US .30 Cal T104E1 rare is it?


Last weekend at the gunshow, a neighboring dealer had a 20 round box of ammo, labeled “Cal. 30 T104E1” from Frankfort Arsenal…the box was short, I knew it couldn’t be bulleted .30-06 ammo, I knew the T designation meant experimental, I thought maybe it was some sort of funky .30-06 blank or grenade launching round…

Since I collect US boxed ammo, and he only wanted $12, I figured I’d grab it…

Found out from the very limited info on the web (one site only I could find) that it was the experimental forerunner (produced in 1951) of 7.62 NATO ammo, originally called .30 cal short. The one website I found it on was a cartridge collector website, and he was selling it for $8.00 a round.

Just curious about some more history and how rare this stuff is…

My box is labeled Lot #7…red primer annulus, headstamped FA 51…



What you have is a box of the final iteration of the 7.62x51 experimentals. It is essentially identical to the adopted NATO round. More appropriately called the Cal 30 Light Rifle.

$12 for the full sealed box is a very good price. I paid $22 for the last one I bought. Individual rounds can be found for less than $5 each. But, as you have found out, the asking price for single rounds and full boxes will vary depending on where, who, and when you ask.

Not particularly rare but not that common either. Since the 1950 thru 1954 cartridges are cosmetically identical to the NATO round (except for headstamp) they are probably overlooked by most collectors which tends to make them seem more rare than they actually are.



Hey Ray,

Thanks a lot for the info! It’s very much appreciated. Glad I took the chance on it…

It’ll be a neat addition to the collection.




I forgot to add - the T104E1 used a steel cored bullet, the forerunner of the M59. Put a magnet to the bullet end of the box to verify.