How to Identify WWII Ammunition

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    • 1). Turn the cartridge carefully, looking for any markings on the case or near the firing pin. World War II ammunition was manufactured to standards very different from civilian ammunition. You should find a short series of letters --- called the bullet's lot numbers --- followed by a series of numbers. These identify the manufacturing plant and year the bullet was made.

    • 2). Measure the diameter of the bullet. Bullets are often categorized on type based on their measurement; diameter is one of the key identifying measurements. The diameter of a bullet is analagous to the caliber.

    • 3). Measure the bullet's OAL --- sometimes called COAL --- which is the cartridge's "overall length." While measuring the OAL, identify the separate measurements for the case and the length of the taper.

    • 4). Write down any other identifying marks found on the case of the cartridge.

    • 5). Compare this information to available lot number and head stamp information directories, such as those found at

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