Got given 2 empty New Zealand Forest Service .222 ammo boxes.
Plain white with NZFS symbol and:

Anyone wanna give me a date of manufacture and/or how common they are?

Ok apparently its at least 20 years old according to the lady I spoke to when I rang the manufacturer. Any advances on that?

I can’t help you with the date but I remember Lynn Harris sent me an empty box about 1882-84 time.


Back in the 1980’s I got a .270 Winchester cartridge from Lynn Harris (for those who do not know Lynn, who is now dead, he was the head of the New Zealand Wildlife and Forestry Dept) with the headstamp “CAC * 270 * NZFS *”. He said the main use of this cartridge was for shooting off small branches of evergreens to retrieve the cones for getting the seeds for genetic studies. The trees are over 100 feet tall and the cones only form in the top 10 feet or so. It is too hard to climb the trees and shooting off the cones is the easiest way to get them.

I have no idea if the .222’s that falcon5nz has are used for this purpose or not.

I know both were used by deer cullers but never heard of the tree use. makes sense though.

Ron, I think Lynn may have been having a laugh at your expence… good story though. =D

Tom–I am sure the story told to me by Lynn is true. I am a Entomologist and a Botanist (Retired) and this same method was used by foresters in the western U.S. to collect cones from 150 foot Douglas Fir. My neighbor was one of the people who did it using a .30-06 for the U.S. Forestry Dept. The problem of getting the cones is that even if you climbed the tree you could not reach the cones as they occur on the ends of the branches to far out to reach them and the top branches are too small to hold a persons weight. There is no other way to get the cones as they do not drop off the tree until the following year and have no seeds in them at that time.

I see the date of manufacture of the NZFS cartridges has not really been answered, nor some other details supplied, so hope this will help.

The manufacture of this ammunition was in response to a a call from the New Zealand Forest Service to bid on a contract to supply this caliber, packed and headstamped according to NZFS specifications, let in September of 1968. The request was for two bullet weights, 130 grain and 150 grain, in a quantity of 250,000 rounds each.

The first sample quantity of 200 rounds was submitted by the Colonial Ammunition Company. The used KYNOCH cases as they had not yet tooled up for full production of that caliber. All but twenty of these rounds was consumed in testing.

In the end, after receiving the contract, the quantities originally called for were not met. CAC provided 100,000 rounds of 130 grain and 50,000 of the 150 grain loading, headstamp and packaged as requested. All of these cartridges were delivered in 1969. We do not know why the number of rounds supplied was cut short.

The fact that they made two bullet weights, and perhaps even the quantity originally requested (and even the quantity actually supplied) indicates, in my opinion, that these cartridges were not procured with any one special use in mind, but rather for any use the NZFS had for a rifle at the time. I don’t know in what time frame, since I would think it would have been a duty of the New Zealand Fish and Game Department (they were merged with the Department of Forestry, much to the chagrin of Lynn, but that was 18 years after these cartridges were made), but Lynn also said they were for culling over-populated species. I seem to recall that the “Red Deer” was mentioned prominantly in the conversation, and that they were such a problem, there was no bag limit on them and they were often hunted from helicopters. I had the honor of having Lynn as a guest at my house on several occasions, and of corresponding with him on an almost weekly basis. One of our departed “Greats” in my view. I never heard the story of the pine cones, but certainly cannot dismiss it.

Reference: “Whitney’s Heritage, A Study of Cartridges Manufactured by the Colonial Ammunition Company in New Zealand,” page 52, by Barry W. Gracia.

 "A Little Further A Little Faster, A Nostalgic Look at the Colonial Ammunition Company, its History and Cartridges," page 32, by Lynn H. Harris (This reference only confirms the production of these rounds).

Ron, I understand they did use these cartridges for picking cones from pines, however I think the MAIN purpose for the cartridge was pest control. Tom =D

John: One problem with your theory. It’s relating to .270 CAC ammo. The Box’s are for .222 Ordnance Developments Ltd. Have rung them and best answer I got from lady was 20+ years but shes going to ask the boss for me. I’m hoping that it’s exccedingly rare and he will send me a life times supply of ammo for every calibre they manufacture in exchange for the box.
Yeah. Right.
Thanks for your info though gives me some idea of date. Between 1968 and 1988.

[quote]I can’t help you with the date but I remember Lynn Harris sent me an empty box about 1882-84 time.


Tony, I didn’t know the NZFS existed 125 years ago!!!


Apparently its 35-38 years old.

…but I am much older!


Falcon - there is no problem with my “theory” about New Zealand Forest Service cartridges. There is only a problem with my eyes and my mental processes. I guess my eyes are starting to see what they want to see, and my feeble mind processes it by my eye’s command. I have had the .270 NSFS Box and still have a couple of the specially headstamped .270 rounds kicking about.

Regarding the .222, I think you have the printed version of the two boxes that I know about. There are at least two different boxes. One is printed, with the New Zealand Forest Service’s logo (to tall trees in a circle with the NZFX name around them), the other one is printed entirely with rubber stamps on a plain white box. I have one of the latter in my .222 file - an original box that is - and I have a very nice drawing by Keith Steagall of the other, printed box. Both are for rounds with a 50 grain soft point bullet.

The only date I can offer is the fact that Steagall’s drawing is dated November 27th, 1978, and all of his drawings were made from box specimens, to my knowledge. So, the cartridge has to date that early.
at least. I judge from your text that this is the box you have, with the NZFS Logo on it. The other box is Lot No. 196830, and I do not know when it was made, or whether the lot number reflects the year with the first four digits of “1968.” I have no information of OD Ltd.'s lot numbering system. I don’t know which box came first. I also don’t recall what headstamp was on the .222 ammunition, but don’t think it was “personalized” for the Forest Service, as was the .270 headstamp.

Well, I probably shouldn’t answer questions on the Forum anymore. I seem to be always in a hurry, and my eyes are getting worse - leads to reading what I want to see, not what is there. Now, though, you have some information on two of the claibers made for the NZFS, so I suppose it is not a total loss.