Possible wildcats or military experiments?


#1

I am not sure on these and have asked both types of experts to no avail. One suggests possibly Dale Adams designs from England Air Force base in the late 50’s. The wildcatter suggests they are very similar to the Frank Barnes wildcats based on the .308 Winchester case.

They are all made from 30-06 casings.

Shortest one is marked “.30 - 1 5/8’ IMPROVED ASSAULT RIFLE CARTRIDGE FIRE FORMED ADAMS” length 1.615" 0.341 neck diameter .308 projectile F A 59 marked head

Next one is marked “.30 - 1 5/8” STANDARD ASSAULT CART. ADAMS" Length is 1.647" and 0.354 neck diameter. .308 projectile F A 58 marked head. It has a longer tapered shoulder and neck than previous.

Last one is marked “.30 - 1 3/4” IMPROVED ASSAULT RIFLE CARTRIDGE FIREFORMED ADAMS". Length is 1.776" and 0.347 neck diameter and it was fired. L C 53 marked head.

If one needs more dimensions please ask.

Joe


#2

Joe

My 2 cents worth. Probably not even worth that, but that’s my minimum charge.

A couple of basic questions. 1) Who is Dale Adams? 2) Where were the cartridges found?

I tend to think they are wildcats. My military mind comes up with several reasons to discount any military connection.

  1. Military experimentals likely would have had cases especially made for the project.

2)Why would they have used Cal .30 (30-06) and all of the attendant case forming steps when 7.62mm NATO brass would have been easier and readily available?

  1. The steep shoulder angles on 1 and 3 are not what a designer would be considering for a military cartridge.

  2. The US military would not have used fractions to describe case length. Decimals (or even metric) would have been more standard.

On the wildcat side of the question, #2 is a clone of the wildcat 7.62x41mm of the late 1950s. The other two are near twins of other short 30 caliber wildcats of the same era.

SWAG

Ray


#3

Ray,

Dale Adams was supposedly an small arms munitions development employee at England Air Force base in the late 50’s.

I am told by an employee who retired after a long career working for various U.S. government facilities such as Frankford Arsenal that they mostly bought commercial brass to reform, but occasionally used what they had on hand if the project budget was getting tight.

Yes my opinion is leaning towards that they are just wildcats.

Joe

Addition; Where did I get them? Thats a long story so here is the short version. Bought them locally from a friend in the ammunition business that got them from an estate in Nevada where he obtained much military surplus ammo. Contacted local collectors there and they never head of the original owner. I have since misplaced the name. The collection I got after it was picked over by another local collector, had mostly military cartridges in it. The other collector fellow took most of the known military experimentals I am told, paying very handsomely. Yes, early bird gets the worm… I received what was left for a few dollars. Lots of sectioned rounds done like I have have no knowledge of. They were sliced perfectly in two with the primers intact and unaltered. Yes the compositions and foil was undisturbed. Very professional to say the least. Notes were written on U.S. ordnance requisition and transfer forms from the 50’s used as scrap paper. Very small and precise hand writing in pencil. There were also a few wildcat cartridges in the collection. Some like Sweaney Parabola’s and Gradel’s. All were non military wildcats except for these in question. I gave them all to a wildcat friend of mine that sends me military cartridges from time to time.


#4

Joe

Do you mean Eglin AFB in Florida? It seems odd that an AFB would be involved in small arms ammunition development in the 1950s. The Ordnance Department was picky about anyone crossing the lines of mission responsibility but, of course, the USAF had the right to tell the Army to shove it, which they often did.

Ray


#5

Ray,

Yes maybe so. I am reading my scribbled phone notes and I wrote England, but I am thinking he said Florida, not Louisiana, so that would make more sense.

Joe

Yes, now that I think on it, definitely Eglin AFB in Florida.


#6

Joe,

England AFB is now closed but in the early 1950s it was a Fighter-Bomber base operating F-84s. There would have been no small arms development going on at that time.

I think you mean Eglin AFB which was, and still is the development center for USAF munitions. I was stationed there in the late 1970s. Eglin AFB was created in Oct 1940 from about 350,000 acres of national forest and became a proving ground got sit munitions during WWII. The base land and adjacent waters were used extensively for weapons training and testing during the war. Some of the best areas to troll for sport fish is a few hundred yards off shore in 60’-70’ of water where dummy bombs were dropped providing bottom structure in the otherwise sandy bottom. The primary effort immediately after WWII was missles and target drones. They even created drone B-17s. In late 1955 the Air Munitions Development Lab moved down from Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio which was the center for all Air Corp/USAF development before and during WWII and is still the location for USAF R&D as well as most USAF development of new weapon systems. This lab eventually developed into the Air Force Armament Lab. Guns and ammunition were a relatively small part of the Lab efforts during the time I was there and from my conversations with the people who had been in the business for a long time. Most of the guns and ammo work was aircraft weapons, 10mm and up. Small arms ammunition was a very small part of this effort and as far as I know never involved more than a dozen people or less. Their budget for small arms was tiny compared with what else went on in research, development and acquisition at Eglin AFB.

I have never heard of Dale Adams. The heart and soul of the ammunition development business in the Munitions/Armament Lab was Dale Davis a senior civil service employee. His official bio from his book on 20mm & 30mm ammunition below shows him arriving just months after the Air Munitions Development Lab moved down to Eglin.

