Identification of .50BMG Headstamp


#1

Can anyone tell me what country and what factory made the headstamp described below, found on a .50 Caliber machine gun cartridge? I had an inquiry from Australia about it and could find nothing on it in my files.

12 O’Clock T

3 O’Clock: N

6 O’Clock: 83

there is no entry at the 9 O’Clock position. My temptation is to look towards Switzerland for the answer. The “T” at 12 O’Clock is more often a thun headstamp than anything else, and they have used these four-position headstamps with one entry missing in the past, but the extra entry is virtually always a number, not a letter like “N”, and usually denotes some experimental feature. I have a number of 9mm Para like that.

If this is from Thun, what is the significance of the “N”?


#2

With all of the .50 MG guys on this Forum, can’t anyone identify this headstamp? any comments at all?


#3

I got nothing. Possibly Bill Woodin’s come across it before.


#4

I have just confirmed from the party making the original inquiry, from Australia, through me, that the “T N 83” headstamp is actually “T Z 83”, which of course is made by IMI in Israel.

I am posting this information from him so that we won’t have lots of people adding the originally reported and erroneous headstamp to their want list.

It was an easy error for him to make - I have made similar ones over the years myself - and we thank him for providing us with the update.


#5

From the early 1980s, Australia imported large quantites of .50BMG from IMI in Israel, even though it had always bnought US made .50 for ADF use.
A Lot of the TZ ammo was AP (Black Point) and Tracer( Red or yellow Point, according to type). There was also a substantial quantity of plain Ball.

TZ .50 cases in Australia go from 1983 to 1987; they arrived in Australia in normal .50 cans (US design, but IMI made) packed 2 to a wooden crate.

At the same time, MF (Footscray) was setting up to make .50BMG ammo itself. Dates seen 1984 (pre-production) to 1989; headstamps go MF 84,85, 86, 87; AFF88 and 89. Production of .50 ceased in late 89.

Existing .50 production line destroyed/scrapped etc in 1994-95, after Footscray closed; new production line set up at Benalla (New ADI factory), in 1999…now producing .50 BMG almost every year, but supplemented by FNB contract Ball and Blank, and also PSD. Small lots of IVI have appeared as well.

It seems that due to the very high Labour cost in Australia, ADI simply “Buys in” its contracted requirements of Supply to the ADF…the Contracts (which run to 2017 presently) are for “Supply” not “manufacture”, so they have cut back produvction in Australia to basically 5,56 Ball and Blank…leaving all the rest (9mm, 7,62mm, .30 cal, etc) to be “bought in”

Australian .50 used RWS Nickled Primers(1980s) and Possibly CCI #35 lately. Powder was AR2213/14 in the 80s, and now a variety of AR2218.
Projectiles were contract-drawn jackets, filled and fitted by MF/ADI.

Australia does NOT make any .50 Tracer, nor AP or other types of Special Loads.

regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


#6

Thanks for the information, Doc! I have never seen an Australian .50 BMG so far, I wonder when they show up in Europe.
Regards,
Thijs.