Korean PS and KA headstamps


In Chris Punnett’s book on the .30-06, it sounds like the private company Poongsan Metal Manufacturing Company (PS factory code)took over the Korean Government Arsenal at Pusan (KA factory code) in the late 1960’s with “PS” headstamped ammunition being manufactured by 1973. Are these two factory codes associated with the same exact ammunition plant? Why was the “KA” code then used as late as 1976 then (5.56x45mm cartridges)? Why were PS and KA codes both in use at the same time?



AKMS - I’ll try to put this in an easy order.

Firstly, the Poongsan Metal Manufacturing Co. Ltd. had a commercial plant at Pusan, South Korea, at the same time the ROK Army was producing some ammunition at their own plant near Pusan, sometimes called the Pusan Arsenal, but actually located at Dongrae, which is also on the southeast side of South Korea.

The PMC commercial plant made ammunition with the “PS” headstamp, while the Dongrae (Pusan) Army plant made ammunition with the “K A” headstamp, which I assume means “Korean Army” in English.

In 1978, the Army Arsenal at Dongrae (Pusan) was transferred from the ROKA to the PMC Co.
At this time, in 1978, the K A headstamp ceases to be used. The very first headstamps on ammunition (.30 Carbine and .223) made at Dongrae under PMC control had an interesting headstamp, originally thought to be poorly stamped in Western Alphabet letters, but found to be actually in Korean ideographs that translate to “First Production Lot 1978.”

Subsequent production at the Dongrae plant under the control of PMC was headstamped "PSD"
to separate it from the commercial plant’s production, headstamped simply “P S.”

So, the summary is:

KA - Product of Dongrae (Pusan) Army Plant before 1978
PSD - Product of Dongrae (Pusan) plant after PMC took control in 1978
PS - Product of the original commercial factory at Pusan owned by PMC Ltd.

I am not sure when PMC first built or acquired their commercial factory. However, the earliest date of which I am aware that appears on PMC military-headstamped ammunition is “73” (1973) on .30-06.

I hope this sorts out the PMC question for you.

John Moss


Yes John, that explains it perfectly. Thanks!



Hi John,

do you have a picture from the hs with the korean ideographs?



If I can still log in successfully tomorrow, I will try to scan the headstamp of the .30 Carbine cartridge in question. I do not have the .223, as I do not collect that caliber of ammunition.

It may take some time to get it posted, as with the old Forum, I will send it to my Forum Pardner
to do. (Yes, I like the “cowboy” spelling of “pardner” better than the correct spelling of “partner.”

John Moss


I have tried making a good picture of the headstamp. I should have been more careful picking a cartridge from the full bandoleer I had. Certain things about my round, such as overlap of primer seal, and the very small size of the headstamp, made it scan very poorly. If it is desired, I will post the picture I made, with the caveat that it is very poor, and that I was not able to do better.

I do not have the proper lighting setup yet to photograph it with my Nikon micro lens.

Let me know if you want it posted. I will not bother without your request, again due to the poor quality of the picture I obtained.

The headstamp is pictured in Dave Hughes’ book on the 5.56 x 45 mm cartridge, although it is not a great photo either, frankly.