M62 7.62x51 Brown Tip Tracer

Was hoping someone could help me out. Posted these last year? and now can not find any information about them. Just put some pictures on a different forum, and now they want proof. From what I remember:
M62 green tracer, brown tip headstamp LC/91 7.62x51
Were these used by special forces so that the enemy would think it was thier own men shooting com. bloc. tracers? Would apperciate any help. Thanks Wolf

yes. There is also a .50 BMG version as well. Green tip, since brown’s already the standard tip color code for .50 tracer.

Thanks 50m2hb, didn’t know about the 50bmg. Someone on other board chimed in who was special forces and used these before in Iraq, all dated in '91.
Searched the web for couple of hours yesterday and found nothing. Not even a mention or write up. Whats the possibility to verify this other than hear say? wolf

It’s not been written up that I know of, due to the confidentiality of the load for many years. My information came from LC.

Do you know this “special forces” guy in person or is he just another forum poster? With some of the stories that circulate the internet, I would be hesitant in believing anything like that. No offence meant to genuine military veterans, but anyone can claim to be whoever over the internet. All sorts of ammunition gets names like “sniper, experimental, top secret, special forces” etc. attached.

I know the guy that posted the information on another ammunition forum. He’s legit and a good guy. I first saw these rounds in early 1992 at Dan LeClair’s house. He asked ME about them, because I had recently returned from Desert Storm and he wanted to know if I had seen or heard of these over there. As I recall, these green tracers were developed rather quickly and sent into the theater just before the ground campaign started. The SEALs and Special Forces guys were operating behind Iraqi lines and thus the green tracers would make a good ruse if they were engaged by the Iraqis. I have not heard if they were ever used as intended, or if the ruse worked.

I don’t know how confidential these rounds were at the time, but at least one box full was already circulating in the collector market by 1992…


No problem if you have met him and he is legit. I am just the type of person to take internet stories with a grain of salt.

I am not referring to this forum as the information here is very high quality and has been very useful to me as a collector. I am referring to the internet as a whole.

At the time these were being produced, I was trying to find out from a contact I had in LC to learn what green mixture was that being used. I was told it was a “big secret”! I later learned it was G-284, which was R-284 with the strontium nitrate simply replaced with barium nitrate. Big secret. The igniter remained the same, I-194. JH

figured to add a photo od mine

the right round is an 05 drilled case with an open primer pocket…clearly a well made “dummy”

my .50…(clearly chocolate brown in real life) WCC 95

the photo flash looks purple…it’s brown

the notes on the round…Keith may shed light on

my hand scratch says

"Same BT (boattail) base as M-33/M-8/M-2?/ball/API/APIT…not flat like M-17…magnet “different”

(help me understand what I wrote)

I don’t want to add more confusion to the topic, or spin it off into another direction, but I’ll try and summarize all what’s going on here.

First, 7.62 NATO Brown tip. If it’s the LC 90 load it’s the M62 Green Trace SOCOM, Desert Storm round. 7.62 tracers have been the gamut from Red to Orange so they were running out of tip colors for tracer. The next one in the sequence is Brown (if you follow what they did with the .50 BMG tracer lineage, see below). White tip 7.62 wasn’t an option (.50 BMG equivalent is the early M2 Tracer from WW2). They couldn’t use white tip as a 7.62 trace tip color code as white was already used for the low recoil load from the 60’s. So for 7.62 tracer tip colors, Red, Orange, Brown. Brown (in 1990) being the 7.62 Green Trace tracer.

For .50 BMG the sequence was a bit more direct, Red, White, Orange, Brown (some early Brown examples were actually Maroon). Brown was the standard WW2 vintage M17 Tracer that was in use till 1994. In 1990, the .50 BMG Green Trace tracer appeared with a Green tip color code for SOCOM Desert Storm. Designation was M17 Green Tracer, just like the M62 Green Trace designation. They used the same M #, just an addendum about the Green Trace. (Using a Green tip like the .50 wasn’t an option for 7.62 Green Trace as Green tip in 7.62 was already used for Duplex rounds). The .50 M17 Green Tip Green Trace was LC 91 headstamp.

