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Old 01-29-2012, 06:07 PM
raymeketa raymeketa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: AZ Mountains
Posts: 2,420
Default US Ammunition Lot Numbers

On another thread a member was trying to date an ammunition box by using the Lot Number. I thought I'd post this here to possibly help you.

Each Ordnance Plant was assigned a series of lot numbers during WWII. For example, Lake City was assigned 12000 to 13999. But - this is important - each Plant used the same numbers for different types of ammunition. For example, at LC, Carbine Ball would start at #12000 but Carbine Tracer would also start at #12000. And, Carbine Dummy at #12000, and so on.

The other calibers that Lake City produced would also start at 12000. For example, Cal .30 Ball M2 (30-06) Lot #12000. So, you can have a lot of ammo boxes from Lake City with 12000s lot numbers.

The numbers didn't lapse after a certain period of time. For example, Lake City did not manufacture Match ammunition until 1957, but the first lot number was - you guessed it, 12000.

The bigger Ordnance Plants may have been assigned additional blocks of numbers. For example, LC was also assigned 35351 to 35999 and 42000 to 42999. Also, if a Plant closed and had unused numbers they could be assigned to another Plant. Such as LC 35351 to 35999, which were originally Denver numbers.

In 1970 the lot numbering system was changed so all of the old numbers ended wherever they were. The system changed again in 1979 and has stayed pretty much the same to date.

This may sound confusing but it's actually pretty simple once you get used to it. It helps to have a military mind set also.

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Old 01-29-2012, 07:37 PM
pro-nra pro-nra is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,402

Good insight on the lot numbering system. So, how do you date just by the lot #s?
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:35 PM
raymeketa raymeketa is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: AZ Mountains
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You need a data base with dates tied to different lot numbers. For example, I have most lot numbers of Match ammunition and can pinpoint a year of manufacture with the number alone. Other collectors have similar data for other types of ammunition. The "Corrosive Primer" charts is an example of a lot number/date data base, although very limited.

For the lot number systems used after 1970 it's simply a matter of knowing how to read the number.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:50 PM
173rd 173rd is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 281

Thanks for the sharing that information. I had no knowledge of where lot numbers started or ended. The only information I had came from ammunition I had purchased at the CMP....lots of boxed LC 66 and bandoliers of LC 67 with lot numbers in the 42,000 range. Much of the other M2 ball I've purchased was delinked MG ammo such as the LC 69-72 with no documentation relative to lot numbers.
I've never seen the CMP chart that another poster mentioned concerning lot numbers and production dates.....are you familiar with that chart and do you have an opinion as to it's value and accuracy? It seems like there should be a government data base somewhere out there that would document some of this, but then I really don't know anything about the subject.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:05 PM
medalguy medalguy is online now
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,035

Look at the stickys posted at the top of this forum. It lists the initial production lot numbers and dates for the first lots of noncorrosive ammo.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:04 AM
mosinitis mosinitis is offline
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 371

I have some Lake City Army Ammunition Plant M1 Carbine ammo with an LC 7 1 headstamp which has red colored sealer on the outer edges of the primer. The box is labeled as LOT LC -50 -205. I would say that this is 1971 ammo, but if anyone can provide information on the LOT# or red sealer, I would appreciate it.

Last edited by mosinitis; 07-09-2015 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 07-09-2015, 07:00 PM
silverplate silverplate is offline
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Dry Ridge, KY
Posts: 30

Another good source of information on WW2 lot numbers comes from the War Dept. publication OFSB No. 3-5 (Ordnance Field Service Bulletin), later changed to SB 9 - AMM 4 (War Dept. Supply Bulletin), titled "Small Arms Ammunition Lots and Grades". In them you will find lot numbers broken down by caliber, type of ammo, year of manufacture, and plant.

A good example is M1 Carbine ball ammo made at Lake City, which started making cartridges by September 1941:

Lot #12000-12068 - 1942 or earlier
Lot #12069-12474 - 1943
Lot #12475-12762 - 1944
Lot # 12763-12965 - 1945

I have seen copies of the SB 9 - AMM 4 dated from the late 50's and mid 60's that may help with later lot numbers, but my interest has been WW2 ammo, so my info stops with 1945.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:57 AM
dfancysr dfancysr is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Lunenburg, Mass
Posts: 633

All this good information could be added to my non corrosive sticky to make the info permanent.

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