Thoughts on M-22 Frangible mini article


#1

Developed during WWII by Duke and Princeton Universities as part of a government contract. It was initially called the T44, the frangible was adopted as the M22. A round with a different powder and a tan and green bullet tip was called the T74. The idea was to create a bullet that could be used to train bomber gun crews by allowing them to fire at a real aircraft. It took several years to arrive at a suitable bullet. The common mottled grey-green bullet is actually a mixture of powdered lead and Bakelite, officially referred to as RD-42-93. The M-22 normally has a green and white bullet tip, they can sometimes appear with either no tip color or just white tip. Normally, these are simply rounds that have escaped the complete painting process.
One unusual frangible round has a short sharp bullet with a black tip (and a hemispherical base) and was actually for testing the armor plate on the target aircraft.
There is an extremely rare and often faked Frangible Tracer, identified by a red and white bullet tip.

My records show the M22 have a charge of 11gr of SR4759 with a 220gr Bakelite (RD-42-93) Projectile which is heavy than the M2 AP (55 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 165.7gr AP Proj), M1 tracer (50 gr IMR 4895 with 143.5gr Tracer Proj) or M25 tracer (50 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 145.7gr Tracer Proj). Due to the light powder/heavy projectile the velocity was about 1324fps at the muzzle. The M1 Tracer was doing about 2665fps. As the M22 generated app. 857ft.lbs compared to the M1’s 2263ft.lbs my guess would be they needed a low energy round (Obviously) and as velocity has a greater effect on energy than mass they chose to use a slow moving heavy projectile.

Anything I have missed or gotten wrong?

Nick


#2

Nick,
I dont know whether you noticed last time you were over but Ive got a few variations in my collection.
Ive got some spare ones somewhere as well. (somewhere being the operative term).
Are you still living at the Y


#3

Nick,

Both the green and red tip rounds come with both white and cream bands below the color tip. Over time this difference may be hard to distinguish, but the white indicates military powder (T44) and the cream indicates military powder (T74). That is from Walt Kramer and is also referenced in Woodin Vol 2.

Cheers,

Lew


#4

Nick

Nice mini-article. We need more guys to write these sort of things.

I have a 30 Carbine Frangible. Uses the same bullet at the Cal .30. It does look a bit odd but they did it that way to make certain that they never got mixed up with Ball.

Frangible bullets are very hard to pull because of their light weight. I’ve had a few break in half. But, they are fairly common so it’s no big loss. I would hate to break a frangible Tracer, however. (Not that I have one to break)

Somewhere, I also have a couple of loose frangible bullets that I’ve not been able to ID. Anybody help??

And what about the XM276 Tracers with the very same Green/White tip?? Was that an accident waiting to happen??

Ray


#5

[quote=“Lew”]Nick,

Both the green and red tip rounds come with both white and cream bands below the color tip. O[color=#BF0000]ver time this difference may be hard to distinguish[/color], but the white indicates military powder (T44) and the cream indicates military powder (T74). That is from Walt Kramer and is also referenced in Woodin Vol 2.

Cheers,

Lew[/quote]

Hi Lew,

that is not completely correct. The green and tan are the other way around.
Pls see picture below. Both used military powder.
The T44/M22 used SR 4759, the T74 used SR4900.
I have also attached some early and “later” frangible box pictures.
Does anybody have a spare" T74 box ?

cheers
René


#6

“My records show the M22 have a charge of 11gr of SR4759 with a 220gr Bakelite (RD-42-93) Projectile”

Nick

Where did you get a reference to the M22 bullet weighing 220 grains???

Rene

What are the headstamps on the three cartridges shown?

Ray


#7

Ray,

I have following headstamps on T44/M22 cartridges:
LC 4 , LC 44, L C 45, WCC 45, SL 45, DM 45, FA 45, TW 45
All my T74 's are FA 45
The “tracer” is marked [color=#FF0000]F[/color] for fake
and is only shown as example how one could look like.

I weighted some loose M22 bullets and all are 107 - 108 grain

René


#8

Rene

Thanks for the hs information. I’m not being snoopy. I like to keep notes on stuff like that as part of my records. I swore I’d never be a headstamp hunter but I often succumb. The same thing with lot numbers. I’m starting to pay more attention to them than before. They open up an entire new window in military collecting.

I’ve never seen a real Frangible Tracer. Is that what they look like?

Ray


#9

I have no idea whatsoever where I got 220grns. The only thing I can think of is that in Barnes COTW case weight is listed as 220gr and is right under proj weight. It should read 108.3gr. I’ve been asked to write a few mini articles on .30-06 so will post them here for review, catching of stupid mistakes and proof reading.

