Bomb disposal cartridge?

I was shown a cartridge last nigh that rather peaked my curiosity I was told it was a bomb disposal round. It looks to be a standard .50 BMG case head stamped U 4 3, the primer has 2 wires about 3 inches long coming out and the primer looks to have been coated in a heavy water(?) seal. The case is sealed with what appears to be a waxed black paper plug with a heavy crimp, and it is rather heavy. Can any one give me any information on this round? Is it for bomb disposal or some thing else? What might it be loaded with? Any information would be most welcome.

Chief–It is for bomb disposal. It is used in a water disruptor cannon. The water is fired as a high speed jet powered by the electric primed .50 BMG to breakup the bomb. Go here for a U-Tube video showing a water disruptor in use.

Chef, any chance you could show us an image of that case/cartridge?

I know Ron would want the answer to be as correct and complete as possible, so I would suggest; "Yes, an impulse/power cartridge used in a series of tools either once used or currently used by EOD personnel. These tools include a disrupter firing water jets, a dearmer capable of firing various slugs, etc.; a couple of remote rocket wrenches and other devices. From the given description, the actual period of use goes back many years, and to try to nail this down to only a disrupter would be a very limited answer.

Thank you for the link on the water disruptor. I have read about them but first time I have seen one in use. Although with a head stamp of U 43 wouldn’t this cartridge be to old for this type of technology?
The cartridge is not in my collection, I will however try to get a photograph from it’s owner and try to figure out how to post photos on this forum.

I have seen a few of these made on WW2 dated cases. These may possibly be taken from dismantled bulleted rounds.

Billions of .50 Rounds were made in the 1940s. There is probably still plenty of them in storage to use to manufacture these EOD rounds.

The owner was kind enough to drop off a picture today. Just hope I got it on here correctly.

I am far from an EOD expert…but I am fascinated by special purpose rounds.

I was always told the .50 BMG (electric primed) was for the “rocket wrench” tool (to spin off an artillery fuze before it could do something bad !) and I never associated it with a water jet charge.

I am all ears if our EOD friends will weigh in!

There are a “gazillion” types of EOD applicable charges…here are some in my accumulation.


Please read my post above: I tried to list several of the tools for which the elect primed impulse cart could be used. it was used in: the J-Rod which propelled a “water” jet; the dearmer propelled a variety of slugs, water mixtures, nickel shot, etc. and both the two-jaw and three jaw remote wrenches could be fired with the elect primed impulse carts. In some cases, these tools could be fired with a normal “ball” Cal.50, and the EOD tool kit contained a bullet puller then det cord up against the “normal” percussion primer provided initiation. Hope this helps…


I would be remiss if I did not add that MOST EOD personnel do not ever refer to themselves as “experts” as we are all in some stage of training all of the time. At NAVSCOLEOD, we were taught that the only experts were those named on the EOD Memorial, currently at Eglin AFB.

no issue for me…I just thoughts Ron’s answer might lead some to think the wired .50 was used with a water canon and I thought not so. You may not be experts but have huge courage combined with awesome knowledge…explosive…chemical…electrical…mechanical…forensic (I don’t think it’s always the red wire eh ???)

so hats off to you guys who never know whats behind curtain number one !!!

To my knowledge, these early ones ( thus headstamped ) were for the " rocket wrench ".
My son is on the NYPD bomb squad and I left a message for him to get back to me with the answer. I don’t think ( I could be wrong ) that the high speed water jet was in use back when the pictured round was made. Please correct me if I am wrong ! M. Rea

My son just got back to me in regards to the EOD cart.
This type is no longer used, but, was used on the " wrench ". the cartridge used today has no wires and, resembles a shotshell . M. Rea

10-4…we are all on the same page on this round.

Yes, there are several variants of water cannon charges. (quite a few in my drawer)

Really nothing more than blanks with various precise charges

My newest 12 ga shot shell based charge is made by CTS of Canada ( CTS…Combined Tactical Systems…of the Jamestown, PA, USA) and mine is a brown hulled round marked CH50 (supposedly there is a red hulled as well)

I am not 100% sure theirs is a water cannon either, but it would seem each company has rounds to drive any number of projos (even if the “projo” is water)

Thank you all for the responses. I have seen and have one or two or the shotgun shell look a likes and several tool cartridges but this is the first .50 wired electric primed I have seen, are the hard to find or have I just been overlooking them?


I sold several at the last two SLICS from my collection. Yes, the short black leads and the “WWII” brass cases are less and less common, in my experience, as the “new looking” bright brass versions with longer leads have been around for quite a few years now. Actually, I’m not sure exactly what the current round is.


No, we aren’t on the same page if anyone–esp. anyone NOT a graduate of EOD School in the distant past, thinks that the rocket wrenches and the J-rods didn’t have overlapping periods of service. Also, NO ONE can say that these particulat Electrically-Intiated Impulse Cartridges–you can call them Cal.50 blanks if you want to, but it isn’t exactly right–was only used by either a 2-jaw or 3 jaw remote (aka “rocket”) wrench, a J-Rod water jet disrupter or a dearmer. Duing my time in field EOD units, approximately 1977 until the mid 1980s, these carts were issued for the unit to use as the mission demanded–there were not separate carts issued for the various tools assigned.

USAF Munitions/EOD 1974-2004
Munitions Response (UXO) Technician/Consultant 2004-2013
Director/President EOD Memorial Foundation 2009-2013

Chief–You ask if they are hard to find. I guess it would mostly depend if you have any EOD friends. I have been trying to get one for my .50 BMG collection for 40 years and still don’t have one.

One thing that has not been mentioned is to be sure to keep the wires shunted together to prevent accidental discharge due to static electricity.

Ron, you may try European cartridge shows then and you will get a full varietey of them.

EOD–I wish I could go to the European cartridge shows, but health and finances prevent it. Anyone want to volunteer to bring me one of those electric fired .50 BMG rounds to SLICS? I won’t be at SLICS, but it can be given to George Kass to bring to me. He lives about 5 miles from me.

Ron, mine are all gone unfortunately. I had about 5 different ones over the years.