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Old July 17, 2010, 04:38 PM   #1
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Question on a FA46 marked lighter

I have a quick question for anybody that can help me. I found this in a garage sale and its quite interesting. It is a lighter on the top but the casing seems to be from a legit round. I have been looking around for any information on it and have only found that FA is Frankford Arsenal and nothing on the number code or what it is and such. The head stamp if you can't see in the picture is FA46. The top lighter part comes out and has another projectile attached to it. If anybody can help its much appreciated.

sorry if the pics are big just trying to get the best quality so it can be seen

Last edited by Sporkman; July 17, 2010 at 09:38 PM.
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Old July 17, 2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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The "number" is the date, 1946. I can't be sure of the scale and you don't give dimensions, but it looks like a case for a .50 caliber spotter round, maybe modified to take the cigarette lighter. Those things were sold as novelties in the magazines and at PX's in the 1950's, with service insignia of your choice. (That one is U.S. Army.)

They were treated as novelties and tossed in the desk drawer; serious smokers used Zippo lighters.

Value? I would say maybe $5, but for all I know there may be a bunch of rich guys collecting these and you can trade it for a Lexus.

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Old July 17, 2010, 09:26 PM   #3
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Okay, so the dimensions are 6" tall, 1" at the base, and it tapers down to about 3/4". Thanks for the reply and the info on it. Should make for an interesting desk addition. And are you by chance that rich guy that wants to give me the Lexus?
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Old July 18, 2010, 08:38 PM   #4
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Actually, this particular piece of "trench art" (yes, I know it wasn't made in the trenches, but that's the colloquial name for these sorts of military "spare time" projects) appears to have been made from a short-lived .50 "High Velocity" round that the US was experimenting with towards the end of WW2; at that time, the US still thought there might be a tactical use for an anti-tank rifle (soon shelved, because the bazooka was entering service), or a more powerful version of the .50 M2 for use in aircraft (which was also dropped, because designers could get more target effect just by going to 20mm). The .50 HV (also called the ".60/50", because it used 50 calibre bullets in a necked-down 60 calibre case) didn't last very long, but a .60 heavy machine gun cartridge and T2 machine gun was adopted on an experimental basis for a while, before also being dropped for the same reasons. Hackley, Woodin, and Scranton's "History of Modern US Military Small Arms Ammunition" says the case should measure 1.153" at the head, and be 4.487" long. Hope this helps.
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Old July 18, 2010, 11:03 PM   #5
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@SDC thanks for the reply. I remeasured with a ruler and your measurements of the case are pretty spot on. It definitely has an interesting history. I was in the Marines as an Ammunition Technician and having an awesome round like this for me is just phenomenal. And a another question for everybody, has anybody seen anything like this before? I have looked around the internet and only found one other piece of trench art like this. And also if you have one I would like to know what kind of round it is and what you do with it.
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