Franford Arsenal 5.45?

I have what appears to be two rounds of 5.45 x39 with headstamps FA 73. One is orange tipped and the primers are red-splashed. It appears to be factory, but I am unaware of Frankford Arsenal making that type of ammo, especially in 1973. Can anyone identify, with certainty, what I have? Thank you esteemed colleagues

I think those may be the 6 mm SAW cartridge, not the 5.45 x 39 mm Soviet cartridge.

John Moss

SAW was 45mm case length, so measure & they do look to be the 6x45mm SAW

Geeze… you both are absolutely correct. Makes much more sense now, plus I just put it up against a 5.45. Please forgive me but not only am I rusty from so many years overseas but I am also new at this, as I have inherited part of my dad’s cartridge collection. I have many more to figure out.

So glad I joined the IAA and I thank you gents for the assist!


Thanks for shaking up my memory!
I vaguely remember that round as one of the experimentals when the SAW was being developed, so I did a search and found this, in case anyone wants to refresh their memory as well:

Thanks For that article Jack! I found a few of these including tracers in my dads collection. I have to say that I am having a blast going through rounds one by one… I found a bunch of nasty looking Russian .22 experimental from the 50’s (i think) a few minutes ago, they look like a fattened up 5.7 round.

Anyway I’ll be back here in the next few days as I see some very challenging rounds to figure out and I may need some help!!

V/r Henry

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What you have is the 6+45 SAW a US Experimental cartridge desisigned for a light Machinegun
3 of those rounds exsist plain ball orange tip and a dummy I have all 3 they seem to be quite
scarce,They are normally steel cased,however if you wish to see a little more PetedeCoux displays
one in a brass case in his Auction 17 under the number 258and 59.they also run under the designation
6mmXM 732 or 6mm SAW.

Thanks Sherryl! Yes, it seems I have the orange tip and regular ball. Very nice lacquered finish too.

Quite rare they were also made as aluminum cased.

Also known with nickel *plated-steel cases. And in pressure test loadings, besides dummy, ball and tracer loads.
Headstamp dates range from 67 to 73

  • edited to change from nickeled steel.

Best place to find out more about these and other military rounds is a copy of the book by Hackley, Woodin & Scranton History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition.
There are three volumes & if you look for a post in the buy /sell /trade fourm by Mel Carpenter he may be able to help you find what you need.

Pete’s right. I have a few copies of HWS Vol. III remaining at the original price of $65 USD plus shipping and would be happy to help. Chapter 12 of the book covers the cartridge’s development and all (?) of its variations. See for more info.

Mel, thanks a lot! I will be ordering this book within the month for sure. I have looked at the other two volumes and they cost an arm & a leg…

Mel, just an update… my wife will be buying this book for me for xmas, thanks again!

Pete, since I’ve had this book it has greatly enhanced my knowledge and research capabilities. I want to thank you again for recommending this purchase sir!

V/r Henry Hubbard

Glad to be of help Henry. The two other volumes are just as useful.
Since you seem to be guite serious I’d advise you to buy any & every book you can find on ammunition. No one book covers everything and even specialised books are not complete in that even though a lot of information in them may overlap / be duiblacated, some fact or round may be in one and not the other.

I totally agree Pete, thanks again! I’m always buying more books and downloading/printing good info…