Experimental 50/30 antitank?

Can anyone identify the cartridges pictured below? Sorry I have no better quality photo at the moment, and no headstamp photo. The 2 cartridges on the left are .50BMG, and the cartridge second from the right is a 7.92x94. It’s the other 2 that I am wondering about which I guess are some sort of 50/30 loading? At first I thought it was two 7.92x94 pzb’s on the right, but notice the length difference, and I know it has an FA headstamp. The headstamp on the cartridge that is left of the 7.92x94 is FA 42, and the one to the right of the 7.92x94 is FA 51 … I think, or else switch the two headstamps, but those are definitely the headstamps for those two cartridges one way or another:



That bad boy in the middle is very interesting. Scaling the photo, it is about 118mm length. There was a 12.7x120SR Vickers round, but it looks like it has a standard 12.7x99 rimless head and wouldn’t think you would find one sporting an FA headstamp. Headstamps seem a little late for serious Anti-tank development, but there were a lot of things done to test materials, etc. that needed very high velocity projectiles without regard to efficientcy. I’ll look forward to learning more about these.


The long one in the middle looks like a T5. The one on the right could be a later iteration of the T5.


Interesting, the more I think about it, it seems like the unknown on the right is some sort of typical 50/30 attempt done during the war or before the war when they tried to duplicate the 7.92x94 in the U.S., and the long unknown one on the left might be this T5 you mention Ray. Only thing I can find is some text of the official U.S. military nomenclature for it which reads: “T5 Cartridge, Armor-Piercing, Anti-Tank, Caliber .30”. I’ve not noticed or seen this one before.


It’s all in HWS II. Would you like me to scan the pages and e-mail them to you?


Or you can see a little on it here: rtbltd.com/arch/cats/1203_08.pdf



Thanks Dave, based on the headstamp and the size, I would say the left unknown is the T5 50/30 as shown in that above catalog link. If you have any photo or literature on that one on the right with the FA 51 headstamp, then I would be interested.


Thanks to Ray for the ID! I’m limited on references and not too organized with what I do have…

That is a pretty neat round.

I will keep an eye out for anything on the other one. Still seems to me that '42 was late to be thinking an HV .30 cal. was the way to go for use against tanks and by '51 the whole scene had changed in that department big time. Weren’t we already working on the .60 and .90 cal. anti-tank guns by the early '40’s?



Again, HWS II has it all (up to 1945 anyway).

Think Super High Velocity, tungsten carbide, and unlimited Federal dollars. ;)



OK. To help minimize my silly comments and decrease the amount of easily answered questions I post here (that’s minimize and decrease mind you), I done gone and ordered me a copy of HWS II today. As long as the wife doesn’t see it before I get it mixed in with the other stuff I should be good to go. Otherwise, I’ll think of you when I pay the credit card bill for the shopping damage she’ll do in the ‘tit for tat’ financial retaliation she so enjoys…(usually it’s about a 3:1 ratio in her favor).


Hi Matt,

I think the round on the right is a .50/.30 US Navy experimental (which is headstamped FA 51). I don’t have any documentation (nor a round in my collection), but last time I was at Woodin Lab that is what I was told it was.

The centre round is the .30 T5.


In 1967 or so I visited Walt Kramer who lived just outside of Columbus Ohio. As I remember, he had been an Army Colonel and ran FA, or at least a part of FA during WWII. He was also a cartridge collector of US military (FA ammo). He had a small drawer full of FA produced 50/30 cartridges in a multitude of case lengths and shoulder configurations (my guess is 10-15 rounds-but it was a long time ago). He told the story that these were an Army effort to do an Anti-Tank Rifle. The rounds I looked at all had early 1940 dates.

That evening was amazing. In his basement he had two cases of FA 30-06 frangible tracers, one with the red and white tip and one with the red and cream tip.He said the difference between the white and cream color was that one used commercial powder and one military.

He also had a drawer of Gerlich 30-06 test rounds. That testing was before his time at FA, but he told the story that one Sunday as he left church someone stopped him and told him that a retired engineer had died and the wife had a bag of ammo she was wanted to get rid of. The engineer was the FA guy who had worked with Gerlich on the 30-06 tests. She was pointed out to Walt and he followed her home and picked up a full bag of the Gerlich rounds-he thought it was a full set of all the variations!

The disappointment was that he had a row of about 10 9x19mm WCC steel case cartridges that were all different case case metal finishes. They had tried copper washed finishes and different lacquer and wax treatments. Unfortunately, they had all rusted and it was impossible to tell what they had been except for the tages on some of them.

He did give me a 9x19mm Canadian blank headstamped DCCo 351 SLR which he said was the first Canadian attempt to make a blank from early in the war, and some had been sent to FA for testing. It is of course still in the collection.

Thanks to Walt, and guys like him who work in the area and save things we have examples of this stuff (I think Bill Woodin got all, or most of Walts collection).


Forget those 9 x 19s. Where are those two cases of Cal .30 Frangible Tracers ???

Great story. Thanks for sharing,



Greed is a terrible thing, mine not yours. That night in Walt’s basement, as he stood there with a box of the frangible tracers in each hand, I had visions of him saying, “Here, take these!” but it never happened. My memory of a quick look in his basement is that he had 30-50 ammo cases. I have no idea what they had in them, maybe ammo and maybe old shoes, but I have wondered who got all that stuff. I’ve asked years ago when I heard all his stuff was sold, but never ran into anyone who admitted to knowing. If those two bases were full of the tracers, and they came into the collecting world, they would be a lot more common than they are today. I think they disappeared into another basement or were destroyed.

Wish I knew where they were today-I’d have a line at my table at SLICS.