Testing Special Purpose Ammunition


I would like to introduce myself, my name is Ryan and while I joined this forum last year I don’t believe I have ever posted. I found you by means of a current member that has helped me ID some ammo in the past. My interests include bullet casting and reloading as well as specialty ammunition and its effects. When I say specialty ammunition I mean anything that is not off the shelf such as AP, API, Incendiary, HEI, specifically old stuff. While I would imagine most people here are collectors my interest is in obtaining samples and shooting them to see their effects. Secondary to that I also have made some youtube videos documenting some of these “tests” in the past. I do typically like to save one intact round, when possible, for my collection.

I realize that shooting collectible ammo may be taboo but I hope that I am welcome here. The reason I am here is because my past videos have not met my desired level of technical and educational content. I am hoping for assistance from the experts here in identifying ammo and projectiles so that I can accurately depict them prior to demonstrating their effects. This is something that I take seriously and I have spent significant money on acquiring ammo from collectors, shows, and other sources. I have also recently invested in a high speed video camera to increase the quality of my videos.

Is this something that I can request your assistance with? If so then I would like to post up some photos and specifications of a few projectiles to get started.


I think you will find at least 3 schools of thought on the use of older or collectible ammunition:

  1. It is horrific that you are destroying scarce/rare artifacts that others would dearly love to have in your collection; you should be ashamed of yourself.
  2. Go for it, it’s your ammo, shoot all you want. Every collectible round you shoot makes the ones I have even more scarce and valuable.
  3. It’s too bad you have to actually destroy the cartridges to learn about their intended purpose and capability, but it is a necessary and beneficial academic exercise.
    For me, it’s a mix of all three, depending on the scarcity of the cartridge in question…and whether I have one in my collection or not!
    I’m sure you will get plenty of replies to any questions or requests for info.

Hi Jonnyc, thank you for your response. I think that you will find that the items I am dealing with are probably not ranking on the high end of any collectors list, or even mid range necessarily… that is unless I stumble across something good by accident. I do have a conscience in that regard, however it is in constant battle with my curiosity, and I’m always open to opinions and learning new things. There is also of course the safety aspect too. So far I have only done some some various API’s, AP, some explosive, plastic core and steel core, etc. Often times I end up loading it myself if it comes to me as projectiles only. Thank you.

Hey Ryan. You’re among friends. Cartridge collecting is like NASCAR. Some guys like to design the cars, some guys like to build them and work on them, some like to drive, and some just like to watch. I believe that the inside of a cartridge is far more interesting than the outside. So, I open boxes, pull bullets, weigh stuff, cut things in half, and shoot a specemin or two over a chronograph. Not many guys here share my interest in the guts of a cartridge and probably fewer will be interested in what you’re doing. But, one thing I can tell you for certain, your posts will be read. You may even get some comments and learn something you didn’t know before.


Welcome Ryan,

Anyone is welcome to post photos of cartridges, projectiles, sectioned bullets, fired bullets, or the results of impact here. Most people use photobucket or a similar photo-hosting site and then post image links here. You can post links to videos if you have somewhere to host them also (Youtube, etc…). I assume you have more than one of each of the cartridges you are testing so as to be able to fire one or two, and then save a complete example? I would only caution against posting load data (powder info) if you do reloading, as this is forbidden in any forum post here.

In the tracer / exploder arena you probably have several items from the likes of Northern Arizona Munitions (Jim Haak - a member here), Clark’s Custom Cartridge (purple-tip incendiary exploders), SBR tracers and other military tracers, and hopefully some older specialty loaders such as Blamm-O, Stromen-Trickel, National Cartridge, Wolf River, C&T Enterprises, Hi-Vel, Atlas Ammo, All Purpose Ammo (APA), Velet / Velex, ExAmmo, Bingham exploders, etc… etc…

Myself and a few others here are interested in all of this type of stuff. You’ll find that for AP / API ammo, most members here will have expertise that is either caliber specific, era specific (pre-war / wartime / post-war), or specific to a certain country of origin. I get into anything that is pistol caliber in all of the above specialty types you mention.

I just would like to add that RayMeketa is by no means alone in this liking to pull bullets or shoot specimens over a chronograph (if possible from a pressure barrel).

Ryan–I think you will find lots of collectors who would find your results very interesting. I, for one, have plunty of curiosity, but lack both the guns to fire most cartridge types and the money to purchase extras to shoot. Go ahead and post your results and see what response you get. I think you will be surprised. I will say, don’t assume that because you don’t get a lot of follow-up postings that there is no interest. Instead watch the “Number of Views”. I know I will look at every one, but will seldom post a comment because I either don’t have the expertise to comment further or there is nothing more to say that is not answered by your demo.

Sounds good to me. I do the same thing every chance I get (usually during gel tests at work, what the round actually does in standardized terminal ballistics tests is of interest to us cops), but I lack any sort of proficiency with cameras, The InterWebs, etc.

I have quantities of some oddball “DK”-type stuff I can send you if you want to do video tests (Ultramag, etc.).

In my experience most of the whizbang stuff falls short in the effectiveness department, but it can be cool to see it do it’s thing downrange.

I’m a bit of a jerk I guess when it comes to destroying collectable ammo…I enjoy it not because it makes purist collectors cringe, but because actually testing the vaunted UberBanger Unobtanium MultiFrangible BlendedMetal Kryptonite stuff is the only way to convince many people that it simply doesn’t stop time, clear up acne, or any of the other wild claims sometimes made by manufacturers and enthusiasts.

So, I’m intensely interested in seeing your work! If you’re not familiar with the work of Dr. Gary Roberts, warm up that Googler. He’s the go-to for a majority of interested ammunition end-users, and his stuff online should be of help if you intend to do industry-standard gel shots or other tests.

Welcome aboard.

I would make the comparison with some of the best vintage cars in the world. Whats the point in leaving them locked away in an air conditioned, humidity controlled garage in the dark?

I’m not at all opposed to shooting old ammo just as long as its not too rare.