Ethiopian .30-06!

Some Ethiopian surplus has arrived in the US, not sure how much, but I managed to get some. The can printing is rough, the bullet is GMCS, and the enbloc clip appears to be unmarked.


Really interesting and exotic stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Any chance of acquiring one or even a chance that one might make its way to ECRA in September? Asking for an anxious 30-06 collector

I will try to get a few there, but no promises.

How is your Amharic? I work with a guy who is fluent.

I actually did my basic training with a bunch of Ethiopians. I can still remember a few phrases…none of which are remotely connected to cartridge collecting. ;)
Their food was awesome.

Agree on the food! :)

I haven’t seen this headstamp before and it is not mentioned in Chris his 30-06 book.
Can anybody give me the meaning of the Amharic lettering in the headstamp (and maybe on the bandoleer)


Update: At the center of the rings on the base of the clip, Rene noticed a small mark; either SF or 6F.

From other Garand clips I’ve seen it’s likely to be “SF” for “Société Française des Munitions” which I believe became part of Gévelot at some point.

The Garand clip is actually quite a difficult fabrication, it’s deep drawn steel, to very close tolerances, both for dimensions and for mechanical factors … it also has to be tempered to provide adequate “springiness” without fracturing in the corners or folds, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they bought in surplus clips … does anyone know who supplied the cartridge making line or the components ?


Looking at the steel container one can see old labeling underneath the top paint layer.
If they were reusing containers by not also clips? Back in 1977 there should have been enough surplus available no?
And the question would be if these cartridges were made in Ethiopia at all.
I know they have an ammunition factory today (Homicho) but was it the case in 1977?

I checked the clips in 3 different bandoleers, and all seem to be a faint SF.

Here is what my friend answered about the headstamp lettering:

The stamp marks on the ammo are “m” (fifth form) “i” (in english, “long e” as in “pita”) and a character which does not look like a letter to me. Is it a 2 with a line through it?
The bottom characters are "ri’ “ri” if the center is the bottom and they are upside down in the photo
Otherwise they are “g” “g”
Here is the amharic as best I could reproduce it on the weird online keyboard. There was no character for the one that looks like a “w,” but it is another way of writing “s,” so I used the “s” that was on the keyboard.
ይህን ምንነቻ አንደገና ሰለምንገልበት ኦም/ ጦርመሳረይ ግ/ቤት ተመሳሸይ ሆን

Amazingly, the writing on the bandoleer supposedly says:
“We did not repeat this incident again”.

My friend added the following:
“This strap (bag) is going to be used again by the ground force, return it to the ground force army store room”

This squares then with the reused metal box and most likely could apply to the clips too.


These cartridges were manufactured after 1974 by the Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia, when Haile Selassie I was removed from the throne; that is why they are not marked with his initials.

Early examples made in 1976 are headstamped “ፕ ፋ” (Pə Fa), but I don’t know its meaning. The second letter may stand for “factory” (ፋብሪካ / fabɨrika), but this is conjecture.

In 1977, a new headstamp was adopted using the initials “መ ኢ ድ” (mä ʾi də), which I believe stand for “Defense Industry Organization” (Mäkälakäya ʾinədusətəri dərəǧətə). This interpretation is supported by the initials found in 7.62x51 English language boxes from this era marked “DI” (using Latin alphabet), that also contain cartridges headstamped “መ ኢ ድ”. Also, you can find the same initials in Homicho boxes of recent manufacture, because the latter was under control of this organization -at this time named DIS- until 2010 (now under METEC).

I can also add that many boxes used for this ammunition are of British origin (RTB) and made in the 1960’s. Regarding the clips, cartridges from 1976 are reportedly packed with examples of US manufacture, like BRW, HA, IS and SA.



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A quick rummage around the internet produces some interesting information on Ethiopian use of Garand rifles and surplus US equipment in general;

Korean War Ethiopian deployment

Foreign Military Assistance Provision

Truly, one learns something new everyday.

This is the clearest marked “SF” Garand clip I’ve found to date;


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Link to ammo, however, out of stock.

The outer finish of the cartridges has a very American look.