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WWII 37mm Shell Casing: Has This Been Fired?


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#1 AirMechanic

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 06:54 PM

Can anyone tell me if the primer on this WWII shell casing has been fired? The projectile is jammed on the other end, so I cant look down from that side if it would help (not sure what to look for anyway). Any help is appreciated!

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#2 daskrieg

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:28 PM

Primer looks live. But to me it looks too far in. Maybe live still.

Other opinions....

#3 P-59A

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:37 AM

You have no indication of a strike on the primer. Assume the primer is live. Is the tapper crimp still tight on the projectile? Can you hear powder inside the round? What type projectile do you have? If the round is intact you must always consider the round as live at all times and treat it as such! I am not suggesting anything to you one way or another. What I am saying is that I have read story's on line from other people who had things like yours and how they dealt with it. I am not saying you should do what they did, only that the reading was interesting. 


Edited by P-59A, 15 March 2019 - 12:43 AM.


#4 Simon Lerenfort

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:59 AM

Agree, the primer looks unstruck and should be treated as a live round. Put it somewhere safe and call the authorities. Do NOT tamper with it.



#5 917601

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 12:46 PM

Agree, the primer looks unstruck and should be treated as a live round. Put it somewhere safe and call the authorities. Do NOT tamper with it.


Hold on now, not so fast. We need a picture of the entire round to determine anything. The single picture shows what does not look anything like a real primer ( the OD is, the center part is not part of your original primer assy)- and you say the head is " jammed in". More pictures of the entire round, please. Calling " the authorities" who know nothing about Ordance is giving your long ago inerted artifact away to be destroyed, but most likely put on their book shelf, not yours.

Edited by 917601, 15 March 2019 - 12:52 PM.


#6 P-59A

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:28 PM

 That is the primer, that is what it looks like on that type round. What is not shown is the rest of the round. It is best to error on the side of caution and assume the rest of the round is not shown for a reason. That being the case, and that is the case it is reasonable to assume for the sake of safety what is shown is a live round. To assume anything other than that is a mistake. 


Edited by P-59A, 15 March 2019 - 01:35 PM.


#7 917601

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:32 PM

Let me help educate the masses. Many points to make, but I will say firstly the M23A1 fuze assy holds 20 grains of black powder. I will go out on a limb and say by your primer you have a 37mm APC ( M59 most likely)...the projectile would be a solid shot hunk of inert metal....no problems there. The inner bullseye does not look like the cupped primer that was used, but a flat brass metal rod that was inserted and not fully seated by Bubba. See pics of a real primer assy and note carefully the difference...again more pics needed. I will add, I have shipped Ordnance with unstruck primers ( one to a retired Scotland Yard detective now a collector- and inerted it by putting a few drops of oil in it- his instructions), a common occurance with collectors....image.jpeg

#8 917601

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:40 PM

Here is how shooters reload their live 37mm rounds for their 37mm artillery pieces, as thought, I see no evidence of a cupped primer with your picture....image.jpeg

Edited by 917601, 15 March 2019 - 01:42 PM.


#9 P-59A

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 01:59 PM

Let me help educate the masses. Many points to make, but I will say firstly the M23A1 fuze assy holds 20 grains of black powder. I will go out on a limb and say by your primer you have a 37mm APC ( M59 most likely)...the projectile would be a solid shot hunk of inert metal....no problems there. The inner bullseye does not look like the cupped primer that was used, but a flat brass metal rod that was inserted and not fully seated by Bubba. See pics of a real primer assy and note carefully the difference...again more pics needed. I will add, I have shipped Ordnance with unstruck primers ( one to a retired Scotland Yard detective now a collector- and inerted it by putting a few drops of oil in it- his instructions), a common occurance with collectors....attachicon.gifimage.jpe

What happens to black powder over time? I have seen that primer in that type round from that time period. It was inset further to prevent accidentally striking the primer during transit.. The owner did not show the rest of the round for a reason. Not having seen the round in its entirety I have to assume until proven otherwise the round is live. The questions I asked about the tapper crimp and anything moving inside the round will help prove one way or the other what it is. As to the projectile, I don't know and nor do you. It's best to assume it's live until proven otherwise. IMHO The patina and over all condition indicates this was poorly stored or picked up off the field. 


Edited by P-59A, 15 March 2019 - 02:03 PM.


#10 917601

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 02:36 PM

As a long time Ordnance collector I disagree....enough said until further pics are posted. That said, 20 grains of blackpowder? Really, a 30.06 M2 (as a visual comparison) holds about 50 grains of smokeless...my point, IF it is a live primer, I see no hazard if 20 grains of blackpowder is popped off in the case. Best to wait for pictures. In the professional Ordnance collector world, we usually " assume" your opposite, that live primers have been dabbed with oil to inert them or cooked, ( more education), fuzes/ primers are often cooked in an oven at 200 degrees to inert them. Maybe the poster will set the oven at 250, put the case ( and some cookie dough) in it for 8 hours, then rest assured? Or, just pour some oil into the case and let it sit...way, way, way to many WW2 Ordnance pieces are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Edited by 917601, 15 March 2019 - 02:39 PM.


#11 P-59A

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 06:13 PM

As a long time Ordnance collector I disagree....enough said until further pics are posted. That said, 20 grains of blackpowder? Really, a 30.06 M2 (as a visual comparison) holds about 50 grains of smokeless...my point, IF it is a live primer, I see no hazard if 20 grains of blackpowder is popped off in the case. Best to wait for pictures. In the professional Ordnance collector world, we usually " assume" your opposite, that live primers have been dabbed with oil to inert them or cooked, ( more education), fuzes/ primers are often cooked in an oven at 200 degrees to inert them. Maybe the poster will set the oven at 250, put the case ( and some cookie dough) in it for 8 hours, then rest assured? Or, just pour some oil into the case and let it sit...way, way, way to many WW2 Ordnance pieces are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

I agree with that, What I would do is different than what I would suggest to someone I don't know.


Edited by P-59A, 15 March 2019 - 06:13 PM.


#12 AirMechanic

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 07:28 PM

Thanks for all the input so far. Ill post more photos this weekend so it can be accessed better.


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