Second Revision
Developed during WWII by Duke and Princeton Universities as part of a government contract. It was initially called the T44, the frangible was adopted as the M22. A round with a different powder and a tan and green bullet tip was called the T74. The idea was to create a bullet that could be used to train bomber gun crews by allowing them to fire at a real aircraft. It took several years to arrive at a suitable bullet. The common mottled grey-green bullet is actually a mixture of powdered lead and Bakelite, officially referred to as RD-42-93. The M-22 normally has a green and white bullet tip, they can sometimes appear with either no tip color or just white tip. Normally, these are simply rounds that have escaped the complete painting process.
One unusual frangible round has a short sharp bullet with a black tip (and a hemispherical base) and was actually for testing the armor plate on the target aircraft.
There is an extremely rare and often faked Frangible Tracer, identified by a red and white bullet tip.

My records show the M22 have/T44 has a charge of 11gr of SR4759 (T74 uses SR4900) with a 220gr108gr Bakelite (RD-42-93) Projectile which is heavylighter than the M2 AP (55 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 165.7gr AP Proj), M1 tracer (50 gr IMR 4895 with 143.5gr Tracer Proj) or M25 tracer (50 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 145.7gr Tracer Proj). Due to the light powder/heavy charge/light projectile the velocity was about 1324fps at the muzzle. The M1 Tracer was doing about 2665fps. As the M22 generated app. 857ft420ft.lbs compared to the M1’s 2263ft.lbs my guess would be as they needed a low energy round (Obviously) and as velocity has a greater effect on energy than mass they chose to use a slow moving heavylight projectile. which would loose energy quickly. The requirements for penetration are “Shall not perforate aluminium plate at 25 yards 3/162 Dural 2024 T4 with Brinell Hardness of 105 to 125 under 500 kilogram load.”

Now, Does anyone have a photo similar to the one on the Introduction to Collecting .30-06 page that they would be willing to have published on another site? Properly credited of course. Chris??
Second-Does anyone have any idea what the powder charge in the T-74 was?

Nick


#10

Hi Nick,

pls drop me a PM

cheers
René


#11

Nick

I assume you are writing an article for some other publication. Why not add a couple more paragraphs and touch on the other frangibles? The 30 Carbine, Cal 50, and 7.62mm.

Also, check out the TM that I sent you. It should cover all of them.

As far as a photo “like the one Chris has”, I would simply steal his. ;) He’ll never know. Seriously, just ask Chris and he might give you permission to use it.

Ray


#12

Ray,
Let’s not forget the developmental REM-UMC and Peters headstamped frangibles without colored bullet tips.


#13

Guy

I’ve never seen one of the REM-UMC frangibles. Have you? Or maybe I’ve seen one and not know it. I always supposed the bullet would have a frosty silver finish to it, much like the Tin Can bullet, but that’s only a guess.

Are you going to have to batten the hatches again???

Rene & Nick

Wouldn’t the 1944 dated Frangibles more correctly be labeled as the T44 ? Those dated 1945 could be either a T44 or an M22 and I suppose you’d need the box to tell positively.

Ray


#14

Ray

I’ve been asked to do a few mini articles on .30-06 for a guy who has a website on Browning MG’s so at this stage I’m going to stick to .30-06. When I get more time I might start on .50 BMG.

I’ve found reference to a T44E1. Any ideas on what it is? It has the same name as the T44 (Cartridge, Ball, Frangible, Caliber .30) so I’m assuming it is a minor change (projectile shape? -poss the round for testing the armour?) I’m guessing the name for the Frangible Tracer would be Cartridge, Ball, Frangible-Tracer, Caliber .30 or something along those lines but does it have a designation?

Nick


#15

as per HWS: in 1944 the Ordnance Department let a development contract to Remington for
a frangible bullet similar to Remington’s commercial bullet “Spatterless”. The contract became
the nomenclature T44E1. Spatterless bullets were made of lead in combination with a solution
of sodium carbonate.
Testing started in 1944 and the project was cancelled because the bullets broke up upon firing.
Futher test were made with a zinc type bullet (also broke up) and a M2 bullet jacket filled with
lead/zinc dust (too much penetration). the project was cancelled in 1945

cheers
René


#16

Nick

Good luck on your writing project. Just be careful, it’s easy to get hooked and there are no re-hab centers for writers, AFAIK.

Everyone here on the Forum is an expert on the 30-06 so we’re all willing to help. ;) ;) Seriously, some of us do specialize in different Cal .30 cartridge types so don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions. And, post your mini-articles here if it’s possible.

