ITEM# 02252011-1
Description  US WWI & WWII M1917 Browning HMG Wooden Ammunition Box
Price $ 65.00


Hinged oaken ammunition box, ca. 1942, for transport and feeding of belted ammunition for the US M1917 Browning heavy machinegun. In excellent condition, this example measures 4 1/2" x 8" x 13" (11.3 x 20 x 33cm.). With its fine old-growth oak planking, steel hinges and spring catch, and dovetailed-and-screwed construction, this piece is hardly something which would be deemed impermanent nowadays, but was termed an "expendable cartridge belt box" in 1917. Then again, excellence and beauty were far more commonly encountered a century ago. . . . The box actually became a part of the gun when the latter was set up for firing, and is designed to slide into a flanged mount on the MG's tripod. An inkstamped image on the floor of the box depicts three US M2 30-06 rounds in the proper orientation for belt loading. I believe this example, with its steel hardware in lieu of the earlier brass, dates to early WWII, and it was probably painted OD at one time. Now, however, its handsome hardwood boasts a fine oiled finish and the box is actually a lovely piece of furniture--worthy of a respectable price even were it bereft of any historical connection. Its petrified and fragmented leather handle was replaced about 25 years ago with a perfect reproduction of oak-tanned Army Russet, handstitched with natural linen thread--so it looks appropriately aged, but will last far into the future. In early WWII the oaken belt box was quickly replaced by the far less expensive stamped steel version ubiquitous in wartime photos. See Crowell's America's Munitions, 1917-1918 for way too much intel on the development and manufacture of American MGs and their accessories during WWI. Nice piece if you're working with a Browning water-cooled MG, if you are looking for an excellent ditty box for WWI/WWII living history, or if you just need a handsome and functional Stuff Box for the Man Cave. See also our listing for the matching oaken armorer's toolbox for the M1917 HMG.