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1931 Frankford Arsenal .45 ACP Signal Rounds


silverplate
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silverplate

I just added this unusual carton of .45 ACP Signal Rounds made by Frankford Arsenal and dated 1931 to my collection, and thought I would share some photos with my fellow ammo collectors.

 

According to the "History Of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Vol. 1" the original request for signal rounds came from the Signal Corps in 1912, shortly after the automatic pistol was adopted. By the mid-1920s additional requests came from both the cavalry and the Coast Guard for signal rounds loaded in various colors. Then in 1939, use by the cavalry of red signal rounds for both the Thompson and automatic pistol caused the Ordnance Dept. to standardize the red signal cartridge as the M1 Tracer cartridge.

 

 

FA Signal 4.jpg

FA Signal 5.jpg

FA Signal 8.jpg

FA Signal 6.jpg

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fredh46

Great find. I collect the FA boxes and have never seen one like this. Wrap it in tight stretch wrap for a nice display

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silverplate

I already have it shrink wrapped in plastic for conservation. I will eventually make a replica of the carton to share.

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Charlie Flick

That is very cool stuff.  First box of it I have ever seen!  Thanks for the post.

 

Charlie

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dustin

Quite extraordinary, I have copies or rather snippets of that history to small arms but this story of the signal cartridge was left out in my copies. They were generously gifted to me by friends and it didn't get photocopied.  In the 1920's, there was a major research and development program for pyrotechnic signals, which the Cavalry Board was integral. These cartridge's of yours falls into that time period especially it mentioning them in different colors. As an educated guess, they probably failed to be suitable signal devices as with other pyrotechnics tested, if the 10-gauge was found to be insufficient then these little baby guys would had certainly been in the group. Pyro was an important communication apparatus in that era and can see why they investigated this concept. Infantry, Cavalry, and later Armored and USAAC all adopted pyrotechnic projectors for such communication and identification.  They all transitioned to the 37mm in the mid to late 1930's. With this, the M1 tracer was not intended as a signal. However, with the new precedence of Air Sea Rescue during WWII they found themselves back in favor of a signal device, to which, they were quite effective at close range. When investigating history of equipment and the the like it is interesting how often things circle back around.

What is a bit intriguing to me is that I have a fair amount of Infantry and Cavalry Reports on testing and evaluating pyrotechnics and none of them mention this small arm cartridge. So this is new fodder for me to chew on, thanks for enlightening me. 

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Inertord

T1E14 Nomenclature, here is a sealed box from 1935.

78599E1D-9540-44FF-B542-4BC21DE06752.jpeg

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silverplate

That label from 1936 grabbed my attention since it has the same lot number as my carton of M1 tracer. The T1-E14 bullet was standardized as the M1 Tracer, so they are from the same lot but with a label change after standardization. Your example fills the gap to the changeover. Thanks for posting.

 

Are there any markings on the top or rear of the carton?

 

Here's my unopened carton of M1 tracer.

pix764870444.jpg

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dustin
2 hours ago, silverplate said:

That label from 1936 grabbed my attention since it has the same lot number as my carton of M1 tracer. The T1-E14 bullet was standardized as the M1 Tracer, so they are from the same lot but with a label change after standardization. Your example fills the gap to the changeover. Thanks for posting.

 

Are there any markings on the top or rear of the carton?

 

Here's my unopened carton of M1 tracer.

pix764870444.jpg

 

 

The Lot number is a coincidence, you'll find M1 boxes with lower lot numbers than 16. Your box and the T1E form Inertord were not of the same production run.

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Inertord

Agree that M1 FA Lot Number 16 is a coincidence, here is a box of M1 FA Lot 5.

 

 

12E86B9D-513E-4B9C-B98C-495F9680FACF.jpeg

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Inertord

Box of FA T30, part of the USGI .45 Tracer Lineage. 

8F495E38-C395-47D0-921D-492ACF55BC5E.jpeg

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Inertord

On the topic of .45 Tracers, this is a confusing box. Remington Commercial Packaging with Tracer Label added to the face and both ends, containing RA42 Head-stamped Military Tracers. Was this for commercial targeted sales from a military production overrun, or a commercial box used for the rush military contracts post Pearl Harbor? 

EB54E8F6-9F02-4891-BFB7-FF1E6A5E136F.jpeg

A9C113E8-3171-4D54-A3C9-473C27B743C1.jpeg

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silverplate

Here's the opposite end of the spectrum from my signal cartridges. The M1 tracer was dropped early in the war due to feed problems with the Thompson. Development started again in late 1943, which led to the T30 series of cartridges. The X45 carton was part of that early work, with the T30 20-round and 50-round cartons becoming the production lots.

 

X45 Lid.jpg

thumbnail_FullSizeRender.jpg

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collector

What would be the difference in the makeup of the signal vs.tracer bullets?

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silverplate

I remember reading that both Frankford and Remington supplied M1 tracer (.45ACP) early in the war but had never seen a military contract box from Remington. Seeing these commercial boxes with military headstamps solves that mystery. I have one of these boxes in my collection but it's empty. Your photos showing the cartridges are appreciated.

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