Fake or experimental

Dear forummers,
Is there someone who can tell more about these .50 CBC cartridges with headstamp 12 o’clock “CBC”, six o’clock “.50”.
Are these display dummys from experimentals or fakes?


Are they loaded?

The second from left has what appears to be a Hornady A-Max bullet which is a bullet commonly used by BMG Benchrest shooters. (See my photo, below) The one on the right also has a bullet that is similar to several Benchrest types.


You do nice work .

Ray, they are not loaded but with an intact primer. Display dummys(dummies?)

Could CBC have experimented with benchrest or special loads. Or someone has used CBC cartridge cases.



CBC manufactures “Magtech” ammuntion for a variety of sporting applications including competition shooting. I think it’s safe to assume that these are samples of their line of 50 BMG cartridges.

Of course, it’s also possible that they are handloaded dummies using CBC brass cases.


CBC sells new, unprimed brass with that headstamp, for people to handload their own, personal, .50 ammo. (Magtech carries the CBC line of ammunition components for sale in the US.) The primer would tell you for sure.

All but the far left round are typical match projectiles for custom hand loading. Can not tell enough about the far left specimen, from this picture, to say for sure one way or the other as to what it is.

Keith Pagel
R&D Liaison Officer,
Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Assn.

Hello to Netherland,

As I knew Mr.Paolo Salm (the head of CBC do Brazil-his son is now in Germany…maybe to look into the MEN-Business) quiet well; I can tell you, that your ammo was NOT loaded by CBC itself. Someone put various bullets on this cases, either for own tests, or to make an interesting looking cartridge for sale…empty cases do not sell very well :-))


The .50 shooters association is a huge club with thousands of members many of whom load their own ammo with commercial bullets of new designs and a huge variety of home and small lot designs. Some of these become available to collectors at fairly reasonable prices and some are not available at all. We used to call these “wildcats” .

Ray Meketa has done several articles and a variety of postings showing some of these and the case variations as well.

Something loaded on factory brass by another party is not necessarily a FAKE. Much of large calibers (artillery) ammo of the past was NOT loaded by the case maker.

If the seller represents the items as factory and they are not, he could be mistaken or offering a FAKED item. The price is sometimes the key to answering that question.

I agree with CSAEOD regarding the use of the word fake. Many handloaders make up rounds to shoot. Sometimes they get out to others. I have been asked by collectors for a loaded round I have done to shoot before, knowing that I loaded it. that was the case with the first .44-40s I loaded years ago in nickeled Starline brass. Not many had seen the nickled version of the case then, and when offered an empty case from my brass, they asked if I could load it. These were not fakes, but simply loads I did for my own use.
Even the word experimental is tricky as many shooters experiment for their own use all the time, using different bullets, sometimes even of their own manufacture. They are probably as valid “experimentals” as those made by factories, as they are purpose-driven and not something made up to sell to collectors, even if some end up in collections for one reason or another. some handloader’s experiments have ended up as factory cartridges, both in case types and bullet types, and sometimes even small companies have been started based on what were originally “home experiments”, such as Glaser, Magsafe, etc.

To me, a “fake” is only a cartridge made up to deceive, whether it is a whole new case type or loading that has not appeared before, or a spurious copy, by intent, of some rare cartridge. Unfortunately, some collectors have made up replica cartridges for their own collection, for one reason or another, and did not properly mark them as replicas. At some point in their history, due to death, sale of collections, etc., these replicas end up as “fakes.”

It is a confusing subject with some items on the edge! I think CSAEOD hit it pretty well in his narration on the subject though, and add this only to offer an affirming opinion.

After reading CSAEOD’s last post I was going to add my 2 cents worth but John beat me to it and worded it much better than I ever could have.

There is a fine line between fakes, reproductions, samples, experimentals, forgeries, mock-ups, etc etc, whatever your collecting field is. I think it’s safe to assume that I can’t reproduce something that never existed, but can I fake it? Is it possible to fake or even reproduce a wildcat cartridge? If a fake is so good that no one can tell it from a real one, is it still a fake or does it only become a fake when it’s exposed? Is there a time limit on fakes? If I fake an 1880 cartridge today is it the same as someone having faked the same cartridge in 1890? Or 1920? Why is the 1890 fake worth more than my 2007 fake?

As John and CSAEOD said, maybe the deciding factor should be the intent of the maker. Whether to educate or with larceny in mind. But even that could be difficult to establish and would likely change as a specimen changes hands.

I know I don’t have an answer but it’s only Monday and we have all week ahead of us to ponder this dilemma. But I seem to recall that this was the subject of a thread on the old Forum and we didn’t come any closer to an answer that time either.



Replicas are a serious problem and I am not in favor of exact replicas even when marked. They too often end up in the marked without the label. The most faked cartridge of all time is the 70-150 Winchester. These have been done in a variety of replicas many of which end up offered as originals after some time.

My suggestion is that REPLICAS not be made the same size as the original.

Some years ago the late great Wayne Markov of Norton Ohio commissioned a couple of sets of the USN and German 9mm rocket projectiles. 2 sets were engraved “replica” . I had occasion to study ALL of them before they were sold or traded off and was familiar with the machining. I have seen 4 of these for sale over the years as original production including 2 which had the “replica” buffed off.


Wayne paid $35 each to have these made by a master machinist(many years ago- a master machinist won’t say hello for $35 these days) and I have seen them for sale at $1,000 or more.

Woodin lab collects FAKES as do I and there are some classics including .60 Jingals with engraved headstamps and a bunch of very creative large caliber military rounds which came out of Hungary over the past decade with SS markings.

Some years ago the European club had the unique situation of “FACTORY FAKES”. These were items made in a well known ammo factory by a fellow who sold them as legit “experimentals”. One of their members would be best to tell that story.