"Alpha" projectiles

We somewhen discussed the “Alpha” projectiles here.
As the name is very common I will specify the ones I have in mind:
It is a saboted and cross shaped projectile (seen from the front) which is twisted in the average shape of a rifling.

I know these existed in 9x19, 12.7x99 and 12 GA.

Did other calibers exist?
Did this development lead to anything or were these projectiles ever manufactured in scale?
Who designed or patented these?
When did this happen?
Are images of all of the known calibers available?

Hi Alex,

I can’t answer your questions, but I think that at least some work was done in Canada by IVI. At least some specimens have turned up here. I use to have a 9x19 (with pointed steel projectile) and found a round nose version at Landhorst some years ago but gave that to a friend.

Here are pictures of the 12.7mm projectile.



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Paul, thanks!
Many years ago I had one of these on my desk but back then I missed taking any images of it.

These were made by Lightfield Ammunition Corp, Adelphis NJ in the late 1980s. The original ones I bought from Lightfield were unheadstamped. I was told the cases were made by PPU.

The round on he far right is a lead projectile HP the other projectiles are all steel. There was significant variations over the years of production. I don’t know whether the IVI rounds were loaded in Canada or the by Lightfield. I spoke to them in 1989 and they said they did all the loading, In the early 1990s I talked to them at the Shot Show and by then they were only making the 12 Gauge round and had dropped the others, so they said. I would not have been surprised if they sold bullets to IVI and perhaps others. Given that the IVI cases are dated a couple of years earlier than I when I first encountered the cases, I suspect they were loaded by Lightfield, but perhaps Paul or the other Canadian members have better information on this.

At the bottom below is the image of an Alpha round that is not in my collection. It has the same (NATO) 87 IVI headstamp as the round in my collection pictured.



I want to become friends with Paul :)


Lew, I kinda hoped you would cover the 9x19 section! Thanks a lot!

So what was the idea behind these? A special AP capability?

Maybe one with the 12GA to show?

I took this from a photo file on my work computer

I will get better photos to post

I have a variant or two since this photo

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They were always described as AP rounds. They were never generally available as far as I know. Below is the only label I have ever seen.It does give the patent number.

I wish I had bought a couple of boxes of the 12ga when I had a chance!

Pepper, what is the headstamp on the one at top left in your photo? I see all your loose bullets have a hole in the bottom of the sabot. One of mine has a solid bottom. Both of mine have a dimple on the bottom and none of yours appear to. Lots of variations!!!

Does anyone have other box labels???


Thanks guys!

Pepper, what is that coating on your top left silverish colored projectile?

Here is the partial page from my book showing some .38spl, 12ga, and .308 examples. These were all photographed at Woodin Lab a few years ago.

I looked at the patent which was applied for in 1984 and issued in 1987 which is pretty consistent with the dates these rounds showed up. The patent was assigned to Barnscomb Corp N V in Curacao in the Dutch Antilles. No mention of Lightfield. Would be interesting to know how they got involved, and whether they were the only one with rights to make this bullet. The bullet was patented by Leroy Sullivan of Huntington Beach CA.

An interesting figure in the patent is mentioned in the text as using balls to prevent the projectile form getting misaligned in the barrel. Has anyone seen this projectile???



Matt, thanks! I was not aware of the .38 and the .308.

Lew, thanks a lot for naming Sullivan. I looked up his patents and it seems the bullets with the conical base and sabot with hole are a separate patent.
Here both patents describing the “cross-type” bullets and the sabots (with hole) for the conical base projectiles.
WO001988002469A1_all_pages.pdf (296.9 KB)
US000004829904A_all_pages.pdf (592.6 KB)

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Lew, do you have a link to the patent?

Here it is: https://patents.google.com/patent/US4644866A/en

Thanks! These are really neat, I’d like to know the thinking behind the bearings, seems like it could work. Theoretically…

This is the comment in the patent that I mentioned I mentioned regarding the spheres.

> In alternative constructions the grooves contain elongate elements or a plurality of spherical elements to prevent the conically tapered slug or bullet from tilting or cocking in the barrel after firing.



IMG_3582Two to liven up the discussion

IMG_3580.50cal. 30m/m



The right “raw” 9mm is not headstamped and no crimping dimples and has a knurled case cannulure w/ dimples

I also note the sabot is a “clearer” synthetic as opposed the darker white material

Both the center and left 9mm are headstamped FC 9mm Luger

The cases on the 50cal and 30mm were random I had to dig up

The 30mm sabot has a seating lip

The .50cal has no such seating indication

The 12ga arrived seated in that dummy case (don’t think the h/s means anything)

The non cased 12 had a hull sleeve on it; presumably to hold the 2 halves of sabot together

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Pepper, thanks a lot!
The 25mm appears more like a 30x173 no?

50bmg section


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