View Full Version : Need help identifing this ammo

August 21, 2009, 05:31 PM
http://s736.photobucket.com/albums/xx4/redletterkjv/A friend of mine found this with his metal dector around south central KY. Any help would be most appreaciated. Thanks

I'm new at posting pics, so I hope this works

the rifleer
August 21, 2009, 06:05 PM
I'm no expert, but its obviously a large caliber round, and there for, probably was shot out of a black powder rifle.

Are there grooves along the sides where the rifling cut into it? if there is then i was probably shot from a breech loader and from the looks of the bullet, it was shot from a self-contained cartridge.

however if its not it may have been shot from a musket. Again, I', no expert and its probably going to be very difficult to say exactly what gun and what round, but like i said, probably a black powder breech loader of some sort.

I'm not aware of any round that is bigger than a quarter, that's about 1" isn't it? thats awfully big. Are you sure its a bullet? Is it lead?

August 21, 2009, 06:26 PM
The shape suggests a cartridge bullet, but I've never seen an early cartridge greater than 75cal. The tips make them look like sabot slugs used in current b/p loadings. If they'r truely old. I'd be wary that the tip is a fusing mechanism and they're loaded with powder. Many years ago an expert was hand drilling a cannon ball and set off the still active powder and was killed. Be careful til you know what they are.

Brian Pfleuger
August 21, 2009, 06:36 PM
Quarters are 31/32 of an inch and those things look to be a fair bit bigger. I don't think that they could have come from a hand held weapon...

They do look similar to this 12 ga round from the civil war:



but 12ga would be considerably smaller than those appear to be.

I have to ask, are you sure that they're actually a bullet? I mean, I don't know what else they'd be but.... who knows?

August 21, 2009, 07:39 PM
they look like detonation caps from an artillery round... those screwed into the tops of particularly 105mm cannons or a 20mm... unless they are inert, they are dangerous

the black nose cap gave it away, as we in artillery say... STEEL RAIN!

August 21, 2009, 09:04 PM

August 24, 2009, 01:39 PM
The bullet has no rifling marks, it weighs around 4 oz. It appears to be made of cast (the rusted part) and is lead tipped. Does anyone know where I could possible find any info. Again thanks for any help.

the rifleer
August 24, 2009, 02:42 PM
I really don't know what it is, if its cast it most likely isn't a bullet. Its also looks like its not long enough to be a bullet.

If they made cast bullets, it would be for a smooth bore, but again, 1'' is too big for a shoulder fired weapon.

Its very possible its not a projectile.

August 24, 2009, 03:41 PM
Hm, looks more like the tip of a grenade, or of a real big projektile to me.

Mike Irwin
August 24, 2009, 05:07 PM
That's not ammo.

It's part of a relatively small-caliber artillery shell.

Judging from the size, I'd say maybe 37mm.

It appears that those are solid shot, possibly inert training rounds.

The shells designed to be used against light targets and infantry had nose mount fuses in assemblies like these. Armor piercing had base mounted fuses.


Ah, finally found a picture of one.

This is more or less what you have. This one is a time fuse, so it's different from yours, but the concept is the same. This was screwed into the nose of the shell.


September 11, 2009, 02:01 PM
Hi All,

I'm a new guy to this place, but it sure seems like a nice forum.

As for that "bullet". Are you sure that is lead on the tip? Seems to me it would be pretty deformed.

If it is what I think it is that tip is tungsten carbide which looks like old lead when it tarnishes, except it won't oxidize to white like old lead.

What that looks like to me is the cutting tip off of a rock drill or trencher tooth. They come in all shapes and sizes but most are pretty similar in design.

Here's a link to a site that has some teeth pictured.

Either way, it looks neat.

Y'all take care,

September 19, 2009, 07:03 PM
what I see is a dime and bullet.the tip on artillary is alum or die metal.or brass.but what i se is a lead bullet with a heel probably for a cartidge.
Please if its civil war it would be cast bullet.dont post false info.read up on civil war most interesting on the guns and manufactering.
ther were 69 cal and 75 cal muskets.

James K
September 19, 2009, 08:45 PM
It almost certainly is not a "bullet", since there is no bearing surface. I agree that it appears to be a fuse or a nosecap (replaces the fuse in inert shells), but I can't determine from the picture the size of the shell it fits.

Are/were there any military firing ranges in that area? I don't think it is Civil War, or at least a quick check doesn't show any CW artillery that would use a fuse of that type and size. AFAIK, there were no clockwork timed fuses of the type Mike shows in the CW.


Mike Irwin
September 19, 2009, 09:56 PM
No, it's decidedly NOT Civil War.

Mechanical clock fuses didn't really become feasible until very late in the 19th century, and only became commonly used during WW I.

September 20, 2009, 10:37 AM
Looks like the same end of some 20mm canon shells I have!