Artifact identification- live round?


My father who died in 1951 had a modest collection of Minnie balls, arrowheads, and an unidentified round that I am concerned about. It is 3.70 inches long, 1.50 inches diameter (38mm), has a 1.40" dia. groove, has GWK roll stamped on the side and either an L or 1 on the nose. It has been suggested that it might be a Hotchkiss round with a rear mounted fuse. I’m concerned tht it might be a live round and should be disposed of.

I have photos but don’t know how t insert them.


If you can email me the pic I can post it for you.


Helping a fellow artifactor, posting his photos. I hope I’ve brightened them up well enough. I have a feeling the discussion will be lively.


This is a German WWI 37mm tracer projectile for the 37x102SR Sockelflak.

The tracer compound reacted with the humidity and expanded and cracked the whole projectile body.


Here are 2 links which may be deemed useful … elflak.htm


It is the second from the left here: … 37x94R.jpg


Thanks for the help in identifying this. Since I plan to dispose of it, does anyone want it?


Just a hint before “disposal”. Soak it in a can of used(or new) motor oil. Just to be on the safe side. 2 or 3 days should kill any active ingredients.


If no one else speaks up, I’d be more than happy to provide it a good home.


Or penetrating oil like WD40, seems to get in better


Craigt–You might want to be careful using WD-40 to inert primers, etc. If the primer has a foil seal it does not work very good. Use a little acetone first to dissolve any lacquer seal. But even then it has been my experience that after the acetone and WD-40 evaporates that about 50% of the time the primer becomes “Live” again.


There are no primers contained in this projectile.



Have you done tests by trying to fire primers after the WD-40 treatment? This would be important information since many collectors use it or similar methods to kill primers.

I use a light penetrating oil called “Sheath” which is probably similar to WD-40. It actually turns the priming mixture to mush but I’ve never tested it to see if the compound dries and becomes live again. I know that if the cases are boiled in a dishwashing detergent after using Sheath, that the mixture will be washed out of the cup, turning the water a light yellow color. Of course, that’s a lot of effort to kill a primer and not all cases can be boiled or washed that way.



EOD–True, but I was just posting a caution about depending on WD-40 to inert things in general.

Ray–Yes, I did do a test once with 20 .30-06 (.30 Cal. for you!!). after 1 month, 8 of the 20 fired. They were about 50% strength, based on the loudness of the sound.


Too many collectors believe that oil inerts primers. There are plenty of “oil proof” primers. One fellow who I knew used vinegar to dissolve the seal in this type of primer and then oiled them. I do not inert anything except my bank account now and then but IAA member Bruce Bydal (email listed in the IAA roster) is a world class expert in primers. Ask him. He wrote a book about the subject a few years back which is so deep that I hardly made it past the first page.