Frankford Arsenal Components


In the glory days of the National Matches, Frankford Arsenal manufactured components (unprimed cases and bullets) for shooters to load their own. These were usually distributed through the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) and DCM (Director of Civilian Marksmanship). The two boxes shown here are typical of those issued pre WWII. The cases are headstamped FA 30.



Good to know, I am going to a show this weekend, who knows, maybe I’ll see some. How rare are these?


Are these .30-06?



Vlad - Not common but I can’t say they are rare either. The box of cases shown (1930) was supposedly made in a lot of 7500 (that’s 150,000 cases). You have to be a 30-06 collector, or a Competition Cartridge nut to appreciate them. On another thread I posted photos of 1957/58 components.

I don’t know if 308 Winchester components were ever made and distributed because Frankford was out of business by the time it became popular. All that I own are .30-aught-six .



To clarify, “308 Winchester” = 7.62NATO = 7.62 X 51


Ray - There’s hope for you yet. You’re learning, pardner. Keep up the good work.: ) I have a few Frankford Arsenal component boxes for .45 auto. Wonder why they made those? They don’t seem to be match components (not marked for such, anyway.). Some are specialized components though. I think I have a couple of boxes (at least one) for cases for “Calibration Components,” and I have a G.I. .45 Bullets box (40 instead of 20, as a standard twenty-round ammunition box was used). I also have at least one primer box. Don’t know if they are worth a picture or not. If anybody cares, I will scan them and have my Pard Joe post them here.

Not too much time right now, as off to Prescott, Arizona in a few days and have a lot to do before then.

John Moss



Interesting. I don’t really follow the 45 ACP side of the National Matches so haven’t paid particular attention to either the ammo or components. When I was actively shooting I got a lot of the freebie DCM rifle components but all the pistol stuff was loaded ammunition only. But I suppose there’s no reason for Frankford not to have catered to the handgun shooters also.

I’d like to see someone write a JOURNAL article on the 45 ACP National Match ammunition. It should be a wide open collecting field.



A problem with writing about the .45 Match round is that the pre-war .45 Match rounds were not so-headstamped. They have the normal F. A. headstamp with a two-digit date and nothing else. Hard to know what is match and what isn’t. I have only one pre-war VERIFIED match round, and that is because i have the box. It is, as I recall, from 1927. I don’t collect headstamp dates in these, although for reasons I can’t explain, I have collected the post-war match boxes by date, although I am missing a number of them, of course. I think if I were starting over, perhaps I would save just the “MATCH” and “NM” headstamps by date. Too late now - not so easy to find as they used to be.

May be a project for another time, though.

John Moss


I have read that before WWI the National Matches used commercial ammunition:

As a further means of stimulating interest in this peace-time undertaking the Ordnance Department conducted each year a sort of competition among the private manufacturers of small-arms ammunition. The output of each factory accepting the Government orders was tested for proper functioning and accuracy; and those cartridges which won in this competition were used as the ammunition shot in the national rifle matches. Thus the winning concern could use its achievement in its advertising.

(America’s Munitions 1917-1918, report of Benedict Crowell, the Assistant Secretary of War, Director of Munitions, Washington, 1919)



My article in the Journal covered this time period in the evolution of US National Match ammunition. USC Co won the contract in 1909 and 1913. WRA Co won in 1910 and 1911. Those were the only years that commercial ammunition was used in the National Matches. Cartridges from those years are very collectable. Maybe even more collectable are cartridges that were submitted for trial, but lost.



Ray: Do you know what weight bullet the UMC national match loading of 1909 used? I ask because I have a “UMC 3 09” headstamped round loaded with a Thomas pencil-point bullet with the odd weight of 147 gr. It appears UMC produced these bullets in various weights, and I was curious if this was the NM load or one of the alternate choices. Jack



The USC Co 1909 National Match was loaded with a 150 grain uncannelured FB CN bullet and was headstamped 3-09. As far as I know, companies were not limited to a single entry and it may be that yours was one that they also submitted. It wasn’t until 1910 that specs called for strict “service type” cartridges.

USC Co also competed for other “Special” match contracts in 1909. They won the Palma contract but those cartridges were loaded with 180 grain Thomas bullets. They were also headstamped 3-09. The lighter bullet suggests one of the short range (300 yards) International or Olympic events and it may be that they loaded the ammunition, on their own, to sell to competitors. It could even be a handload by someone having their own Thomas bullets. The bullets were very popular in those days.

There are a lot of possibilities but not many answers. Nevertheless, with that headstamp it’s a very collectible cartridge, in my opinion. Let’s hope some proof will turn up or that someone else reading this has a box or other provenance.



I might add, for the record, that I was just “Mossed” for the first time. Typed a long answer to Jack’s question, clicked on “preview” and voila, it was gone into cyberspace. Got smart and went to Wordperfect to type, copy, and paste but my memory span is not that great and I’m sure I lost a lot of good information the second time around.



Ray: In reading your reply I realized I’d misread your previous post. As my post says, this is in fact a UMC product, not USC. My pardon to you and to those who’ve read this far. The cartridge is as I described it, with the pencil-point 147 gr. flat-base cn jacket. Primer annulus has a dark red seal. I’d still be interested in hearing if anyone has this UMC round. Jack


Well this is getting frustrating. Now I know how John feels. I typed an answer, a short one this time, and it disappeared when I tried to post it. Back to WordPerfect.

I think we need to start over. I misread your question (I thought you said USC) and I also made another mistake.

First the mistake - The 1909 Palma contract was won by UMC. 180 grain Thomas bullet. Headstamp 3-09.

UMC submitted at least one National Match entry in 1909. A note says that a UMC entry was loaded with a pointed “Russian” bullet. Not sure what that means and there was no further explanation. Headstamp was 3-09 so that may be what you have. UMC finished last of the 4 companies. On the positive side they finished 4th.

I have several of the UMC 1910 cartridges. They are loaded with the 150 grain service bullet and have a bright red primer seal. Headstamp is UMC 3-10.

Most of my other comments still apply.



Ray: I checked my notes to avoid shooting myself in the foot yet again. The cartridge is the UMC 3-09, “reddish” primer seal, and is loaded with the flat-base 147 gr. pencil-point bullet. Perhaps this is the “Russian” bullet, but about the only thing at all Russian about it is the weight, which agrees with the usually seen bullet of that nominal weight introduced in 1908 for the Mosin cartridge. Jack



Like you, I have no idea what the “Russian” bullet was. It is mentioned in HWS Vol 1, page 137. Since other cartridges are noted to have “Thomas” bullets I assume that the Russian bullet was something different? If there was a Mosin bullet of that weight and profile I’d say that is a good indication that’s what you have. Not conclusive but maybe as good as you’ll get 101 years after the fact.

Regardless, that’s a nice cartridge to have. Those early cartridges with a combination of commercial/military type headstamps are most assuredly Match.




Did a little research on the Mosin pointed bullets. Apparantly they were .311" diameter and were BT. So it’s not one of them.

But, you probably already knew that.



Ray: Are you referring to modern Mosin bullets or to the original Russian Mosin spitzer of 1908? I think that nearly everything in 7.62x54R loaded in Russia or the eastern bloc nations since 1945 has been boattailed, but the original spitzer was a flat based 147 gr. (nominal) cn-jacketed bullet, with a conical or hemispherical cavity in the base. It was very similar to the German 154 gr. S bullet very slightly reduced for the smaller caliber. This bullet is also the one used in the ammunition produced in the U.S. on contract for the Russians during the first war. Jack