Headstamps for Nepal and Burma - do they exist?


#1

In Peter Labbett’s book Military Small Arms Ammunition of the World, drawings of headstamps for Nepal (left) and Burma (right) are shown. In addition, it’s stated that these countries used and manufactured 7.62x51mm ammunition.

I don’t doubt that both Nepal and Burma used 7.62x51mm ammunition. Bu do the above headstamps actually exist and if so are they found on 7.62x51mm cases?

Thanks in advance

NATO Dave


#2

From “Small Arms Today” lists as in use 1988
Burma
AR10
FAL
H&K
MG3 MG
MAG MG

Nepal
L1A1 rifle
L4A4 Bren
L7A1 GPMG

All in 7.62x51


#3

Dave, I can’t comment on 7.62x51mm but below are 9mmP headstamps manufactured in or for the two countries.

The round on the far left is Burmese. The source was the Hong Kong Crime Lab before it was transferred to the Chinese. The symbol at the top probably indicates the Burmese Military Ammunition Factory. The two symbols on the lower left identify the date as “72” and the symbol at the lower right is “9” for the caliber. The Burmese date can be converted to a western date by adding 638 or 639 depending on the month, but the “72” appears to be a western date.

The middle round came from Aberdeen many years ago. The symbols across the top are “Burma Ka”. It isn’t clear what “Ka” character represents. the characters at lower right are the numerals “56” probably representing the date from the western calendar since this round was obtained long before the 1994. The symbol at the lower right is unidentified. If the date is actually 1956, then it seems unlikely that this headstamp would appear on 7.62 NATO cartridges. In his book on Military SAA from 1945-1980, Peter Labbet identifies the headstamp you illustrate as used on 9mm Para ammunition (Pg 52).

The round on the far right was obtained by the friend of an acquaintance who was stationed in Lebanon with a UN Peace Keeping unit and bases near or with a unit from Nepal. I was told he was given both a 7.62x51 round and this 9mm round. I have no idea what headstamp was on the 7.62 round.

Bottom line, Headstamps from both Nepal and Burma exist in 9mm so almost certainly exist in 7.62 since both countries used 7.62 NATO weapons and as a general rule, small countries produce their own rifle ammunition before they produce pistol ammunition. Having said that, the existence of the headstamps does not guarantee the cartridges were produced in these two countries. There is evidence that Myanmar/Burma produced their own weapons and ammunition for many years going back to the “Ne Win Sten” (BA 52 machine pistol), developed and produced with support of the Fritz-Werner of Germany beginning about 1953. Nepal could have purchased their ammunition off-shore but they could also have purchased the equipment to make the cartridge shown above which has a high quality headstamp.

In a separate email I am sending you some other assorted info.

Cheers,
Lew

PS: The Burmese translations are from a native Burmese speaker familiar with weapons.


#4

Lew
Thanks. At least I now know that the headstamps do exist. As you point out the existence of them does not mean that they were made in the countries in question. However with regard to Burma, as 7.62x51mm ammunition and SAA manufacturing equipment was supplied to Burma by Fritz-Werner, it seems reasonable to assume that this caliber was made locally. As for Nepal, I have seen 7.62x51mm cartridges (9mm wasn’t mentioned) listed in a Nepalese syllabus for a mechanical engineer technician. Of course this could be for purely theoretical and not practical purposes and does not prove the caliber was made locally.

NATO Dave


#5

For Nepal, if you email the national historical museum and ask, they may be able to tell you. They have a military arms section (mostly older medieval stuff) with weapons up to present day. I would think they would have some 7.62 and 9mm dummy cartridges at least, with relevant headstamps. They should be English-fluent, and relatively friendly.

Email: info@nationalmuseum.gov.np
http://nationalmuseum.gov.np/gallerydetails.php?gid=6

Burma, however, might be another more difficult matter. Our only IAA member in the region is a law enforcement officer of rank in Thailand, and he might know; Police Maj Gen Amporn Charuchinda (in the member directory). He should know since they share a border, and likely seize guns & ammo from criminal enterprise. If you email him the headstamp images he might expound on them.


#6

Hey Lew:
I believe the Burmese headstamp Burma Ka is for the following:
The Karenni Army (abbreviated KA) is the military branch of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), which campaigns for the self-determination of the Karenni people of Burma. In 1957, pro-independence groups already active in the area formed the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), backed by its own army, the Karenni Army (KA). Apart from a brief ceasefire in 1995, the KA has been fighting ever since. Rivals to the KNPP include the leftist Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), and the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF), both of which are now allied with the Myanmar military.

www.cartridge-corner.com


#7

That Nepalese headstamp that Lew showed was still in use much later than 75. I have a NPE case, original bullet, and original box for it in my collection. The date on mine is from 1997, but with the identical headstamp forment and content other than the date.

A Burmese headstamp similar to the one at the top of the thread was used on .303 British. When I was collecting that caliber, again I hace a NPE case, with red primer seal, with a very similar headstamp to that. I knind of felt that it might have been actually manufactured in England, but that was based on nothing more than the “look” of the primed case, which is certainly not a scholarly way to ID a cartridge in most instances.

Edited to provide exact date on Nepal 9 mm headstamp.


#8

“certainly not a scholarly way to ID a cartridge in most instances”

John, sometimes that’s absolutely all there is to go on. And an educated observational analysis is often correct, especially if someone has been looking at cartridges for 30-40 years…or more.


#9

Jon - Yes, I agree with you on that. Many times and educated guess is all we have to go on. I was the one who identified the DAM headstamp for collectors in our country.guessed it was Brazilian from the headstamp layout. I have done the same thing on several other headstamps. Later, I was able to confirm that with the Institute of Criminalistics in Rio de Janeiro. It was also clear, when I saw my first US Military unheadstamped 7.62 x 39 round that it was as American as a '57 Chevy.

I guess I should have substituted the word “definitive” for “scholarly.” While a guess is great, it is virtually never definitive until real documentation is found, no matter how expert the person making the guess is. “Scholarly” was a poor choice of words considering what I meant.

It was not meant as any criticism by the way. As mentioned above, I do it all the time with cartridges and occasionally with unique but anonymous cartridge boxes, and I have been right on about 35% of those guesses, on those where documentation was found later. Someone more expert than I (that means about 75% of serious collectors) would probably have a somewhat better average.