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Recently purchased a .50-cal can of M-2 ball/30-06 FMJ on 5-round strippers in bandoleers. (360 rds) The can is marked, in english:
360 CAL .30 CARTRIDGES
BALL M2 5RD CLIPS
BANDOLEERS
LOT TW 41688
The headstamp on these rounds is W S R with no date! The "W" is at 9 o'clock on the head, the "S" is at 12 o'clock, and the "R" is at 3 o'clock. Like I said, there is NO DATE !!!
They are packed in 60-round bandoleers, in 5-rd strippers, 2 strippers per pocket (6 pockets), pockets have cardboard sleeves, the printing on the bandoleers also is in English, reading:
CAL .30 BALL M2
5RD CLIPS
TW 41688
The strippers themselves are coated the gray/green parkerizing(?) the U.S. is so fond of coating things with.
I'm not an expert at identifying material, but it looks to be cotton(?) cloth that the bandoleers are made of.
I've talked to several people in the area who are quite knowledgeable in identifying ammo and one person even pulled out his big, thick book which supposedly lists all known U.S. military headstamps and the headstamps on this ammo is not listed there, either. Does anyone out there have an inkling what the heck this ammo is? Is it corosive, or not? Where was it made, and when, and for whom? One fella seemed to think it might be CIA contract ammo for covert operations, but why put the markings in English if that's the case? Besides, there are tons of surplus .30 M2 ball leftovers out there in the world, why make up a new batch?
Oh, by the way, the bullet is brass colored like any and all the M2 Ball I've ever seen. Except for the headstamp, it's identical to the Lake City and Korean ammo I have, visually. The sealant around the primer is green-colored.
Anyone out there have any idea what this stuff is? I'd sure appreciate being able to identify this stuff. Being corrosive isn't a big issue, I'll just use it in the Springfield and save my "clean" stuff for the Garand. I haven't shot any of it, yet, so I can't give a "performance" comparison to anything.
Thanks a bunch. Hope someone out there can help me.
 

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The ammo and the bandoleers are from a lot of U.S. ammo made at the Twin Cities plant. The ammo, however, not USGI. It is either commercial manufacture or foreign manufacture. I don't have my headstamp references here at work, but I'll check them when I get home.
 

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Sure that S is not a 5? Some later USGI WWII production used only the stamp for the last digit in the year. All would be corrosive.

As noted above, the can is Twin Cities. The headstamps don't match the can or the bandoleers.

In U.S. ammo, I've also seen green primer sealant only on 7.62x51 Special Ball (maybe some M80?), and some 5.56mm ammo.

The 5-round strippers are more consistent with packaging for the bolt guns. Is there a rectangular block stamped on the can, or any indication of the can's contents being originally packed in strippers? Cans packed with ammo in M1 clips often had an image of two rows of four dots with lines at the sides, mimicing what a loaded en bloc clip looks like end-on.
 

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If this was ammo from the Twin cities, it would be marked TW and the year. It was common for the year to be marked by one number for years ending in the same number I.E. 44 was TW4 and 55 was TW5. I have shot a bunch of the TW5 ammo and the headstamp looks like STW.

I agree that the ammo was most likely re-packed.
 

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Really odd...any chance you are misreading it? I can find no references to that marking. I also find it odd that the can and bandos match up with the same lot#.

100% positive it's "W S R"??
 
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