Original U.S. WWII Browning M1917A1 .30 Caliber Wooden Ammunition Box with Web Handle

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. When the .30 Cal. M1917 Browning machine gun was developed for the U.S. military during World War I, the ammunition was packed in wooden boxes suitable for direct feeding of the gun. Wooden packing crates were used for bulk shipping of ammunition. The design was simple and robust, and these boxes continued to be used during WWII as well.

Key construction for the wood .30 caliber ammo boxes consisted of oak or ash wood material, dovetail or finger joints, a leather or webbing strap on top fitted into a rectangular groove with a centered circular pick-up area, open-lid feed, spring-loaded lid latch to gun-side panel, and far-end hinge. A slot in the gun-side panel made a firm attachment to the gun. The bottom panel and gun-side panel of the box were shortened, to avoid contact with the mount.

If painted at all, flat olive drab paint was used for the box. The bottom of the interior of the box was stenciled with the orientation of the ammunition contents. Some of the .30 caliber wood ammo boxes are stenciled outside with "CHEST 49-1-84".

This M1917A1 wood ammunition box is totally original with working closure clasp and no cracks or breaks. It does not have the angled bottom of the early production models from WWI, and has the fully circular cutout for the handle on top. It also features a web carry strap, only used on the later and WWII produced examples. The hardware is forged and part number marked, compared to the earlier folded sheet steel components. The joints are also dovetailed, and not the earlier finger joints.

The box retains much of the original green paint, and has a faint CHEST 49-1-84 marking on the front side. The inside of the box is painted OD Green and free of damage with the correct image of 3 rounds stenciled into the bottom to ensure proper loading. Condition is good, but it does show service, and the dovetail joint on one side is separating at the front of the box.

This is a beautiful example of an early ammunition box for the famed Browning M1917 Machine Gun. Comes ready to display!

Dimensions: 12 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 7 3/4”   
Depth: 6 3/4”

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