WWII era 30-06 ammo


I’ve been going through some old stuff, and was wondering how uncommon some old '06 rounds are. I know it will likely be a few decades before common WWII ammo becomes very rare or collectible, but I have a few FA41 and earlier tracers and AP rounds. I thought I read somewhere that the earlier APs actually had tungsten carbide cores, whereas the later ones were just tool steel.

There are also a few ball rounds marked R A 1941 300 Z. I seem to recall that this was some sort of military aid ammo sent to England or something. Common as dirt, or worth hanging on to?


"Tungsten Carbide", which is a Pure compound ( Tungsten and Carbon), and very brittle.
During WW II they switched to a Molybdenum Steel alloy and Hardened.(Cheaper).

RA .300Z 41 etc. Contract with British Gov’t for ammo to supply Original US made Fighters and some early B17s bought before Lend lease; Supply continued under Lend-lease Act after 1941.

The .300Z is the British method of indicating .30cal for Browning Aircraft Guns(AN-M2 design) and later, M17/M1903 Rifle Ammo as well.
“Z” indicates Nitro cellulose Load, as distinct from “Cordite”.
The Round channeled Indent in the headstamp is typical of US "AN-M2 Loading of Ammo for Aircraft MG use ( as well as extra stab crimps for the primer, the annular groove improved primer sealing during firing, and also increased head hardness as well. Idea came from both French ( 8mm Lebel groove) and Italian
(6,5 cartridges) where the groove was headed to improve primer seal ( thew french to allow Tube Loading as well); all Pre WW I ideas.
The US adopted this “annular Groove” in 1917-18 with Aircraft ammo for the Marlin M1918 MG (modifed Colt 1895/14 design) to avoid primer cup extrusion Jams. The USAAF continued the use of this system for “AN-M2” cartridges into WWII, but I don’t know when it was discontinued ( by 1942, very few US Aircraft still had .30 Brownings, having “Up-Gunned” to .50 cal almost universally.
Remington kept making the AN-M2 type for Britain till at least 1943.
After WW II, most of remaining British stocks of .300Z was offloaded to either Allied nations or “the Colonies” for ground use…it was belted both in Cloth belts and steel Link.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics
( owner of some "British-then Dutch-then Indonesian RA .300Z )


Re: the tracers - some of them could be more collectable than others. It all depends on the date. The pre-M1 tracers and, of course, the M2 and T10 tracers are not easy to find.



I think .30 M1906 type cartridges of U.S. manufacture dated 1945, excepting the frangible loading, are generally uncommon. Jack


Jack makes a good point regarding U.S. Cal. 30 M1906 cartridges marked as made after 1944 being uncommon (frangible rounds excluded). If I may be bold enough to extend the WWII “era” part of this thread to “between the wars”, what headstamps and loads are out there for collectors in this caliber between the '45 frangibles and the '49 marked blanks and primed cases (the next year I’ve got) with the T53 primers?



With the gazillion rounds on hand in 1945 it’s a wonder they made any new ammunition before the Korean War. Kind of like the situation after WWI when the new M1 ammunition was not put into regular service until 1936.

But anyway, I have M1909 Blanks dated FA 45 and 46, and LC 45 M1 Tracer (Alternate). Lots of stuff after '49, of course.




I had the figure of remaining .30 cal. ammuniton after WWII as about one “bazillion”, but who’s counting?.. Of course that '45 tracer is key, but I hadn’t seen a '46 dated case you have as a blank. Maybe I don’t get out much, but that’s nice!



It seems that .30 Cal. production continued on some scale during 1945.
I have the following 1945 dated .30 Cal. loadings

M2 Ball…FA, LC, RA, SL, TW, WCC, WRA
M1 Tracer…SL, TW
M1 Test, High Pressure…FA
M1909 Blank…TW, WRA
M3 Blank, Rifle Grenade…FA
T61 Blank (Antenna Erecting)…FA
(I didn’t include any of the frangibles)

From 1946 to 1949 I only have a few.

M2 AP…FA 49 (zinc primer)
M25 Tracer…FA 49 (zinc primer)
M1909 Blank…FA 47 (zinc Primer), FA 48 (zinc Primer)


Dave - It’s brazillion. There’s a really good blonde joke about how many a brazillion is, but I’m not allowed to tell it here.

I just remembered that I have 5 boxes of Cal .30 Primed Calibration cases hs FA 46.

I don’t ordinarily collect headstamps but I recall having pass thru my hands several of the '45 to '49 dated cartridges listed by Phil. Maybe I should have kept them???

Phil - Are those M1 Tracers GM or GMCS (Alternate)? Red tips?




They are the Alternate Type (GMCS jackets).



Thanks for the listing. Very nice. I have yet to run across anything but the blank and primed case types with the zinc primer. I recall your T61 you shared a picture of a while back. That is about as nice an example as one could hope to find! The last one I saw for sale looked like the antenna fell on it…


Even a “type collector” must find certain headstamps interesting. I can think of an early '40s NM item I would bet you would save for the headstamp if you came across one…

The “between the war” years ('46-'49) might just make for an interesting short set of Cal. 30 to collect but I would have to wait for HWS III to have half a clue of what I was looking for!