Another classic auction rook-job; .308 AP

I assume it falls into the category of phony-baloney:

The guy says that it is “Tungsten core AP” “Maybe prototype” “will blast through a manhole cover”. So at first I assumed it was just some M61 steel-core bullets that had been tumbled in moly, but then when you look at the photos you see that they are hollow-points. I’m thinking; how can a HP bullet penetrate a manhole cover? I figured these are either clad steel HP bullets which have been coated in moly, and are thus attracted to a magnet, or else they are possibly Winchester Fail-Safe’s which had a moly coating and which had the tungsten cup thingy in the core of the bullet which might cause magnetism?

DK configuration,

The only question I would have for the seller is if the dish rag is included in the deal. He may have a better handle on its design and function…


Tungsten has no ferromagnetic properties so a magnet would not stick to it. So, the sellers story about the magnet is bullfeces. Either it is no magnet or there is iron instead of tungsten in the bullets.

I know that pure tungsten is not magnetic, but I was under the impression that most of the kinetic penetrator cores used in ammo that were of tungsten composition were “heavy metal alloys” of tungsten which were usually mixed with Iron, making it magnetic. I have some Israeli SS109 5.56 bullets for instance that are magnetic, even though the tip core is tungsten, I guess because it is an alloy. Sort of like very early KTW pistol bullets with tungsten; some were magnetic, some were barely magnetic or almost not at all depending on the mix. This site mentions the general Tungsten chemistry:

In the section near the bottom titled “Tungsten heavy metal alloys” where it mentions Iron as a component. Needless to say, most of these auctions which mention “AP with Tungsten core” like the original link I posted above, are total bunk.

Anybody ask the seller for his bank account and pin number??
Just watched a program today about how to foil scammers. Maybe these guys are escapees from the flying saucer crew lock up in New Mexico :-)


I always love the mentality of, "A magnet sticks to the bullet, so it has to be armor-piercing."
It reminds me of when I was a teen and was handed down some .30-06 surplus for my ‘collection’. A magnet stuck to the bullets on some and I was all excited that it might be AP. I am too curious and couldn’t just let it go on faith, so I pulled the bullet on one and cut it apart to find only a simple lead core inside. Anyone who remembers those more naive days in their own collecting experiences can imagine the depth my youthful disappointment.


This topic leads to the idea, do we have on the IAA web site good solid and valid descriptions of bullet types/designs?

We should, getting contributions wouldn’t be hard, the issue would be disseminating them into a database, and standardizing the layout and images. I would love to be able to email some of these crazy auction listers and just say: “If it isn’t in the IAA database, then it doesn’t exist”, i.e. “AP Tungsten-core moly coated HP .308”

That would be a monumental job. I’m not surprised that it has not been done.

Look at HWS II. There are hundreds of bullet types shown. And it only covers US military bullets over a limited time period.

Granted, most bullet types are seldom encountered, even by collectors. But if the idea was to use the data base to ID a particular design, or to refute a particular design, it would have to be something more than a show-and-tell of general types.

And, it might be nice for collectors to have such a reference but a seller on E-Bay, GB, or AA could not care less.

Now, it’s off to my shop to make some AP Tungsten-core moly coated HP .308". ;) ;)



Yeah seriously, I’m thinking of cranking out some lead-free, non-lethal Incendiary wadcutters myself!

Another…looks Turkish to me…“THE FAMED SILVER TIP” HA! … =124523887

I have a tungsten carbide core from a 17 pdr APDS shot on my shelf, and I’ve just tested it with a magnet, which hung on quite well. It is certainly magnetic although not strongly so.

It is necessary to be careful about “tungsten alloy” AP bullets because many of them were made from tungsten steel alloy, but that’s only about 4% tungsten - a very different matter from tungsten carbide.

Unless one is absolutely sure one should not comment. Here is a line-up of cartridges that are AP with hollow points. They were developed in South Africa by NGA for a far east government with the specific purpose of taking out an airplane high-jacker through the windscreen of a Boeing. NGA purchased two windscreens from Boeing for their testing purposes. Shown on the left is a cut-away of the cartidge showing the tungsten penetrator, next is the full cartridge followed by some of the deveopmentals.

Here is a better picture of the cut-away.

Here is a picture of the bullet tips son one can see the two hollow points, the previous developmental cartridges did not have hollow points but seem to be Moly coated.

Here is the box the cartridge on the left came from:

While on the subject of pictures do any of the experts have some tips for us beginners with taking good quality pictures? Especially regarding lighting and background to minimise shadows.

Will, the easiest and best is to get a photo table/photo stand with at least two lights in daylight temperature (color like sunlight). This stand has a “pole” with a camera holder which you can move up and down for fixed images from “above” (cartridge laying on table) and for head stamps (cartridge standing on projectile). For other angles use a small tripod (or large if you want/manage). A main rule is: never do free hand shots. I also would recommend to use a cable release.

As a background I use plain white paper which is layed from the back to the base in a curve so the background will have no “corner”. You may vary the paper color when you have white (plastic) cartridges for better contrast. Light grey is very descent I found out.

For the camera I always use the manual mode and set the largest shutter and vary the exposure time to get the result I want. Depending on your camera you may also use a macro lens.

If I am wrong please cotrrect me.

This topic might be good for a separate thread. I am sure there are many more people which can give good advise and share their experience. Anyone?

Great info, nice photo’s, thanks Will, Jan

So, in order for that seller to have had something legitimate, he would have had to be in possession of 20 very rare South Africa steel core HP rds, like the one on the left of the above pic, and he also would have needed to have pulled and tumbled or sprayed the bullets in moly, or someone else would’ve needed to. And then he would list an auction where he mentions no provenance whatsoever, like where he got them, or where they come from, as if he is oblivious to their origin and their specific construction? I still think it’s 100 times more likely that he had fake stuff and either didn’t know it, or didn’t care, like steel jacket moly coated HP. Not to mention that the headstamps on the auction listing were Federal Cartridge (FC), RSA wouldn’t use those would they? When I emailed him originally and posed a couple basic questions about their origin and construction, he never responded… Like I asked if the whole jakcet was magnetic, or just the center & base, but he didn’t respond to that simple request. That would’ve settled it. I’m aware that some HP steel core rds exist, like this 7.62x39: but they are just hardly ever seen, at least not without explanation, and not usually in lots of 20. Excellent photos & info on the RSA cartridges though anyway

The only way to get perfect photos without shadows is with a mini-studio photo light box like this one:

The only way to get perfect photos without shadows is with a mini-studio photo light box like this one:[/quote]

So we have 2 ways now.


The tungsten penetrator in U.S. M948 7.62x51MM WCC 90 SLAP tests to be completely non-ferrous/non-magnetic. 

I was told that specialty ammunition had been developed for penetrating airliner windscreens. But I have never seen proof of its existence until now. Thanks!

                                              Carey (DC-10, B737 pilot)