Please help date this box!

I just added this box to my collection today. I knew it was an older style, but when I looked at the headstamp of the cartridges inside, I was very surprised. The headstamp on each FMJ cartridge is “VPT 69”. The patina on the cartridges matches the apparent age of the box, so I do not suspect that the original contents have been replaced. Additionally, this is one of two identical boxes. This seems to be a commercial box, but the contents appear to be of a military nature; ie. FMJ ball with military style headstamp. The first thought was that it is simply surplus ammunition replacked for commercial sale, but I have always heard that the Finns were not known for surplussing ammunition. Second, the side of the box says “WARNING KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN”. I remember reading here somewhere that the addition of this statement on ammunition boxes in or for the US places the box at a certain date or later, but I do not remember what this date was. The most confusing thing to me is that to my knowledge, there was little or no demand for this caliber in the US until the mid 1980’s, which is much later than when this box appears to have been made. Could this ammunition have been imported in the early 1970’s for the few war trophy SKS and AK-47s that came out of the Vietnam War?


AKMS, although I cannot help you directly, I own the same box (empty) and somebody marked it with red pen “1968” So the dates could be quite right, as to the reasons you ask, I have no clue.

Best Regards,


I think the date on the headstamp of the ammunition contained in this Lapua box speaks for its self. I cannot say that it was not repacked, but it was relatively new, military-type ball ammunition that was sold commercially, primarily, I would think, in the United States.

As a person active in the retail end of the gun industry in 1969, I would dispute the point that there was no market for this caliber ammunition. Remember, many, many SKS carbines were coming back from SE Asia at this time and earlier. I had one and could not get ammo for it, one single round of what today would be a 25-cent ball cartridge going for $5.00 and sometimes more at gun shows. I was forced to load my own, making cases from Norma 6.5m/m Mannlicher-Sch

In the pre-Vietnam period I had a Russian-made SKS and bought a 50-round box of VPT FMJ ball ammo for it about 1967 or '68. Still have the box and maybe a round or two in the collection; will check to see if I can come up with a specific date. JG

Well John, thank you very much for that insight. I must admit that I was born in the same year that these cartridges were made! I truly had no idea that enough SKSs were around then to warrant the import of this caliber and did not realize that the Valmets were coming in that long ago either. I guess I am still just a young pup (even though I feel older each day) with much to learn…


AKMS - we all have much to learn. You know plenty about ammunition. Don’t rush the years, by the way. My son will be 44 years old this Sunday, and the 17th of this month marks my 51st anniversary in joining the Army Reserve, and coincidentally, my 50th Anniversary when I left the reserve for the rregular Army. Seems like yesterday. Tempis fugit.

thank you for all your postings. We all learn from each other.

In checking I find that the cartridges in the 50-round box I bought in 1969 were headstamped VPT 65. The box looks very military but is labeled in English and with a child warning ink-stamped on the label. It’s well to remember that apart from the military and cartridge collector angle very small–as well as very large–cartridges are especially interesting to experimenters and gunsmiths. The 7.62 M43 appeared in the first (1964) edition of Barnes’ Cartridges of the World largely because of his personal interest, and Lou Palmisano has written of his early fascination with the 7.9 x 33 and how it led him to his eventual PPC benchrest developments. The work John Moss undertook to make the Russian cases from the Mannlicher-Schoenauer shows what the properly-motivated experimenter can accomplish. JG