Friendly Metal Detecting Forums   River Team 6 Metal Detectors
List all sponsors

Go Back   Friendly Metal Detecting Forums > Everything About Finds > Help To ID My Finds

Reply
  
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-15-2013, 12:38 PM
Voriax's Avatar
Voriax Voriax is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lappeenranta, Finland
Posts: 4,100
Default Identifying bullets and cartridge cases

As many of us find bullets, cartridge cases and even full cartridges from time to time I thought to write down some things that will hopefully help you to get an identification.

First some questions and answers:

Q: I found a musket ball. How old it is?
A: Impossible to tell. Lead musketballs have been around hundreds of years. You really can't tell whether it's 100 or 200 years old..or 50.

Q: I found a 3-ringer bullet. Is it civil war?
A: Maybe. Did you dig it from known battle- or campsite? Minie ball came in use before US civil war and continued to be in use after US civil war. So you can say you dug an US civil war era bullet. As with musket ball, it is impossible to give any definite year.

Q: I found a bullet! Which gun fired it?
A: Give us some dimensions and don't get your hopes high. Say you found a .30 cal rifle bullet. There are hundreds of different cartridges that are .30 cal and lots and lots of different guns that fire some kind of .30 cal round.

Q: I found an empty cartridge case/live cartridge. What calibre it is? Who made it? And when?
A: Now we are talking. Check the following examples:

Name:  308a.jpg
Views: 18805
Size:  18.4 KB

Here's a pic that shows some important dimensions. This is a .308 cartridge btw. Case length is a must. And if your case is not deformed too badly, we need diameter at cartridge mouth, diameter at base of the case and if the case is rimmed, like .22lr, then we want rim diameter. If it's a complete cartridge give us the bullet diameter too..the diagram above shows you where to take the measure.

Or...you could give us this:

Name:  Fc308Win_G.jpg
Views: 21078
Size:  60.0 KB

The Headstamp! 308 win made by Federal Cartridge co. Note that this headstamp is almost certainly from cartridge made for civilian use. How can you tell? Well, military cartridges tend to have the year of manufacture stamped in them . This is generally not the case with cartridges originally sold for civilians.
Some makers added all sorts of interesting info into the headstamp..in some cases it's possible to identify the factory or maker of the metal used in the casing. Also with civilian cartridges the style of the headstamp can often give an age bracket of when the cartridge was made.

Please give us some pictures! But keep in mind that...

Name:  308b.jpg
Views: 17529
Size:  29.5 KB

Pics like this aren't really useful. It's still a .308 but there's really no way to tell it.

Name:  308c.jpg
Views: 17404
Size:  28.5 KB

Now this is a bit better. but it really just gives us some kind of ballpark guesstimates.

Name:  308d.jpg
Views: 17433
Size:  40.0 KB

Ok..now we have a tape measure. Also note that the pic was cropped a bit to give us more of the object and less of the background. From this some fairly educated guesses can be made. However, there are/were couple thousand different cartridge types and sometimes the differences are very very small...

Name:  308e.jpg
Views: 17336
Size:  22.1 KB

So pics like this are very nice. Try to get a bit better measurement than I did as the cartridge base and calipers aren't properly aligned


If you can't take/post pics make a drawing of the headstamp and post it..or describe it as best as you can. You can also just write down those measurements, just make a clear list of what measurement was taken at what point of the case.

Total length of a complete cartridge is not that important. Nice to have but full rounds tend to have a maximum length and depending of bullet or type or weapon the round was meant to the total length can be less.

With lead balls diameter is the important thing, weight less so. With cylindrical lead bullets diameter is number one, length and weight less so. Same with jacketed bullets. Say for a .308 there is really no fixed bullet weight or length. Ok, some NATO standard round has those, but new standards are applied now and then and early 'ball' ammo is likely different than modern one.

So to put it short: Give us measurements and headstamps! With those resident gurus can often give you pretty good identifications.

