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Post War Ammunition Boxes.  By the early 1950’s new models of ammunition boxes were developed to replace all of the types used during WWII.  The older type boxes had rectangular ridges, large lettering, Army Ordnance Corps markings and model numbers embossed into the metal.  The tops were generally shaped to receive the base of another box of the same type for better stacking. Post war models would be simple in design and more rugged than the wartime boxes. The lids were flat and no longer captured water and dirt. Spot welding replaced rivets. They have flat sides and a shallow rectangular slot in the bottom to accept the handle of another box when stacked. The basic design of many post war ammunition boxes has been around with little change for well over half a century. There have also been many foreign copies of the U.S. pattern boxes that will usually have different model numbers embossed on one end or on the top.  A few of the most common post war boxes are listed below.

Late style M2A1 Box originally designed for Caliber .50 machine gun ammunition.
M2A1. The post war. 50 caliber box is known as the M2A1 although it is not a modification of the M2 but a completely different design. The M2A1 has flat sides and opens from one end.  The lid is removable and has a rubber gasket.  The M2A1 measures 6-3/32”x 7-1/2” x 12-1/32”.  The original model lid had sides that were ½ inch wide at the hinge end and tapered down to 1-1/2 inch wide at the opener end.  The more recent production model has  ½ inch sides that runs the entire length of the lid. The M2A1 holds 100 rounds of .50 caliber cartridges.

Side view of another early M2A1 box and lid. This one was used for  .30 caliber ammunition (Saint Louis Ordnance Plant). M2A1’s have also been used to ship pistol ammunition. This older box also has an embossed cartridge on the lid to show the direction that belted ammunition should face. The box was made by A.F.X.

An early M2A1 Box. The markings are unusual as lot numbers are shown for both types of cartridge and the date is also shown. The lot number is from Lake City Arsenal.  The extra “L” in the lot number indicates linked ammunition.

The later style M2A1 box and lid by S.C.F.  Most M2A1 boxes will have the makers initials pressed into the metal on the hinge end. Later boxes may also have the model designation and last two digits of the year of manufacturer.

An M2A1 box by S.C.F. with .45 Cal pistol ammunition imported for the U.S. military from Israeli Military Industries, Tel Aviv, Israel. The lot number is from May 1987.

Another very common use for the M2A1 Box is for 9-mm pistol ammunition.  This one was filled by Western Cartridge Co. in April 1997.  This box was from AYT93.

Examples of top marking symbols on recent M2A1 boxes.  Left to right: 1. Cartridges in cartons (9mm 1000 rounds).  2. Box for 840 cartridges, 5.56mm in 10 rd. clips and bandoleers. 3.  Box for 100 rds. .50 Caliber in links.  Only about half of the M2A1 boxes examined have top markings.

M2A1 Boxes for: 1. 2-200 rd magazines 5.56mm in links marked specifically for M249 machine gun.  2. Another way to represent 5.56mm ammunition in 10 rd clips and bandoleers (840 cartridges). The two raised dots on the opener end are typical of newer boxes.
Two early style M2A1 box lids.  The older one on the left has the embossed cartridge to show the direction the cartridges face.  Both lids show the early method of construction, with a separate piece spot welded to each end to form the opener pivot and the hinge. Newer M2A1’s still have a separate piece for the hinge but the lid has been extended and folded over to form the opener pivot. The end pieces also served to form a degree of clearance when boxes were stacked.  When the design was changed, two raised dots were added on the opener end to provide that clearance and to keep the boxes level when stacked. The older lids also had the wide side skirt on either side.

Two M19A1, .30 caliber ammunition boxes.  One is marked for 7.62mm NATO cartridges and the other for .30 caliber AP in bulk.

The lid modifications were the only major changes to the M2A1 design in over fifty years of use. For some reason the military would choose not to change the designation of the boxes with the newer type lid to M2A2. 

