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A headstamp is the markings on the bottom of a cartridge case designed for a firearm. It usually tells who manufactured the case. Military headstamps usually have only the year of manufacture .

The left cartridge's headstamp says "FC 223 REM" which means that is was made by Federal Cartridge Co. and it is in the caliber ".223 Remington". The cartridge on the right has a headstamp that says "LC 99" with a symbol that consists of a cross in a circle. This cartridge was made in 1999 by the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, in Independence, MO, USA. The symbol on this headstamp means it meets NATO specifications.

The headstamp is punched into the base of the cartridge during manufacture. A resource for identifying where the ammunition originated can be found at Cartridge Collectors.

Military Headstamps[edit | edit source]

Two digits are the last two digits of the year of manufacture. Early 20th century cartridges may have additional digits or a letter indicating the month of manufacture. The letter code indicates the place of manufacture:[1]

American Military Cartridges[edit | edit source]

US Arsenals[edit | edit source]

Civilian Contractors[edit | edit source]

Commercial Cartridges[edit | edit source]

The US military used commercial cartridges for its training rifles, non-standard weapons, and shotguns. These usually had different headstamps than the military ammunition (usually their civilian one) and were shipped in commercial crates rather than military packaging.

Commonwealth Military Cartridges[edit | edit source]

The number in parentheses is the nation's Nation Code.

Australia (66)[edit | edit source]

Canada (20 and 21)[edit | edit source]

South Africa (18)[edit | edit source]

  • U Government Factory - Pretoria - Pretoria, South Africa.

United Kingdom (99)[edit | edit source]

NATO Manufacturers[edit | edit source]

The number in parentheses is the nation's Nation Code.

Germany (12)[edit | edit source]

Greece (23)[edit | edit source]

Israel (31)[edit | edit source]

Italy (15)[edit | edit source]

The Netherlands (17)[edit | edit source]

Spain[edit | edit source]

South Korea (37)[edit | edit source]

  • PS (Poong-San), Poongsan Metal Mfg. Co. Ltd. - Seoul, South Korea. Manufactures military cartridges.
  • PMC (Precision-Made Cartridges), a division of Poongsan Metal Mfg. Co. Ltd. - Seoul, South Korea. Manufactures commercial cartridges.

Taiwan (?)[edit | edit source]

  • TAA Material Production Center, 205th Arsenal, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A sub-contractor for General Dynamics.[7] They manufacture 5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO cartridges.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sharpe, Philip B. Complete Guide to Handloading (1953) Funk & Wagnalls p.75
  2. Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading (1981) National Rifle Association p.21
  3. 3.0 3.1 A
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Australian Military Headstamps (1939-1945)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hendon Ammunition Factory
  6. 6.0 6.1 Davis, William C., Jr. Handloading (1981) National Rifle Association p.12
  7. Battle Over Bullets By Scott Barancik. St. Petersburg Times. Published April 12, 2007

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