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Old April 12, 2012, 08:51 PM   #1
alanjaow
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Help Identifying Possibly Live Shell

I have an artillery(?) round, and would like to know what it is (name), if it's live, and how to disassemble it.
Projectile is ~350mm long, 45mm dia. at the top, tapers at the bottom (80mm dia.), and is ~20.2 lbs.
Shell is 600mm tall, 130mm dia. at the base, and 95mm at the top, but the rim is a little beat up (still 95mm diameter all around).
There's a hole in the bottom of the casing, so no primer.
The identifying marks are: NO. 500,000 | IB 70 | LOT 43-23137-15-1942-GATC-9(the rest is unreadable)
Here are some pictures:
Cap of projectile: http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1144.jpg
LOT number: http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1145.jpg http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1146.jpg
Projectile: http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1147.jpg
Shell and projectile: http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1148.jpg
Bottom of shell: http://i1163.photobucket.com/albums/...w/IMG_1149.jpg
Also, I got it at an antique store, but wasn't able to talk to the guy selling it.
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Old April 12, 2012, 11:11 PM   #2
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The case appears to be mt. The hole in the bottom is were the primer was located.

I cannot speculate on the condition of the projectile. It appears that the fuze has been removed and the top is a plug of some kind. It is not a penetrator because those were solid.

When you thump the projectile does it sound hollow. If it was properly decommissioned there would be holes bored through the body of the projectile.

The case should be ok. I would be leery of the projectile. There a couple of Master EOD Techs on this sight. They could probably give a better discussion.
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Old April 12, 2012, 11:33 PM   #3
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You really need to have a bomb tech check it out.

How do you know its inert??????????????

Even if it doen't go off, and it still has the explosive inside, it means lots of jail time.
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Old April 13, 2012, 07:57 AM   #4
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You can see the remnants of yellow paint around the projectile. I believe that means it was a live round (I think blue was the training color?, been a long time).

The top of the projectile is designed to have a spanner or some type of wrench turn it, so as to set the timer on the fuse.

I would not own it myself, and after reading Kraigwy's other posts here on TFL, if he says you need to have it checked out, I would definitely have it checked out.

I would think that if you called the police or a military base (The military would probably tell you to contact your local police.) and explain what you have and how you got it, you would be fine.

But if that thing still has explosives in the projectile and something causes it to go off, you could be in a world of hurt.
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Old April 13, 2012, 12:31 PM   #5
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I posted your question on the International Ammunition Assoc. Forum. This is one of the answers:

"This appears to be a US 90mm AA gun nose fuzed shell. The cap in the nose is the base of a fuze. The forward part is missing.
The set screw in the side has to be released to remove that part and that is likely why it is still in place. These freeze up after time.
Basic EOD rule #1
If you can not see into it , it is LIVE.
I would assume that this is a LIVE high explosive shell and treat it so. Contact the local bomb squad through the Police , Fire Dept. or EOD unit on the nearest military base.
Do not abuse or attempt to inert the projectile. These were designed to kill and they do.
If it is still live having it in hand is a FEDERAL FELONY and in many locations is a state FELONY as well.
Many folks end up throwing these things in lakes and rivers to avoid the problems. This is not a good idea.
In MANY cases the EOD unit or BOMB squad will just blow the thing up.
It is not wise to take chances with shells of this nature."

YMMV
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Old April 13, 2012, 06:27 PM   #6
alanjaow
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Thanks everyone. I think before I do anything else, I'm going to go back to the place that sold it and ask if the person knows if it's been deactivated.
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Old April 13, 2012, 06:41 PM   #7
alanjaow
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Also, I figured that it was either a reproduction or a round taken apart, rather than fired, considering the primer's gone, it's number 500,000 even, the rim of the shell is banged up, and the copper on the projectile is banged up.
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Old April 13, 2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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If its live and how to disassemble it- lmao

Can that fit on a tombstone?
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Old April 13, 2012, 08:58 PM   #9
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Okay, I think I have a few things. First, the primer cavity actually appears to have been drilled out, to de-mil the casing; it also may have been a completely drilled through hole in the first place for a rimmed primer, as indicated by the recess to possibly accomodate a rim. Do you see any evidence at all that the casing itself had been fired?

The AA designation is no surprise to me, and that would be a timed fused device. Yes, the fuses are removeable, and in many cases, artillery like this was shipped and handled separately from the fuses, and only assembled upon issue to the unit, or actual useage.

If that was an AA round, it will have a charge of HE and (maybe) steel shrapnel. You said that it weighs 20 pounds. I have found information that the round weighs 24 pounds as issued. It is conceivable that this particular round is disarmed, but I am very concerned that the 4 pound discrepancy does not indicate that it is fully disarmed.