The National Stock number (NSN) of the M2A1 box is 8140-00-960-1699.  The Drawing Number is 7553296. The following is a partial list of maker’s initials found on M2A1 boxes: 

S.C.F.        M.C.Z.        EMCO         BURROWES       M.C.C.
S.H.T.        AYT             K.S.C.          A.F.X.                   LENNOX

M19A1. The post war .30 caliber Ammunition box is known as the M19A1. It measures 3-13/16 x 7-1/4” x 11”.  Adopted in 1946 the M19 series had officially replaced the M1 and M1A1 boxes by the early 1960's. The M19A1 box started out as a .30 caliber box but after 1957 it was also adapted for use with 7.62mm NATO ammunition. The box has a rubber gasket and a removable lid. The sides of the lid of the M19A1 are similar to the type found on early M2A1 boxes. The M19A1 has National Stock Number (NSN) 8140-00-828-2939. The drawing number is 7553315.  

The M19 .30 caliber box was adopted in 1946. The following photos show a rare M19 box made by Mount Vernon Metals, Grand Rapids MI. The box has a narrow lid latch similar to the M1A1 box. Other differences include the flush sides of the lid rather than the slight hump found on either side of the upper part of the lid sides on the M19A1 and the use of paint to apply the makers name. Some sources say that at least some M19 boxes lack the slot on the bottom that was designed to accommodate the handle of another box when stacked. Thanks to Todd K. for the pictures and information.



 

Above & Right: A rare M19.
Source: Todd K.

The M19A1, below, is the first modification of the M19. It appears that the only difference was that the M19 had a narrower lid clamp, similar to the type used on the M1A1 .30 caliber box.  

TM 9-1305-200, Small Arms Ammunition, June 1961 shows the M19A1 box and no longer shows either the M1 or the M1A1 box. 

The M19A1 box was used for .30 caliber ammunition in bandoleers, link belts or for ammunition in bulk. Other combinations are also common. With the adoption of battle packs, which are carried in larger boxes, the use of the M19A1 for machine gun ammunition has diminished somewhat but they are still being made and used.

The embossed cartridge on the opener end of the cover of the M19A1 box was typical of early M19A1’s, as was the brownish shade of OD.  This one was originally loaded with 250 rounds of .30 Cal linked ball M2 cartridges at Lake City Arsenal. It was then reloaded with 200 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, M80 in cartons in M13 links, also at Lake City Arsenal. This box was made by UNITED. Another example of an older M19A1 box with original markings.  This one originally held 252 rounds of .30 caliber armor piercing ammunition in bulk.  The cartridges were laid out in rows separated by paper strips and had to be loaded individually into links, 8 round M-1 clips or BAR magazines. The ammo was packed at Lake City Arsenal, September 1966. This box was made by EMCO.
This M19A1 box represents another style of marking with letters aligned to the left.  The ammunition was from Lake City Arsenal.  This box was made by “AIRLINE”. This is the only box examined so far (of any model) made by AIRLINE.
An older M19A1 by EMCO originally loaded with 192 rounds of .30 caliber AP ammunition in 8 round clips (for Rifle M-1) at Frankford Arsenal. This box appears to have been used only once.

An M19A1 Box by EMCO with, 30 cal ammunition in 8 round M1 clips loaded at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.


An M19A1 box made by GP& F loaded with 250 rounds
of blank .30 cal ammunition at Lake City Arsenal.  


Older M19A1 boxes originally loaded with .30 caliber ammunition in 8 round M1 Rifle clips in bandoleers from Frankford Arsenal Lot Number FA 963 and FA 964. These boxes were made by UNITED and EMCO.


A recent M19A1 loaded with 7.62mm NATO Ammunition at Lake City Arsenal. Note the use of symbols as well as letters and numbers.  This box is of later production and is embossed with “M19A1” and was made by S.C.F. in 2005.


Ammunition also seems to feed with the clamp folded into the box, but this has not been tried with a gun and live ammunition. 

The two small dimples on either side of the opener end of the lid on the M19A1 (or early M2A1) boxes held the lid partly open with cartridges ready for use while the side skirts kept out rain and dust. It would appear that the opener clamp would interfere with feeding but it does not seem to be a problem.

 LEFT: A sample of top marking symbols found on M19A1 boxes. Left to right: 1. An older box for 192 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition in 8 round M1 rifle clips and bandoleers, 2. A recent box (2005), for 200 rounds of 7.62mm NATO cartridges in links and cartons. 3. An older box for 200 cartridges 7.62mm in links and cartons labeled for Machine guns M60 and M73. The yellow painted tab on the end apparently had some significance but was not always used.

