B-38B nuclear bomb available

File this under “thread topics I never thought I would type”, but nevertheless, here it is for $15,000: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=215141345 The seller calls it a “B-38b”, but it looks like a B-61 to me?? It is the live-drop practice version, and comes with an arming box so it is the closest thing to the real thing that you can get. It is identical in every way, including weight, construction, and components, except that it has no warhead obviously. It has the original parachute packed into it which originally cost the government $230,000 according to the seller. And it has had a new paint job for a cost of $3,000. The seller takes gold or silver bullion at a 10% discount so says the description. I know just the place for it, and the man to have it!

I wonder if he will really manage to sell it, less for the price than for other reasons.

I see from expired listings on Gunbroker that he has had it listed since November with no luck, and I suspect he has tried to sell it before then, and that the Gunbroker seller is just consignment selling it for the owner. I’m amazed that nobody has picked it up. Seems like there should be plenty of wealthy collectors or museums that would buy it for the current price… sign of the times I suppose. Anybody with a full-size pick-up truck or work van could take it home. I wonder what Rick from “Pawn Stars” would pay for it?

I have never heard of a B-38B nuclear weapon and can’t find reference to one on the internet except for the one being sold.

The W-38 was a warhead for the Atlas and Titan missiles, large with a 3+ megaton yield. As DK suggests, it looks like a Mk/B-61 Tactical bomb with a sub-megaton variable yield.

$15K is a bit pricey, but the wife was looking for something to spruce up the sitting room…


I suppose there might not be more than 10 of these practice drop units ever made? If they were reused over and over, then how many could they actually ever need? Maybe these are just actual M-61’s without the important stuff inside, and they were slightly modified for practice-only use and parachute deployment testing. Perhaps it never had an official listed designation and the “B-38b” is some sort of nickname? I emailed the seller.

Matt, just to close the loop on your post, I saw it and alerted a good friend who is a collector and retired nuclear physicist. He’s also a historian who is very interested in America’s nuclear programs, past and present. I’ve just about about got him turned into a cartridge collector. Anyway, he saw the auction, contacted the seller to get more information, and bought it. So I know where it is, or will be soon, if anyone has any questions about it. It is, after all, just another type of ammunition. Mel

Awesome! A wise purchase I think, since there probably wont be any others available.

Mel- You need to give the new “Cartridge Collector” an IAA membership application.

And tell him to write up an article. Chris wants more US articles…

There is a buyer for everything at the right price!

More nuclear ordnance for sale, this time a 280mm T50E2 artillery shell (with dummy fuze) for the Atomic Annie M65 nuclear cannon. I don’t know the seller, or how accurate the listing or item is, but he is a noted seller of large bore ordnance, and he sold an identical one of these last month for $6500.00


These 280mm T50E2’s were recently discussed on BOCN with some provenance information provided: bocn.co.uk/vbforum/threads/8 … ight=280mm

Back to the original topic: There was a BDU-38/B which was a full-size “concrete” replica/drop shape of a nuclear bomb. “Many” were dropped at various ranges, but I don’t remember which Mk/Mod it was to simulate. They were “recoverable” and could (were) rehab’ed and reused. My unit recovered some of them, but I don’t remember keeping any pictures.

Not sure how I missed this original thread, except that the “nuclear” part of my career was by far my very least favorite! Nuc’s always got me in trouble, from failing inspections, to writing unnecessary reports to in one case administrative punishment.


Trending in the news lately online, this announcement that the B61-12 has completed recent testing for some upgrades. These will replace the previous mk-3, 4, 7, and 10 models:


Yeah, there is just something about a nuclear bomb that gets one’s attention, isn’t there?

Like this one, for example. It is a restored (but without the nuclear material) B-57-1. I bumped into it, literally and figuratively, when I was wandering around the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum last summer. It is not often that one gets the opportunity to have a close look at a nuclear weapon, even one that has been deactivated.