6" Navy dummy

Found these in an Army Surplus store. Doubt I got a deal, but considering I was a crewmember on a cruiser that fired these, I figured I’d better go ahead and get them.
HS is:
USN 163378 INSP. B.F.T
D.F.CO. (anchor/US) 1944

REAL heavy. They don’t appear to have ever been used for their intended purpose. Minor handling marks with a little corrosion on the “primer”. I’d rate them at 95%+. The best part is, my wife paid for 'em and helped me haul 'em to the car. TOP THAT!



Awesome Rick! Totally stoked for you. They are really nice. They would be priceless to me if I actually used, fired, and maintained those guns in real life like you have. You earned them no matter what the cost was if you ask me. All of you in the service are bad ass. Those look almost brand new. I have seen the wood 3 inch Navy shell dummies but never the type you purchased. I have a US wood and steel 5 inch dummy for a submarine deck gun. I wonder if the Navy likes wood dummies for rust issues?

Was that ammunition separate loading?

PS: So nice to see some large cal stuff posted!~

Jason - I was in the Army and never saw one of these in service, and don’t know a lot about them. However, I would guess that the use of wood had many benefits - approximating the total weight of an actual, loaded round, economy in cost of materials, ease of manufacture, less surface to corrode, etc. I could be wrong, but it strikes me that it was probably an all-win situation to use wood for them. Men had to get used to serving the gun, and a dummy made out of an empty case might be too light to get them in shape for it. What a job that must be! Even with a lot of automated loading devices. My hat’s off to those Navy gun crews that could keep those big guns firing for hours without a stop, under conditions of cramped working space, heat, fumes, etc. I wouldn’t have wanted that job! Bless 'em!

That makes ALLOT of sense John! I did not think of many of those benefits you stated. They all sound like win-win reasons to use wood. I am just curious if Rick’s dummy rounds were one piece or separate loading. The design of the dummies’ projectile makes me think it is separate loading but it could also be designed to be exactly weighted and balanced like you said for practice drills and not require a exaggerated projectile shape so it could be 1 piece ammo? I bet Rick will know :-)

I may have said this before, but thanks for your service to our Country John and everyone else. You guess rule!


Cool stuff! I’d love to find a 6" case myself…

An interesting aside, supposedly the last Navy triple 6" turret in the world resides here in Buffalo on the museum ship USS Little Rock, CLG-4, which is, IIRC, also the last surviving US WWII Light Cruiser…

The turret on the little Rock is open, and you can climb inside…It would be interesting to see it in action, cramped packed with machinery, gears, moving stuff, ammo, and people…it must have been a real ballet to have it in action…

Come to think of it, there are a few cases in the turret…I wonder if anyone would notice me walking out with one stuffed in my pants???

To clarify, I was a missile guy, not a gun guy, but was “honored” to see, and HEAR a few salvos fired from the 6" turret of the USS Springfield CLG-7. PZJGR is correct, the Little Rock is the only one left. The LR relieved us as the 6th Fleet Flagship in '73. That was in Gaeta, Italy, still the 6th’s homeport but with a lamea$$ed looking comm ship. No more ship-of-the-line to show the flag. Too threatening I suppose.
Anywho, yes, it was a powder case with a seperate projectile. And for more clarification, a turret, by definition has 3 barrels, a mount has only one or two. Buncha landlubbers!!! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

Many, many years ago, when I was just a young lad, I saw a brass case that was HUGE. Of all places, it was at a veterinarian’s office being used as a door stop! I asked the old vet what the heck that shell case went to, and if I recall correctly, he said it was from a 6" naval gun. He was a swab-jockey gunner’s mate before becoming a vet, and this was one of his souvenirs from WWII. I’m pretty sure he said it was a 6", but could it have been for something larger? Maybe an 8" gun? At what point did the powder charges start coming bagged instead of in cases?


I think the bag charges were for 8" and larger, but not sure about that.

The USS Des Moines (CA-134) class cruisers had the Mark 16 Rapid Fire 8 inch guns which used brass cartridge cases, Previous USN 8 inch guns were bag type.

The construction of Rick’s 6 inch dummy cartridge is the same as those for the 5"/38. On the latter, these were intended for use with a “loading machine” which was sort of a dummy gun breech mechanish which could be elevated or depressed while in use. The “powder man” practiced taking the 28 pound dummy powder charge and throwing it into the tray of the gun, then the “projectile man” would pull the 55 pound projectile from the dummy projectile hoist, and drop it in the tray ahead of the dummy powder charge. He would then get his hands out of the way, and trip the rammer lever and the rammer would drive the complete cartridge home. The projectile would drop out the front of the “barrel” into a tray to be replaced into the projectile hoist. As soon as the breech closed it would open again {as if the gun was being fired “rapid fire”) and the dummy powder charge would be ejected and someone would retreive it and place it in the powder hoist for the next round. The gun captain would trip the rammer spade as soon as the “empty” case cleared the breech, and the powder and projectile men would continue their exercise until “cease fire” was ordered. Even for 18 year old kids this is HARD WORK! Still this is houw 15-18 rounds a minute per gun was achieved.