Top marking symbols helped supply personnel to identify the contents of the box at a glance but the use of top marking symbols was far from universal. Many M19A1 boxes examined have no top markings.

There are few variations to be found on M19A1 boxes but markings may vary. For example, most makers placed the welded seam of the box on the opener end and their initials on the hinge end. UNITED and GP&F placed the welded seam on the hinge end and their name will be found on the opener end. EMCO made them both ways. Different styles of handles, some made of fabric, have also been observed in photographs but no details are available. Foreign copies have also been observed.  One type (made in Singapore) uses a rolled crimp, similar to the M1 box, for the bottom. Some foreign made boxes are also marked "M19A1"

The following is a partial list of manufacturer’s names and initials found on M19A1 Boxes:

 

EMCO                       KANARR                    S.C.F.              GP&F

UNITED                    AIRLINE                      GWK                 YSE


M19A1 Ammunition Boxes each loaded with 192 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition in 8 round clips and bandoleers for the M1 rifle, were shipped four boxes to a wooden wire bound crate for a total of 768 Rounds.

Other combinations such as linked belts and cartridges in cartons were also shipped in this manner.  In recent years the M19A1 boxes have been used almost exclusively for 7.62mm NATO ammunition.

All ammunition in the boxes would be of the same type, the same packing and from the same lot number.  The lot number and description would appear on each box and also on the crate.

Markings were placed on ammunition boxes to describe the caliber, type of packing, lot number and arsenal.  Small Arms ammunition markings were applied with a rubber stamp usually in yellow paint. Boxes loaded with fuzes only will have white markings. White markings are also found on some larger caliber boxes but only occasionally on small arms ammunition boxes. The original markings could be painted out and new markings applied when the boxes were refilled.

LEFT: An example of the rubber stamp used to apply markings to an ammunition box.  This one was for 200 cartridges, 7.62mm, packed in cartons from the Twin Cities arsenal in the 1970’s.

Ammunition boxes are often reloaded and relabeled several times. The original markings are often painted over with a color similar to the original color and then marked with the new information in yellow. Sometimes the whole box was repainted at that time. Many recent boxes have been found with the original data painted over with tan color paint and the new markings applied (in black) with stencils or even marking pens. It has also been found that many newer surplus boxes have been used only once.  Many small arms ammo boxes have appeared on the surplus market recently, that while in excellent condition, were released only a year or two after manufacturer.


PA-108 5.56mm Box is 7.29” x 8.9” x 12.9”
sometimes called the “fat .50”
.

The PA-108 box has come into use in recent years.  It is sometimes mistaken for a .50 caliber type.  The box is about one inch higher, one inch longer and one inch wider than the M2A1 (12.9 x 7.29 x 8.9”). It is sometimes called the “wide .50 cal” or “fat .50”.  There is no evidence that it has been used to carry .50 caliber ammunition.  It is generally used to carry 800 rounds of 5.56mm cartridges in 4 magazines for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). This type may also be used to ship other types of ammunition. More recent examples have the model designation and the last two digits of the year of manufacturer pressed into the metal on the hinge end. No PA-108 boxes examined so far have been found with top marking symbols. The one pictured here was made by S.C.F. in 2001.

The PA-108 has NSN 8140-01-252-4290. The drawing number is 9396178.

There are several types of ammunition boxes based on the M2A1 design that have the same length and width as the M2A1 but differ by being higher. 

PA-60 Box for 60mm Mortar ammunition.  This one was never used or marked. It measures 12-1/32 L x 6-3/32W x 13-25/64 H. It was made by S.C.F. and has no date. From the design of the lid and color it appears to be an older type. The NSN is 8140-00-198-4697 Drawing number is. 9234843. PA-70 Box used for 8 cartridges for 60mm Mortar M224.  The box has the same lid as the M2A1 .50 caliber box but is 12-1/32 x 6-3/32 x 16-5/16”. This one is marked CONT. PA-70, S.C.F. (no date).  It has NSN 8140-00-090-1101 and drawing No. 9252724.
Other boxes that are available from time to time on the surplus market include types used for 20mm and larger ammunition. These differ from small arms ammunition boxes, as they are much larger, usually have clamps at both ends of the lid and the lid must be removed completely to access the contents. 


