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WOOD
The wood ammo box was generally, if not always, made of oak. The vertical edges usually met in a lap joint, but were sometimes dovetailed. The top strap cutout varies somewhat, but the hardware is the same. Early boxes had a leather strap and later ones a canvas strap. The attaching end of the box has a slot which slides into the tripod's holder and the bottom front edge of most box styles is angled back to avoid hitting the tripod's cradle or yoke.
Early oak box with original OD paint and leather strap. Top has straight sided oval cutout.
Early oak box, restored, replacement leather strap. Top has straight sided
elongated circular cutout . This box came from BMG parts. At right is a 1917A1 MG on a 1917A1 tripod with AA extension.
Oak box, stripped of paint, replacement leather strap. Top has circular dish cutout. Wood boxes have cartridges stamped on the bottom to indicate direction ammunition must face. This box came from Ohio Ordnance Works.
DOVETAILED AMMO BOX

This is a later style box. The corner joint is a half blind dovetail (photo left/center) instead of the traditional lap joint (photo right/center). It features a canvas strap with a straight sided circular cutout. This box does not have the angled bottom front edge, and the ammunition orientation stamp inside the box consists of arrows instead of the earlier cartridge Silhouettes. Overall materials and construction is rough, with little effort expended on fit and finish. On both ends it is stamped CHEST 49-1-84.

This is a rare variation on the half blind dovetails box. This box is better made than the previous one, and the dovetails are tighter and more uniform. The most distinctive feature is the metal reinforcing plates over the strap pins. Additionally, the strap is leather instead of canvas. As above, both ends are stamped CHEST 49-1-84

The following photos were generously provided by Dave West. These are some choice boxes and illustrate the diversity of the wooden ammo boxes produced over the years.

 
Two .50 caliber ammo boxes. The feedway box
on the left has two latches - one on either side.

Above and below: Two styles of the .50 caliber box,
and in the center, a .30 caliber. The ammo in the box
is original belted 30-06.


From left to right: A Colt 1895 Potato Digger box, a Colt
Maxim (and 1895), a 1917, and the two.50 caliber boxes
shown in the photo at right.
Two rare wooden .50 caliber ammo boxes,
above, and the Colt M1895 Potato Digger
box at right. Note the sliding top.
VICKERS
The United States made it's own ammo box which was used with the Colt made Vickers. It is a longer box than the standard 1917/1917A1 wooden box, as shown above, left. One characteristic that distinguishes the Vickers box from the earlier Potato Digger box is the hinge, which also does not extend the full width of the box as with the 1917 boxes. Note the use of brass in the photo, upper right. The shorter GI boxes had steel hardware.
Photo source: Dave Heacock
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