Has this cartridge been reloaded?

Hi, I bought a can of about 350 of these and would like to know if they are original or have they been reloaded? How do you tell? Help if you can.

Shannon - it is impossible to tell from pictures like these if a cartridge has been reloaded or not. You have to really examine a round for case head expansion (conventional loading dies never take a cartridge clear down to its original specs - only close to them, unless a small-base die has been used, which is rarely done with this caliber). Also look for extractor marks inside the case’s extractor groove and on the top of the rim inside the groove, as well as ejector marks on the head. Another tip is components that don’t match the era of the cartridge. All this takes knowledge of the original rounds as well as experience in knowing what you are looking at.

I see nothing in these pictures that leads me to believe that this cartridge is a reload. I cannot see any tell-tale expansion line above the base, nor any ejector mark on the head. The primer being an oval brass cup seems correct for the period in which this ammo was originally loaded, and the bullet looks correct. The only factor of concern is that I also cannot see any colored primer seal or remnant thereof, which these original rounds certainly had and which could indicate some sort of chemical cleaning of the cartridge. This sometimes harms the ammunition when it is done to loaded rounds. Again - you cannot tell for sure looking at pictures like these!

If original, this cartridge is corrosive-primed, and if fired the weapon should be cleaned thoroughly as soon as possible and then checked again the next day. If the bore looks dark, clean it again. This often is necessary for three or four days. You don’t want a rusted-out bore.

Reloading, by the way, is normally a forbidden topic on this site. Here we are not, and will not be discussing powder types, weight of charges, or any other reloading instructions. We have only touched on how to possibly spot a reload, which IS of interest to cartridge collectors.

By the way, another way is to see if the primer crimp has been cut out of the case. It does not appear to have been altered in your pictures. Reloaders do this so they can remove the old primer and seat a new one easily, without damage to their decapping die.

I hope this is of some help. If you have any friends that are very experienced reloaders, show the rounds to them. Again, we have only given a few tips - we have not resolved positively whether or not your rounds are reloads!

John, that is a lot of help. Thanks for taking the time to explain that to me. I don’t see any indication on any of the cartridges of reloading like you explained. I’m going to check in to the fact that most usgi rounds do have a colored primer seal and these do not. If anyone has an original SL 43 round maybe they could tell me?

Thanks again,

Shannon- Don’t forget, if you shoot any of these, they have corrosive primers that will rot your barrel into a sewer pipe in a matter of days if not PROMPTLY and PROPERLY cleaned. Nice for collectors, or maybe machine gun shooters with throw away spare barrels, but not for general shooting use.


Another clue to original, un-messed with GI ammo, is the anneal colors on the shoulder and neck. Yours does not appear to have them which could also mean that the cartridge was cleaned at some time. Or possibly the colors are there and simply are too light to see in the photo.

( BTW, most really serious US Military collectors tend to frown on cartridges without the colors. But you’re looking to shoot that stuff not collect it so that comment is mostly immaterial to your question).

Since you have a bunch of them, pull a bullet on one and see what the guts look like. A nice shiney interior means it hasn’t been fired and the presence of the black asphaltum seal on the bullet is another good indicator of an original.

BTW, whats a good old boy from MS doing with that map of AZ???


No obvious signs of reloading.

It’s sort of ironic to see the .30-06 rd. laying on a map of Arizona, specifically the Prescott area.

This a good time to bring up the California Cartridge Collectors Association’s
Southwest Cartridge Show, in Prescott, AZ, February 8-9, 2008.

A great show, in a great area of northern Arizona. So come on all you Showbirds make your plans ASAP.

Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I will pull one and check it out.

I had the map out to plan a trip the second week of September. Was going mule deer hunting in Colorado, but that fell through. So, gonna make a trip to the slot canyons around Paige, AZ and hopefully to Gold Basin to look for gold and metorites.
Thanks again,

[quote=“Frank N”]It’s sort of ironic to see the .30-06 rd. laying on a map of Arizona, specifically the Prescott area.

This a good time to bring up the California Cartridge Collectors Association’s
Southwest Cartridge Show, in Prescott, AZ, February 8-9, 2008.

A great show, in a great area of northern Arizona. So come on all you Showbirds make your plans ASAP.[/quote]

The Cal. club meets in Arizona ?

Almost from it’s very beginning the Califorina Cartridge Collectors Assn. has had many members from Arizona and Southern Nevada.

Three years ago the membership decided to have a second annual show.
Our regular annual show is held in LaPalma, California, in June of each year, with our “new” show being held in Prescott, AZ, in early February.

Why Arizona people may ask. One of the reasons is that we hope to get new local people interested in cartridge collecting. Another is in the fact that many of our older members in the area just don’t want to make the long drive across the desert in the summer. Oh yeah, don’t forget the legal aspects that can effect some collectors transporting items into and out of California. The list can go on and on.

So set aside February 7th and 8th for a great show, with great fellw collectors and friends.

Good reasons

Here is a couple pics with the bullet pulled. I could not get a good picture down the inside but, it does not look bright down there. Does this help determine if they have been reloaded or not? Oh, by the way that was Page not Paige, going to check out the Slot Canyons.

The powder is typical of what was used in the older rounds, similar to (or that powder) 4895 in shape and color. The bullet looks like is has black sealant on it. It looks like a typical G.I. bullet including the base and the width and position of the cannelure.

Regarding being shiney and clean inside the case, after 60 plus years of sitting around and rolling around with powder in it, it is going to pick up some residue and not look like a new penny. The point on being “clean” was that it not have been obviously fired with a great amount of powder and gas residue inside the case. I can’t really tell whether it does or not from the photo, but for what I can see, I still see nothing that tells me this is a reload.

It looks original to me. Primer style is correct. Primer crimp appears to be intact. Lack of annealing marks is irrelevant, as many factory new military '06 cartridges have faint annealing marks. I’m looking at an en-bloc of '06 right now that are original with almost no annealing marks visible.
The “patina” of the case looks good, with no telltale scratches or shiny spots that come from resizing. The apparent lack of a primer seal could be simply that it is vary faint and dark colored. IIRC, black was commonly used at “SL” and often is not heavily applied. The projectile, sealant and powder look good too. I vote for original.