View Full Version : Who knows what this cartridge is ?

01-07-2010, 01:05 PM
I found this cartridge case while clearing my property in NE WA state. I would love to know what it is, but so far I have no clue. It holds a place of honor on my reloading bench.

It's 6.5" long, the inside diameter of the neck is 1.125", base diameter is 1.625", and the primer pocket is 0.3125". It looks like it might take a 209 primer.

No big surprise, I can't find this cartridge in Cartidges of the World ! The ruler didnt't photograph very well, but if you can zoom in enough, the scale closest to the case is in inches.

I wish I had a gun for it, maybe something like Krupp mountain gun. I love the idea of casting bullets for it !

01-07-2010, 01:17 PM
28-29 MM, possibly from one of the CIWS gatlings on the newer Navy weapons systems. After all, you are not far from PSNSY or Indian Island Naval magazine Or Key Port.
Some of those systems used 20MM and some later ones were 30MM.
I stand open to correction; its been a long time!!!

01-07-2010, 01:26 PM
I wish I had a gun for it,

I say forget finding a "gun" for it; looks to me like you're going to need a launch pad!

01-07-2010, 01:32 PM
30mm aircraft cannon?

bruce drake
01-07-2010, 03:27 PM
Your dimensiosn match up to the following. Do you have an Air Force Gunnery Range nearby?

30x173 (A-10 Thunderbolt)

Another cartridge with a complicated history, this was developed by Oerlikon in the 1950/60s for their 304 RK aircraft revolver cannon, later renamed the KCA. This only saw service in some versions of the SAAB Viggen fighter, which is no longer in use, although it was also offered in the Hughes Model 34 gunpod. The KCA cartridge shown above is a drill round.

In the late 1960s the cartridge design was adopted for the American GAU-8/A 7-barrel rotary cannon, as fitted to the A-10 "tankbuster" plane and subsequently to the Goalkeeper naval CIWS. However, this differed from the KCA ammunition in three respects: the case material was changed from steel to light alloy, the priming from electric to percussion, and the driving bands from metal to plastic; as a result, the rounds are not interchangeable. Later still the GAU-8/A cartridge was adopted for the Mauser MK 30F cannon which is in wide use as an AA gun, and finally for the American Bushmaster II Chain Gun (renamed in its current, marinised, version as the MK44).

The most recent development by some manufacturers is a reversion to steel (but still percussion-primed) cases for the loadings specifically intended for AFV cannon, with the Mauser (now Rheinmetall) MK 30-2 being designed for these.

The 30x173 is now the most common Western cannon cartridge in this calibre, and is available in a wide variety of loadings, including APFSDS, from several different manufacturers. However, both the KCA and the latest AFV steel-cased rounds are hard for collectors to find, as is the GAU-8/A's notorious PGU-14/B API with a depleted uranium core (distinguished by a black and red projectile). Most cartridges available are of the alloy-cased TP type, with blue projectiles.


01-07-2010, 04:17 PM
I knew that.[smilie=1:

bruce drake
01-07-2010, 05:09 PM
In my former Army life I was an Ordnance Officer. Now I sit at a cubicle and work on spreadsheets... :(

01-07-2010, 10:13 PM
Can't be all bad. You live in a town that REQUIRES gun ownership.

I have an A-10 case, blue aluminum, that I found in Alaska way out in the middle of



Bullshop Junior
01-07-2010, 10:32 PM
Can't be all bad. You live in a town that REQUIRES gun ownership.

I have an A-10 case, blue aluminum, that I found in Alaska way out in the middle of


HEY! I lost that!

Bullshop Junior
01-07-2010, 10:34 PM
I found a bullet what looks like it would fit right in there. It has a place on the base that looks like it had something that clipped onto it. It also has a steel jacket, but has a core, I found it way out in the middle of nowhere in Alaska ;)

01-08-2010, 01:19 AM
Sorry Junior. I found it a long time before you were born. :-)

When I was up in Alaska a few months in '78, seemed like pretty much everywhere
except Anchorage was the middle of nowhere. I seriously considered staying
permanently. Beautiful state, nice people.

I found a bullet at a gun show that fits, but I don't think it is the correct 30mm
type for the case. Steel with two copper driving bands, a blunt front covered
by a streamlined aluminum formed sheetmetal cap.


01-09-2010, 07:44 PM
You can get almost any question answered on this forum if you ask the right person !
Thanks Bruce !
I forgot to mention that the case is a non-ferrous alloy like aluminum, so that would seem to date it more precisely. I really like it that is called the A-10 Thunderbolt. I bet it feels like a thunderbolt if it hits you or your plane.
My place was actually not far from Fairchild AFB. It was a SAC base, so we used to see a lot of B-52s. A few years back it changed to an air refueling wing. They did mid-air refueling ops for much of the Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom action. I don't remember ever seeing any of the attack fighter type of aircraft there, but they could well have been.