Color Tips & Color Primer

I was going thru some Match cartridges that were ID’d by the primer seal color.

Got to thinking. And curious.

When were primer seal colors and bullet tip colors first used to provide information about the cartridge?


This probably began on small arms ammunition around the first world war, when loads such as Tracer, AP and Incendiary started to appear in more widespread use. This isn’t guaranteed to be right, its just what I presume.

I had come to be known for my fascination with color tips (in SLICS show circles)…but have gravitated to almost anything

Do you mean tracer loads?
I have seen a tracer 6,5 mm carcano cartridge with the red point of the bullet made in 1914.
These and the other 6,5 mm carcano special loads ( AP,explosive,AP tracer) are scarce items now and I don’t know if they were produced in large quantities.They were developed for machine gun use and no produced and used during WWII as breda MG and ammo were adopted
Breda special loads are quite common here

yes…mine is BPB - 18…my notes say trace to 1500 M

I only have one color tipped bullet in my collection right now. It is a 50 cal with a yellow tipped nose. I know it is not rare or special,(other then the memories it reminds me of) but I would love to know what it is. I got it at a Flea Market in the Florida Keys when I was a kid with my Grandfather along with a 20MM Dummy. I am also eager to learn when these visual distinctions were first used to id the type or function of ammunition. Pretty awesome and logical idea.



My notes say Dominican A/P

Konglich Munitionsfabrik, Spandau/Berlin, Germany, started making production runs of 7.9mm S.m.K. L

Thanks Pepper! :-)

here’s it’s few of its .50 cal Dominican family (blurry when enlarged…sorry)

Very Nice! Thnx! I like the Yellow with red band tipped round. Guessing “Red Tracer AP”? I would not have thought that the DR manufactured its own ammo. Cool to learn :-)

Jason, the Dominican Republic did manufacture their own ammunition, and while I can’t speak for their .50 Browning, I can speak about their .30 Carbine and 9mm ammo. Not the usual long-winded John Moss answer. Simply, it is crap!

Apparently on some of their .50 BMG AP you can hear the core rattling inside the bullet jacket. According to something I read about it a while ago it is also extremely corrosive and can be dangerous to shoot.

Thanks John! I had no clue. I wont try shooting it :-)

Falcon, I tried shaking it to see if I could hear the core, but all I heard was the powder. I had to try.


Hey Falcon, I could not give it a rest and kept trying to hear the core rattle! It DOES! You heard correctly :-) I was shaking it wrong, go figure. I can totally hear it rattling inside. It is faint, but their.