.50 bmg

Greetings Fellow Collectors,

During a conversation with a fellow collector here in Australia, he mentioned he was looking for 1940 & 1945 dated .50BMG, after looking through literally 1000s on old airfields he was unable to find any of those dates.
I got curious & went looking through my selection & found only 1- 1945 dated SL manufactured multiball rnd!

Where there low production runs in those years or are we just unlucky not to find any?


Regards Ozzi.

The ammo is not so scarce, actually relatively common here in the US. A lot has been reloaded what with all the 50 BMG shooters, but is easy to find at gunshows (if you live in a state that is not anti-gun).

The multi-ball you have is a 1970’s era loading using WW II cases as all of the Colt SSB rounds are.

.50 Multi ball round.

Advanced Research Projects Agency, Project Agile, Remote Area Conflict Research & Engineering, Semiannual Report, 1 July – 31 December 1963. (Available as a PDF here: dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/348219.pdf)

Report beginning on page 15: Salvo Squeeze- Bore .50/.30-Caliber MG.

Objective- To determine whether the squeeze-bore principle is a practical, effective means of increasing the fire power from a single barrel.

Progress to date- The feasibility of increasing the effective fire power of a single machine gun by barrel modification and use of special ammunition has been demonstrated. For a .50 cal. MG the increase in fire power is a factor of five. The technique is to fire one caliber .50 cartridge, fitted with a special bullet, through a squeeze-bore barrel which separates the bullet into five individual caliber .30 projectiles. These projectiles emerge from the barrel in series and strike the target in salvo.
During the past year the U. S. Army Limited War Laboratory, at the request of ARPA/AGILE, has been conducting a program of test and evaluation of the salvo squeeze-bore principle. Test material, fabricated by the Robinson Improved Conventional Arms, (RICA), Costa Mesa, California, and furnished under contract, consisted of 11,040 rounds of caliber .50 salvo squeeze-bore ammunition with five sub projectiles and six tapered barrels….

I have never seen a 1940 dated US made .50 BMG here in the UK. I have seen S L 45 though. This had been reloaded more recently as a movie blank.

The Remington .50 BMG made in 1940 can still be found in the UK as these were supplied on British contract.


I guess thats my state :-(

I gotta move!

Thanks Tony,

If they were supplied on Brit contract, theoretically they should be found in Australia? But they are thin on the ground out here!

Regards Ozzi.

All the .50BMG found in Australia is from WW II American USAAF and US Navy airstrips, depots and Army Camps.

I have found FA pre-WW II, ( 39,40 etc) as well as almost every year in the 41-44 period, and a wide range of makers. (FA, LC, RA, U, SL, DEN, etc.)
coming from North Qld and the nearby Pacific Islands.

Prior to Dec. 1941, there was No need for .50BMG in Australia, as we didn’t have any .50 cal equipped aircraft ( US Lend Lease and Direct Purchase by Britain only…The Brits had some early model B17s, and some Fighters equipped with .50s, hence the supply there.)
After January 1942, The Flood of US forces ( from Java, and direct from the USA,) saw the use of .50 ammo increase exponentially in Australia, mostly for Airforce Use ( lend-lease Aircraft, such as B24 Liberators, etc). The RAN used mostly 20mm Oerlikon in the AA role; Unlike the USN, which had .50s and also 20mm Hispanos as deck guns ( as well as Oerlikons).
The Standard RAAF Armourers Manual for 1942 carried detailed descriptions of the US .50 M2 Gun for both Turret and Fixed Mountings.

Most of my WW II .50 cal headstamps are from “Burnt” ammo ( old airfields etc cleared by Burning off, thus setting off any ammo still to be found…primers are unstruck, but case necks may be distorted or missing; occasionally a projectile is still found with the Burnt-out case; whilst the Oerlikon AA Cases are usually “once Fired” examples.
60-70 years of exposure has also corroded the Brass cases, but with a Vinegar Bath clean, and steel wool, the Headstamps become readable.

Doc AV
Down Under in the Deep North (Queensland)