.45 ACP FA Blank ID


Does anyone know if this blank type received a specific designation?
HS: F A 52, red lacquered wad.




Looks like a cut-down cal .30 case. See HWS II for some of these different blank experimentals made during WW II. Might get a clue there.



Ray, I had thought this was a dog training blank, but was wrong, a position I have gotten very familiar with. I inquired of Frank Hackley about this, mentioning the “dog trainer aspect” and got the following reply:

 "In 1951, CONARC (Continental Army Command) requested that a .45 Auto Blank "with louder and more realistic report" be developed for training with the pistol & SMG to replace the standard M9.  Your round is probably from the early FA development to satisfy this need.  (JLM note:  while the cartridge I inquired to Frank about is the one from Ray, I have the same round in my own collection).  There was no special designation assigned to this round that I know about - FA simply referred to this project as the "Loud Report Blank."  The Dog Training blank requirement came later and was satisfed by the restart of standard M9 blank production in late 1953."

Hope this answers the question.

John Moss


Ray and John,

Thank you for the help with this one. I had assumed it was an evolution of the M9 with the heavily necked mouth feature intended possibly to increase the report as had been done with earlier revolver blanks. HWS II didn’t mention that particular feature in developments up to 1945 so I figured I’d post the question here, being impatient for HWS III, thinking there may have been an assigned designation.

Well, I think John may have provided a little glimpse of what may be in that long awaited volume! Thank you very much for that, John. I can now add that very specific reference to my catalog entry for this cartridge!



I had not thought of it earlier, but perhaps this blank, headstamped "F A 53"
is also part of the increased noise development program Col. Hackley talked about.

Photo and collection of John Moss


Any chance somebody takes a photo of the whole row of .45 blanks? Seems there are quite some of them.


I will go do it now. I don’t have nearly all of them, but not a bad collection. I assume you are talking only about U.S. Military blanks. Otherwise, there are well over a hundred .45 blanks in my collection alone.

I don’t know when it will be posted. Joe does a great job, but sometimes is not home. It will only take me about a half hour to do the picture.

John Moss


John, thanks a lot! Of course I meant only US blanks. There are so many and they show up every now and then and for non specialists like me it would be great to see an image showing as many as possible for reference. Time does not matter as we all learned to be patient in our business.


The picture is with Joe now, and will probably be posted some time tomorrow. I showed only basic types, not headstamps. In the M9 steel case, I have many because of all the little variations of Evansville Chrysler’s headstamps. fifteen types are shown, two of which may not be military, although they are not complete reloads. If civilian loads they were done on NPE cases, even if those cases were derived from removing a bullet and powder. Actually, neither of them looks tampered with at all. The caption of the photo points out the two I am talking about.

John Moss


Various U.S. Military blanks in .45 ACP Caliber. Top row, left to right:

F A 12 15; F A 18 - a very scarce type. Note similarity to M9 in case shape; F A 19; F A 21; F A 21; and finally, after a gap, a scarce experimental Grenade launching blank for the M3 and M3A1 SMG.
Just like an M9, except a different charge and with a black wad over the powder instead of red - F A 45

Second row, left to right:

F A 41 - may be a civilian blank on a NPE FA case, with buff over-powder disc. It is not a reload; E C 4 - same possibility.
Yellow over powder wad. Not a reload either; F A 43, experimental; F A 4 copper-plated case M9; F A 52, already discussed on this thread; F A 53, already discussed; E C 4, a typical M9 blank; R A 6 1, a typical brass-cased M9 blank; W C C 8 5, an type the purpose and designation of which is unknown to me.

You will find many other blanks with U.S. military headstamps. Close examination will usually show that they have been made from .30-06 cases and are movie blanks made primarily for the Thompson and M3-types Submachine guns. I consider them collectable and do have a quantity of variations, but they are NOT any kind of official U.S. military blank.

Photo and cartridges from the collection of John Moss



Thank you for showing that other variety and showing all your other US .45 Auto blanks as well. Wow! That “group photo” post is a keeper!

If more noise is the objective, the contour of that FA 53 item’s neck makes me think there may have been attempts at modifying the “nozzle” configuration rather than just the diameter of the case mouth. The “Loud Report Blank” doesn’t have that much of a smaller case mouth compared to the M9. The earlier effort towards improving the report qualities of .45 revolver blanks I mentioned in an above post was the transition from the “Cal. .45 Revolver, Blank, Model of 1909” to the Model of 1910. As seen below, the Model of 1910 involved a die for the.30-06 (oh, sorry Ray, it was actually the “Cal. .30 Model 1909 blank…) and that modification seems to have offered enough improvement to warrant the process. I would also appear that earlier .45 Automatic Pistol blanks were given basically the same treatment (Nice examples, John!). Both of those two early ‘50s vintage blanks have some contours that would’ve made Roy Weatherby proud. But, then again, all those gases have to blast down a barrel of some length. Perhaps DocAV has something to offer on case shape vs. report in regard to case design?

Below are L-R: Model of 1909, hs “F A 11 09”; Model of 1910, hs “F A 12 10”; M9, hs “E C 4”; and the item at the beginning of this thread.



