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Thread: Pre-WWII 45 ACP pistol ball ...

  1. #1
    Boolit Man Airborne Falcon's Avatar
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    Pre-WWII 45 ACP pistol ball ...

    My Grandfather left me his 1934C 1911 that he carried in WWII. It was his personal sidearm that he bought in 1934 while on leave from Fort Bliss to Chicago.

    He had bought a few boxes of ammo at the time of the purchase (as the hardware store receipt of the purchase shows, which I still have in my possession) but a recent development leads me to believe this may have not been the original ammo but rather some that he might have acquired while still on active duty.

    This is not jacketed WCC ammo, it is cast lead.

    The boxes are waxed, the interior partitions are not. The ammo is still in good shape, I actually fired three rounds of it recently.

    I did replace the original spring in the pistol probably 20 years ago but saved the original spring that I replaced.

    I also used to shoot it quite a bit back in the 80s and 90s (using modern 45 ACP milspec FMJ ball ammo I had acquired while on active duty at Bragg) but had not shot it since until just recently and did not use any of my reloads that I use in my modern 1911s.

    He passed in the mid-70s and left it to me and it has been well kept, along with the original ammo he passed to me ... in a 7.62 ammo can wrapped in an oil cloth. Those are also original two-tone mags. I take it out and wipe it down inside and out about once a year.

    The ammo though ... might anyone have any idea of the date of that ammo? It may very well be original 1934 ammo because the receipt shows he bought ten boxes along with the pistol ... but I can't be sure. And I am told that all WWII 45 ammo was jacketed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    My Grandfather pic (below) taken by a street vendor and sold to my Grandfather as he was leaving the hardware store in Chicago on the day of the purchase. He left the pistol with the store owner and returned the next day to pick it up knowing he was going-out that night to a speak easy with his best friend (who was from Chicago) and he didn't want to be armed while drunk. He picked-up the picture the street vendor had taken at the same time ... he had paid the street vendor a nickel for the pic to be developed the day before and it was always one of my Grandmother's favorite pictures of him taken just weeks before they were married.

    He was, naturally, dressed in the dapper Chicago gangsta garb of the 1934 day ... Oxford wingtips with a double-breasted suit and fedora hat. Smoking a cigarette ... he rolled his own and did-so until his death from lung cancer in 1976.

    In WWII the Army allowed enlisted troops to carry their personal sidearms and while most, that could afford them, carried family revolvers, he loved his 1911 and it cost him almost two months pay at the time when he was a corporal ... eight years before he would deploy to Europe as a staff sergeant. He returned from the war as a 1SG. He was 22 years old when that picture was taken. He joined at the age of 17 in 1929 and retired after WWII in 1950 ... still a 1SG, with the Korean War looming over the horizon. My mother was 10 when he retired.

    It was the first pistol I ever shot at the age of 10. I'll not shoot anymore of the ammo ... but I do want to make sure that it is properly preserved for my Son and Grandsons. The pistol itself is still very shootable but I doubt I'll shoot it again ... I am now almost the same age he was when he passed.

    I have thought about deconstructing one of the cartridges just to see how the boolit was cast, lubed, etc., and to see if I might be able to roughly identify what powder and primer was used.

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    What you think about you do ... what you do, you become.

  2. #2
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    I love a gun with a good history. Definitely, something to cherish.

    I found these a while back.

    Last edited by Conditor22; 03-18-2021 at 05:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    Cargo

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nice piece of history you have.

  5. #5
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    Great piece of history that you have shared with us, and the 1911 and ammo are certainly items to be cherished. I think your lead bullet ammo is likely Government issue designed for target practice.

    DG

  6. #6
    Boolit Man Electrod47's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    If you shot the old ammo, be aware that any 45ACP prior to 1954 is likely corrosive. There are exceptions, but the change to non-corrosive happened in stages between 1951 and 1954.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    A priceless heirloom.
    I too would count on that old ammo being corrosive.

    I'd download some cast and shoot it some if it were mine.
    That old ammo,,,,, ahh, probably not.
    It's cool to have just the way it is.
    Broken down, I'd bet its loaded with Bullseye since in the early days it was pretty much developed for the .45ACP.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

  9. #9
    Airborne Falcon:

    All of the boxes in your photo are USGI issue boxes, and all would have had jacketed bullets. The 50 round WCC box would have had cartridges with a WCC (and two number date headstamp). The 20 round boxes are earlier, and should have a headstamp of two or possibly three letters and either a date with just two numbers denoting the year, or, if even earlier, two sets of numbers denoting month and year. The 20 round boxes, if early enough, should have tinned bullets. They are silver, and you could easily mistake them for lead, but they would be much harder.

    Let us know what the headstamps are in each box, and we can give you a specific manufacturer/timeframe/date for your ammo.

    ALL of the original ammo in the boxes you picture would be corrosive primed.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy 2A-Jay's Avatar
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    Great story, Cherish that gun. What Manufacturer?

    I had a Singer 1911. Paid $10 for it ffrom DMRO in San Diego in 1972. It was stolen along with my 62 Corvair in 1973 while I was Over Seas on my 1st West Pac Deployment.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man Airborne Falcon's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input and replies men ... much appreciated.

    So now I am wondering if Popbill may have had what's left of the open box filled with some range ammo ... and I am now tempted to cut-open one of the unopened boxes to see if it is the same or jacketed. It actually looks like he may have scotch-taped them to seal them at some point so it has me wondering.

