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  1. #1
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    .50", projectile identification.

    Three types of .50" projectiles were kindly given to me recently, among them were two examples of the well known observing round with its yellow over red coloured tip. The other two have me stumped though.....the example with the ( I assumed ) black tip, I took to be an armour piercing type until I looked at the base and saw a copper cap, leading me to believe that this is in fact a tracer with a discoloured tip colour ( looking at it under a strong light, it could be a very deep red)...it comes in at 604 grains and is only mildly magnetic. Perhaps some member can confirm my thoughts.

    The last type is chrome plated and my thinking is that it has been removed from a display round or some such like....mildly magnetic it comes in at 696 grains. The core showing at the rear can be scratched and shows it is not hardened.

    Bockscar.


    image.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpgimage.jpg

  2. #2
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    Tracer rounds usually have a straight skirt of full diameter all the way to the base, instead of a boat tail, and are longer to contain the tracer. It provides room for the tracer material. Yours has no room for tracer material.
    Last edited by HAZORD; 14th September 2019 at 03:08 PM.
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    Bockscar (15th September 2019)

  4. #3
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    The red/ yellow tip are spotter tracer. They are used with the Recoiless round cannons ( 106mm I believe) and belong in a special shortened .50 BMG case. Talon ( before going out of business ) pulled them from old USGI spotter tracer round lots and mounted them in a standard .50 BMG case. I have a few boxes of these, and used to shoot them from my .50 cal. Very impressive, when impacting metal, they explode with a huge flash of light and smoke. More info when I can find TM info.

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    Bockscar (15th September 2019)

  6. #4
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    https://cartridgecollectors.org/cmo/cmo08dec.htm
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    Bockscar (15th September 2019)

  8. #5
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    those spotter/tracer rounds are quite sensitive and are not "drop safe",you should be careful with them

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    Bockscar (15th September 2019)

  10. #6
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    I believe your .50 black tip is AP. The base looks very similar to .30 AP. I cut a few open to expose the penetrator. Likely they use the same manufacture process?
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  12. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies to this thread...still not entirely sure what the projectile in question actually is though, so I have asked my source if he has another example of the same, and if he has I shall section it so we shall know once and for all!
    Stay tuned.....

    Bockscar.

  13. #8
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    I managed to acquire another couple of the black tipped .50" Browning machine gun projectiles today and as promised I have sectioned an example to see what the internal build up looks like.
    The envelope itself is copper coated brass.
    It does indeed have a steel core as the black tip says it should, but I found this core to be soft instead of hardened as I would expect..... The tip portion of the projectile is filled with a white substance which i take to be a filler...or is it an incendiary component? Subjecting a small amount of the powder released during sectioning to flame produced no result whatsoever.
    The rear of the steel core has a small copper cover fitted over it and is held in place by the boat tail. At this stage I have not attempted to remove this.....
    So what is the designation of this projectile? Is it just ball with a steel core rather than a lead one giving enhanced penetration properties?
    Over to the experts!

    image.jpg

    Bockscar.
    Last edited by Bockscar; 4th October 2019 at 09:19 PM.

  14. #9
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    Thanks for posting. Here is my .30 M2 AP I pulled apart, my picture posted was missing this black plastic filler piece. Seems the .50 is the same construction.
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  16. #10
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    The .50 "Black" tip is actually Brown. It's a US M17 Tracer. Now, one person commented that it shouldn't be boattail if it's a tracer and that's correct if the M17 Tracer Brown tip is WW2 to 1994 vintage. AFTER 1994, the M17 Tracer bullet was redesigned. It's basically an M33 Ball bullet, but the mild steel core is drilled at the base and filled with tracer compound. This allieviates the need for a special bullet for the tracer vs the ball. While the new bullet is completely different from the old tracer, it was decided to keep the same tip color code and the same designation, M17, rather than M17A1 or some other M# altogether. The white compound in the tip is the inert point filler that is the same as in the M33 Ball. I can tell it's a mild steel core from the photo as the crimp cannelure is knurled, rolled in during production to lock the core and jacket together. The core has the wide smooth groove from the pressure. Hardened steel core bullet cannelures can't be rolled in, they are cut into the jacket, so the core does not have that groove. The older M17 Tracer was a gilding metal clad steel jacket, with lead in the nose and tracer compound in the tail. It was basically a wide flat base and the new tracer, being a design variant derivative from the M33 Ball, is a narrower boattail and, consequently, the tracer flame is smaller in the newer version.
    Last edited by 50m2hb; 1st November 2019 at 03:34 AM.

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