PA-120 Box - used for 32 cartridges 40mm (grenade) for Mk19 machine gun.  The box has an opener on each end and the lid must be removed to access the contents. It measures 18.7” x 6.3” x 10.3”. This one has no maker’s name. The NSN is 8140-01-315-9915. The drawing number is 12564414.

PA-154 Box - The box will hold two 120 mm mortar rounds and possibly other types as well. The lid has an opener on both ends and no hinge. It has four carrying handles. Dimensions are similar to .50 cal M2A1 box except for being about 32 inches tall and the lid is not interchangeable. It measures 6.36 X 12.3 X 31.7”. This one was made by S.C.F. 1996.  NSN is 8140-00-380-5857. The drawing Number is 12577569.


Tub style aluminum ammunition box with four clamps for “Two Guided Missile Warheads MK8”.  Box is marked “Guided Missile Container MK 34 Mod 0, 657610 NGF”.  


PA-125 Box - For 25mm linked cartridges. It measurers 14.3” x 13.8” x 5.7”. It has a clamp on both ends (no hinge). This one has no maker’s name. The PA-125 has a carrying handle on both ends and one side. The NSN is 8140-01-347-8121, Drawing No.12576143.


M621 Box - A plastic ammo box for 30, linked 25mm Cartridges probably for the Bradley fighting vehicle gun. The box opens on the bottom and top and both lids have a hinge. The lids are not removable. It measurers approximately 13.5” L x 5.6” W x 14.5” H. It is labeled only “CONTAINER ASSY NO. 12013870, PART NO. 12013854”.  NSN is 8140-01-121-9853.

LEFT: M-548 Box - For 100, 20mm cartridges, with a clamp on each end (no hinge).  This box is 18.5 x 14.5 x 8.2”. The National Stock Number is 8140-00-739-0233, Drawing No. 7158943.

 M592 Box  - The box holds 110, 30mm cartridges.  This box has a clamp on each end of the lid and a rubber gasket.  The box is 9.5” x 18.5” x 14.5”.  The NSN is 8140-01-083-9229 the drawing number is 10542565.  This one was made by CZE in 2006.

PA-156 Box – This box holds three rounds of 81mm Mortar ammunition.  The lid has a clamp on both ends and a rubber gasket.  The box is 5.7” x 14.3” x 22.9”. The NSN is 8140-00-353-9935.  The drawing number is 12944511.  This box was made by S.C.F. in 1997, but is not marked as to model number.   
Misc. Ammunition Containers


Mine Chest, probably M156.  Used to ship Anti Tank Mines and fuses or Practice mines.  This one has no lot number or date and was probably never used for the intended purpose.  It served as a toolbox for many years and the hasp was a later add on.  The chest measures 19L x 11 W x 7-1/2 H, has two clamps and a hinge and does not have a rubber gasket.


Chest labeled “11 AP PROJ MK 29 MOD 2, EMPTY, CU FT 1, 50 LBS”. It measures 15-1/4 X 12 X 14-1/2, has 4 clamps (one on each side), two handles and a rubber gasket. Boxes of this type were also used to ship fuses. Boxes of similar design but of different sizes were used for other types of ammunition.

Ammunition Cans


An example of a true ammo “can”.  Known as “hermetically sealed ammunition can”. This one is for .30 caliber ammunition in 8 round M-1 Rifle clips (192 rounds) and is from the Twin Cities Arsenal. Each can actually had a model number.  This one appears to be an M-20 but the can is not marked. It measures
6 3/16" X 8 9/16" X 5 3/4".

Linked belts were also supplied in ammunition cans.  The ammo from the cans was often removed and placed in boxes, which could be placed in action more quickly. Examples of typical can configuration:
Cartridge type                                         Number of rounds       Can type
30 Cal Carbine
.30 Carbine 10 rd clips/bandoleers
.30 Cal rifle M2
.30 Cal rifle 5 rd clips/bandoleers
.30 Cal rifle 8 rd clips/bandoleers
.30 Cal M2 linked 
.30 Cal M2 in cartons
.45 Cal pistol in cartons
.50 Cal in cartons
.50 Cal linked
.50 Cal linked 
12 Gage 00 Shotgun
500 
600
240
240
240
240 
240 
600
60
55
112
120
M6
M20
M8
M8
M8
M8
M8
M5
M10
M10
M21
M10

Markings – The type and style of markings on ammo boxes and cans vary depending on when they were packed and the type of ammunition. Modern ammunition boxes may have the following markings in various combinations:

 

1.      Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC)

2.      Descriptive Nomenclature to include model number of the ammunition.

3.      Lot Number.

4.      Date (Month and Year) Loaded.

5.      May be marked “packaged with desiccant-do not open until ready for use or inspection”.

6.      Fuze information.

7.      Sometimes the National Stock Number (13 digits) or possibly the older (1949-75) Federal Stock Number (11 digits).

