure someone will now produce a 7.62mm NATO cartridge 1957 or later that uses the D.A. format!


Yes Dave, we are all checking our headstamps right now. ;)

I looked at mine when this thread first started and noticed that the D.A. cases were all dummies or blanks. But, only a very small sample on which to base any conclusions.



You precluded the possibility of an earlier headstamp…tsk, tsk…

There are also '54 and '57 D.A.'s. The 57’s are in ball and proof.


Those are great!
Please forgive me, because they are all the same I can’t judge the OL…
are they cal. .30 M2 or 7.62x51.
I’ve seen a LOT of both but must be an optical illusion, I just can’t tell for sure.
Nice assortment whichever they are!!
Thanks, lee

Hi Lee,

They are 7.62 x 51. Here are a few more. The group on the left is dated '55 while those on the right are '56.