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.50 BMG Headstamps


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Hello All,despite having had several .50 BMG rounds moreorless forever,I had never given any thought to the collectable potential of these,until now,that is.
One that's come my way in recent days is headstamped KS 43,a quick shufti in the relevant book revealed this to be from the Alleghany Ordnance
Plant.I then checked my old ones,the headstamps of which were long forgotten,these turned out to be CAL 50 FA 36, a pre WW2 product of the
Frankford Arsenal,and one each from the ordnance plants in Milwaukee and
Saint Louis.
It seems that in addition to these there were another 8 plants in the US
producing .50 ammo during WW2,some with interesting names like
Eau Claire and Twin Cities.Are all of these fairly readily available,subject to looking in the right place,of course.
.50 bmg

Yes, most of these are fairly readily available in collector circles, although your KS is probably one of the scarcer ones.

WW2 period FA, LC, etc are very common and can be found in various loads, although AP and Incendiary are probably the most common.

The RAF contract rounds from Remington are also around, and these use British colour codes and usually include "CAL 50Z" in the headstamp.

Pre WW2 loads are harder to find, so your 1936 round is quite nice. British made rounds form the 1920s and 30s are very desirable and hard to find.

Many thanks,Tony,it seems another little collection is getting off to a promising start,with two out of four being fairly desirable examples.
Apart from the ordnance plants in the US,where else would .50 ammunition
have been produced pre 1945?
You have mentioned Britain,would the Dominions and India have also made these rounds?
I may be biting off more than I can chew here,I have read that at least 30
countries have adopted and made this cartridge!!!
Two other rounds I have,of more modern manufacture are headstamped
with a conjoined ME and 88,origin unknown as yet.
.50 Br

Britain produced .50 Browning in the pre-WW2 era.

Royal Laboratory produced a pilot lot in 1926 and Kynoch made them from about 1927 onwards, usually headstamped ".5 AW-C" for Armstrong Whitworth Colt. AW had the Colt licence for the UK at that time.

Remington made them for the RAF as mentioned previously, but British production did not start until 1942 at Spennymore.

I have WW2 British made Ball, Tracer, Incendiary Mark I and II, Drill and experimental solid steel AP with copper driving band.

AFAIK, only Canada produced .5 Browning in that period.

Finland ( Tikkakoski ) produced .50 BMG rounds in 1941-42, AP, APT and I for Finnish Air Force.
Thanks a lot then,Tony,there's quite a few I'll need to watch out for from here on in.
Interesting to see that .50 BMG rounds were also made in wartime Finland
Tmine,I now know a little bit about the Finnish Myrsky fighter plane that I
didn't before!!!