 

Small arms ammo boxes will sometimes show the DODIC and NSN, but they will generally show only basic information such as:

 

1.      Descriptive nomenclature and model number of the ammunition

2.      Type of link, belt or packaging.

3.      Lot Number

 

Small Arms Ammunition to include 30mm comes under the Federal Supply Classification Number 1305.  Therefore the National Stock Number for that ammunition will begin with 1305.  This also applies to bandoleers, clips and links but not to ammunition boxes, which carry an NSN that begins with 8140.

 

The Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC) is specific to each type of ammunition and is a four digit alphanumeric code.  For example:

 

Cartridge                                            DODIC           

.45 Cal Ball M1911                            A475

7.62mm, Ball M59                            A122

7.62mm Match M118                       A136

5.56mm Ball M193                           A066

5.56mm Tracer                                 A069

.50 Cal, Ball, AP M2                          A525

 

The NSN and/or DODIC will generally be found on larger caliber ammunition boxes or on wooden packing boxes but only occasionally on small arms ammunition boxes. For example:

 

Nomenclature                         DODIC            NSN

20mm TP M55A2                    A889             1305-00-756-1675

25mm TP-T M793                   A976             1305-01-356-0189

40mm M430A1                        B542             1310-01-362-5295

60mm Mortar M720                B642             1310-01-022-7680


A recently reloaded M2A1 box.  The original markings for 1000, 9mm cartridges have been painted over with tan paint (one side only) and remarked in black stencil. No effort was made to match the original color and this may have been deliberate as it shows that the box had been reloaded once and probably should not be used again. This type of marking is now common. The box was by AYT92.


An M2A1 box with both National Stock Number (NSN) and DODIC for.50 Caliber Blank Cartridges in links made by Western Cartridge Co. NSN and DODIC markings on small arms boxes were rare until recently.

Ammunition Lot Numbers - It is difficult to find information on lot numbers from early years.  Technical manuals only mention that there is such a thing as lot numbers and that it was important to keep the lot number information with the ammunition.

 

Lot numbers can be described as the New Standard, the Old Standard and the Very Old Standard.  There may have been many more.  It appears that the very old standard involved each arsenal assigning it’s own numbers to their lot numbers in sequence and lot numbers could be three to six or more digits.  A letter such as “B” (belted ammo) or “L” (linked ammo) could follow the makers code or appear within the lot number. A letter “S” at the beginning of the lot number would indicate steel case ammo and the letter “C” as a suffix to the lot serial number would indicate copper plated steel gilding metal bullet jackets. TM 9-1900, June 1956, page 7., states that  “On items manufactured in Japan, the prefix J – is added to the manufacturer’s symbol in the last number and those manufactured in Europe have the prefix E-.”  Newer systems have attempted to impart other information.

 

Old Standard (MIL STD 1168):

 

Example:  WCC-8-126

 

The first two or three letters were for the manufacturer’s code.

The next digit was the “interfix number”.

The last digits were the serial number of the lot.

 

New Standard (MIL STD 1168-A):

 

Example:  LC-86-M-025-075B

 

The first two or three letters are for the manufacturer’s code.

The second two digits are the year of manufacturer.

The third space is a single letter indicating the month of production:

 

A- Jan                        D-Apr              G-Jul                K-Oct

B- Feb                       E-May             H-Aug              L-Nov

C- Mar                      F-Jun               J-Sep               M-Dec

 

Following the month indicator is the interfix number.

 

The last set of numbers is the Lot Sequence Number and if applicable, an Ammo Lot Suffix Letter may be added to the Lot Sequence Number when there has been a modification through renovation.