[quote]Dale M. Davis received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from West
Virginia University in 1951. Upon graduation, he received a commission in the
USAF and was assigned to the newly formed Air Research and Development Command
at Wright Air Development Center. In 1952 he was transferred to Aberdeen
Proving Ground, on the ordnance officers’ exchange program, where he was
assigned to the Small Arms and Aircraft Weapons Branch. Upon release from
active duty in 1954 he retained his position and duties as a civilian until he
transferred to the Air Force Armament Center at Eglin AFB in 1956. [/quote]

I knew Dale well and almost went to work for him when I was a Major. I also knew the technicians and engineers who had worked for him from the early 60s and looked at their play toys laying around in desk drawers and in their lab and storage area. Dale himself had quite a collection which went to the AF Armament Museum at Eglin. Most if it is in storage and only small amounts are on display. I went through Dale’s collection before he retired and have been through it again where it is stored on the Museum. I never heard or saw anything like your items, which doesn’t mean they were not made at Eglin. I also have a pretty good idea of the small arms development at Eglin that went along with the weapons, and have never heard any mention of rifle development before the AR-15 which the AF acquired and issued before the Army became interested in the M-16. I carried an AF issue AR-15 in Vietnam in 1966 (not that I ever had reason to fire it off the rifle range at Bien Hoa).

The Dale Davis was very close to Bill Woodin and if the armament lab had done anything like the items you show, Dale would have known about it and he would have passed on samples or at least information to Bill Woodin. I am sending this post along with your original post to the Woodin Lab to see if Bill recognizes them.

I feel pretty confident in telling you that these were not made in 1950, but perhaps could have been made in the late 1950s.

I doubt that there was a “Dale Adams” but perhaps that is really a reference to Dale Davis.

Frankly I think the story you got has been repeated often enough that it got screwed up and “Eglin” became “England”, 1950s or 1960s became 1950, and Dale Davis became Dale Adams.

These things could have been legit. I have no way of knowing. I did go through a cabinet once that had all the loading dies Eglin had made up including one for a .22 version of the 30-06 that they loaded for a German G-3 (I think) MG. they wanted to try it with 4000ft/sec ammo and originally chambered it for the 220 Swift, but as a semi-rimmed round it wouldn’t feed well so they rechambered it for a .22-06 and loaded the ammo themselves. At least that is how I remember the story. The box with the dies had some unloaded dummies-just unprimed cases with a bullet. I did talk the tech out of these. There were dies going back to the early 60s. Had your three cases been done by the Eglin Lab the dies would have likely been in that cabinet. Still someone could have walked off with them or whatever so that doesn’t prove they were not made at Eglin.

If I turn up any other information, I will post it.

Cheers,
Lew

PS: In the late 50s and early 60s, Eglin had hired a number of people from Aberdeen and participated in all the meetings and demos of that time including the discussions on small caliber infantry cartridges. I suspect that the Munitions Lab guys at WPAFB had participated before they moved to Eglin.


#7

Lew

Great information! I knew that you had been stationed at Eglin at one time and was hoping that you would see Joe’s question.

Eglin AFB brings back old memories. My time at Eglin lasted about 2 hours. I was a USN Gunners Mate in the early 1950s and when my ship visited Mayport FL, I took a few days leave to visit my girlfriend in Albuquerque, but my sailor-boy pay meant I had to hitch rides. I got a hop to Eglin and luckily there was a plane leaving for Kirtland AFB that took me aboard. My best memory of that flight was the pilot and co- pilot playing cards while the Flight Engineer, a Sgt., flew the plane.

I married that pretty girl, BTW. 57 years ago this month.

Ray


#8

In 1971-74 i was post at CFB Uplands Ottawa Canada, 2 Air-Force guys post there were already experimenting on ammunition.

I study with those 2 and my ‘‘first military’’ ammunition works went to Vietnam from there. (3006cal)

Sample rds are in the hands of one IAA member.

My grain of salt is that a great number of experimental military ammo never made the records I would take my ( 1984) 338 cal aluminum case rds it took almost 20 years for the industries to call 338 development and not very long ago the 338lm was till a wildcat


#9

Lew,

I asked Lew B. first and he threw me the Dale Adams possible .30 IMP sub gun project at Eglin and to ask Bill W… Bill said to ask Frank H… Frank said he knows a Dale Adams that headed the ARRADCOM at Picatinny Arsenal, the Small Caliber and Fire Control Development Laboratory. Yes, the names and information may be a bit out of order as people are graciously trying to remember for me. At this point I think they are just someone’s wildcats. I still scratch my head a bit as to the source collection they came out of.

Joe


#10

Joe, Dale Adams could well have been with the Army somewhere. If that is the case than the rounds could have come into the hands of Dale Davis since he was apparently in the munitions business in the lab at WPAFB before he became the liaison officer between the USAF and Army at Aberdeen.

Dale Davis was the father of the IMP program at Eglin, both the 221 Fireball and the later .30 versions for the one modified gun. I have the 221 residue in my storage room. A 20mm ammo can is still just less than half full of clipped 221 cases loaded with 5.56mm bullets, both ball and tracer though the tracer aren’t marked. I knew the guys well who worked that and found some. For years I thought of buying a single shot 221 pistol, but never did it.

Ray, Thank God for autopilots!!! Besides, autopilots do not fly while hungover! Glad you had such good judgement in woman at that age, and being a sailor too! Amazing!!! Congratulations…

Cheers,
Lew


#11

Dale is simply not a first name that appeared in British society within that timescale. If he was in Britain he would have been with the US Military rather than the UK Military but you can never say never. I am not aware of any ammo development facilities in Britain by the US.


#12

All this talk about Eglin made me salivate. Air Force Armament Museum navalaviationmuseum.org/ are right next to each other, but I have never been to Florida panhandle. One day, one day!!!