For .50 BMG, so far, so good. Then things get squirrely.

While the M17 Green Tip was used for Green Trace and issued, Green tip had also been used earlier in .50 BMG for other things. Green being kinda the color code for a “non-standard load.” Green’s been used for .50 BMG for Triplex loading (mate to the 7.62 Green tip duplex loading). It’s also been used to designate a ball M33, but with a specially produced cold-headed rolled steel core and early versions of the US Mk211 Multi-purpose round. These were in-house, factory, codes, for test or experimental loads, not issued. (I’m not counting WW2 vintage Green tip .50’s that were Pomeroy, obviously unusual bullet, and the M1 AP contract for Britain for WW2, when their color code for AP was Green).

Now, since 90-91 was desert storm and green tracers, in 1994, the .50 came back with a Green tip color code and that was a trial run (issued) M20 API(Dim)Trace. Again, the same M#, but a modified name. This was later adopted as the Mk257 APIDT and assigned Violet/White tip color code as, by that point, violet was used for all IR/Dim Tracers. White being held over for the API portion of the function.

To Pepper’s query, 1994 was an interesting year for .50 BMG. Not only the new APIDT, but a new AP round Mk263 and a test run of an M17 Dim Tracer, the regular M17 tracer match to the M33 Ball, but IR as well and got the now standard Violet tip. What’s MORE, the .50 Tracers were redesigned, across the board. The M17 Tracer Brown tip, standardized in WW2 was just a GMCS bullet jacket with a lead nose plug and filled with tracer compound. It was a flat base. This required a special bullet jacket just for the M17 Tracer, different from all the other bullet jackets. In 1994, someone noticed that other countries had gone to a different style bullet (aka CBC Brazil “M33 Tracer”). Basically, it was the M33 Ball design, but the core was drilled and filled with tracer compound. It works for the M8 API to M20 APIT design, why not apply it to M33 Ball to M17 Trace? So, since 1994, the M17 Tracer is essentially a ball bullet with a core drilled and filled with Trace compound.

But, while the new M17 Tracer bullet is completely different from the old, they decided to keep the same tip color code, Brown, and same M17 designation. Odd, since it’s a completely different bullet. So Pepper’s notes refer to that. The new M17 isn’t a GMCS jacket flat base, but a standard GM boattail jacket with mild steel core. The old M17 sticks to a magnet at its extreme tip, the new M17 does not. And, just because we’re up ending everything, they also did away with the M17 tracer feature that’s been around since WW2, the Dim/Bright trace, designed to reduce gunner blindness at night and the chance of someone following the bullet trace back to the gunner. The new M17 Tracer, since 1994, is bright right out of the muzzle.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you all with tracer tip colors of 7.62 and .50, comes the next question, probably have to start a whole new forum thread…

Do you want to know about the “old” LC 90 7.62 NATO Green Tracer vs the “New” LC 16 7.62 NATO “Green” tracer? (This “Green Tracer” conumdrum threw another major wrench into the works.)


Yes! What do you think about writing an arcticle about this obviously complicated matter for the IAA journal?

That too … but I’m too impatient to wait and need to know soon, if not sooner !!


Already fully committed to writing (and editor) for Very High Power Magazine (Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Assn.), so little time left (with life’s demands) to do more. I did edit and submit and article on behalf of a retired Chemical Engineer (at his request) on Primers, in a past issue of the IAA.

To one other poster’s observation about knowing the source of information, I could do a post on my quals, but that would be longer than what I’ve already posted above. If everyone’s interested I have no problem doing that. Suffice it to say what I’ve written so far was not told to me “by a guy,” or read in an article, or manual, etc. If you look at the chronology of the above, you can see this has taken place over decades. So I’ll leave it at that unless you all wish to read another dissertation on “How I Know All That.”

