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Thread: Ball Caliber .30 M2

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Ball Caliber .30 M2

    i have "a few" 20ct. boxes of this 30-06...
    head stamp has DM 42 on it.

    is this good to shoot ?

    any problems w/ the primers being corrosive ?

    thanks
    Last edited by gordie; 08-13-2019 at 08:02 AM.

  2. #2
    DM 42 - Des Moines Ordnance Plant, Des Moines, Iowa 1942

    If in good condition, I see no reason not to shoot this ammo, but the primers are corrosive, So, you will have to clean accordingly.

    PB

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    DM = Des Moines, 1942 is corrosive. IRRC not until early 50's did different plants start using non-corrosive primers. Other than make sure to clean properly and completely, no issues with primers, and no reason it shouldn't be good to shoot unless obviously damaged.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Clean with hot water, dry, and follow with your favorite oil.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I've velocity and pressure tested original DM 42 M2 Ball ammunition. The ammunition I test was very good 3rd specification M2 ammunition. Out of the 24" test barrel in averaged 2821 fps (muzzle) at 56,000 psi using an Oehler M43. That should not be confused with the old 47,000 "psi" measurement using the C.U.P. method. The 56,000 psi I measured was just what it was supposed to be. The 10 shot test string I measured also gave exceptional accuracy at 100 yards for M2 ball.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Larry, what is 3rd specification M2? Not familiar with that term or what 1st or 2nd would be, since there is a 3rd.

    Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for all the replies.
    i found good info in the Classics & Stickies.
    now i know more than i ever thought i would about corrosive priming, & most importantly,
    "9.3x62AL" had this to say... "Non-corrosive priming & air-conditioning are two
    modern innovations i support whole-heartedly."

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by blpenn66502 View Post
    Larry, what is 3rd specification M2? Not familiar with that term or what 1st or 2nd would be, since there is a 3rd.

    Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
    The original M2 Ball was the result of, in the late '30s when the National Guard was called up and federalized, the new M1 30-06 ammunition exceeding the safety fans of the National Guard ranges. National Guard Bureau requested ammunition with the ballistics of the original M1906 ammunition. M2 ball with a velocity of 2700 fps (24" barrel) was the result which is the 1st specification. It was found that even that M2 ammunition exceeded the safety fans of many NG ranges. Thus it was request to lower the velocity to 2650 fps but then that also exceeded some NG range safety fans, The velocity was further lowered, on request, to 2450 - 2550 fps. That is the second specification. With the adoption of the M1 rifle it was found that the M2 ammunition (1st specification) could be safely used with an increased velocity to 2825 fps (I have seen it listed between 2810 to 2828 fps in various publications). That is the 3rd specification.

    The third specification also proved more reliable in BARs and M1919A3/A4s as many times the 2nd specification M2 does not give reliable functioning. During the years up through the late '70s I have encountered numerous lots of each of the 2nd and 3rd specification M2 Ball. I have only encounter one lot of 1st specification M2 Ball and it was early '40s pre WWII (our entry anyway).
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Larry, great info. Thanks for posting.

    Also can you clarify, I have seen some WW2-era Ball M2 packed in cartons marked "M2 Alternative".

    I always presumed this described ammunition using gilding-metal-clad steel (GMCS) jacket material, which was used during wartime to conserve use of copper, which was being prioritized for other purposes, but I haven't seen a specific reference on that. Perhaps you have one?
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Ah yes, M2 Alternate ammunition. I do not include M2 Alternate in with M2 Ball as it has it's own designation as does M2 Armor Piercing.

    There's several specific references to M2 Alternate ammunition non of which give a crystal clear idea of the nomenclature/specifications that match up with the 4 different lots of SL M2 Alternate I have tested. You might check your Hatcher's Notebook around page 29 +/- for mention of it.

    Supposedly (as the minimal specific descriptions say) due to wartime shortages of antimony and copper there was a transition period where the M2 bullet core was reduced in antimony and the jacket was changed to the GMCS type. This ammunition was designated "M2 Alternate". This change over occurred in the 42 - 43 time period with Arsenals allowed to use up what previous components they had on hand. the M2 Alt bullets were thus said to have weighed 154 gr because they had less antimony in the core alloy. Also the quality of M2 bullets production of the scale then in production assured that there was considerable weight variation. I had one lot of M2 Alt that had copper jacketed M2 bullets weight 151 gr. The other three lots of M2 Alt had the GMCS bullets weighing 152 - 155 gr. Sometime after the full transition to the GMCS bullet the "M2 Alternate" designation was dropped. It' is my assumption based on velocity/pressure testing that all subsequent specifications of M2 Ball were loaded with the GMCS bullet regardless of specification as that was the only M2 Ball bullet then in production. [Again that is just an assumption.]

    Thus the one lot with the 151 gr bullets had copper jacketed M2 bullets not the GMCS bullets. It also was a much "hotter" load than the other three lots. It contained 52.5 gr of extruded powder. The muzzle velocity out of my 24" test barrel was 2879 fps with a pressure of 58,200 psi. That is by far the highest velocity and psi along with an amount of extruded powder of any lot of U.S made M2 Ball ammunition I've tested including the other three lots of M2 Alt. Those other three lots of M2 Alt contained 47 - 48.5 gr of what appeared to be the same extruded powder. Their velocities ran 2800 fps +/- (within spec of the 3rd specification M2 Ball) with 51,000 to 54,000 measured psi in the same test barrel.

