Looking for Navy 3"/50 projectile color codes/pics

Hello everybody, I’m a new member so forgive me if I placed this question in the wrong area of the forum.
I am looking for pics, or the color codes for the 3"/50 cal projectiles that were used by the Navy during WWII.


Welcome to the forum!

Here is a tad bit of information hope it is of some use.

US Navy Projectiles & Fuzes, 1944. a
US Navy Projectiles & Fuzes, 1944. b

Projectile Color Chart, WW2 US Navy.pdf (555.0 KB)


Brian, what you provided is the most detailed info I have ever seen on this projectile. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer my post. I’ve forwarded the info to a man who is going to “print” this projectile on a 3D printing machine. I never knew this type of thing was possible - the product will be made with a special plastic, will screw together in 2 or 3 pieces, and weight only several ounces! I can fill it with sand to give it some weight. I tried getting a real projectile - but had no luck. One source had them a couple of years ago, but doesn’t have them any longer. If you have any pics of the various projectiles I would love to see them, as I just can’t seem to find much on it. Once again, the info you sent to me is priceless as far as I’m concerned. My next projectiles will be a 5"/38 cal, and a 6"/47 cal. I notice the info you sent says, “color & marking of projectiles 3” & larger", so I wonder is this info would apply to the 5" and 6" projectiles as well???

This one most likely got repainted.

Image source: internet


Beautiful projectile. From the info you sent to me, it’s a AP-T, explosive D, no spotting charge(what is a spotting charge???), no aft bourrelet, and since the bottom is unpainted - is a fixed ammo. WOW, the info you sent me is really helpful. Is this projectile yours? It’s really in nice condition. I wish I had gotten one when I had the chance. Four questions…

  1. Would the info you sent to me apply to the 5"/38 cal and the 6"/47 cal projectiles? and
  2. Do you have any of the above projectiles? Is so, would you be so kind as to send me pics of them?
  3. Why would the above round have an explosive charge??? It’s a AP!!!
  4. Do you have Page 38 of the above document which shows Note #7?
    You’ve been a big help to me, and a kind person for taking your precious time to respond to my post, thank you.

I understand you are speaking to Brian and me right?

As stated the image is from the web. Little else I can help with here.

Maybe Brian or somebody has the manual on the naval 76mm/3-inch on hand.

Same colors and marking were also used on 5" and 6" USN projectiles.

The 3"/50 AP projectile shown has a hollowed out section. It can be left empty and the access hole filled with a solid plug, or a tracer. Or, when the cavity is filled with explosive material, a base detonating fuze could be used.
One note on stencil markings- USN marking are always aligned on the left side, while US Army marks are centered relative to each other.

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I didn’t know that more than one person had answered me - thank you all for your time and effort. I’ll use the info to have the 5" and 6" projectiles painted in different configurations.
Once again, you guys have given me more info than I’ve found myself, and it was just the info I needed to complete my collection of these fabulous Navy rounds. If I could figure out how to uplink photos, I’d show you my brass from these three rounds. They are all in great condition with very few minor dents. I also collect WWII .50 cal, 20mm, 40mm, and modern 30mm. I’ve got the 30mm and 40mm restored and painted, and am working on these 3", 5", and 6" shells. Later on, I’ll do the .50 cal and the 20mm. It’s not easy for me to do it. Painting the tips the proper color is difficult, for instance the 40mm AP-T took me several paint attempts on the black body, and six attempts on the white stripe. I’m just a klutz at it. I bought an “rare earth” magnet which I use to hold the projectile to my battery operated drill, then I use a tie wrap to hold the trigger back at the right place to rotate the projectile at the proper speed. I put a box next to it at the proper height, then apply the paint with a brush. Sounds easy, but I’m expecting perfection, and I guess I’m just not good enough at it to do it to the standard I’m expecting. But, I’ll keep trying, and hopefully get the collection completed before I pass. Once again, thank you all.

Try my uploaded pdf preWW2 Navy peojectiles dated 1 January 2018 Tom Dokulil

Correction December 31 2018

Tom, where would I find your uploaded pdf file?
Thank you,

David: I loaded it on the IAA Forum website on December 31 2018, viewed it yesterday. Got it out of a book called Bluejackets Manual dated 1940. It’s in color, Tom

It’s under the new topic: PreWW2 Navy Projectiles.

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Thank You!!!

Tom, I FINALLY got it to download. Thank you so much for your time and effort.

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One other question…was there(during WWII) a 3"/50 cal AP projectile that had any explosives in it? And what color would the tip have been?

Also, looking for good pictures of various WWII Navy 5"/38 cal and 6"/47 cal projectiles. Or any links you can provide. I’ve had a hard time finding actual photos of them

Is this of help?

EOD, Thank you very much, that is a TON of info that I can add to my files. But, I’d like to see some photographs of the various 3, 5, and 6 inch ammo. Do you know where I can see that? I’m not having much luck on google with it.