To the topic of 7.62 Green Tracers, this part is actually more in line with the original topic than most of the background I wrote above.

The issue at hand is the term “Green Tracers” as applied to 7.62 NATO caliber. As we all know (above) there is a one-off lot of 7.62 NATO Tracers, brown tip rather than the usual red or orange tip, that when fired traces green instead of red. Actual designation is as listed on the box photo posted above, M62 Green Trace, with M62 being the normal designation for 7.62 tracers that would trace red. This one off lot was SOCOM for Desert Storm. The only headstamp I’m aware of is LC 90, though LC 91 is a possibility too, as the .50 version of Green Tracer was LC 91.

The problem arises in that there is now a “new” 7.62 NATO “Green” tracer, also a brown tip color code, but this one does NOT trace green, it traces red and the reference to “Green Tracer” is a nickname, not its official designation. The new Brown tip 7.62 tracer is the M62A1 Tracer. Green reference is to the fact that it was conceived as part of a decades old project to produce an environmentally friendly, or eco-friendly bullet for the US military. The M62A1, while it has the brown tip color code, has no lead or other heavy metals in its makeup, so it’s off-handedly referred to as ‘green.’ The M62A1 tracer is the ballistic match to the new M80A1 Ball round in 7.62 NATO caliber, that is also eco-friendly, without heavy metals. It is referred to as the EPR or Enhanced Performance Round, as it not only is eco-friendly, but performs better than M80 Ball in certain areas. If you’ve heard of EPR, you probably know it more as applicable to the 5.56 NATO round, M855A1.

The EPR / Eco-friendly bullet line was started back in the 1990’s as merely an eco-friendly bullet in the 5.56 caliber and has had a lengthy twists and turns development period as we all know. The 5.56 EPR was fielded shortly before the 7.62 EPR. Both “ball” variants have tracer variants to match, the M856A1 eco-friendly 5.56 tracer (still orange tip) and the M62A1 7.62 tracer (the new brown tip). The eco-friendly concept started with 5.56 with the intent being it would then be applied to 7.62 if they came up with a viable 5.56 solution. (There was also talk of going on to .50 BMG caliber, but there are hinderances to applying the EPR concept to .50 caliber that’s a WHOLE 'nother dissertation that I’ll save for another time. For now, EPR is just 5.56 and 7.62.)

As you can guess, a 7.62 NATO brown tip tracer being referred to as a “green” tracer can create confusion. Specifically, a quantity of brown tip 7.62 projectiles turned up on the market, advertised to the seller as “green” tracers created much confusion, as people buying them were perplexed as to why the previous lot of brown tip “green” tracers weighed around 147 grains, but the new brown tip “green” tracers weighed only 130 grains. Further, those loading them up were expecting green traces, but got red traces instead when they were fired.

The answer, of course, was that the earlier lot were actual green tracing brown tip bullets, while the later lot were red tracing brown tip bullets from the M62A1.

So the moral of this story is, if you have an opportunity to purchase a cartridge or projectile that is 7.62 NATO and brown tip, billed as a green tracer, find out from the seller if it’s green TRACE tracer or environmentally friendly tracer. (And, if not a reload, the headstamp would also tell you…see above.)

To Pepper’s photo posting above of a pair if 7.62 NATO Brown tip tracers, the one on the left is Green TRACE (M62), while the right is Environmentally Friendly (M62A1) red trace.

Going forward, the 5.56 round will be the golden tipped M855A1 Ball and Orange tip M856A1 Tracer, while the 7.62 NATO variant will the golden tipped M80A1 Ball and Brown tip M62A1 Tracer. (That is till the 6.5, 6.8 .300 NM, .338 NM, .27 “What’s It” all take over as military calibers, but as cartridge collectors, we’ve been there and done that with SPIW, 4.6, 5.7, HK Caseless, PDW, et al, ALL of which were POSITIVELY the future of military ammunition…i.e. don’t hold your breath.)


Pfew !!!