View Full Version : Help is this bullet still live?!

03-01-2014, 04:49 PM
Hi please help..

Does anyone know if this bullet/shell still 'live'? My grandfather has left this too me as I used to play with it as a young child! I remember white powder sometimes coming out of it if I twisted the bottom. I want to keep it but not sure what to do? If it is live do you think it can be disarmed by a gunsmith?

It has these markings on the bottom. C/97 98, M, 1903 KAB SRU HE 69 if this means anything to anyone. Pictures attached.

03-01-2014, 07:05 PM
Hi Wiggles, that cartridge looks like a 37x94 R which was used in a variety of guns. the 1 pdr A.A., and the French FT light Tank pop to mind. Although the images are not optimal, it looks as if the primer is missing in the case, if this is true, you should be able to see the interior of the case to determine if it is truly empty of propellant. My only concern at this point is the projectile. The images do not show it in clear detail, to see if there is a nose fuse, or if it is armor piercing. If you could provide some clearer images that would help immensely. If the round had been fired, and the driving bands (the copper bands near the base of the projo) are engraved with rifling marks, it is pretty much safe to keep. If they are intact, (unfired) then there is no way to easily tell. If the projo can be removed from the brass case, please photograph it from both ends. Clear, well lit images help alot. Some A.P. rounds are explosive, and use a base mounted fuse not viewable when in the case. A good look for markings on the base of the brass case will also be helpful.
As you are located in the U.K. your laws governing munitions are very different from here in the States. You will have to determine whether or not you have a contraband item there. Your cartridge is shown at far left in the pic. Hope this helps, Tankgeezer.

03-03-2014, 12:14 AM
Consider [U]all[U] intact munitions as "live".

03-07-2014, 02:01 PM
I think by now it would be a live round and if so it's not going to pack a powerful punch since a majority of powder fell out.

03-07-2014, 07:08 PM
The only question I have as to its being live is if the projectile is solid shot, or is it armor piercing high explosive. they appear identical to the eye, with only markings to tell the tale. The APHE has a larger cavity open to the base, where the filling, and then fuse/trace element is installed. The Solid Shot A.P. has only room for a trace element. The image is for a different round using a penetration cap, and ballistic shield, but it illustrates the construction of an APHE round. The propellant charge is easy to remove, thats not really an issue, its the projo that is the worry. Even if all is well, it may still be considered contraband by the U.K.

03-11-2014, 03:06 PM
No the metal jacket is gone

03-12-2014, 01:00 AM
What jacket are you referring to?

03-14-2014, 08:06 PM
Couple of above answers illustrate perfectly wjy a novice or most anybody should treat any ordnance as live.

03-15-2014, 02:21 AM
It's a .50 CAL bullet. It can't shoot anymore because the metaljacket and the pin are gone + the powder so it's not dangerous to me.

03-15-2014, 02:23 AM
Wait its a 9MM bullet. It's not alive the pin is gone

Rising Sun*
03-15-2014, 08:59 AM
It's a .50 CAL bullet. It can't shoot anymore because the metaljacket and the pin are gone + the powder so it's not dangerous to me.

It must be the longest and fattest .50 cal ever made.

Also an artillery version, given it has driving bands on it.

What pin is gone?

You mean the primer?

It's 40 plus years since I last saw a .50 cal cartridge, but I don't recall them having three holes around the primer to allow for insertion and removal of the primer, which is more usual in artillery type shells which aren't fused and or primed until they're to be used.

If you think it's not dangerous to you, and given you can't even identify clear features which show it's nothing like the round you think it is, just make sure you're alone in an empty forest when you try to see if it can be detonated, not least because an uncontained casing becomes shrapnel.

Rising Sun*
03-15-2014, 09:07 AM
Wait its a 9MM bullet. It's not alive the pin is gone

.50 cal = 12.7mm.

Also considerably longer and fatter than 9mm.

Also neither has a pin.

How about another hopelessly uninformed guess?

Rising Sun*
03-15-2014, 09:08 AM
...most anybody should treat any ordnance as live.


Was impressed upon me while walking on a firing range with things that could go bang.

Admittedly, it was impressed upon me by officers who were firing pistols at various bits of possibly unexploded ordnance (and who generously allowed me to fire a few rounds).

03-15-2014, 10:18 AM
The fact that the letters "HE" are found together in the markings causes me to have reservations about this piece of ordnance:"C/97 98, M, 1903 KAB SRU HE 69" This by itself is enough to have me call the ordnance folks to come get it, or at least see if it is in fact high explosive. Its always the ones that are brought home by a relative long ago that end up going bang. It would be nice if the O.P. would make another appearance. Collectors today still come across pieces that turn out to be live, and have been sitting quietly in a box or on a shelf for decades, till Gramps passes away, and they start to go through things and find his old souvenirs. The same goes for relic hunting on the Civil War sites here in the South, if one digs up a cannon ball, it may be a solid shot, or a shell filled with blasting powder. Not always easy to tell the difference either after 150 yrs in the dirt.
After Wars are over, it was the practice of manufacturers to sell ordnance that had not been completed, and shipped, to firms that then sold them as collectible specimens. They had all the mechanical parts, but no energetics, and were very safe to keep. (unless dropped on your toe) These are still extant, and enjoy some popularity in the States. Its always the "Bring backs" that are the problem, no one really paid attention to such things during WW I, and II. so stuff got sent home, brought home, as war trophies, and there it sits waiting. (Like the Butterfly Bombs featured in an episode of my favorite War show Danger UXB, where little Farqhuar had one stashed in his dresser drawer)

Rising Sun*
03-16-2014, 07:36 AM
First picture in #1 indicates cartridge base around 40mm.

Could be 37mm German naval / anti-aircraft shell. http://www.kaisersbunker.com/cc/cc18.htm

I think Hitler is in the fourth photo in the link, standing third from left. ;)


Also note tripod leg behind officer on far right creates impression he has slack willy hanging out.

I missed my vocation as a photo interpreter. :rolleyes:

03-18-2014, 08:19 PM

03-20-2014, 09:01 AM
For the most part. Since there isn't a 100% confirmed statement if its live or not. Its best to keep it out of reach from anyone. Just go to some air show or something because there are booths there that have some expects in these kinds of things. Not 100% if every air show ( or any event similar to that). Its worth a shot