Voriax

PS: If you have any corrections, comments or suggestions about this post, please pm me

__________________
White's MXT w/3 coils. Vibraprobe 560, ProPointer. Nautilus DMC-2Ba w/3 coils.
Oldest coin: A Swedish Ortug from 1529. Evolve beyond belief. <;,><


Last edited by Voriax; 12-18-2013 at 10:00 AM.
Reply With Quote


  #2  
Old 02-04-2014, 07:41 PM
Foxmulder's Avatar
Foxmulder Foxmulder is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 56
Default

Here is a cool info graphic for civil war bullets.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote


  #3  
Old 02-04-2014, 07:43 PM
Foxmulder's Avatar
Foxmulder Foxmulder is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 56
Default

Also why would someone chew on these bullets??? "Chewed by human teeth" lol


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote


  #4  
Old 02-05-2014, 08:55 PM
JELLISC JELLISC is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3
Default

When Civil War field medics were operating, sometimes they made the individual 'Bite the Bullet' because of the pain.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote


1 members found this post helpful.
  #5  
Old 02-05-2014, 09:10 PM
Seven's Avatar
Seven Seven is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Monroe County Kentucky
Posts: 5,782
Default

Originally Posted by Foxmulder View post
Also why would someone chew on these bullets??? "Chewed by human teeth" lol


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's not uncommon to find bullets at Civil War sites that have been chewed by animals (squirrels, hogs, groundhogs, etc). We have found about a dozen this year at two CW sites we have worked. Most CW historians discount the "pain bullet" theory. In my experience, the teeth marks on our finds are obviously NOT human, but animal... the teeth marks are too small.

__________________
CTX 3030, Etrac, AT Pro
Subscribe to my YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCA5FzK74x-6gJlBRoL0jqw/videos

Reply With Quote


  #6  
Old 06-25-2014, 08:04 PM
Dsm_mechva's Avatar
Dsm_mechva Dsm_mechva is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Mechanicsville, Va.
Posts: 4,523
Default

This is pretty helpful

http://www.baymediapro.com/collection/bulletsearch.htm

__________________
Deus 11"/9"/HF Elliptical
Pro-Pointer AT, Sampson, Ranger, DigMaster

Past Detectors: Vaquero/AT Pro/AT Gold/Quattro/F70/X-Terra 30/Delta 4000/Freedom 3 CDC/T2 LTD2/1265-X/1225-X/1212-X/1210-X/Amphibian/Gold Bug/MX Sport/Makro Racer/F75 LTD2

Reply With Quote


  #7  
Old 10-30-2014, 09:39 AM
Mick56's Avatar
Mick56 Mick56 is offline
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 228
Default

Shotgun shell identification.

http://www.cartridge-corner.com/shotgun.htm
Reply With Quote


  #8  
Old 01-19-2017, 05:22 PM
CroMagnum's Avatar
CroMagnum CroMagnum is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southern CA
Posts: 28
Default

One thing I'd like to add is military cartridges have crimped primers, and civilian/commercial ammo does not. It's a round crimp on the very edge of primer pocket.



In this example, the crimped primer round on the left is Lake City 5.56x45mm from 2011 (probably M855A1), and the little circle/cross on the top specifies this cartridge has been loaded to NATO specs. The one on the right is Remington-made .223 Rem. (R-P is "Remington-Peters.")
Reply With Quote


  #9  
Old 06-25-2017, 07:46 PM
MDLand's Avatar
MDLand MDLand is offline
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Mendon Massachusetts
Posts: 115
Default

It takes about 100+ years (at least) to get that thick white oxidation layer you see on lead bullets. That always help me somewhat date the time period a bullet may have been fired. A recently fired musketball will not have that coating.
Reply With Quote


  #10  
Old 06-25-2017, 09:08 PM
worm12ga worm12ga is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, VA
Posts: 632
Default

Originally Posted by MDLand View post
It takes about 100+ years (at least) to get that thick white oxidation layer you see on lead bullets. That always help me somewhat date the time period a bullet may have been fired. A recently fired musketball will not have that coating.
I would love someone to provide actual evidence to back up that claim. Oxidation of lead and other metals depends on soil moisture and chemistry. In the case of bullets, it is not a reliable indicator of age. Cast lead bullets can become heavily oxidized in a decade or two, or show minimal oxidation after 100+ years.
Reply With Quote


  #11  
Old 07-10-2017, 05:06 PM
dmitry123 dmitry123 is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 1
Default

I need a claim as well.

Last edited by dmitry123; 07-10-2017 at 05:46 PM.
Reply With Quote


Reply


Tags
artillery shell

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help identifying these bullets for certain.... KingTotsalot War Relic Hunting 13 02-01-2014 08:38 PM
Need Help Identifying These Dug Bullets metalfinderman Help To ID My Finds 7 12-13-2013 10:22 PM
Weekend finds, need help identifying bullets Nooga Hunter Stories and Pictures of Finds 0 09-15-2013 06:56 PM
Today's River Finds....Eagle I Button, Pinfire Shotgun Cartridge & a Few Bullets! The Wolf War Relic Hunting 19 06-06-2013 09:21 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.