Ray


#17

Here are those commercially headstamped frangibles. The Peters has a longer bullet, is not seated as deep as the REM-UMC, or is a fake; I don’t know which.


#18

Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the forum…(Cue “Jaws” music)

Unless anyone spots any glaring errors or omissions, this is my final draft.

I hope someone (anyone!) learnt something from it. I know I did writing it. If you want to learn more about a particular round/projectile/subject, write a mini-article on it, you learn a lot.

[quote]This Mini article started out purely about the M-22 Frangible bullet, but unfortunately I found it impossible to write this without giving the reason for its development. As such it has turned into an article on the birth of WWII air to air gunnery training.

Practice makes perfect, right? Pilots fly countless circuits, marksmen fire countless rounds, and I’m sure Michael Schumacher has probably lost count of how many countless millions of kilometre’s he has driven in training. So it stands to reason the best way to train aerial gunners is letting them actually shoot at real planes. But using ball ammunition against aircraft could would be dangerous, possibly probably definitely fatal at some point and a waste of resources. So, how do you shoot at a real aircraft with real guns without causing damage to the target aircraft? Posing this question led to one of the US Army Air Forces’ most unusual training programs in World War II, often referred to as Operation Pinball.

In June 1941 the first gunnery school for the training of the aerial gunners who would man the turrets and guns of the bombers of the USAAF was established at Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the next two and a half years, aerial gunnery schools were also opened in Arizona at Kingman and Yuma, Texas at Harlingen and Laredo, and in Florida at Tyndall Field near Panama City and an instructors’ school at Buckingham Field, near Ft. Myers.

At all the schools, the training aids were primitive, consisting of makeshift devices as shotguns mounted on the back of trucks (known as E-5’s) or the more sophisticated gun camera and projection screen trainers, such as the Jam Handy and Waller trainers. The most realistic training came from using gun cameras mounted in actual gun positions of bombers, but it still took time to develop the film and correction to technique could not be given in flight. Theoretically a gunner could go a whole flight without a single round hitting the target aircraft. The man responsible for the gunnery training aids used at Harlingen in 1942 was Major Cameron Fairchild, and he is credited with the idea of developing a bullet that could be fired at a real fighter without actually shooting it down.

To research ways to make a frangible bullet, Fairchild enlisted the help of two professors from Duke University, Paul Gross and Marcus Hobbs. In autumn 1942, Fairchild presented his idea to the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) where the proposal immediately hit an obstacle, the Army’s Ordnance Department, responsible for development of all weapons and ammunition. They argued that any bullet that was truly frangible would not have the same ballistics as live ball or tracer ammunition and would not fire from normal machine guns. They also worried that if such a bullet were fired at a target aircraft, the plane and its pilot would need special armour and other protection. The results were that the NDRC allowed research to continue but with limited funding and low priority.

The idea was for a .30 calibre round that would simulate the trajectory of the .50 BMG used in bomber aircraft. The weapon used was the T-9 Machine gun. Unfortunately I am having trouble locating any information on it. There were several ideas’s put forward for the projectile but the most successful were glass, ceramics, and lead/Bakelite mixtures. As a result these were the ideas that were concentrated on.

The Bakelite Corporation supplied projectiles and sheets of lead/Bakelite mixture (so projectiles could be hand turned); Ceramics were supplied by the Homer-Laughlin Company and the Ceramics Department of Rutgers University. Corning Glass Works supplied two types of glass projectiles, annealed and processed.

To test these materials, cylindrical projectiles, .310” in diameter and .875” in length, were created and fired through a smoothbore gun with a bore diameter of .313”. The results showed that the ceramic, Bakelite/lead and processed glass projectiles were superior to the annealed glass. The ceramic was no better than the Bakelite/lead and was harder to manufacture, thus leaving two possible projectile materials, processed glass and Bakelite/lead.

The processed glass projectiles were specialled heat treated to induce an effect known as “Prince Rupert’s Drop”. My understanding of this effect is that a small amount of molten glass is dropped into water forming a tear drop shape. The exterior is rapidly cooled while allowing the interior to slowly cool and shrink, creating tension. The bulbous end could be subject to all manner of abuse while the pointed end was extremely delicate and would cause the projectile to disintegrate if even slightly damaged. Sounds perfect for a frangible bullet, and it would probably be fine if fired through a bolt action such as the 1903 Springfield or even a semi auto like the M-1 Garand but the rigors of being fired through a fully automatic machine gun were too much for it, leaving only the Bakelite/Lead. Several Bakelite/Lead compositions were supplied, with three standing out, RD-42-79, RD-42-90, and RD-42-93 (the last set of digits referred to the relative size of the lead particles, Bigger number=Smaller particles). Due to density only the -93 was suitable. The next decision was the projectile shape. After testing the best shape was found to be the same as the standard ball round.

