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Thread: Need help identifying these 30-06 military bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Need help identifying these 30-06 military bullets

    Not sure this is the best place to ask, but here goes. I pulled these two types of bullets from 1950's US military ammo. The first photo is the type with 2 cannelures. In the photo you can see a faint indication that the tip was originally painted, but not all of this type shows that faint indication. Bullet was seated to lower cannelure. The recess at the base is clean and ends with some slick metal, not lead. These weigh ~144 gr. The second photo is the type with 1 cannelure, but no indication of painted tip. Weight is ~141 gr. The base is a little different in that the recess opening is a little smaller diameter. The recess in each of these contains a yellow powdery substance. The powder is crusty and will not fall out, but it is easy to dig it out. Both of these types are much longer than you would think a lead core 144 gr bullet should be. Are these tracer bullets? Is that yellow powdery stuff supposed to be there?
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  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    I'm guessing they are tracers or incendiary.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Does the first one stick to a magnet? If so, the core is steel and it is armor piercing. As noted by Brasso, the yellowish powder in the second type would indicate incendiary or tracer.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Bill, Can you tell by what is left of the color just what color the tip was at some time past? I am trying to pull back a memory from 50+ years but it seems to me that maybe the armor piercing bullets or the incendiary bullets had double cannelures. I have some tracer .30 cal. that weigh 145 grains but they have an orange/red painted tip. They have what looks a aluminum or some other thin metal sealing the trace powder into the base. My armor piercing bullets have black tips and since I don't have anything but loaded rounds, I can't weigh the bullet. I don't have any incendiary rounds to check on. I am not a military ammo expert by any means of measure. james

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Bill, I got curious enough that I pulled a armor piercing round out of an 8 round clip and pulled the bullet. It had a single cannelure. If it turns out that those bullets are incendiary, be real careful with that powder in the base, once ignited it will burn as long as it can get oxygen. james

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    James and Der Geb,

    If the tips were ever painted, it looks like all the paint is gone. Only a slight discoloration of the jacket can be seen where the paint should have been. I have had some tracers in the past with the orange paint. I checked all these with a magnet a few weeks ago, but don't remember which ones were steel. Will check them again and report back, but will take me a few days to get that done. The type in the first pic look like they have that thin metal seal recessed in the base, just as James described. The second type may have that metal seal also, but I didn't want to dig that yellow stuff out until I had more info. Maybe the seal on the second type has corroded and allowed that yellow powder to leak out or the yellow powder is a product of the corrosion or maybe of a reaction with the smokeless powder. If I remember correctly, the smokeless did look somewhat deteriorated in the second type. It was a very light dull gray color.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Some of the double canalure ones were tracers, but looking at the bottom the could be either a tracer or incendiary

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Boolit Master




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    it will burn as long as it can get oxygen.
    Yes, do be careful. The phosphorus produces its own O2 and will burn no matter what when lit.

    I've seen several grass and forest fires started with the use of tracer ammo during military use. They'll ignite a vehicle into a conflagration pretty fast too. They were pretty spectacular when Puff was layin' 'em down at night back in the day.

    Common US Military codes:

    Black tips = AP
    Silver = Incendiary
    Orange = Tracer
    Green = Semi-Armor piercing (5.56mm)

    Here's a screen shot of some of the color codes for the 50 Cal.
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    Last edited by Scharfschuetze; 08-05-2017 at 11:16 PM.
    Keep your powder dry,

    Scharf

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scharfschuetze View Post
    Yes, do be careful. The phosphorus produces its own O2 and will burn no matter what when lit.

    I've seen several grass and forest fires started with the use of tracer ammo during military use. They'll ignite a vehicle into a conflagration pretty fast too. They were pretty spectacular when Puff was layin' 'em down at night back in the day.

    Common US Military codes:

    Black tips = AP
    Silver = Incendiary
    Orange = Tracer
    Green = Semi-Armor piercing
    And Purple = Low Light Tracer (we used them under NVDs)
    "Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
    ~Pericles~

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I've seen AP bullets with the double cannelure. I was told these were Israeli made bullets and the two cannelures were so the bullet could be seated to the proper depth in the .30-06, the 7.62X31 Nato, or the 7.62X54R Russian cartridges.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    tracer or smoke seems likely. Does the powder burn??

    Shiloh
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  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    I will scrape out a little of the yellow powder and see if it will burn.

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Der Geb,

    Both the "1 cannelure" and the "2 cannelure" bullets stick to a magnet. Could this mean that both types are armor piercing? Have not yet tried to burn the yellow powder.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Bill, Multigunner may have been right in his 8-02017 post when he said they may have been Israeli AP bullets with double cannelure that could be used in the 30-06, the 7.62x51, the 7.62x54 Russian Nagant. I am pretty sure I remember having seen that double cannelure with a black tip years ago. Again, be careful if you ignite that yellow powder, tracer powder burns fast and really hot. james

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    The incendiary charge was in the tip. Tracer was in the back. Those look like tracer but could still be incendiary (or ball or AP) as well.

    PS yes they are good for starting fires Army wisdom. Height of fire danger season. Issue API-T ammo for use at range. Fire weapons. Start fire. Shut down range. Wait for fire trucks. Open range. Repeat.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Finally tried to burn some of the yellow powder from the recess in the base of the bullets from my second photo. It does not burn at all and did not seem to be affected at all by the flame. James, did you happen to weigh that AP bullet that you pulled? I am thinking that both types of bullets in the photos are tracers. They all weigh 141 to 144 gr so I would like to know how the weight compares to an AP bullet.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Bill, I did not weigh that bullet. I will pull a AP bullet before you come over and weigh it. One or two cannelures should be of the same weight. My tracers weigh 144 to 145 grains. I'll have both to compare when you come over this weekend. james

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