Help with a couple 30-06 bandoliers I picked up

I had this posted on another forum but did not get much info so I thought I’d try here.

I recently got two 30-06 bandoliers as part of a trade and know nothing and I mean nothing about them other then the rounds are 30-06 and on 5 round brass stripper clips. OK, here is what I got:

  1. I think the first bandolier is pre WW-1 I believe as there are 8 clips with ammo marked FA 2-16 and one clip with ammo marked FA 8-15 one of the pockets is empty but the other five pockets have the heavy cardboard holders that are divided into compartments to hold the bullets. Some of the rounds have green oxidation. Three pictures attached.

  2. The second bandolier I believe is pre WW-2, it is full, 60 round and they are marked FA 40, no month. Each pocket has the cardboard holder and the rounds are in great shape, no corrosion. Two pictures attached.

There are no marks anywhere on the bandoliers or packing slips in the pockets. Is there any way to tell the history and value of the bandoliers?

Thanks, Steve

Prior to about the middle of WW2, an ammunition lot data card about 2.5" x 3" was included with each bandoleer, often in the left hand pocket (looking at them like in the photos above) but sometimes in other pockets. The bandoleers were considered to be reusable, and were supposed to be turned in along with all the fired brass for salvage and possible reuse. By mid-WW2 they gave up on the false economy of theoretically reusing bandoleers and just stamped the lot number information directly on to the cotton bandoleer.

Without the lot cards, it is impossible to be certain that your ammunition is what was originally placed in those specific bandoleers, although the details on the early one are correct for circa 1916, and the other one is about right for 1940, and the cardboard inserts probably do not have the individual dividers (2 rows by 5 holes) like the early one.

At various times ammunition was sold off to NRA members via the old DCM program (predecessor of the CMP program). And, sometimes small quantities found their way onto the civilian market by other means, and removing the lot card may have been an attempt to disguise the source.

The WW1 era bandoleers are pretty scarce, but not especially valuable unless full of the oriignal contents with the lot card and the ammo has not yet started to decay badly. WW2 era ammo is still pretty common, even in bandoleers, but getting harder to find. Lack of a lot card will reduce price and demand.

Still, nice items and some collector will be happy to have them.