 

 

In the 1940’s and prior to the use of the DODIC an ammunition code symbol, also known as the “AIC” (ammunition identification code) was used that sometimes appears on ammunition boxes and crates.  Example:

 

Code Symbol             Markings

T1EDP                      250 rounds Cal .30 in belt 4AP-1TR

T1EED                      250 rounds Cal .30 in belt 9AP-1TR

T1EGW                     250 rounds Cal .30 in belt 4B-1TR

T1EHC                      250 rounds Cal .30 in belt  9B-1TR     

T1ICH                       100 rounds Cal .50in belt 4AP-1TR

T1ICI                        110 rounds Cal .50 in belt 4AP-1TR

T11CN                      110 rounds Cal .50 in belt 2AP-2I-1TR

T11DF                       105 rounds Cal .50 in links 4API-1TR

T11CQ                      105 rounds Cal .50 in links 2AP-2I-1TR

T11CR                      105 rounds Cal .50 in links 2AP-2I-TR

T1EDV                      1344 rounds Cal .30 8 rd clips, AP M2

T1EGK                      1500 rounds Cal .30 8 rd clips, Ball M2

T1EHD                      1500 rounds Cal .30 in web belts, 4 Ball, 1TR

T1ICC                        265 rounds Cal .50 linked, 2AP, 2IN, 1TR

T1CAJ                       1000 rounds Cal .30 Carbine in Cartons (chest w/2 M6 cans)

T1EHO                      480 rounds Cal .30 in 5 rd clips (chest with two M8 cans)

T1EPP                       480 rounds Cal .30 in 8-rd clip (chest with two M8 cans)

T1HER                      480 rounds Cal .30 linked (chest with two M8 cans)

T1EHS                       480 rounds Cal .30 in cartons (chest with two M8 cans)

T1EMB                      1100 rounds Cal .30 in 4 M1A1 boxes

T2AAF                       1200 Rounds Cal .45 in cartons (chest with two M5 cans)       

 

Note: The above was from table III and pictures in TM 9-1990, September 1947.  A complete list of code symbols could be found in WD ORD 11 SNL T-1.

Maker’s Markings - Markings pertaining to the box itself will not be painted on the box but may be embossed into the metal, usually on one end of the box. Since the early 1990’s manufacturers have been marking the boxes with the company initials, model number of the box and the last two digits of the year of manufacturer. There are variations. Some companies like AYT combine the company initials with the date (AYT92, AYT93) but do not show the model number. By far the most common maker of small arms ammunition boxes in recent years has been S.C.F.
MANUFACTURER'S MARKINGS


Two M19A1 boxes made by S.C.F.  The one on the left is an earlier type with the manufacturer initials only.  The one on the right has the year of manufacture and the box model number. The older box also has a darker shade of OD.


An M2A1 made in 1993 by S.C.F.

A PA-108 box of recent manufacture showing model number, makers’ initials and year of manufacture.


Examples of markings found on M2 Caliber .50 Boxes made by UNITED and ACME.


M2 .50 Cal boxes by MODERN and J.B.S. Co.


M2 .50 Cal boxes by PALLEY and TBC.


Four M19A1 boxes showing different styles of company logo marking.  UNITED marked the box both high and low on the opener end.  EMCO marked some on the opener end and others on the hinge end.


M19A1 boxes by AIRLINE, GWK, KANARR and GP&F. All of the M19A1 boxes on this page are the early type with the embossed cartridge on the lid and were originally loaded with .30 caliber ammunition.


M2A1 Boxes by EMCO and M.C.Z.


M2A1 Boxes by SHT and A.F.X.


M2A1 Boxes by AYT 1992 and 1993.


M2A1 Boxes by BURROWES and M.C.C.


Marking on LENNOX M2A1 box. The lot number does not reflect any known ammunition producing arsenal and was probably an ordnance depot, possibly Sioux Ordnance Depot.
This older M2A1 box (with lid removed) is unusual, as the maker has placed the logo on the opener end.  It also has one of the most elaborate maker’s logos, with full company name and location: LENNOX METAL MANUFACTURING CO. MASPETH.L.I., N.Y.

A custom maple leaf camouflage PA-108.


Ammunition Box Lid Markings.

