Secret lot numbers


I’ve noticed on the various auction sites that many boxes of US military ammo have the lot numbers cut out. Also, some where the lot number is covered with tape. On one such (tape covered) I asked the seller what the lot number was because i am looking for certain boxes. His reply was that I’d have to take it up with the new owner.

Anybody know what is secret about lot numbers? Are the owners paranoid? Conspiracy? What??




I see this too. In my opinion, the seller believes the ammo was stolen from the military, or might have been. The only way to trace it is by lot number. It’s a stretch, but if the military testified that no ammo from lot 12345 was ever released for DCM or other civilian sales, or sold overseas where it might have been resold to a US importer, that could be used to “prove” it was stolen. No lot number equals no tracking.

I also sometimes wonder why so many sellers refuse to divulge the serial numbers on guns they are trying to sell. If the gun is stolen, the only way to track it, generally, is by serial number. If the seller’s gun’s serial number is on a stolen list, the seller will have to give it up. He might also be prosecuted for receiving stolen goods, depending. So, it’s apparently much easier to just hide the serial number. I’ve lost data about Gyrojet firearms being auctioned because of this. Sad.



Very interesting topic there. While I don’t know of any instances where the U.S. government has confiscated items and or prosecuted ammunition collectors for possession of stolen property, they have been rather heavy handed when it comes to certain collectable coins they have produced. The original ownership of the items is not disputable and if their records (even if not complete or correct) do not indicate a legitmate potential path to your possession, they have no problem with confiscating the item and sometimes pressing related charges. While these cases tend to involve high profile coins, I have read that even low value items that weren’t supposed to be released to the public have brought their attention. Let’s hope there is no “ammunition police” agency combing the auction sites looking for some little collector to stomp on. I would think most collectors of military items would be hard pressed to document every item’s legitimate path to their display shelf and the way big brother works, the burden of proof is on you.

Of course, every G.I. item I have is complete with sales receipt signed by Uncle Sam himself…



I have also run across a lot of US military boxes with the Lot numbers removed. Maybe Mel is right and they are stolen, but I have always figured it was part of the demiliterization process. I know that on certain avionics equipment the SN must be removed before it can be sent to DRMO (the DOD disposal office). Different classes of items have different disposal requirements and I suspect they are posted on the internet somewhere.

Another possibility is that these are production overruns, or even rejected parts of production. The government inspectors in plants review lots of tests that in the past have included primer setback, bullet pull, case mouth sealing, misfire rate, and have rejected part or all of a lot for these reasons. Records indicate that at the Winchester had so much rejected 9mm ammo sitting around at the end of WWII that they sold off commercially that they didn’t load 9mm from early 1947 to late 1949! This ammo was fine for commercial sales, it just doesn’t meet military spec. When the manufacturer disposes of this stuff, he probably wouldn’t want a lot number on it.

Just a couple of other possibilities.




On some of the older Martin and Benet primed revolver boxes which went thought the hands of Bannerman’s the date (in those days it served as a lot number) has been removed by cutting the outer layer of the box. Apparently done so the new buyer wouldn’t know how old it was, due to public thoughts of very limited shelf life & could thus be assured? of buying fresh ammo!
Not quite fit this modern lot number business, but…