Frankford Arsenal items produced?


#1

Does anyone have a list which shows calibers and years manufactured for Frankford Arsenal under both F and FA headstamps? Examples shown:
45-70 F 7 86
45 S&W F 8 92
30 Army F 6 96
45 Colt FA 12 10
30-06 SPRG FA 27


#2

Must have asked my question wrong.
Surely someone has more info on which items Frankford Arsenal manufactured.
Jim Christian


#3

I think the problem with answering your questions is that a book could be written about the subject because FA produced so many different cartridges over the 100 plus years that it existed.

Actually one could argue that 5 books have already been written on the subject-

History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition, Vol. 1, 1880 - 1939 (H.W.S.)
H.W.S. Vol. 2 1940 - 1945
H.W.S. Vol. 3 1946 - 1977

The bulk of the cartridge material covered in the H.W.S. series was produced by Frankford Arsenal. And these 3 volumes do not cover all the cartridge types produced by FA prior to 1880. For that you can consider 2 more books that touch upon the subject of what was produced at FA prior to 1880-

Small Arms Ammunition at the International Exposition Philadelphia, 1876; B. Lewis. 1972
Small Arms And Ammunition In The United States Service; Berkeley Lewis, 1956

Brian


#4

Is the .30-06 on the right a re-load? Something is odd about the crimp.


#5

Yes, it’s a reload and the .45 Colt next to it is also. Jack


#6

The “.45 Colt” actually would seem to be a Cal. .45 Model of 1909 with its rim diameter reduced.

Dave


#7

Thank you Dave. Was not familiar with this cartridge.


#8

Still no response on my original question, but your observations on the examples shown have raised additional questions from me as a new IAA member. Are reloads still desirable collector cartridges? Obviously the value would be reduced from a factory original. And in the case of military cartridges, how would a collector know if a cartridge had been reloaded by the military, as opposed to an individual?
Jim C


#9

Reloads are much less desirable than an original load, especially in common calibers. For a really rare case type a reload would be better than nothing, but for most common calibers most people would only consider them as a “filler” example until you can get a better one.

Relatively few military cartridges were reloaded by the military, while huge quantities were reloaded by shooters, including modifying cases to different calibers by shortening them or other modifications prior to reloading. In U.S. military ammo, there was some reloading done at the unit level to promote marksmanship at reduced cost circa 1880-1920s. A lot of blank ammunition was made by reloading previously fired cases resulting in a huge variety of headstamps in a single lot of blanks. Some fired cased were reloaded as dummy cartridges. Some were reloaded as regular ball cartridges. In the early 1900s Frankford Arsenal would scribe a line across the headstamp to indicate a reloaded case. Circa 1910-1915 Frankford Arsenal broke down and reloaded a large amount of .30-40 Krag ammunition to replace degraded early smokeless powder. Circa 1908 Frankford Arsenal broke down lots of .30-03 ammunition and reworked it to .30-06 (shortening the case .10" and reloading with 150 grain pointed instead of the original 220 grain round nose bullets.
Arsenal reloaded ammunition (if not marked) may be hard to detect as the crimps would be the same as of “original loaded” but amateur reloads are sometimes easy to detect by lack of a bullet crimp, or different primer types, or different bullet types.

Other countries undoubtedly did similar things, but I do not know anything about them.


#10

Pastammo,
I think bdgreen gave you the answer to the original question, get some books! Some of those books maybe hard to find, but HWS vol 3 is available and George Murphy’s listing of cartridges at the Philadelphia Exposition will soon be available free to IAA members on the Members Only section of the website that is currently being put together. That will give you a start and give you some idea of the magnitude of work it would take to put together the list you so casually requested in your original question. Few if any of us have the time to put together such a list for you, and a list would not allow you to identify the various cartridges in any case. How would you know what a “45 M1906” cartridge looked like even if you had one???

I welcome you to cartridge collecting and the IAA Forum. It is a great hobby. I began when I was 15 and am now 78. I have worked hard and bought a lot of books, Been a member of the IAA for over 50 years and follow this Forum, but there is still a vast amount I don’t know about cartridges. Collecting is easy! Knowing what you are looking at is the hard part.

We have all gone through what you are going through right now. About a year after I began collection (actually buying random military cartridges for 10¢ each out of a bowl at the local gun store) in 1957, I saw an article in the NRA magazine on the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. Even at 10¢, collecting all the military cartridges I saw was taxing my cash supply, so I decided to collect only 9x19mm cartridges. The article just 3 pages long but provided a place to start. Now I have cases of books and GBs of data in my computers and there is still a lot I don’t know.

The truth is that it is much easier to simply accumulate cartridges, than it is to learn enough about them to know what you have, much less what you should be looking for. A second truth is that you will never find everything you want, but the process of looking has entertained me for over half a century, and the people I have met along the way have made it a wonderful experience, even the people who found-and still have- the cartridges I am still looking for!!!

Again, welcome to cartridge collecting and I hope you have the pleasure that I have had, and that so many of the people on this Forum have had.

Cheers,
Lew


#11

Ah a light bulb is starting to go on. Had no idea that there would be such a large quantity of calibers produced by a single arsenal. Appreciate the suggested reference material Brian.


#12

Appreciate the words of encouragement Lew.
I have known that my approach to collecting is unusual.
Thus far I have 4000+ different calibers and headstamps and unknown number of duplicates.
Some were gifted to me and the rest were funded from unused household items sold on Craigslist.
On my to do list are to create a data base of what I have and to improve my shown library so I can be more knowledgeable about what I have.
Have booked my flight and look forward to my 1st St. Louis International Cartridge Show in April.
Jim C


#13

I’ll see you at SLICS!

Lew