Surplus metal ammunition boxes have been available since the 1940’s.  They have been used for toolboxes, parts storage, paint storage, gun and ammunition storage, collections and an almost endless list of other uses.  They are dust proof, waterproof, vermin proof and fire resistant. They have convenient carrying handles and are nearly crush proof. They can be painted any color and they are also fairly inexpensive.
Maker information does not normally appear on lids of ammunition boxes.  This is the only exception found.  The lid is from an early M19A1 box made by EMCO. It is not known if the logo was for the entire lid or just the clamp.  The clamp has the trademark of the STANLEY Tool Company.

An M2A1 modified for inexpensive security.
This box came with its’ own security hasp. The small sheet metal loop was probably designed for a seal rather than a padlock. Although a small lock will fit, it offers only moderate security. This box was unmarked as to its’ purpose or model number.  The lid was not original to this box. It measurers 11”L x 5-9/16” W x 9-9/16” D. Similar boxes have been observed that had been used for 8, M728 proximity fuses. The box was made by S.C.F. and has no date. The dimensions would suggest that this is a PA-19, NSN 8140-00-145-0051 Drawing Number 8865541. 
These two pictures show an example of a foreign made and loaded M2A1 style box.  This one is a Korean copy of the older style M2A1.  It lacks a maker’s name or other identification on the box. The “KA” in the lot number indicates Puzan Government Arsenal Republic of Korea.
The British H83 MK2, is a copy of the M2A1 made in the UK and differs from the U.S. model in that the hinge piece attached to the box is one inch taller (1-7/8”) than the U.S model and the welded seam is on the hinge end. The box also appears to have been zinc or tin coated prior to painting.  It is slightly heavier than the M2A1.  The H83 is usually painted brown but sometimes OD.
The following data is offered for boxes for which there is no photograph.

Model Number           Outside Width              Outside Length Outside Height

                                  (Inch)                           (Inch)                           (Inch)

 

CNU405/E                10.5                             18.5                             14.5

M592                         9.5                               18.5                             14.5

         

Model Number           Used for                       NSN                            Drawing No.

 

CNU405/E                25mm                             8140-01-201-8596      986AS106

M592                        30mm                             Unknown                     Unknown

 

All dimensions shown are the maximum outside dimensions.

 

Note:  The term “Drawing Number” and “Part Number” seem to be used interchangeably.

U.S. Arsenals.  The abbreviations of the ordnance plant will be found as a part of the lot number
on ammunition boxes and cans and may also be found on cartridges.  These were the most
common manufacturers of small arms ammunition during WWII:

 

KS – Allegheny Ordnance Plant, Cumberland, MD

DEN- Denver Ordnance Plant, Denver, CO

DM- Des Moines Ordnance Plant Des Moines, IA

EW, EC- Eau Claire Ordnance Plant, Eau Claire, WI (small quantity marked EC).

EC, ECS – Evansville Ordnance Plant (Chrysler), Evansville, IN

FA – Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia , PA

PC – Kings Mill Ordnance Plant, Kings Mill, OH (by Remington Peters Cartridge).

LC - Lake City Ordnance Plant, Independence, MO.

LM- Lowell Ordnance Plant, Lowell, MA

M – Milwaukee Ordnance Plant, Milwaukee, WI

SL - St. Louis Ordnance Plant, St. Louis, MO

TW – Twin Cities Ordnance Plant, New Brighton, MN

UT, U - Utah Ordnance Plant, Salt Lake City UT

 

Private U.S. and Canadian Contractors (most common small arms ammunition makers):

 

PETERS – Remington at Kings Mill, OH

RA- Remington Arms, Bridgeport, CT

WCC- Western Cartridge Company, East Alton, IL

WRA- Winchester Repeating Arms Co, New Haven, CT (may also be marked W)

FCC- Federal Cartridge Co., Anoka, MN (may also be marked FC or XL)

DAQ – Dominion Arsenal Quebec, Canada (may also be marked DA, DCA, DAC)

VC – Defense Industries Limited owned by Canadian Industries Limited Verdun, Quebec, Canada.

 

NOTE:  Arsenal abbreviations may have the same or different codes from cartridge cases.

 

Boxes may have lot numbers or repacked lot numbers.  Ammo loaded in clips or belts is called
functionally packed ammo. When more than one lot of ammo was loaded in a box such as tracers,
ball, and armor piercing in belted ammo, all types came under the functional lot number.  Only the
functional lot number was required but some boxes listed separate lot numbers for each type of
ammunition contained in the box.

