.30 Frangible Question

At the local gun show this morning, I bought a full sealed 20 round box of .30 Frangible, “Caliber .30 T-44” Lot is S. L. 7261. I don’t want to break the seal to see the headstamp, obviously S L xx. Any idea from the lot number what the xx is? The vendor had about a dozen boxes, and had no idea what they were or what they were worth. I gave him $20 for one box, didn’t think that was too bad for a box that looks just like it left the factory. Any history about these? Have understood they were used for aerial gunnery training.


It should be relatively straight forward to make a good guess on the headstamp. The T44 was first produced in 1944 and it was designated the M22 in early 1945. All production at St. Louis was halted in early 1945. So, pick one of those two years and you can’t miss it by much.

The development of the Cal .30 Ball Frangible was the subject of an IAA JOURNAL article by our very own C. Punnett back in 1993. Issue #370. It’s also been discussed on the Forum, more than once. If you Google “Operation Pinball” you’ll learn about how it was used.



I have SL boxes with lot numbers of T-44 that is before and after yours and they all contain 45 headstamps.


Interesting, and more or less as I had understood the role of the frangible bullets in aerial gunnery training. I would have expected the T-44 ammunition to have been supplied linked from the factory, but maybe linking was done at the individual training sites from 20 round boxes. At any rate, the guy selling these (no youngster) said the ammunition was found in his father’s stuff when he died. Maybe I should have bought all he had.

From the same guy, I also bought a full box, in very good condition, of pre-WWII Remington .357 Magnum 158 grain FMJ (Index code R224). Lot Code was B22A, so definitely from the second half of 1941, but I don’t know what month the “A” represents. I would guess September or October by elimination. I went $40 on those, but I don’t feel I paid too much. New product is more than that.


I think your .357 Magnum projectiles are actually “Metal Point” rather than FMJ. You may not be able to see the lead portion of the bullet inside the case.


Yes indeed - Metal Point.

Cal .30 Ball Frangible was packed linked, 1000 rounds to a box, and in cartons, 800 rounds to a box.


What was the purpose of using the 20 round boxes if not for point-of-use linking? I can’t imagine anyone would be using it in a rifle, except possibly for testing purposes.

Like most ammunition, it was packed in cartons for any use that would call for loose cartridges. In cartons it was probably limited distribution.