The 6 inch guns depended much more on automated systems, so the dummy cartridges would have been used in a different manner, but essentially for the purpose of training crews in handling all the ammo components quickly and safely. A loaded 6 inch powder cartridge weighed 60 pounds, and the projectiles weighed 95-130 pounds. Obviously not the sort of stuff to be manhandled, especially in a moving turret with lots of people and machinery and perhaps with some rolling and pitching from weather or maneuvering.

OFF-TOPIC A BIT- I Highly recommend the PBS multi-part series “Carrier” showing this week (and will undoubtedly be repeated in the future). Many good scenes of the guys and gals of the “ordnance” gang with bombs and missiles, as well as sailors and Chiefs and Officers all over the ship doing (and bitching) about various stuff. (That is how you can tell they are happy sailors!).

Ah, the loading machine! Brings back memories. Spent many an hour drilling gun crews on that torture device.

As a Gunners Mate I had to know each crew member’s duties first hand, so I had to go thru all the drills myself and then did it for real in a mount and turret. (Rick’s correct. They are different). The “projectile” was a solid piece of brass turned to the dimensions of a real projectile. The 5"/54 powder case and projectile were a little heavier than the 5"/38, weighing 32 and 70 pounds. During a drill there were actually 2 cases and 2 projectiles that rotated in use. One in the mechanism and one to replace each as they were removed from the hoist. A vicious circle for the two guys throwing them around.

John’s 15-18 rounds per minute was what the book said but that rate could only be sustained for a very short time. It would slow to 10 or less as the crew tired and then even less as the supply of ammunition slowed (don’t forget, the magazine and ready room crews had to throw those cases and projectiles around too). When the elevation angle got steep, as in firing directly overhead, one or two rounds per minute was doing pretty good.

Rick’s right again about bag vs case ammunition. 8" and larger is bag and 6" and under is case, although some of the rapid fire guns use case for 8 inch. As recently as WW II there were bag guns in both 5 and 6 inch.

And AKMS, there is no such thing as a “swab-jockey gunner’s mate”. You are either one or the other. And it’s Gunners Mate, with capital letters. :) :)

I haven’t seen “The Carrier” on PBS but I understand it was the USS Midway on which I served one summer. But that was back in the days when it had a straight deck and lots of guns.


Aye, Aye, Guns!

I could not resist throwing in that dig. One must keep the inter-service rivalry alive…

I actually spent some time working with the GMG’s on one deployment and they were pretty good guys for the most part. Some of us Marines were bored being passengers, so we volunteered to stand “small boat watch” manning the .50 cals with the sailors. They put one Marine and one sailor on each gun so we could train and drill the sailor one the use of “MaDeuce”.
My battle station was the forward ready magazine for the two twin 3" gun mounts. Our job was to cut the wire seal on the metal storage container of the 3" rounds, take the end cap off and pull the round out. We then passed the round through a small round hatch to the gun crew outside. We had a real “general quarters” one night as we passed through the Straits of Hormuz and had several Iranian gunboats get inside our formation. As we were hustling ammo out to the guns, one of the rounds I had in my hands had a loose fuze assembly. As I pulled the round out of the tube, one hand protecting the primer and the other on the nose of the projectile, the whole fuze spun in my hand! We had to set that one aside…Most of the 3" ammunition was steel cased and dated from the 1950’s (this was 1990-1991) and showed inspection/rework dates from the 1970’s. I did see some brass cased rounds and was able to acquire one to cut down into an ashtray. I wanted to keep the whole case intact of course, but there was no way to send it home like that!


SemperFi AKMS. Some of my best friends were Fleet Marines. They provided security for missile house access, so got to know them all pretty well. Pi$$-poor poker players, tho. Lucky for me.


The bigger ships that I was on all had a USMC detachment on board. A sharper looking bunch of guys you would not find even in a John Wayne movie. I recall one detachment on the USS Coral Sea in the early 50s that was led by a Captain that had come up through the ranks. A mean looking SOB, but underneath it all the nicest guy you would ever meet. He used to scare the $h*t out of the green Navy Ensigns fresh out of the Academy by barking orders at them, all to the delight of the enlisted crew. :) :)


Those are super examples of dummy powder cases. Don’t find many around still in great shape as those are.
I just finished restoring a 6"’/47 HC projectile for another collector.
I’ve posted some photos of it along with my 6"/47 round which has a sectioned projectile.
I’ve also seen photos of 6"/47 plastic powder cases that were around in 1947.
I’ve never come across a real one though.

SHELSRUS…that is really awesome work! It sure would be a sweet addition to a big shell collection!

SlickRick…when my dad and I did a tour of the Little Rock when I first came to Buffalo for college, he really enjoyed it, especially since the missile room and magazine was open…all the time he was on the Oklahoma City and Providence, the missile spaces were restricted, and guarded by Marines…so he never saw the insides of them! He also noted the Little Rocks Flag Plot differed quite a bit from the OK City and Providence…but he did for the most part know his way around the ship!

Bill, I’ve always said you were one of the most incredible restorers EVER! The sectioned projectile is awesome as are all the detailed paint jobs. Extreme skills!


Look what I just found! Sadly, mine came without the boxes, but I didn’t pay near what is being asked.

cgi.ebay.com/NIB-6-inch-WWII-Nav … 18Q2el1247

WOW, and he has 10 of them!