Turkish 50cal "MKE" round


#1

I got this from a very old (older than you and me) seller in Syracuse who was getting rid of his 50cal rifle and all the ammo. I bought it because I never saw this headstamp. I know for sure that it is not common because I pay attention to 50cals at shows. So was this a one time import in 60’s or 70’s? This is an original un-fired round with silver/red tip.


#2

About 10 years or so ago, there was a lot of Turkish Ball that showed up on the market in shooting quantities.

Other than that the Turkish rounds were pretty much one or two at a time popping up along with a bunch of very strange headstamps from other countries in Europe, Italian, some unheadstamped, etc. These “strays” were all common in a couple areas. They were all API or APIT and they were all an overall condition of poor. Heavily tarnished, damaged cases, struck primers, but still live, etc.

There were various rumors about these. Supposedly some rounds that were raked off a military range somewhere being decommissioned, all the ordnance had to be removed, so they hired a company that came in with heavy equipment and just scooped up the top 6" or so of top soil and sifted out all that wasn’t dirt. The rounds, cases, and fired bullets were all dumped into drums for disposal after sorting into brass, projos, live rounds, etc. The brass was sold for scrap prices, the rest were to be scrapped, but someone ended up with them and they quickly turned up on the shooting market, bulk packed into misc ammo cans, crates, or boxes. You could rummage around in any container and find a half dozen different countries with dozens of headstamp variations. But the key here was they were sold as shooting ammo, even though they were all sold for scrap/disposal originally and had been sitting in the open for decades. One company that sold them as shooting ammo had a bit of trouble due to rounds not firing or detonating catastrophically or hanging bullets in barrels. The advertising then called out that this was MG ammo, not intended for rifles, with sales continuing.

Other companies bought the ammo, tumbled it to make it look nice, then tried to sell them, but the ammo wasn’t any better than before.

Pretty quickly, it all disappeared off the market, hopefully for scrap or collecting rather than someone sitting on huge stockpiles for future shooting or a reappearance on the shooting market.

At one point, I found large amounts of this ammo, all demilled, then reassembled. They basically took out the existing projectile and may or may not have swapped out the powder, then stuck in APIT bullets salvaged from the ammo being demilled from Talon of WVA, which sold the bulk projectiles. So the bullets were not original to the case, even though the primer was original to the case. That caused a lot of confusion as to identity of the rounds. They were identified by the rough condition of the brass, all the case headstamps from all over the world, original primers and primer sealants, but all with APIT bullets from the US (carrying the bullet slice marks from Talon’s guillotine demilling machine).

There was just too much variation in countries in each lot of ammo sold, with too much commonality of origin of the bullets, for these to be original rounds (which they were advertised as). The slice marks were also a dead give-a-way. Thankfully, that’s all vanished from the market now as well. This lot not only caused problems for the shooters (may still have been the old powder, for the wrong bullet), but these also caused fits of us collectors thinking we’d stumbled onto a mother load source of new collectible rounds, when, in fact, all we had was a bunch of reassembled components.

Original source for all this was rumored to be either, Israel, cleaned up battle sites or military ranges when they turned over the Sinai to the Egyptians, or a continental US base. But this is all rumor. In the latter example, however, the US DoD is known to constantly buy ammo samples from all countries, so they can test and compare to current issue rounds, looking for something new/better. Where this is tested could have been the source.