.50 cal green tip?

Someone sent me a photo of a fired .50 cal bullet which had been dug up in England (he wanted to know what it was). There are some greenish corrosion patches on the jacket, but the entire point appears to have been painted in a similar colour (there is a sharp demarcation line where the paint ends). I’m not familiar with green-tipped .50 bullets (except for some French Multipurpose ones). Can anyone identify it? Might the effect of being buried for decades have changed the colour?

Two thoughts.
1 it was a US Remington contract round / bullet I have two in my collection with a green tip one is “RA 41” the other “RA 1940 .50 CAL Z” this last has a three stake crimped nickel primer with a green annulus. AP as you well know.
the 2nd thought is that it might have been a target marker, I know we used them in lots of different colours but not sure if you did.
Might well be wrong on both ideas but you might check if it is an AP proj.

I concur with Pete on this one, I have both headstamps and this is the box they were packed in.

now that’s a very sweet box, Will

thx for sharing

Thanks for the responses!

That is a lovely carton with loads of information. When these contract loads were made the UK did not use tip colours for AP. The standard identification was the green primer annulus. What I don’t know is whether the tip colour was specified in the contract or was simply done by Remington, copying the annulus colour.


Do you know where it was dug up? Thats always part of the interest for me and will have some bearing on how it probably got there in the first place.

There must be millions of bullets like this lying waiting to be found. Particularly along the south coast and up towards London.

On the outskirts of Axminster in Devon. Not the most obvious place…

Since this is a posting of a bullet “dug up” will ask again as I posted several years ago. Is there any documented injuries from falling bullets or cartridge cases in England from all the millions fired during the Battle of Briton? Know most citizens were in shelters there must have been a few like air raid, fire wardens and anti aircraft crews out and about during air raids. We had some “friendly fire” air bursts from 155 mm in Korea. It is pretty frightning when you are only in a fox hole :-)


Falling bullets wasn’t the biggest hazard: that would have been falling shell fragments from the AA fire. Those who were meant to be out in the open while raids were going on wore steel helmets, which would have reduced the risk of serious injury.

From what I read about the early part of WW2, people did rush to the shelters at the first sound of the warning sirens. Then it was realised that it was not necessary to stop production and take shelter until bombers were getting close to you. So a phased system was set up where it was possible to carry on working or watch the distant raids if not working. Much of the Battle for Britain consisted of dogfights between fighters or between fighters and German bombers. These posed a minimal risk to those on the ground and indeed were avidly watched by them. However, I don’t think that a falling 20mm Hispano case would have done anyone any good.


What goes up must come down and loads of air raid wardens and firemen etc were killed during air raids but its hard to know how many were by friendly fire and how many were by enemy action. They were almost certainly all booked down to enemy action whatever the truth was.

On Ealing Road near Alperton NW London there is a large cemetry. Part of it is annexed off for CWG (military war graves). All the people buried there were Air Raid Wardens, fire watchers and the like. Many of them horribly young.

I posted on here once before, when I was a kid my father dug up a German cartridge case in our garden.

The house where I live now has a filled in air raid shelter at the bottom of the garden with my shed built on top using the concrete base of the shelter as a foundation. So I have probably the only garden shed in the world with a cellar.

Here is a photo of a green tipped AP round that I used to have in my collection. The image is a scan of an old file photo so not the best quality.


A program was done “Mythbusters” and falling small arms bullets (9mm, 30-06) are not dangerous, the most direct hit will only cause a bruise, but if it has any horizontal velocity then it is dangerous.

Here are a couple of 37MM projectiles that were given to me by a WW2 P47 pilot. There’s a spent .50 cal projectile in my collection somewhere as well, from the same hero. Anyway, as the story goes, these littered an airfield where he was stationed after an airbattle overhead. He found the .50 on his cot, having penetrated the roof of their Quonset Hut. I saw that Mythbusters show and although not all that well versed in physics, understood the principles they were setting out to prove. Still, those “spent” 37MM projectiles would leave a helluva dent in a helmet.

I was wondering if Frankford Arsenal also made .50 ammo for the Brits in WW2?

The headstamp on these cartridges is FA 42.

  • Just reading thru History of US SAA Vol. 2 and a green bullet tip may also be a Pomeroy .50 Explosive bullet. (pg. 147) or maybe a T86 Lachrymatory .50 cal (pg. 163)???

Couldn’t get your photo to load.

I can tell you the pomeroy is a rather distinctive projectile shape. There’s no mistaking it for an ordinary bullet. So if your bullet is typical profile, but green tip, no way it’s a pomeroy.

FA should be Frankford Arsenal.

OK, posted photo… I don’t know what happened to the link…

Thanks EOD… brain was in neutral when I was typing I guess :D

Tough call on this one. Ammo made into displays can be most anything. Tip colors look close for the RA contract stuff.