Dave and EOD - Frank Hackley confirmed in an email to me that the double-neck blank I first posted as a lone photo was part of the attempt to develop a louder blank. Here is what he said:

 "Your double shoulder round is a part of the development.  In fact a number of different mouth closures were tried with different propellant types/charges, primers and closing wads.  Although some of these did increase the db level of the report, they were discarded because they either increased the stubbing (failure to feed) rate or were too difficult to produce in the shops.  It goes without saying, that there was at this time no attempt to produce sufficient recoil forces to operate either the pistol or SMG.  This had been more or less proven as being not feasible from the earlier experiments conducted during the early 1920s."

I have read that in the movie business, the Tommy gun was easy to make work semi or full auto, with some minor jamming that you see, if the watch closely, in almost every movie where they are used. However, I was told that the Colt .45 auto pistol is not easy to convert to semi-auto blank fire, and a close look shows that for the most part, when being fired, those .45s become either .38 Supers or Star Model B 9mm pistols. I have noted that in movies as well, as confirmation. Of course, I am not saying they never got a .45 to work good enough for a couple of scenes in the movies. They used to switch guns a lot when they had to be actually fired. In a movie with Frank Sinatra where he is playing an American officer pretty much alone on an island with a Japanese officer (there have been about a dozen movies with that theme, I think), every time the Japanese was just waving a gun around, he had a Type 14 8 mm Japanese pistol. When he was firing it, it suddenly became a P-38, which converts easily by impeding the bore diameter and removing the locking block, making it a blowback pistol.

Lots of guys frown on movie blanks as collectibles. I find the whole subject fascinating, myself.

John Moss


John, thanks a lot for this great overview. Makes ID much easier for those we may see in future.


The copper washed FA 4 blank does that have a full ring crimp or the clover leaf crimp


Just wanted to add my thanks to John Moss for the excellent photos and information he provided on this topic, as well as the many others.

It is great that we are able to learn so much from him, and that he is so willing to share.

Thanks, John!


Yes, the necking of Pistol cases serves several purposes, all purely “physical”…
A:- It increases the pressure inside the case, allowing the powder to burn much more efficiently and thoroughly, reducing “GSR Spray” (Unburnt Powder particles).
B:- It increases the velocity of the gases up the barrel, causing a louder “Bang” at the muzzle.

C:- It increases the Barrel pressure and “reactive effect”, causing SMGs to function relaibly (in conjunction with a well calibrated BFA Vent.

D:- The necking ( and eventual star-rosette crimp) prevent “Case Mouth Chamber Adhesion” found with straight, simply crimped Blanks in Revolover Chambers. ( it also assists feeding & extraction in SMGs and Auto Pistols).

Whilst the Army Experimenters may have used necking for creating a louder “bang”, the Movie Industry ( probably independantly) developed the “Neck and crimp” method for use in both Revolver and Auto Movie Blanks.

Our own exposure to such “necked and crimped” Blanks imported from the USA led us to abandon the old (English) style of straight crimp (no Necking) of Blanks, especially with the hotter and flashier loads for such as .357 mag. and .44 mag, where the cases were sticking to the chamber walls, and had to be ejected individually with a rod, rather than trying to use the central ejector rod and starwheel. With the likes of .45 and 9mm Austo, the “Feeding” problem of “simply crimped” Blanks was solved with the use of the “bottle neck” with Star crimp.

We never used the US type “Wad in open neck system” for SA and FA as being too subject to failure ( wads “vibrated out”, just like in Military practice); even when we get in Surplus M1909 (.30) blanks, we pass them thru the Crimping die, and give them a 6 petal star crimp…which increases the sound and flash for the reasons stated above…and no more wads falling out when used in Vibrating Vehicles ( AFVs). The only “Wadded” Blanks we use are Factory 5-in-1, but they are Bottlenecked in any case; with our Reloads of the factory new and once fired 5-in-1 cases, we star crimp; ( rounded nose form for lever actions).

What amazes me is that even though the US adopted the “Long neck” Blank in 7,62 Nato, they insisted on using the wad seal system in this ( and continued with it in the .30 cal Blank) untill the late 1990s;

Whilst the 5,56 Blank (XM200) used a short neck extension ( case made from .224 Rem.??) and crimped this with a multi-petal crimp ( but the case was much shorter than the standard British and European "Long " Blank.) and also underloaded in comparison to Euro(Nato) Loadings.
IE, the M200 hardly works in SteyrAUG, FN CAL/FNC and H&K rifles, both for feeding and ejection functions.

Whilst the European and Commonwealth makers of 7,62 Nato Blanks ( and .30 cal as well) used the “end crimp” method, to give a good “lead in” shape for correct feeding in MGs. Only in late 1990s did the US go over to the “end crimp” for the 7,62 Blank, and Buy-in ( and eventually re-start making) crimped case .30 Blanks. ( using the 65mm lenght 7,62
Blank Unsized draw.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services

BTW, good photo gallery of .45 Blanks…the Venturi type necking reminds me of the Blanks made by SFM for the French Movie Industry ( shown some time ago here).in the 1950s and 60s.


Carolyn - the CWS M9-Style blank has a full ring primer crimp.

Doc Av - thanks for the excellent critique of the various types of blanks.