12.7x99 question

I grabbed several WWII 1942-1944 .50 BMG unfired blanks at the last Allentown,PA gun show because at $1 it looked cheap. How ubiquitous are unfired blanks? I’d surmise they were used heavily for training during Korea and Nam.

I have no experience with the availability of these blanks in the US but I’ve never seen one live (in Europe) or on a picture or so. All blanks I have and have seen are post-WW2.
I would say it’s a nice buy!

Assuming they are original and not reloaded cases, you did well. WWII vintage .50 BMG blanks are not all that common anymore. What does the case mouth seal/crimp look like?


How does a reloaded blank look, is it rose-crimped?

Nice cartridges, SKSvlad! I even didn’t know the M1 blank was already in use during WW2.

Thijs–Actually the .50 BMG M1 Blank was standardized from the T1 on 25 May 1939. The development of the T1 started in 1932. This cartridge had a powder charge of 43 grs. of E.C. Blank Powder. Production was halted between May 1942 to March 1944, mostly due to a lack of a good Blank Firing Attachment for the gun. After the development of the T10 Blank Firing Attachment, a new Blank was developed, designated the T40 on 4 July 1944. It is almost identical to the original M1 except it uses 46 grs. of powder. In January 1945 the T40 was redesignated the M1 Blank, Some packaging uses the designation M1 (T40) to identify it from the original M1. Re-used brass was used to make this new M1, so headstamp dates can not be used to ID it. However, any headstamp after 1942 has to be the New M1.

All this information came from “History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition” Vol. 1 & 2.

Was there ever a rose crimped US .50 BMG blank? I have three WW2 US cases with 8 petal rose crimps headstamped R A 42, 4 3 T W and SL 45. I am told these are postwar movie blanks. They also have nickel primers.

sksvlad’s blanks sure look original to me. Nice find! The newer and current production US made .50 BMG blanks are rose crimped, but I don’t know when the transition occurred. Falcon’s sure sound like “movie blank” reloads.


Hi Falcon,

Yes, rose crimped US manufactured .50 BMG blanks do exist. It’s introduced as the M1A1 Blank. This cartridge is loaded with 42 grains of DuPont Hi Skor 700X propellant. [please excuse the quality of the photos]

6 petal rose crimp, black paint seal

Headstamp: L C 8 2

Thanks for the info. I suppose there would have been millions of these cases floating around in postwar England to be used for blanks.

It was US practice to not only make “New case” blanks (for both .30 and .50) but also to recycle Fired brass cases, and Old stocks of “life expired” ammo, as well as using up factory over-runs of particular lots of cases ( eg, NM cases).

During the last 20 years in the Film Ordnance industry, I have come across large lots of LC-produced M1909 wadded .30 cal Blanks using cases from 1939 FA NM, through to FA 63 NM, and all the Ball case makers in between, including such rarities as EW (Eau Claire, Wisconsin). Some of the cases show primer pocket crimp evidence of “reloading” whilst others show" pull down" of ball ammo.(original Ball crimp)
Only in the late 1960s did LC go back to making “New brass” for .30 cal blanks.

It seems that in the Early 1960s, Lake City “cleaned out” all the old stores of
.30 ( and probably .50 as well) Cases and ammo which was suitable to be laoded for Blanks…most of it going to recipients or purchasors of US Mil Aid ( such as Morocco, Jordan, Australia, etc). The large lot of LC made blanks I base my conclusions on, came from Jordan, via Britain, for several “big” films… Saving Pvte Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Great Raid, etc. I collected all the fired blanks from TGR in 2002-3 ( along with a decent qty. of still live blanks, originally packed in 20 round packets, .50 cal steel tins, with LC Lot and other markings. No cases HS later than 1963, or earlier than 1939.

As to .50 calibre, in Australia we made little use of .50 Blanks in the Armoured Corps, preferring to train on range with Ball Ammo. Some trials were done with Red BakelittenFabrik .50 Blanks, but they were not proceeded with ( .30 BF blanks were also tried; I have a belt of them for M1919A4). Australia continued with M1909 .30 cal blanks until cessation of LC production of .30, and then bought in (in 2000) IK crimped .30 cal blanks…last order, as earlier this year the .30 cal Browning was “relegated”, with the retirement of the M113A1 APC to “infantry transport use and training” away from Armoured Corps and Light Horse units, which now have ASLAVs and Bushmasters ( both fitted with .50BMG, 25mm, and 7,62 MAG)

BFAs for .50 M2HB consisted of three long rods from the barrel shroud holding a recoil plate on the Muzzle; The newer Blank firing barrel uses the “Floating chamber” principle ( similar to the Colt .22RF conversion for the M1911 Pistol) which is also the Movie method for converting a M2HB for Movie use.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Dear Doc,
I pride myself in asking the most un-usual questions. Here is another one. I understand you are in motion picture business. How does ammo usage work in movies? Do they use blanks for filming and abandon them on the ground, or someone comes to clean up? Does the clean-up guy get to keep the waste? Could you provide us with a glimpse of your world?

In the old days, except for the requirements of Re-takes, where " out of continuity" shell cases on the ground were cleaned up between takes, the spent brass was usually abandoned to the elements and the scavengers, after filming was over.

Nowadays, with environmental and Politically correct clean up regulations
(leave the place as you found it) we have to methodically clear an area of as much spent ( and live) Blanks as possible. This can add up to Tons of brass (as after “The Great Raid”); at the end of the filming ( several months,) we had to ourselves and with paid labour, scour all the locations, picking up .45ACP. M1 carbine, .30/06, 6,5 Jap and 7,7Jap, as well as various (small qty) other cartridges, and bring to a central point ( a one ton fertiliser Bulki-Bag)…which I then took back to my workshop, separated out all the various calibres, sorted the Live ammo (Blank) and Recycled the brass ( some into “other” calibre, some into “set dressing Dummies”, and a very samll amount to “smelting”

WE got over 1000 “live” Blanks back…out of over 100,000 used on the film…
and about half the fired .30/06 cases have already been reworked into 7,9 and 7,7 Japanese Short Blanks ( we trim off the crimp, resize and reload the inspected brass… WE also make 7,62 Nato blanks, and 7,9x33 blanks this way ( as well as from Once fired Ball cases).

In smaller films, we automatically clean up after each scene or set-up, and at least at the end of the day. it also gives us feedback on blank cases performance as well.

The only place we don’t bother with recycling is in “at sea” takes, or in deep jungle…where it is almost impossible to find the shells in the undergrowth…but even such set piece postions as MG pits etc, get well cleaned anyway…all the cases are together.

Musyt rush off, another Movie call this morning…the crew is waiting.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

I love the concept of blanks made from National Match cases. That would make a great gag gift. You could give them to friends who scored “Maggies’ Drawers” (a complete miss) at a match.