    As the on hand stocks of copper jacketed M2 bullets was used up and the GMCS bullet became standard in M2 Ball loadings (2nd and 3rd specification) throughout the rest of WWII and post WWII production. Most all M2 Ball made up through the late '60s had GMCS bullets. I've some LC 69 that is the 2450 fps specification and have found numerous post WWII lots that were of the 2650 specification.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 08-16-2019 at 08:21 PM.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Great info.

    Sea story I was told which you may be able to shed sme light upon, was that the 2450 specification was intended for Garand clipped-pack for use by the ARVN and ROC forces, to reduce recoil, and the 2650 specification was mostly for linked pack, as the higher velocity was required for reliable function in the Browning machinegun...
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
    Great info.

    Sea story I was told which you may be able to shed sme light upon, was that the 2450 specification was intended for Garand clipped-pack for use by the ARVN and ROC forces, to reduce recoil, and the 2650 specification was mostly for linked pack, as the higher velocity was required for reliable function in the Browning machinegun...
    You know when I heard that "back in the day" it made a lot of sense and I thought it probably was the reason. However, after numerous years of investigating and research which found there never was any arsenal documentation to back that story up. To the contrary the NG requests and Arsenal authorization for the production along with excerpts in writings of the time document otherwise. Additionally I was in an SF unit and we had very nice BARs and a couple M1919A4s in our arms vault along with all sorts of other obsolete US and foreign weapons. Sometimes during firing they functioned perfectly and other times they failed to function at all and I began to note the different lots of ammo we were issued. After a while I began bringing my chronograph (I've had Oehlers since the early '70s) to the range and began to chronograph the ammo used in the different weapons. Also back in the pre-Regan post Viet Nam era we received little ammunition so us weapons NCO usually bought milsurp at gunshows and LGS's to shoot.

    That was when I first began noticing the gross difference in velocities of M2 ammo...ranging from 2450 to 2800+ fps, The M2 ammo that gave velocities over 2680 fps had enough recoil impulse to function the M1919A4s and BARs. The other M2 of 2450 - 2650 fps would function most M1 Rifles and of course was suitable for use in the M1903/A3 and A4s.

    Further research and then velocity/pressure testing the last 10+ years of numerous different lots of M2 from '40 - the late '60s reveals such low velocity loads were in production throughout that time period. What surprises me most is there was no markings on the crates, the ammo cans or the boxes to indicate the difference. I suspect the old "some was made for machinegun use only" story is simply a function of the cloth and linked belted M2 was loaded to the 2825 fps specification as to give sufficient recoil impulse for reliable functioning. When you delink fire that belted M2 ammo in a M1903 or an M1 there is a noticeable recoil/velocity difference between it giving 2800+ fps and the lesser velocity NG specification M2, especially the 2450 fps M2.

    BTW; 7.62 NATO M80 ball functioned perfectly in those 30-06 BARs and the M1919A4s.......don't ask me how I know.......
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Maj. William C. Davis, Jr. and Col. E.H. Harrison were both US reps to the NATO standardization committee, Bill coming from FA and Col. Harrison from APG. Both told me that a design requirement for the 7.62mm NATO cartridge prior to adoption in its final form, was that it had to fire, feed and function satisfactorily in existiing US weapons without detriment to safety.

    It was presumed that if we got into a shooting war with the Reds during the caliber changeover and ramp up period that the "new" ammo had to function in an emergency in the "old" weapons. While never a recommended practice and being officially discouraged, it was part of the original design intent. Tom Cosgrove also confirmed this in discussions we had with Col. David B. Parsons, Mark Humphreville and Col. Edward B. Crossman at Camp Perry in the 1980s.

    What prompted the discussion was an incident during firing of the National Trophy Individual Match when ammo was being issued on the line. Some Navy shooters had 7.62mm Garands, and of course lots of civilians were using Caliber .30. During one of the rapid-fire stages when policing the brass some fire-formed, straight -cased 7.62s with slight mouth radius were picked up and somebody quipped,

    "Hey, who's got the .45-70 M1?"

    About then the scoreboads came up and sure as heck, one guy had a pair of snake-eye tens, with eight rounds clustered in the 7 ring at 6:00, we call got a good laugh while the guy was checking his sight settings...
    Last edited by Outpost75; Yesterday at 03:41 PM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master


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    The nicely '06 chamber fire formed 7.62 cases just had a slight roll crimp with no shoulder or neck......was kind of funny till I tried to turn the brass back into the ASP........got a "dat don't look like no gubment case I seen....ain't gona take em".. comment. Well, in the Army expended brass has to be accounted for and turned in so I took them back to the armory, took the decap/expander rod out of a FL die and had an exuberant young trooper size them (we had a reloading bench set up in the supply room ...... next week the same guy at the ASP took them.........go figure......
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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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