.45 ACP M1921 Dummy

On the left in both pics is an M1921 dummy headstamped FA 42. This has a tinned brass case and no primer but is without holes in the case side. Was this yet another modification to ease manufacturing efforts as was the elimination of the primer? HWS II does not seem to indicate this variety.

On the right is a later steel cased version with (2) drilled holes.


It is the first time I notice.

They made differend kind of head stamps.

No, just a different style of dummy, mandated at the time. It would not have to do with ease of manufacture, since the one from Franford Arsenal, without holes, 1942, is earlier than the one from Evansville Chrysler, with holes, dated 1944 (a single digit date doubles on US ammo. They ground the number “3” (as in “43”) off of the bunters to same the cost and time of bunter manufacture. The did it again in 1955. Some bunters that were made new in “44” due to shortages actually still had the single “4” but it was centered, showing it never was a two-digit-dated bunter.


Thanks for the input. I think I may have figured out my question after thinking through the progression of variations per HWS II a bit more:

-M1921 as originally specified: Tinned brass case, (3) holes in case side, inert tinned primer.

-As of 1942, inert primer eliminated (for ease of manufacture per HWS II), case still tinned (no mention of holes in case so I’ll assume they were eliminated as the tinned, primer-less case provided enough identifiers). Example of this shown above on left headstamped FA 42.

-An alternate was a tinned fired brass cased version with indented primer intact and (2) or (3) holes in the case. (I assume without the missing primer, the holes were felt needed here for identification).

-As of 1943, steel cases were used but were zinc plated to look like tin and had no primer. No case holes mentioned, so I again assume they were not felt needed, as the otherwise distinctive appearance was sufficient for ID.

-Also, as of 1944, un-tinned steel cases without primers were used and (2) holes in the case were again indicated. This would seem to imply the lack of a primer was not considered enough to distinguish it from other steel cased loads. An example of this is the item shown above on the right headstamped EC 4.

There were also copper plated steel cased and an un-tinned brass case version used. (These folks obviously had future collectors in mind with all these varieties!)

That’s a lot of assumptions on my part but as best as I can figure it and would be interested to hear of any examples that fall out of this format.


The material you found in HWS II is accurate, and you have accurately described it here.

I have a goodly number of different types of U.S. .45 dummy round, but rather than report them all here, I think that just a few weeks ago, if even that long, we discussed these U.S. military .45 dummies pretty thoroughly, if I am remembering right. You might search some of the past threads for more information on them.

If I am hallucinating about the thread, I will try to fill in some blanks again, but would rather not spend the time if it isn’t necessary. If it proves to be, than I am glad to do it.

John Moss


While it is fun to postulate on things such as dummy cartridges, in the end it may not result in anything positive. Look at the Cal .30 and 7.62MM dummies and you will find all sorts of variations - brass, steel, tinned, not tinned, primer, no primer, GM, GMCS. Components were often re-claimed or salvage. Add to that the fact that even the headstamp date cannot be relied on to establish the year made.

Good luck. I would have given up long ago and cataloged the cartridge as a variation. But, that’s me.



Thanks for taking time to respond. I did search on the M1921 .45 before I posted the initial question but guess I failed again at running that engine. If I do come across it I’ll link it in this thread.


My initial thought was just that: another variation during wartime and not unsual. Just wondered along the line of “anyone else have one of these?” Going back over the variations listed, I realized that I had been assuming that because the original M1921 had holes specified, subsequent variations lacking them would have been noted as “holes eliminated” or some such. I think it is worded such that if they aren’t mentioned they aren’t there and the item shown above is therefore listed. No big deal one way or the other. I’m just trying to link references in resources to the items at hand as it is nice to be able to say “yup, that’s one of those” and to understand the progression of variations like these.


Dave - as you know from reading HWS II many of the variations mentioned were absolutely mandated by the ordnance authorities. Official changes were made as time went on. Of course, there are also many types that do not fit the official patterns for production. These could have been the result of ignorance of the complete regulation, small runds for special needs, or simply short-cuts allowed by the inspector at hand to expedite delivery. They make things interesting. Still, I agree with you that it is nice to know the official patterns, and you can see from HWS II that they fall pretty much right into place with the known specimens matching the directives.

John Moss