Novice - Found unusual bullet - Need help ID

Kicked this strange , heavy bullet up while on a sandbar along the White River in Indiana. Can’t seem to find anything like it searching online. Any leads appreciated! Never found/researched a bullet before. Thank you kindly, Kasey. … ary/Bullet

Why do you think it is a bullet?

Not sure what it is, but it doesn’t look the least bit “bullety” to me.

I second that

resembles a masonry anchor.

It has the conical shape and rounded point head of a bullet along with the flattened buttend from being melted by something quite hot. Local fishermen are telling me it got the striations and six-sided form from being shot from a hexagonal barrel “buffalo gun” and was probably handmade, shot with too much powder, and only clipped something before going into the ground or went into a large animal that was only wounded and later laid down. It weighs 1.6 oz as is and the guess is 50 cal or above. I’ve also been referred to a new gun shop in town to have it looked at. This is what it would have looked like before being shot: … ound11.jpg

Thanks for the replies. Looks like I have a ca. 1880 keepsake for going out on that sandbar. The town I’m in was founded in 1875 and the site of the purported first armed train robbery by the Reno Brothers (buried in the old city cemetery a few blocks from my home). They used a cave-like feature near that sandbar to hideout. There were also battles between frontiersmen and natives along the river as well around the 1880s. I’ve found partial arrowheads before but this is my first bullet :) Getting out and talking to these old rivermen has been a real adventure as well!

Hey, anything’s possible, but I think you’re still looking for your first bullet.

If not a masonry anchor, possibly something similar for boat building.
Not a bullet, at least in my opinion.


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Your object has no characteristics of a “bullet” in my humble experience, based upon looking at them for 30 odd years. Some VERY knowledgeable people seem to share this opinion. I’d take their word for it.

If this were a projectile fired in a hexagonal rifled barrel, the “flat” sides of the object would have a slight twist to them. From your pics, these appear to be straight or parallel. Also, were this a lead projectile, I would expect to see white lead oxide on the surface instead of what looks like rust stains. The “melted” portion of the object would not have been caused by the heat of being fired, even if in an overloaded condition.


1st off, lots of things are bullety shaped. Heck, it could be a plumb bob or a fishing weight. Also, things like that were melted down to cast other things. Lead doesn’t need extremely hot temperatures to melt. If it was melted, it wouldn’t have had a flattened bottom unless melted in a frying pan or a skillet.

2nd. Striations on the bullet are from rifling. All guns would have this, except for most early muskets. The 6 sided form WOULD NOT be from a hexagonal barrel. Yes, buffalo rifles were made with hexagonal barrels, BUT the bores (aka the INSIDE of a barrel) would still be round. If it has a hexagon shape, it would be from a Whitworth. That was a .45 caliber rifle from the Civil War era. There is no way for it to be hexagonal and still have rifling, because the rifling would serve no purpose. The hexagonal bore shape acted as rifling to spin the bullet. Also, fishermen ARE fishermen, not gun experts.

[quote=“KaseyKitty”] and only clipped something before going into the ground or went into a large animal that was only wounded and later laid down. It weighs 1.6 oz as is and the guess is 50 cal or above. I’ve also been referred to a new gun shop in town to have it looked at. This is what it would have looked like before being shot: … ound11.jpg

3rd. If it clipped something, the front would be damaged, not the back. Unless the rifle was loaded with the bullet backwards (which would be inaccurate and unsafe), that couldn’t happen. 1.6 oz is 700 grains. Most 12 gauge slugs weigh less. As you say, 50 caliber and above, so I am assuming it to be between 50 and 60 caliber. Such a bullet would be WAY heavy for common standards of then (keep in mind, .50 caliber rifles of today fling a longer projectile that weighs 650), have a trajectory of a medicine ball thrown by a man senior to Shigechiyo Izumi, and be able to penetrate anything on gods green earth and the brick wall the beast is standing in front of. Those bullets in the picture weigh less than 700 grains.

On to the pictures, lead oxidizes with a whitish color. That oxidization is brown, so it doesn’t appear to even be lead.

And finally, I will leave you with this: … inker.html

Thanks everyone. I definitely wanted to ask people with experience as well as the old-timers with their local legends. I took it to the local gun store and they agree it is NOT a bullet. In fact, it is 7-sided instead of hexagonal or octagonal! They directed me down the street for metal testing by a jeweler and it is lead, possibly with some steel mixed in. He suggested an old plug for foundations and such in building entrances - that the lead was melted and poured into hole of that shape and the bottom part is overflow. I definitely didn’t know lead was soft enough to melt in a frying pan or that people commonly melted lead to refashion objects in those days. Those striations are what seem to stump us all. Being found on a river, near the old water processing plant, looks like you are all leading me in the right direction with boating and masonry. Looks like the expert verdict is someone melted down some lead or lead mix object to make themselves a lead sinker! Pretty neat little sinker, I think :)

KK: I applaud your interest in trying to figure out found objects, in fact I’ve spent a good part of my life doing the same thing. You will find that some things found here or there can be identified fairly rapidly while others are very resistant to revealing themselves. Sometimes research will reveal them to you, but some just need to go into an “in process” file where they can be re-examined later with more knowledge and a fresh vision. Good luck. Jack

Near the water processing plant is a valuable clue.

Until the 1960s, plumbers routinely used melted lead to join pipes, and for all sorts of other stuff. (The trade name plumber comes from their use of lead “plumbium”.)

Using melted lead to anchor railings and the like in concrete was quite common, but they use epoxy now which is easier to work with. However, lead could be used to similarly anchor things in heavy wood timbers.

It looks like there is a projection sticking out on the side running h=lengthwise, which would be sort of a key or spline to keep the piece from twisting in whatever it was installed in.

JohnS, that was the jeweler’s opinion as well! Any idea what kind of joint would have this unusual seven-sided striated form?

I worked one summer for the USGS (United States Geodetic Survey) with a survey crew. We set many a permanent survey marker/monument with small lead anchors. A star drill was used to punch a hole in the bed rock and the anchor driven in to the hole. The Anchor had a small hole in the center to drive the benchmark or survey marker into, which wedged the whole unit tightly into the rock or concrete. The rusty center is probably and old bolt or screw.