  

Paint Colors for ordnance type materials (partial list from TM 9-1305-201-34&P, July 1981):

 

*OD Shade No. 34087           NSN 8010-00-848-9272 (pint) 8010-00-297-2116(gal)

OD Shade No. 24087             Unknown – Korean War and later OD

Light Green No.34558           NSN 8010-00-828-3193 (gal)

Yellow No. 23538                   NSN 8010-00-851-5525 (pint) 8010-00-297-2112 (gal)

White No. 37875                    NSN 8010-00-878-5761 (pint) 8010-00-297-2111 (gal)

Forest green No. 34079         NSN Unknown

Black No. 37038                     NSN 8010-00-297-2122 (gal)

Medium Blue No. 35109        NSN 8010-00-297-2119 (gal)

 

*Note:  There is some disagreement as to the NSN for OD shade 34087 in one-pint cans. 
TM 9-1305-201-34&P (July 1981) shows NSN 8010-00-848-9272 for shade 34087 but actual
cans of GI one-pint spray paint in shade 34088 show that same NSN.  These are quite different
shades. Shade 34087 is a light OD or even slightly tan shade that is similar to U.S. WWII vehicle
color. Olive Drab shade 34088 has a distinctly green tint. An online search seems to confirm
that the NSN 8010-00-848-9272 (16 oz) and also 8010-00-782-9357 belongs to shade 34088
and not 34087. Sources for these paints can sometimes be found by doing an online search by NSN.

 

Shade 24087 is a darker brownish shade of semi-gloss OD, which is common on all equipment
from the Korean War era until the late 1970’s. The OD shade offered in 10 oz. spray and gallon
cans by BLP Mobile Paints, 4775 Hamilton Blvd Theodore, AL 36590 is very close to shade 24087.
Shade 34087 is available in 12 oz. spray cans from AERVOE-PACIFIC COMPANY, INC. Gardnerville,
NV 89410.

 

The first digit of a paint number refers to the gloss factor: 1 = Full Gloss, 2 = Semi-Gloss, 3 = Flat.

 

Orange Paint – In recent years, orange paint has been prescribed to paint ammunition boxes that
are less than full.  Usually somewhat less than the whole box is painted. These will also be stenciled
with the words “LIGHT BOX”.

 

References:

TM 9-1990 Small Arms Ammunition, U.S. War Department, Sep 1947

TM 9-1900 Ammunition General, Department of the Army and Air Force, June 1956

TM 9-1305-200 Small Arms Ammunition, Department of the Army, June 1961

TM 9-1305-201-20&P, Small Arms Ammunition to 30mm, Organizational Maint.

Manual, Dept of the Army, Oct 1981

TM 9-1305-201-34&P, Small Arms Ammunition to 30mm, Direct Support &

General Support Maint. Manual, Dept of the Army, July 1981

Bway packaging, Ammunition boxes www.bwaycorp.com/products
Conco Products Containers, www.concontainers.com/products
National Stock Number information, http://www.iso-parts.com.

Wartime Small Arms Ammo Producers: cartridgcollectors.org/

/

Other related military ammunition publications are listed below.  Many of these manuals are obsolete or have been superceded:

 

TM 9-1901-1/TO 11A-1-39               Ammunition for Aircraft Guns

TM 9-1300-204                                  Ammunition for Recoilless Rifles

TM 23-100                                          Ammunition for Training

TM 9-1901                                          Artillery Ammunition
TM 9-1903                                          Care, Handling, Preservation and Destruction of Ammunition

TM 9-1905                                          Ammunition Renovation
TM 9-1907                                          Ballistic Performance of Ammunition

TM 9-1950                                          Rockets

TM 43-0001-27                                  Army Ammunition Data Sheets Small Caliber Ammunition FSC 1305

TM 43-0001-28                                  Artillery Ammunition Guns, Howitzers, Mortars, Recoilless Rifles, Grenade Launchers and
                                                             Artillery Fuses. FSC: 1310, 1315, 1320 and 1390.

TM 9-1300-251-34&P                        Direct Support and General Support Maintenance Manual for Artillery Ammunition for Guns,
                                                               Howitzers, Mortars, Recoilless Rifles and 40mm Grenade Launchers.

 

Exact dates of publications are not shown as all military publications are subject to frequent updating.

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