7.62MM Incendiary


Was there ever a US 7.62MM Incendiary cartridge?

You betcha. Short lived, it was strictly an experimental developed in 1969 for the USAF for possible use in the 7.62MM Minigun. Cases were standard 7.62MM NATO and bullets were obtained from breakdown of Cal .30 Incendiary cartridges. A smooth seating cannelure was added to the M1 bullet to obtain the correct OAL. Headstamp on most that are seen is LC (+) 69.

API bullets were tested at the same time. It was concluded that both were suitable for Minigun use. I have no idea what ever became of the concept.


Ray, great cartridge, thank you for sharing!



That’s pretty neat. One would tend to think that it was the product of someones imagination and a bullet puller if not for the additional groove!

Interesting there was .30 cal. Incendiary still around in any quantity in the late '60s. Always had the impression that it wasn’t too popular and that API had been used on the most part. The early Light Rifle products seem to have skipped over the Incendiary loads in favor of API as well.

I assume the projectile on the right is a product of your “Trust but Verify” program?..




You are right. Close inspection of a loaded round indicated that it had what appeared to be a smooth cannelure but there was no way that I wasn’t going to pull a bullet to verify it. Also, it was necessary to make sure the bullet was indeed an M1. This can be done by weighing, measuring, and giving it the magnet test.

The US made nearly 250 million of the M1 Incendiary cartridges in 1942 and 1943 and I’d bet there are still a lot of them around.

I also have a couple of other unknown 7.62MM “Incendiary” cartridges. They have LC 90 headstamps and a 145 grain non-magnetic BT bullet. The base of the bullet has been obviously altered. I would have to guess it was modified by removing the lead core, inserting some sort of incendiary mixture and then closing the base with a lead plug. My first reaction was “fake” but they don’t really replicate any bullet that I know of. Maybe they are a foreign incendiary bullet? Made for the gun show trade?? Any guesses??



Ray, By the end of 1969 the AF could see the end of the utility of the 7.62 Minigun in gunships. They were seldom used on the AC-130s then in use and I understand that the AC-119s usually used their 20mms. The AC-47s were not going to last long and were not survivable in the higher threat environments where you might need Inc or API ammunition. I cannot confirm that these are the reasons the two loads were droppedbut in the context of late 1969 and early 1970 I doubt they made a lot of sense.





The report on the tests was released in July 1975. It is only 5 pages including the Documentaion Pages and reads kind of like:

  1. Yeah, we tested the cartridges

  2. They worked sort of OK

I suppose that by 1975 they must have known the entire project was heading nowhere and were unable to hide their lack of enthusiasm.