M1 Carbine AP ammo

I bumped into this M1 Carbine question .30 M1 Carbine AP and was very surprised by Pepper’s answer. And then I thought…danger…Do I know how to tell AP from Ball? So I used a magnet and did find some rounds being magnetic. Are there any other ways (besides magnet) to tell AP?

A black tip, like the one on the left.


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The only .30 Carbine AP rounds I am familiar with were all loaded at Frankford Arsenal. The project was approved in November 1944, but it is likely that all production was in 1945. The first bullet, FAT1 evidently had no identification. I would think, since steel jackets were occasionally used with .30 Carbine projectiles and are, therefore, not an ID for an AP load of themselves, that these would be very hard to identify.

The improved FAT1E1 bullets were identified by a black tip. One lot only was made in 1946 using cases headstamped “F A 45.” This much of the story is told in detail on pages 45 and 46, of “Volume II, 1940-1945, History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition,” by Hackley, Woodin and Scranton.

I have in my own collection an F A 46 - headstamp primed empty case, acquired along with a very long (0.8715"), pointed, boat-tailed bullet, designation unknown to me. Placing a weak magnet at the very tip disclosed that the jacket itself is non-magnetic GM, but that the core is magnetic. It has no tip-color but was acquired with the information that it was an experimental U.S. .30 Carbine AP projectile, along with a primed case in which they were loaded.

I also have a pointed bullet loaded round with a pointed bullet tip of plain steel that has a lower portion of the bullet copper-plated or copper washed, and has a wide, smooth cannelure at the case mouth, which I could not call a crimping groove, as the case mouth is not crimped. I know nothing of this thpe. Headstamp is F A 45.

John Moss

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I think this type & the later headstamps are covered in Vol. III of HWS

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Here is a drawing of the core used in the 108.5 grs FA T1-E1 AP bullet (from FA drawing dated December 11, 1945):

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Here are my magnetic ones.

Pete - I will look that up. I had forgotten that volume III had some “addenda” for the other volumes.

Fede - that’s the overall shape of the bullet I have. My specimen bullet weighs 95.9 Grains (6.22 grams). It is interesting that the core itself has the same overall shape of the bullet I have. For no special reason, I would not have guessed that the core was “boat-tail” also. Still, the weight quoted for the entire bullet is 14.5 grains higher than the weight of mine, too much to be in the same specification, I would think. The .30 Carbine is actually a peripheral interest in my collection, there only thru another collector friend urging me to collect it, since there have been a couple of .30 Carbine-caliber auto pistols.

Vlad - I checked my collection and was surprised to find I had 29 specimens of U.S. ordinary ball loadings in .30 Carbine with magnetic bullets. I did not weigh other types, only ball. There are a lot more of them than I would have guessed. I really should pay more attention to my .30 Carbine rounds.

Thanks guys, for the comments. I learned quite a bit from all three of you with your comments here.

John Moss

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I have no information on the .30 Carbine AP round. Interesting that it existed as it couldn’t have been very effective on anything other than the lightest plate armor, or possibly body armor. What was the purpose behind it?. I note that the M18 and M27 tracer and the high pressure test .30 Carbine rounds are specified to use copper clad steel as a bullet jacket material, but not Ball.

I personally doubt that any of the .30 Carbine AP rounds ever achieved general issue. They are rare enough that, considering the huge number of M1 and M1A1 carbines made during WWII, if they had been general issue, they would probably be rather common. And yes, they would not have been very effective other than, perhaps, common steel targets like cars and trucks, or very lightweight body armor, which I don’t think was used much in WWII.

As to steel jackets, I don’t know which specification is being considered, but the fact is, they were commonly used with ball ammunition of caliber .30 M1 Carbine.

Pepper - great photos! Thank you! It appears that since my bullet of the type on the left has no tip color, and never did, that it simply had not reached that stage of manufacture yet. Otherwise, it is a finished projectile.

John Moss

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Here are three.
The two on the left have a 45 date and a black annulus while the one on the right has a 47 date and a red annulus.

Re the middle example: Hackley Vol. III pg’s 100-101 notes an exposed steel tip, but Gene’s drawing shows only a small exposed tip. I can only say that others like this example are known, and are thought by some to be fakes.
Input is welcome.
edited to add the photo !

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I have the one in the center as well, in a loaded round. Has the same amount of non-copper plated steel as yours shown.

I have no opinion on whether it is fake or not. I got mine from a good source, but I don’t know where he got it. If I get up the nerve, I will pull the bullet and see if it tells us anything. I hesitate only because if it is NOT a fake, which I doubt pulling the bullet will tell us one way or another, than I will risk damage for nothing. I will ponder on it.

John Moss

What is the gap between projectile and cartridge of #2 (the one in the middle)?

A smooth bullet crimping cannelure on the bullet, I should add if you look at other US AP, (Cal. .30 M-1906) you will also see a smooth cannelure. .30-06 Ball usually has a knurled cannelure.

Good the hear from another it might be correct. All three of mine are loaded, as far as I know.

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On Pete’s center cartridge, and one like it that John has. A friend got his from Walt Kramer, who worked at FA. Good round!

Added my T-59 Spotter FA 45

(the A/P’s are H/S’d…like Pete’s; pointed = FA 47 rounded = FA 45

spotter source Buttweiler auction…maybe vol 1 # 206 (I’ll check my notes)