Thus the T44 was born.

Initially called the T44, it was adopted as the M22. There is a round with a different powder was called the T-74. The mottled grey-green projectile is composed of 50% powdered lead bonded with 50% Bakelite by volume. The T-44/M-22 normally has a green over white bullet tip, but can sometimes appear with either no tip colour or just a white tip. These are simply rounds that have escaped the complete painting process. The T-74 has a tan over green bullet tip. There is also a T44E1 which was an Ordnance Department contract to Remington for a frangible bullet similar to Remington’s commercial bullet “Spatterless”, made of lead and sodium carbonate. Testing started in 1944 and the project was cancelled because the bullets broke up upon firing. Further test were made with a zinc type bullet (also broke up) and a M2 bullet jacket filled with lead/zinc dust (too much penetration). The T44E1 project was cancelled in 1945.

One unusual frangible round has a short sharp bullet with a black tip (and a hemispherical base) and was actually for testing the armour plate on the target aircraft.

There is an extremely rare and often faked Frangible Tracer, identified by a red and white bullet tip. According to Chris Punnett’s article on The Development of the Frangible Projectile the only mention of these in the Duke and Princeton reports is the possibility of using tracers to act as a rocket to help match the trajectory of the .50 BMG.

Funnily enough, in correspondence with Chris I have learnt that when he visited Duke University in the early 1990’s and enquired about the T-44 project, they vehemently denied any involvement in war-time projects and claimed they had no records of any such a project.

My records show the M22/T44 has a charge of 11gr of SR4759 (T74 uses SR4900) with a 108gr Bakelite (RD-42-93) Projectile which is lighter than the M2 AP (55 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 165.7gr AP Proj), M1 tracer (50 gr IMR 4895 with 143.5gr Tracer Proj) or M25 tracer (50 gr WC 852 or IMR 4895 with 145.7gr Tracer Proj). Due to the light powder charge the velocity was about 1324fps at the muzzle. The M1 Tracer was doing about 2665fps. As the M22 generated app. 420ft.lbs compared to the M1’s 2263ft.lbs. My guess would be as they needed a low energy round they chose to use a slow moving light projectile which would loose energy quickly. (According to Page 47 of TM 9-1305-200 (Small Arms Ammunition) of 1961 the max range was approx. 1900ft) The requirements for penetration state that the M-22 “shall not perforate aluminium plate at 25 yards” The plate is specified as “3/16 in. Dural 2024 T4 with Brinell Hardness of 105 to 125 under 500 kilogram load.” The accuracy figure in TM 9-1305-200 states 2” at 100 yards which is about 1.9 Minutes of Angle
[/quote]


#19


SLICS 2005 display


Sorry…file photos…so not super high res

Argumentatively, as rare as it gets (at least in color marked rounds)…I am told there are only a handful (maybe three) of the ’06 frangible tracers “intact”…intact ??? = (realize that all in existence have suffered the fate of the some type of bullet “fracture” as the tracer compound was hydrophilic…i.e., absorbed moisture…expanded…and fractured off the bullet front or as the case of my whole round, the base of the tracer core fractured off. How do we know?.. one, the rattle of the pieces, two, x-ray.

X-ray to determine the presence of a tracer core in a suspected frangible tracer (yes, many fakes out there, I have two of those also)…in a lead compounded frangible bullet is/was beyond my x-ray equipment and self taught cartridge x-ray skill level…so…in the round that you see sectioned…I had 1000% faith that it came from an authentic source, but since I had one…I consulted the fraternity and decided to subject number two, to Paul Smith’s saw. Rational ?..if it is real…it will be the ONLY sectioned 30-06 frangible tracer in the world
So…it is real…it shows evidence of the bullet having had the front “fall off” (thus re-glued) and evidence of some of the expanded tracing compound having been removed.

Being a color tip collector…this (these) are as good as it gets

PS…since I collect special purpose rounds…I have a “zillion” frangible variations and some real fine '06 examples…but no file photos…will have to snap some for you

Pepper


#20

I hope this doesn’t get lost back here on page 2, but looking at my T44 Frangible cartridges I just noticed a couple of them have cannelured bullets. Smooth cannelure, hs LC 44. I don’t find any reference to these.

BTW, one of them skipped the green paint station and has only the white tip.

Anybody??

Ray