Ammunition Evaluation: Ethiopian .30-06

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Shared December 18, 2018

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Century International Arms has imported a quantity of Ethiopian ammunition, and asked me to do a video on it. So, I have a three-part evaluation here: appearance and packaging, live fire testing (including velocity and consistency), and teardown and bullet weight consistency. This ammunition was produced (as best I can tell) at the Emperor Haile Selassie Ammunition Factory, established with Czech technical aid in the late 1940s in Addis Ababa. This ammunition is all headstamped 1977, made for a variety of American surplus rifles and machine guns acquired by Ethiopia including the M1 Garand, M1917 and M1919 machine guns, and M1918A2 BAR. I received this ammunition packaged in 15-round loose boxes as well as in M1 Garand en bloc clips and bandoliers.


I tested velocity using a .30-06 M1917 Enfield rifle (barrel length 26 inches). Measurements were taken at 10 feet from the muzzle, with a sample size of 15 rounds fired. I found an average velocity of 2998 fps, extreme spread of 90 fps (max 3031, min 2941), and standard deviation of 25.36 fps. None of the rounds exhibited any unusual behavior when fired, although the velocity I measured was substantially higher than the American M2 spec which I would have expected in a flat base 150 grain loading. Note: I tested ammunition from the 15 round boxes, and no form the Garand bandoliers. I did not test this in a Garand rifle, and cannot comment on the bolt velocity it produces therein.


I tested the weight of 10 bullets using a calibrated Lyman electronic scale. I found an average weight of 150.7 grains, extreme spread of 1.6 grains (max 151.6 gr, min 150.0 gr), and standard deviation of 0.52 grains. Bullet construction is flat base with an open base, lead core, and gilding metal over steel jacket (these bullets do attract a magnet). 

Century advertises this ammunition as using corrosive primers, and I took them at their word and did not test for corrosivity.

Raw data:

Velocities (fps): 2955, 3015, 3028, 2993, 2992, 2976, 3009, 3017, 3020, 2995, 2941, 3001, 3031, 2994, 3007

Bullet weights (grains): 151.0, 150.7, 150.1, 150.5, 150.0, 151.6, 150.9, 150.7, 150.4, 151.4

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