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Thread: Pre WWII 45 ACP questions?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Markopolo's Avatar
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    Pre WWII 45 ACP questions?

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    I happened into a bunch of these...

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    Any idea what sort of collectible value they are?
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    Most of the boxes are opened on one end and are of varying condition year and headstamp... but all the ammo is there. Any way to tell by lot number what year they are??? These won't get shot as they are corrosive and dang old. I got them from a friend who had a bunch loaded in his 45, and wondered why he was getting a few failure to fire's... he then surrendered the entire medium flat rate box of them over to me hoping I would pull down the carts for the bullets...

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Markopolo's Avatar
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    There is no way I am gunna pull bullets..
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    a few failures?? luck any go off 91 years old

  4. #4
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    Those are definitely collector cartridges but Not being a collector myself, I would have no idea as to what value to put on them. I have some WW I era rifle cartridges (30-06) but no pistol. I would neither shoot them or pull them down, too much history lost. my .02 anyway, james

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    I see no reason not to fire those rounds, at least the ones that will go bang. Corrosive priming is no big deal. Simply remove the barrel from your pistol and use a bore mop with soap and hot water and a few passes will remove all traces of the salts. Hold the barrel under hot tap water to rinse it. Some tongs would be a good idea. Then blow through it and it will be dry. Then use any bore cleaner and finish the job until the barrel is sparkling.

    I guess I am showing my age, but we shot lots and lots of ammo with corrosive priming and with proper cleaning it presents zero issues.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I've shot lots of that stuff for practice and most of it goes bang. What doesn't I pull the bullets and ream the primer pockets to re-use the brass. The older pre-WW2 stuff uses the smaller diameter .206" primer vs. the modern .210" primer. Ream primer pockets and you are good.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Markopolo's Avatar
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    I don't wanna shoot them, I would much rather find a collector that might like them. They are around 80-90 years old... just gotta figure what they are worth..
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    sadly, often times the box (especially with the label) is worth more than the ammo
    Domari Nolo

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I agree that I would not be afraid to shoot them, because (as was pointed out) corrosive ammunition just means you have to do a good job cleaning. I also agree that there is something historic about them that will be lost. I would NOT try to pull them down BECAUSE if a round is unstable it may fail to fire in a chamber, or it may go bang, BUT depending on HOW you go to pull them there's ALSO a chance it may go bang.

    Also as was pointed out the cartridge boxes are usually worth more than the rounds, BUT something you COULD do is fire them, keep the brass. Pull the ones that don't go bang. Then take the brass, the empty boxes, and any pulled bullets and make collectors displays that would then probably sell or trade for pretty good value thus allowing you to pickup more components, or items of historical value, or buy a thank you lunch for your buddy who gifted them. Something like a shadowbox framed to hang on a wall with a historical note inside about the 45 acp and displaying the boxes, brass, and bullets. The MAIN reason not to try to make/sell a shadowbox with loaded rounds in it would be shipping nightmares. Flip side is you could contact somebody like Mc Pheeters Antique Militaria (I have never done business with them it is just off the top of my head as a site I've been to) and see if THEY were interested in buying the whole kit and kaboodle.

    Oh and head stamp. F A 27 That should be Frankford Arsenal 1927. And holy moly isn't it neat to see the load information on them. Powder type and lot number? Ammunition lot number?

    Anyway it's a neat neat find!

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    GoodOlBoy
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Oh and an example on how to read old Frankford Arsenal boxes and head stamps!

    http://www.oldammo.com/february11.htm

    God Bless, and One Love

    GoodOlBoy
    Yes I can be long winded. Yes I follow rabbit trails. Yes I admit when I am wrong. Your mileage may vary.

    Keep your powder dry. Watch yer Top knot.

    "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

    Yes there were "Short" 45 Colts! http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/45_short_colt.htm

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I have several old boxes like that. They are collectible as far as that goes, but not particularly valuable, just too common. Last year I picked out seven loose rounds dated 1917 from my collection, and shot them. For 100 year old ammo they all shot fine.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I've shot my share of ammunition with corrosive primers and as others have pointed out, there are ZERO issues if you clean the gun properly afterwards. As others have stated, you could shoot that ammo without problem or danger, just clean the gun properly when you're done.

    It is probably due to the corrosive ammo shot by my elders that gun cleaning was nearly beaten into my brain at an early age.

    I agree that the packaging is likely valuable, perhaps even more so than the cartridges. I would reach out to some museums, including the NRA, and see if they would be interested in a box or two of those. I would consider keeping a box just for fun and selling the rest.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    If you shoot it clean as Charger suggests. Also clean the face of the slide and firing pin as some blowback will accumulate there and could start to corrode.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Shot a bunch of those in 1960 in a Model 1917 Smith. Every one fired back then. They are corrosive as all get out so the warmings on cleaning are justified. Reloading of the cases resulted in many splits no doubt due to the mercuric primers. Modern day primers may or may not fit as these were designed for government primers. I do love the boxes though and they're a part of history./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check