Some further research got me the information that the round carried a 2 pound charge of HE. If I could find an accurate listing of how much the casing itself would have weighed, it would help.

In any case, that plug up front is not an actual fuse. it's a storage plug, and would have been removed and the actual timer or proximity fuse would ahve been installed when deployed to the unit. Still nothing to help determine whether it is is still carrying the explosive charge.

It's not a dummy, though, I don't think that a dummy would have had a storage plug in. The dummy would likely have had a dummy fuse assembly installed.

Practice rounds were generally made of wood, anyway.

Last edited by briandg; April 14, 2012 at 07:43 AM.
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Old April 13, 2012, 10:30 PM   #10
alanjaow
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I think it was a rimmed primer, it doesn't look like it was drilled through. I can't find any evidence that it was fired, no scorch marks, no stress anywhere except for the rim. And RamItOne, I wouldn't have tried to disassemble it until I find out for sure that it's inert.
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Old April 14, 2012, 11:55 AM   #11
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Get it to a bomb tech, trust me, it'll save you a lot of heartache.

I was a bomb tech for the Anchorage Police Dept, I'm a cert. EOD Instructor.

I'll tell you how I would handle it if I found it in your home or a shop.

If I could get a robot to it, I'd remove it to a range and shoot it (with a 50 cal dearmor. It would break it open and if it went off, it would be in a safe spot.

If I couldn't move it, I'd evacuate around your home, sand bag it and shoot it as above.

No bomb tech with a brain is going to hand enter it. I'm old, the reason I am an old bomb tech is I wont take chances. I will not risk my hide or anyone else's to prevent property damange.

Either way, if it was found to contain explosives, it would have to be reported to ATF.

These things are not something to be played with.
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Old April 14, 2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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Completely off topic here, but Kraig, if your Talon ever has a problem, I am one of the guys you can call
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Old April 14, 2012, 05:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Thanks everyone. I think before I do anything else, I'm going to go back to the place that sold it and ask if the person knows if it's been deactivated.
That sounds like an absolutely stupid idea. Sorry, but you have already been told that it may be a live round and may pose a threat to you. What makes you think the antique dealer is a munitions expert and would actually know one way or the other. Funny how we see articles about supposedly deactivated rounds going off from time to time because something "thought" they were safe. Are you willing to trust your life and the lives of your loved ones to the word of a stranger who unloaded his problem on you?
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Old April 14, 2012, 05:30 PM   #14
Clifford L. Hughes
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alanjaow:


Lissten to Kraigwy: The less that than shell is handled the safer for everyone. No one can assure you that it's been deactivated.

Semper Fi.

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Cllifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired
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Old April 14, 2012, 06:06 PM   #15
kraigwy
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Quote:
Completely off topic here, but Kraig, if your Talon ever has a problem, I am one of the guys you can call
OK but what's a Talon???
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Old April 14, 2012, 06:08 PM   #16
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Alan - follow Kraig's advice on this one.

That shell might be safe, but since you don't know any thing about it, I wouldn't assume that it is. Assuming that is safe is a good way put yourself and others in harms way.
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Old April 14, 2012, 08:37 PM   #17
alanjaow
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But what if he's taken it apart, and found nothing inside? And it's not being touched.
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Old April 14, 2012, 08:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
OK but what's a Talon???
EOD Robot in use by US and friendly foreign first responders, and USMC, USAAF, USN, US Army Smaller than an Andros/F6A, meets a 150lb requirement for the Navy EOD tech division.

I was on the phone with some EOD techs at FT Wainwright just the other day, but I can't think of any Fire or Police Depts in WY that use them. Can't even recall talking to a US Army ORD CO in that state. Closest customer is...Grand Junction CO, I think

RE: the ordnance...I'm not a bomb tech. But that scares the crap out of me. In absence of conclusive proof it's inert, as far as I'm concerned it's live
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Old April 14, 2012, 09:12 PM   #19
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The RMI

We called ours Captain Fang, in honor of the Patrol Captain who got the money to buy it.

I did the maintance on it. Had a ball playing with kids in the neighborhood when I brought it home for servicing.

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Old April 14, 2012, 09:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
But what if he's taken it apart, and found nothing inside?
But what if he hasn't? What if he lies to you? What if he is mistaken and he has not taken yours apart? What happens if you injure or kill family or friends because you didn't take the proper precautions with an illegal explosive device that you purchased?

Your antique dealer isn't a munitions expert. You bought it without even being able to question him

If you want to buy a demilled AA shell, there are places to buy them. It would be very prudent to unload your potential explosive and eat whatever it cost you and chalk it up to experience.

