Project SALVO Cartridges

I think I’ve shown these before. But for you new guys, or you old guys who can’t remember s#*t, here they are again:

Cal .30 AP M2 Control cartridge
Cal .30 Long Neck Duplex
Cal .30 Long Neck Triplex
.22 Carbine
Cal .22 for LR
AAI Flechette

Cal .30 Ball M2 Control cartridge
Cal .30 Triplex
Cal .30 Duplex
Cal .30/.22
Cal .30/.22 Duplex
AAI Flechette

OK can someone please explain what Project Salvo is


RichT - This may help out some:



Were pistol rounds, like 9x19mm, a part of SALVO? Because I think I have some, or maybe they are .45acp. Ray, thanks for displaying SALVO rounds, if you re-post them in a year, I’ll be very happy to see them again :). Old age is a good thing but only if you are a cartridge.


Project SALVO began in November 1952 and ran through January 1962, although no one is certain about the ending date because no official documentation of SALVO’s demise has been found. You have to understand that several “projects” were ongoing at the same time in the years after WW 2 and there was often overlap in the goals, the funding, and in the hardware that was developed. Small Caliber High Velocity (SCHV), SALVO, Special Purpose Infantry Weapon (SPIW), Future Rifle Program (FRP), Close Assault Weapons System (CAWS), Advanced Combat Rifle (ACR) are a few examples. These projects continued well into the 1990s and it would not surprise me if some are still active today using the original authorization, since getting the initial go-ahead is sometimes the hardest part.

Ray, thanks a lot, we need more of these educational posts. However, your first picture is incomplete, you forgot this triplex…


I don’t really collect the pistol cartridges so I know very little about their evolution. Guys like John M and Lew C know more about them than any of us ever will.

The one good thing about old age is that it doesn’t last very long. ;-)


Fede - The picture you posted above, in my own opinion, is like something a cartoon artist did… VERY funny considering the subject! Thank you!


sksvlad: You may be thinking of the Colt Salvo Squeeze Bore project, which is separate from Project SALVO. Lew Curtis has an excellent article about them on his website at

Ray, it might be interpreted from your two photos that the red-tipped Cal .30" rounds are triplex while those without any tip colour are duplex…but as I understand it this isn’t necessarily so and that the tip colouring is simply there to mark the target. Or have I got it wrong?


I’ve seen more than one explanation for the tip colors. One is as good as the other I suppose. Some are also blue or black. A color tip often was used to identify the hole made by the top bullet, but not always red. I think there was a discussion about this in one of the issues of the JOURNAL. By Bill Woodin, as I remember. Or maybe Chris Punnett? I’ll see if I can find it.

Update - Found it quicker than I expected to. Here’s what Bill said:

[color=#BF0000]The 30-06 (normal case length) with the short pointed bullet, red tip, . . . is most certainly a triplex. These rounds have a dark red tip for identification . . . Duplex rounds . . . normally have plain tips, but colors noted have been light red . . . and dark blue. . . Target marking rounds have paint - generally a flat red - covering most of the exposed bullet. . .The only positive identification is by X-ray.[/color]

The long neck cartridges can be identified by the crimp in the neck so they are easy to ID.

Following a suggestion by Bill I weighed as many of the duplex and triplex cartridges that I could get my hands on and found that it is possible to make a good guess based on the total weight alone. Duplex rounds tend to weigh about 432 grains average whereas Triplex cartridges weigh a little less at 424 grains average.


SALVO II Rifle Experiment- Preliminary Results. John Hopkins University. 1958

Yep, I’ve got it now Ray…thank you.

Here are some additions to the nice series that Ray put up here.
from left to right:

Early Duplex with H/S:SUPER SPEED 30-06 SPG, violet case head and bullet with red wax
Early Triplex, note longer case length (compared to next cartridge) . H/S: WRA 53, bullet with red wax
Duplex with H/S: WRA 54, bullet with red wax
Factory dummy with H/S: WRA 55
Cal 30/22 High Pressure test cartride, H/S: A 57

And a few more…

WRA 56
WRA 57
WRA 57
WRA 53 - longer case and very early factory dummy with blind primer pocket and .30 carbine projectiles
WRA 56 different projectiles
WRA 56 black tip - unknown
.25 cal NPE case. No headstamp.

Here is a Memo from Colt on why the 9mm SSB was canceled, and mention of the .50BMG SSB also