Reference book on WW1 to current U.S. small arms ammunition?

Good morning,
I have no specific ammunition reference books at this time, just sections of weapons books showing different types of ammo commonly used. What is a good reference book to cover WW1 to fairly current U.S. & NATO small arms ammunition? Mostly interested in .30 cal, .45ACP, 9mm, 7.62X51, 5.56mm, and .50 cal BMG.


Good reference books…
next 2008 St-Louis show I will bring a lot of good books…

I would start with “History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition”, by Hackley, Woodin & Scranton, (Volume 1 and 2), and then probably “The History and Development of the M16 Rifle and It’s Cartridges”, by David R. Hughes.

Carey–There is no “one” reference book that covers it all. However the entire area you mention is covered quite well by using several books. It also makes a difference in just what you want from the reference books. Are you a beginning collector and want mostly identification information or are you more advanced and are looking for more in depth historical information on development and load types? Tell us more of what your needs are and we can better help you to find books that fill that specific need.

On all of the cartridges you mention except the .50 BMG, and .45 ACP, there are entire books on each one of them individually. If you want in depth history for 1875-1945 on U.S. Military rounds there is a 2 book set that is the “Bible” for this area. It is;

Hackley, Frank and Woodin, William and Scranton, Eugene. 1967-78. History of Modern U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition. 2 vols. Macmillan. New York, U.S.A…
Vol 1 - 1880-1939. 328p. ISBN: 1-57747-033-9
Vol 2 - 1940-1945. 297p. ISBN: 0-88227-007-9

I would suggest you click on “IAA Home” at the top of the Forum and scroll down to the Bibliography of Cartridge books.

Hey Ron,
I understand and appreciate the info. Must have 6 different books on collecting U.S. M14 rifles alone. Already went thru the Reference Books section of the forum and just wanted to narrow it down somewhat. The reference books mentioned so far should take care of my night reading for some time to come.

                                           Thanks to all who replied,


Check out my website. Go to Reference Documents and to the second page. I just put up the Army Tech Manual on ammunition. Covers all the small arms ammo up to 30mm used by the Army at that time. It is $35/copy post paid.



I already have that TM current thru the 20 Dec, 1996 update. But I appreciate the offer. That TM has proven to be a very useful source of info. I am waiting for the next edition to come available with more up-to-date info on some of the newer cartridge types.
Your 9mm head stamp list came in handy though. I have boxes of a variation of RWS (DN01E) marked dnf St+ 9 44, variation of Polish (KA01D) marked kam St+ 7 43, and the undated “WINCHESTER 9m/m PARABELLUM FOR USE IN SUB-MACHINE GUNS” boxed (WR01F).


I would strongly urge you to start with Hackley Woodin & Scranton. Besides the ID info, it is invaluable to gaining insights on the reasons various cartridges were developed, and also the problems, pitfalls and successes along the way. Volume 1 has nice background info which lays the foundation for WW1 and later developments. Volume 2 covers WW2 experiments and production, and teh ammo stocks mostly used up until the M14/M16 era. The authors are (and have been forever!) working on a Volume 3 but while the hordes of potential buyers are impatiently waiting, they are doing their usual superb research, drafting and writing, and we can be sure it will be a definitive work when it finally appears.

No worries. Volume 1 & 2 are on my list. I will read those while awaiting volume 3. Being part of the M14/M16 generation, volume 3 will have special interest for me. Was not aware that it was in progress.


Carey–Read slowly. Vol. 2 came out in 1978 and we are STILL waiting for Vol. 3 almost 30 years later. The 3rd volume has been said to “almost” ready for over 20 years. At this point, it may be published posthumously as all the authors are getting quite old now. To be honest, I personally doubt if it will ever get published at all.

Ron, is there a particular reason why Vol.3 is not getting published?

That is disappointing to hear. It seems I am running into that same problem more and more often nowadays. Hopefully, younger members of their families took enough interest to get volume 3 published, albeit posthumously.


EOD–I really have no idea why the long delay. All three of the authors are perfectnists and very careful researchers. Of course that is why Vol. 1 & 2 are so valuable to collectors. If they say something in their books you can count on it being right, not guesses or hearsay.

Let’s all hope that “almost” ready turns into “released” soon. I know I sure have a lot of questions about the post-1945 era of cartridges especially 7.62 x 51 and the various Project Salvo developments.

Concerning a release date for HRS Vol. 3, I spoke with someone today who knows all three authors well. I was told a tentative release date is 2-3 years away. The main hangup seems to be getting the confirmed facts about 5.56 development at FA since the records were all shipped to Aberdeen. Vol. 3, when it does come out, will cover 1946 to the closing of Frankford arsenal in 1976.