View Full Version : Artillery Identification

August 26, 2009, 11:27 AM

I have an old artillery shell which I was given about 40 years ago and used as a bank.

The top easily comes off and it is empty...the thing I am really not sure about is if the primer(?) is missing. The small threaded plug on the bottom I have never opened and my Dad can't recall if he had ever checked it. Job for the Bomb Squad? I always thought it was great as a kid to have in my room and would like to pass it on to a kid who would want it.

Maybe someone can also tell me what this shell is (picture attached).

Bottom says : 5in AACOM MK35 Mod. 10MMP 37 Lot.


August 26, 2009, 01:54 PM
That appears to be just the projectile. The case, which would contain powder and primer, is missing. But, some projectiles had fuses to explode on contact or proximity to target. Hopefully that part has been removed from the tip or base of projectile.

August 26, 2009, 09:32 PM
If I'm not mistaken, that is a 5" anti-aircraft shell, possibly from a U.S. Navy vessel. It may or may not have been originally attached to a brass case. Here's the spec sheet:


Uncle Buck
August 26, 2009, 11:03 PM
If the top of the projectile that you have has either two flat sides (for a wrench) or a hole on the side, near the top (for a spanner wrench) it may be a fused projectile.
Someone with more knowledge than I have will have to tell you if it can be disarmed or not. We were always taught not to screw with these if we ever found them on the ranges. When we shot the .50 cal machine gun, we would set off explosives that littered the ranges. (We were in Korea and used some of the Korean ranges for target practice. They did not use practice rounds, they used live ammo.)

August 27, 2009, 02:52 AM
If you want to sell it let me know I'd be interested in buying it.

August 27, 2009, 09:23 AM
Thanks for the information...it's a direct hit for what this is.

The nose does have two opposing blind holes and two flats. The nose unscrews and is one solid piece. The inside of the shell is empty. The threaded plug on the bottom and it's content is the question.

Suggestions for making sure it's safe (without me unscrewing the bottom)?

August 27, 2009, 09:56 AM
Suggestions for making sure it's safe (without me unscrewing the bottom)? Have you weighed it? According to the spec sheet I linked to above, the total weight of a loaded projectile is about 55 lb., and the weight of the explosive filling is just over 7 lb. So if your shell weighs about 48 lb., it's probably had the ammonium picrate (Explosive D or dunnite) removed, and if it still weighs about 55 lb., then you must assume that it's still fully live.

Honestly, I don't know what to tell you to do if this thing turns out to be live or potentially live. I'm sure the last thing you want is the local EOD or bomb squad camped outside your doorstep, and, moreover, I am unaware of what the legality of owning a live anti-aircraft shell might be. Might be the Navy considers it stolen property. I just don't know and would suggest you act very cautiously.

August 27, 2009, 10:33 AM
Was able to confirm it is in fact dead.

The nose piece is solid steel and empty, nothing inside the body, looking inside you can see all the way to the base and see the top of the solid threaded plug in the base. With my scale it weighs 45 lbs.

August 27, 2009, 10:45 AM
Hurray! That's great - just a large conical paperweight - albeit a *very* cool one.

August 27, 2009, 12:11 PM
A cool paper weight indeed!

Looked closer at the Navy site forwarded (Thanks for that) and did not see what the model "10 MMP" was as far as type of projectile? Would also assume this was a WWII shell?

How the heck does a 10 year old kid in MN end-up with something like this forty years ago? When I was in the Army there would have been no way to get your hands on something like this.

August 27, 2009, 12:48 PM

Sorry - I don't have the answers to your questions. Hopefully a squiddie will see this and come to the rescue. As far as it being a WWII shell, that'd be really hard to determine since those 5"/38 guns were used before, during and after WW II. My guess is that your shell has had its arsenal information painted over (the green bands) and you may never know.