    He was a reloader and boolit caster on the farm ... I am really starting to wonder if he repackaged some of his cast reloads in old boxes he had ... as we do now at times. Only thing is, knowing him, I just feel like he would have written on the boxes that they were reloads like he did all of his shotgun reloads and .38 Sp reloads.

    Jay, it's a Colt ... but I have a Remington and a Singer and a Union Switch and Signal and quite a few other modern high-dollar 1911s that I have collected over the years. This one of my Grandfather's is my prized possession however ... irreplaceable, heirloom to be passed-on to my Son and hopefully his Sons and Grandsons. I also have an M1 Carbine my uncle brought-back and a couple of sporterized K98s (consecutive serial numbers) that a sec9nd cousin brought back and had sporterized in Texas in the early 50s.
    What you think about you do ... what you do, you become.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man Airborne Falcon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relics6165 View Post
    Airborne Falcon:

    All of the boxes in your photo are USGI issue boxes, and all would have had jacketed bullets. The 50 round WCC box would have had cartridges with a WCC (and two number date headstamp). The 20 round boxes are earlier, and should have a headstamp of two or possibly three letters and either a date with just two numbers denoting the year, or, if even earlier, two sets of numbers denoting month and year. The 20 round boxes, if early enough, should have tinned bullets. They are silver, and you could easily mistake them for lead, but they would be much harder.

    Let us know what the headstamps are in each box, and we can give you a specific manufacturer/timeframe/date for your ammo.

    ALL of the original ammo in the boxes you picture would be corrosive primed.
    I am going to dig them back out of the pistol safe and get to the bottom of this relics6165 (pardon the pun but I keep them literally stacked at the bottom of the pistol safe hoping that, should anyone ever break-in and gain access to my safes, they take the stuff on top rather than digging to the bottom and that the Cops have enough time to get all the way out here in the country in the meantime while the bad guys are digging).
    What you think about you do ... what you do, you become.

  13. #13
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    Love those old pre-war Colts, especially the grips in those years were checkered 24lpi up to 1941. After that, 20lpi. I had a 1939 Commercial model which is what the C stands for. It had been reblued but whoever did it gave it a high polish, the gun positively looked like it was wet. Wish I still had that one!
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Click this link to send me a PM->>> http://castboolits.gunloads.com/priv...=newpm&u=29606 Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Very cool stuff...........
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Not an expert on 45acp ammo but think the 20 round boxes may be pre WWII ammo. Maybe WWI or issued sometime after that. I have a 1911A1 that I did some horse trading with about 30 years ago. Came with a cigar box that was full of assorted 45acp ammo. Mostly ball ammo but mixed in with that had a wide variety of commercial ammo. Frank

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    Great read.
    Many similar stories from the greatest generation are out there waiting to be told

  17. #17
    Boolit Master




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    The older ammunition your are referring to may be jacketed with the older cupronickel jackets which appear silver in color. That material often gets mistaken for a lead bullet. I have hundreds of rounds WW1 45 ACP ammo dated 1917 with these jackets. Look for the 3 dimples just below the case mouth too. Those dimples assisted with prevention of bullet compression into cases whilst used in full auto firearms. Problems with the cupronickel material resulted in deference to the more common material we see today on jacketed bullets.
    As indicated in previous comments, this older ammunition has corrosive priming. After shooting your gun with it, please be sure to clean it completely with WATER to remove the corrosive salts. Oil as always after cleaning and inspect the gun a week later to ensure you have not missed any corrosive priming residue.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master



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    WHAT A GREAT STORY! I suspect many of us old guys have those guns. The story behind it is as intriguing as the gun itself. We *may* be the last generation that appreciates these guns and their stories but I am working very hard on my grandson and he is showing a lot of interest.

    MAN thank you for a good story!

    Art
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Tar Heel View Post
    The older ammunition your are referring to may be jacketed with the older cupronickel jackets which appear silver in color. That material often gets mistaken for a lead bullet. I have hundreds of rounds WW1 45 ACP ammo dated 1917 with these jackets. Look for the 3 dimples just below the case mouth too. Those dimples assisted with prevention of bullet compression into cases whilst used in full auto firearms. Problems with the cupronickel material resulted in deference to the more common material we see today on jacketed bullets.
    As indicated in previous comments, this older ammunition has corrosive priming. After shooting your gun with it, please be sure to clean it completely with WATER to remove the corrosive salts. Oil as always after cleaning and inspect the gun a week later to ensure you have not missed any corrosive priming residue.
    Good point..........
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
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    Gary D. Peek

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Vintage ammo is nice to look at and even to shoot, but I would beware of storing that corrosive primed amm with other ammo or with any firearms.

    As with anything that's old, it starts to break down.
    And the mere fact of moving the ammo from storage into a place or a room with higher humidity and temperature just to examine, look at or handle the ammo can trigger a corrosion effect that you are unaware of.
    Fingerprints, body oils and just sweat can start just one of the shells to start emitting a vapor that can start another shell or two to do the same.
    Any metal stored in the same container or cabinet or safe can share this atmosphere and start rusting or pitting same as rust.
    I always store ammo in sealed cans.
    Mice and bugs like to do their business on stored ammo and components containers any chance they get .
    Keep your firearms safer.
    Old Ammo can come back to bite you.
    Even stored hermetically. it's still corrosively primed.Look at the discoloration of the once shiny primer.
    Be smart.
    Last edited by Alferd Packer; 06-16-2021 at 04:32 PM.

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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