M203 Hull ID


#1

Is it possible to ID the Projectile that would have been in a particular hull by the color/markings on the hull?
I recently got one and was wondering what it had had in it.
It is brown with “AMM LOT MA-112-171” in 8mm high yellow letters about halfway up it and “40MM M118 RNO-5-24-5-69” at the base (Not on the base but just above the rim.) in 5mm black letters.

Any ideas?


#2

Some types of 40mm grenade ammunition had the complete round model stencilled on the case but most did not. If you could trace the lot numbers with Army purchasing information, the appropriate type of load would be known, but I don’t have access to that information.

What is pretty safe to assume is that in the middle of 1969 the vast majority of M118 cases were loaded with M406 HE projectiles, followed by M407A1 practice types in second place. I have an article with production figures around here somewhere and I think it notes something like 2 or 3 million rounds of standard HE produced in 1970. The “MA” in the lot number is Milan Arsenal in Tennessee and they certainly loaded a lot of 40mm High Explosive ammo during that period.


#3

thanks ordnance.
Would someone please be so kind as to interperet those markings for me?
By ordnance’s post I gather that the “MA” is Milan Arsenal and “5-69” is May 1969. Any advances?


#4

Well, the yellow text at the top tells you the ammunition lot for the complete loaded cartridge produced at Milan Arsenal. I’m not sure if they were just a loading plant or if they produced some of the parts as well.

Normally, one or more civilian companies produces the metal parts for explosive ammunition and ships them to a Government plant for the explosives to be loaded in. Some of them are “GOCO” operations, Government Owned, Contractor Operated plants, with some private corporation still running the place.

The markings on the lower edge of the cartridge case detail the nominal size and model of the cartridge case, 40mm M118, and the maker and their lot number, RNO-5-24. RNO was the Government code for Amron Corp. in Wisconsin. Last was the May, 1969 production date for the loaded cartridge case, not the complete round, which might have been assembled a month or more later. Hope that helps.


#5

Thanks again ordnance. Decided I needed another one so went and bought an M212 case (plastic practice case) and got a bandoleer too. This one is marked:
LOT NO. MA184B050-007
CASE, CARTRIDGE,
PRACTICE, M212.

My interpretation of that code would be:
Milan Arsenal… But thats all I got.
Could “-007” be 2007? Seeing as it’s a practice round would it be fair to assume that the NZ Army would fire more of these thus have more recently produced ones?


#6

This case uses a newer lot number format, which consists of a 3-letter manufacturer code, then the year, then a code for the month, then lot information. The months are coded A (Jan) through M (Dec) - “I” is not used as a month code, presumably because it could be mistaken for the number 1.

Is it possible that the first line is MAI instead of MA1? In the newer lot number format, they use a dash for manufacturer codes that are less than 3 letters long. Thus Milan Arsenal would look like “MA-”. Maryland Assemblies Inc in Perry, FL uses the code MAI. I’m not sure if they made 40mm ammunition however.

Assuming that my MAI guess is correct, your lot number breaks down as follows:

MAI: Maryland Assemblies Inc.
84: 1984
B: February
050: Lot interfix number
007: Lot sequence number

I hope this helps!