.60 Caliber Machine Gun Round


I saw this sitting on a table early this morning at a small local show…had no clue what it was, but saw the FA 1944 headstamp, and knew it was American…I figured experimental something, and for some reason .60 caliber bounced around my head…

No primer, and the bullet isn’t crimped in, looked at the bullet and thought maybe it was something made to put in it, since it was a strange construction with that copper cup base…

Figured for $10 its worth the chance…

Got home and went immediately to my copy of Huon’s Military Cartridges, and there it was, .60 caliber machine gun. And to my surprise and delight the bullet seems correct! The bullets sides look perfectly parallel like it was formed from rod, cut to length, and the tip and ogive looked like they were turned in a lathe. Bullet is strongly magnetic. Do not have a good balance, so I used our cheapy kitchen scale, and it appears to weigh approx 2 1/2 ounces…72 grams. So which bullet does this seem to be, the ball, or an AP?

Can anyone direct me to previous threads, as when I search for .60 caliber, it discards the 60 and searches for caliber, and I get 3 million threads…again, search driving me crazy, as there is no way (apparently) to search for .60 (search doesn’t seem to recognize the “.”, and 60 is too short). I haven’t found much info on it during cursory searches on the net…



If you get a copy of HWS II, there are 30 pages covering the Cal .60 Machine Gun ammunition.



From: quarry.nildram.co.uk/MilRel.htm

[quote]In 1939 the US Army issued a requirement for an anti-tank rifle capable of penetrating 1¼" (32mm) of armour at 500 yards (460m). This produced the massive .60" cartridge. The rifle never saw service, neither did the T17 aircraft machine gun (developed from captured Luftwaffe MG151) which was intended to use it. Different designs of .60" machine guns (including revolver and rotary versions) were experimented with but without success.

In the constant USAAF search for higher velocity the cartridge was also necked down to .50", generating up to 4,400 fps (1,340 m/s) with lightweight incendiary bullets. None of the HMGs came to anything and the cartridges are merely collectors’ items.

Ironically the Americans learned the same lesson as the Germans had with the MG151 and necked up the case to form the 20mm M39 round which has been the standard USAF cannon cartridge since the 1950s. Its most famous application is in the six-barrelled rotary M61 Vulcan cannon, which also serves as the business end of the Phalanx anti-missile system.

The USN decided that the 20x102 wasn’t powerful enough, and their Mk 12 cannon (based on the Hispano) could take a longer cartridge, so they simply stretched the case to 110mm and fitted a slightly heavier projectile. This cartridge was only ever used in the Mk 12 gun (which saw considerable use in the 1950s and 1960s) plus that strange Mk 11 double-barrelled revolver used in the Mk 4 gunpod.[/quote]

That is not the usual bullet I’ve seen in .60. You can see the .60 and its derivatives in this pic from the above article: it’s the 15.2x114.


HWS illustrates several different steel bullets with the copper rotating band. I think they were mostly experimental.




Can’t stand not knowing. Embarrased, even.


Yes, I’ll second that…HWS???

Don’t think I have that, whatever it is…


Frank(?) Hackey, Bill Woodin, Gene Scranton
"History of US Military Small Arms Ammo" Volumes 1 & 2 and the addendum’s for both are out, we’re still waiting for volume 3 to be finished/published





OK, I do keep hearing of it, and that is is the “bible” for US cartirdges, so I may have to go ahead and pick them up!


Yes…Frank Hackley.


Nice find for that price. They are at least £50 each in the UK.


My apology for throwing the HWS acronym around so feely. Those of us who collect US Military just naturally assume that everyone knows what it is when, in fact, many do not.

The proper title is History Of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Vol I and Vol II.

H is Col. Frank Hackley USA Ret. the last Commanding Officer of Frankford Arsenal. W is Bill Woodin, of the famous Woodin Lab and the only guy in the world who actually DOES have one each of every cartridge ever made. S is Gene Scranton, illustrator, author, and accumulator extraordinairre.

Just a subtle hint to all of you forum members. You really should visit the IAA Home Page more often. Lots of really good stuff there including a bibliography that lists and describes most of the reference material that you will see mentioned in the forum posts.



Not very subtle, Ray. But off I go to the home page. Only 'cause you said to.



While you wait for your copy of HWS II, to answer your question on the projectile type: I think that is a T32 Ball bullet (at least that’s what I call mine in a dummy round with FA 45 headstamp). Later versions have a more classic jacketed bullet look. Neat to see it outside the case.

I would think you did very well for $10 based on prices I’ve seen for the earlier .60 Cal items!


PS: Be sure to check out IAA member sources (yes, see the IAA homepage for “related links”) when shopping for ammunition related books.


Thanks for all the good info guys!

My problem is, cartridge collecting was always more of a sideline to my German combat gear and rifle collecting, but my collection grows and grows as I keep finding cool stuff I can’t say no too! But I need to get better, more complete references for my library on ammunition (although I do have Kent’s German 7,9mm ammo book given my German collecting proclivities, and Huon’s Military Cartridges for IDing).

I will be picking up Vols I & II up from one of the IAA Member Sources, and am also going to pony up for an IAA Membership soon. It may be a few weeks, as we are going in tonight at 7:30 to bring in the newest ammo/gun collector into the world, so I may be busy for a few weeks!