So you think he might have taken it apart and looked inside? That would have to have happen a LONG time ago. The rust and patina on the fittings indicates that it has not been apart for a very long time as does the lack of new tool marks. Never mind that at least one of the screws is staked in place which indicates that it has not been undone since having been manufactured.

As has been pointed out, there is NO INDICATION that this projectile has been rendered inert. You appear to have a very live explosive in your possession, which as pointed out is illegal. You are endangering others. Call the bomb squad now.

Quote:
And it's not being touched.
What? It just lives on your couch? Somebody is going to touch it. Eventually somebody will likely drop it.
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Old April 14, 2012, 11:56 PM   #21
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Granted, the likelihood of you finding somebody with the proper expertise are slim... And EOD units aren't likely to have such expertise available, but...

You CAN determine whether or not it's live without violating it. We do it all the time at the office... It's called an "X-ray" (or if you really wanna go all out, put it on a HECT table!).

But your average medical X-ray ain't gonna cut it. You need an industrial model; the kind normally used for X-raying welds and the like. Further, you'll need a trained radiographer who knows what he's looking at when he looks at those X-rays.

Are you likely to have access to such? No.

But I find it highly annoying when people assert that there's "no way to know if it's live." There absolutely are ways! Those ways just aren't generally available to the average Joe or even the average EOD tech.





All that said, the scariest thing I see is the yellow paint residue. A yellow band around the nose indicates a warhead contains HE. Your's appears to have once upon a time been yellow all over. I've no knowledge of such a paint scheme, but I can imagine that once upon a time yellow all over had the same meaning as a yellow band does today.

Last edited by InigoMontoya; April 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM.
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Old April 14, 2012, 11:57 PM   #22
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Having the man who sold me the round tell me it was deactivated would give me no end of confidence....given the laws about these kind of things, he has every reason to lie and dissemble. I would not trust my own mother if she told me it was inert....the potential for destruction of property and one or more lives is too great to treat in a method approaching cavalier.
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Old April 15, 2012, 12:56 AM   #23
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Boy, the longer this goes on, the spookier it gets.

Doesn't help much that I read a while back about a guy who had a civil war shell blow up on him.

You can't disarm black powder, you have to extract it. I'm pretty certain that most of the twentieth century explosives won't deteriorate into inert substances over time.

All over europe, they are still finding thousands of battle field duds and misplaced rounds every year. a shell can go off and bury an entire caisson of artillery rounds in a trench, to be found half a century later as the ground erodes.

The old fort crowder is down the road from here. it has been used at times for training. about 1-20 years ago, a dozer working on construction hit shells. can't remember the outcome; they did not explode, I believe that they were smoke rounds.

None of that incident made sense, as there wasn't room for a heavy artillery range there. it was barely outside of the city and surrounded by farms.
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Old April 15, 2012, 01:02 AM   #24
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It's possible that you should take this back to the dealer, demand your money back on the grounds that it is thought to be a live round, and if he refuses to comply, call in ATF. You really should call in atf anyway, if that thing is live, you don't have the tax stamp for owning the explosive device and that is a big time violation, whether or not you believed it to be armed. The owner/purchaser is expected to do his due diligence and determine this before purchasing.
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Old April 15, 2012, 01:20 AM   #25
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one more thing. I am pretty convinced that the thing is in fact a 90 mm aa shell.

It is also a fact that the 90 mm AA was used as ground artillery as well, and as anti tank.

The lack of a timer fuse does NOT show that this is not armed. I have done enough research to find that there were flat faced impact fuses used. I could not find a fuse that exactly matched this one. The screw in the body of the shell is to retain the fuse/plug, I cannot account for the inserts in the fuse/plug itself. I can only say that there is no reason in the world for such inserts to be in a disposable transportation plug. This to me is at least good reason to be very suspicious that this shell is, in fact, an impact fused artillery round, not one that would have been timer or proximity fused for AAA use. Whether that fuse is armed or not, or whether the shell has the HE load still intact is a moot point in my mind.

Ordinarily, a de-milled item would be clearly marked, I suspect. that thing should have been drilled to show that it was empty. it was not marked in any way.

In my opinion, other opinions may vary, there is absolutely no reason at all to believe that this thing is safe. No reason at all. At this point, the only logical thing to do is operate on the assumption that it is not only a real round, but that it was never disarmed, that the charges are all or partly intact, and that is an intact and maybe armed fuse, not just a shipping plug.

After a whole lot of hours of research and thought, my pretty well considered and informed advice is to get rid of it NOW.
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