45 acp t30


John M (and others)

I’m still cataloging some of my pistol cartridges.

I can’t wait for HWS III. So, what is the story behind the 45 ACP T30? I’ve heard different versions.

FA 47. Zinc coated steel case. Bullet has “X” on nose. Red tip color.



Ray - I have no specific information on it. I have heard that the “X” on the nose allows “touch” identification of the loading in the dark, or if the paint is all gone, visual and touch identification.
I don’t know if that is true or not. Quickest way to ID it in the dark is to shoot it! I will try to find out.

John Moss



The “touch” explanation is one that I’ve heard also. But, the “X” is so faint that it’s hard to see, much less feel. Another theory I’ve heard is that the “X” indicates a different color of trace, although, again, it’s not very conspicuous and a different color tip would have served that purpose much better. HWS II talks a lot about the bullet with the “X” but it makes my head hurt to try to understand it.



Ray - "During the first part of 1944 a request was received from the Ordnance Officer of the Hawaiian Department requesting a small quantity of Cal. .45 tracer cartridges for the submachine gun to be used in training by Jungle Training Center. Frankford Arsenal was ordered to manufacture as soon as possible a 10,000-round test lot. In order to speed delivery, the Arsnela loaded a modified M1 Tracer bullet with a red-colored tip in the zinc-plated steel case with P4768 single-bas propellant. This cartridge worked well in tests and an additional 90.000 rounds were made and sent to Hawaii. On January 13, 1944, the nomenclature Cartridge, Tracer, Cal. .45, T30 was assigned to this round by the Office of the Chief of Ordnance. During march 1944, the Chief of Army Field Forces requested an additional one million rounds to be made. This order was assigned to Frankford Arsenal.

 "Quantities of the T30 cartridge were furnished to the various service boards for test.  The results of these tests indicated that there was no further requirement for Cal. .45 tracer ammunition for combat use.

 "One lot of the T30 loaded during March 1944 2was FAX45-843, with a white-burning trace mixture.  This round was identified by a white tip and cross stamped in the nose of the bullet.  The case was zinc-plated steel, headstamped F A  4.

 "The original T30 was shown on Dwg. B7636733, dated April 11, 1944, which was essentially the M1 bullet in a steel case.  The bullet weight was 221 grains, a slight reduction due to a redsigned jacket and different igniter and tracer composition.  The powder charge was 5.5 grs. of DuPont P4768.

 "Reports from the field use of the T30 indicated that occasional muzzle bursts and erratic bullets were occurring.  In an attempt to correct this problem, Frankford Arsenal started a new series of tracer bullets...."

Ray, the series of bullets wer FAT1, FAT1E1, FAT1E2, FAT2, FAT3, FAT4, FAT5, and FAT5E1 The story of the T30 continues, but it is simply too long to recount more of it here. First lots seemed to be packed in 50 round boxes, but mentioned is the fact that the T30 was used as a signaling cartridge, and this squares with later packaging of 20 rounds boxes wrapped in wax paper like the survival kit shot cartridges were. I have one of these boxes.

This information is from HWS II, pages 33. In keeping with the title of that volume, their is no discussion of the T-30 rounds made in 1947. Hower, under discussion of bullet FAT5, we find it is the only bullet with a red tip and also the cross stamped on the nose. No mention of why the cross was stamped, but perhaps for no other reason than to ID it as FAT5. This bullet weighed 208 grains.

I have no more .45 tracer rounds in my collection, of course, only empty boxes. But, you might weight your round against a normal. similarly dated, steel-cased FA .45 round, Ball 230 grains, and you can probably get a close idea of the bullet weight without pulling the bullet. My experince years ago of trying to pull FA .45 tracers, which were sealed into the case with a black tar-like substance, was poor. I totally ruined a kenitic bullet puller and had no success.
I don’t know if the T30 FAT5 is so seal in or not.

I wish I could help farther with post-war production of the T-30, but unfortunately, I have no other info now. By the way, I am sure you have Volume II. I typed as much as I did for those who don’t have the book. I simply could not continue as am running out of time today.

John Moss


Your entry was made while I was typing mine. I think the “X” question is answer - a double ID on both the white tracer, which had a white tip (I’ve never seen one) and then later, on the FAT5 bullet, perhaps to be a double ID, along with a red tip.

I always though the “touch” explanation was silly, to be honest. Maybe that was one intenet, but I’m with you. I have a normal sense of touch, and could never really feel the “X”.

John Moss



Yes, I read HWS II but, as I said above, I had a very hard time trying to seperate the different cartridges that had the “X” bullet.

I had only wartime steel cased cartridges to compare it with but it weighs only 291 grains which is quite a bit less (20 grains +/-) than the Ball rounds. Perhaps this indicates that it is the last cartridge descibed by HWS - the T30 with the FAT5 bullet? The “X” for in-house identification only.


Ray - that’s what I reckoned it was in my answer - the T30 with FAT5 bullet. “In house ID” seems to be the most logical answer.

A little more, I just got from Frank Hackly: “…the T30 became the M26 in 1946, so your FA 47 is probably the M26? (Note the question mark is his, not mine). In fact FA loaded a lot in 1947 with steel cases and the P4 primer identified by a zinc-lated primer cup.”

Am not sure if he means that FA loaded the T26 in 1947 with that primer, or loaded one lot of T30 with the zinc-plated primer. Do you have some reason why you designated your round a T30? Box label, for example?

John Moss

EDITED to add more information from Colonel Hackley:

“John - forgot to mention the “X” stamped on the nose of the bullet jacket - despite some indicating this was for “night feel” identification, it was probably put there as a FA internal identification feature to assist in keeping product separated during the production process. The Arsenal lived in constant fear of mixing product during production, which unfortunately took place too often.” Frank Hackly.

So, Ray, Frank agrees with us that the “X” was for in-house control, and not for “in-the-dark” identification, or even ID if the paint all came off.

John Moss

.45acp Cutaways

There used to be an old radio show called I love a mystery. Well, I hate a mystery. So I pulled the bullet. It came out very easy even though there is quite a bit of black sealant on it.

It weighs 207.7 (nominal 208) and has the closure cup as shown on the drawing for the FAT5.

Before I read Frank’s comments, it occured to me also that the cartridge may be nothing more nor less than an M26. If the “X” bullet is standard in the M26, then that’s probably what it is.

The primer is oval brass.

I suppose I will catalog it as an M26 Tracer (T30 with FAT5 bullet).

Thanks for your help John.



When can we hope to see the publication of HWS III? I know it’s somewhat ‘off topic’ but it seems as good a place to ask as any!


Jim–I spoke to Bill Wooden at SLICS 2010 about when to expect Vol.III. He told me the text is complete and the only hold-up is Gene Scranton completing the drawings. Projected publication date is Spring 2011, hopefully in time for SLICS 2011.


I arranged to come home for the holiday and look through my measly collection. Looking through the .45, I came up with two different types. I have the FAT 5 bullet (no gilding metal cup), CPSJ, bullet weight 209.9gn, length is .692", tip color is red with the X tip as described in HWS II. The case is F A 45 zinc plated steel and the charge weight is 5.6gr. The other one is the M1 Tracer with the FA * 42 case. I decided not to pull its’ bullet, but the case bulge indicates the .855" ± .03" as given and has a GM jacket. The color of the tip is more of a maroon and interestingly enough, the bullet has an X tip. Though it isn’t mentioned, my conclusion would be that the X tip might have been put on allot of tracers for the previously stated purpose of in house ID at FA.

As with most of the community, I, also, eagerly await the publishing of HWS III.