30-06 drill rounds

The most prosaic cartridges but I notice I have three different types all with the same headstamp. In this case they’re all marked ‘FA 4’ and from left to right they are;

L Cadmium plated steel, flutes but no holes. Empty pocket
M Unplated steel, flutes but no holes. Empty pocket
R Phosphated steel, holes but no flutes. Blind pocket

The one on the right is much lighter then the others and has a longer bullet. Is there any import in this?

Lastly, do I have the set with this marking or are there others to look for?

Happy collecting, Peter

In 1943-44, Franford Arsenal did a lot of experiments with Steel cases in .30 cal (Drawing processes, Loading, Protective plating etc) The Problems in the field and at production were such that eventually the Experiment was terminated, and all the cases were converted to “Drill” cartridges, by various means…the Cadmium Plated ones being the most common, and the last of the series.
Those with Empty Pockets may have already been on the way to filling (ie, primer, and Powder) the “Blind " Pocket ones, probably in the works when the experiment was terminated… The Fluted types are a definitve " Drill”, and the “Drilled” ones look like a make-work expedient, so as not to have to set up the “Fluting” press specially for them (maybe at a later time.)

FA tended NOT to scrap good shells unless it really had to for quality assurance purposes, but rework them into something useful (ie, Blanks or Drill dummies.)

Interesting variations…I wonder why the US didn’t adopt the French-German Bonderization process? The French did after WW II when they made the M1949 Balle “O” 7,62 (aka .30/06)— I say French-German, because the French Patented the Phosphatization process for steel sheet used in deep drawing in the 1920s, and the Germans perfected it for use in Cartridge case manufacture (Stahl-Hulse-lackiert==lacquered Steel cases) during 1940-41.
The Czechs and Romanians continued after the war, for both 7,9 and the Com-Bloc calibres, whilst the French used it in .30 carbine,.30/06, French 7,5 and even 5,56!!! and now Commercial Russian makers (Wolf etc) use the process for Boxer cases in US and Russian calibres.
Probably because (a) it was French (or German) and more importantly (b) “NIH”…Not invented here!!!

AV Ballistics.

Or, it could be that in just about every case, brass is still considered superior to steel for SAA use requires fewer steps to manufacture and is not as hard on the tooling as making steel cases.


Nit picking again guys, but those are “Dummy” cartridges, not “Drill”. Cal. 30, Dummy Cartridge, M2 to be more specific.

Do those 3 cover all Dummy rounds with that particular headstamp? I doubt it.


Leaping to the defence of Enfield56 and DocAV the problem is that of two nations (or more accurately, three) separated by a common language!

In British and Commonwealth parlance these are drill cartridges, i.e. designed for use in weapon training and loading drill. Dummy cartridges are only used by armourers and replicate a loaded round exactly in terms of dimensions and weight. We also call them Inspectors’ rounds.

It’s all in a name!



No defence (sp) is needed. :) :) As I said, I was nit-=picking.

The one on the right is interesting. Could that bullet be a surplus Match bullet (or something like it) without a core??


Thank you to everyone for their replies to this post.

I finally managed to pull the bullet on one of the phosphated cartridges. The mystery deepens when it comes to explaining why the bullet is longer on this one than on the other two.

The bullet is a hollow copper jacket with a maximum diameter of 0,308". The length of the jacket is 1.085". Was this jacket specially made or was it a faulty component? Why is it seated further our of the case giving a longer oal than the other two types?



That jacket looks like the ones made for the 47mm or 49mm T65 cartridge but if the dummy (drill) cartridge was loaded in 1944 that would probably preclude that SWAG since I don’t believe the T65 bullet was made until late 1945 or 1946.


Enfield56: A couple of comments.

The one on the right in your first photo does appear to have been pulled (not sure if you did that to look at the bullet). The case-mouth crimp looks almost non-existent which indicates something suspicious.

As to the hollow bullet, I have no explanation but can comment that a large quantity of the steel-cased M2 dummies (3 holes in case) were loaded with hollow bullet jackets (by someone) - some were painted with various color tips to simulate other loadings as if they were for a display. These color tips on this type of dummy included red, black, blue, silver, red-over-silver, as well as the plain. All that I have seen had GMCS jackets. The quality of the tip-painting was excellent but I suspect that they were made, or at least painted, outside of Frankford Arsenal though whether they were for some “official” display or just someone trying to make a buck, I don’t know. I first saw them at a large gunshow in Pennsylvania where a guy had several thousand of them in links - very pretty!! He couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me where he got them and as he was 350 pounds, covered in tattoos, and was wearing a badly stained biker-gang tee-shirt, I didn’t pursue the matter (OK, I’m a coward!).

Since then I have seen them all over the world including the ECRA European show and some in Australia.

I have seen no official reports that indicate a hollow (core-less) bullet was adopted/acceptable for the M2 dummy.

Chris P.

I think I might have one of the painted tip, hollow jacket dummy rounds Chris is referring to. It was in a collection I acquired years ago when I collected all military rifle & MG cartridges. It was labeled

[quote=“Chris P”]Enfield56: A couple of comments.

The one on the right in your first photo does appear to have been pulled (not sure if you did that to look at the bullet). The case-mouth crimp looks almost non-existent which indicates something suspicious.

Chris P.[/quote]

It took a considerable amount of effort to dislodge the bullet. I used a kinetic puller and it took a few dozen full blooded whacks onto a concrete block to shift it. If you look at the grooves along the jacket under the cannelure you’ll see how tightly the case mouth gripped the head.

The cartridge in the first picture is a different one to that that I pulled yesterday.

I just pulled a bullet from one of the brass cased rounds to compare them. They seem similar except that the brass cased one has a lead core and a second cannelure. The length is exactly the same and the difference in oal is explained by the bullet in the phosphated steel case being seated less deeply.

Should anyone need one of the phosphated steel/hollow bullet types I have a couple of spare ones.



Here’s an M2 and a T65 with the case necks lined up. As you can see, if the T65 bullet was loaded into the M2 case it would look exactly like the long cartridge in your original photo.

I think that’s what your hollow bullet is, a T65 without a core.

I’d like one of your dupes, if possible.


To follow up - the original T65 bullets for the 47mm case would have been made obsolete in early 1947 with the adoption of the 49mm case (FAT1). To use them up, it makes sense that they could have been loaded in the equally obsolete FA 4 dummy (drill) cartridges.

Make sense???