Us 105mm m774 apfsds-t tank round ( sectioned )

This is a sectioned US M774 APFSDS-T round fired from the M68 Tank gun fitted on the M1 tank. It is significant in that it is the 1st US adopted 105MM tank fired DU round (that I know of).

It is crimped into a steel M148A1B1 case and uses an ELEC M120 primer which travels up the center of the case stopping 7.5 inches from the top.


PROJECTILE CLOSE-UP (sectioned side)

PROJECTILE CLOSE-UP (non-sectioned side)

As with all sub-projectile ammunition of this type, the military experimented with various width to length ratios of the dart. This picture shows how US 105MM APFSDS-T ammunition has fluctuated over the years. (Disregard the blue round which is German made as a TP round equivalent to the US made tactical M735 APFSDS round on the far left)

LEFT to Right / Oldest to Newest
Blue Round German, US M797 TPFSDS-T black paint scheme, US M797 TPFSDS-T blue paint scheme, US M735 APFSDS-T Tungsten Sub-Projectile, US M774 APFSDS-T DU, US M883 APFSDS-T DU. Not pictured, and the only US 105MM APFSDS I don’t have and am on the hunt 4 would be the M900 APFSDS-T round. The M900 is the last US 105MM APFSDS-T made and used by our forces until the M1 tank was turned into to M1A1 using a 120MM German made main gun. I think it is now made under license in Egypt?

Just curious, is it safe to have a DU projectile?

Great stuff Jason. Did the 105MM round use only steel cases?

Good work!

Question- In sectioning small arms, the convention seems to be that the surfaces that have been cut are painted RED.

Is there any similar convention for ammunition, or is thee artistic license for the cutter to paint/not paint any way they like?

As long as you don’t shave bits off to garnish your breakfast cereal, sure.

Seriously, DU is safe unless you are on the receiving end of it. Check out for more info.

Also, it’s my understanding that any APFSDS-T round isn’t necessarily a DU round. “-T” indicates “Training” and I can’t imagine, at the cost of the stuff, that a DU “war shot” would be authorized for training purposes. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I would think the DU would be remanufactured into new ammo.

As long as you don’t shave bits off to garnish your breakfast cereal, sure.

Seriously, DU is safe unless you are on the receiving end of it. Check out for more info.

Also, it’s my understanding that any APFSDS-T round isn’t necessarily a DU round. “-T” indicates “Training” and I can’t imagine, at the cost of the stuff, that a DU “war shot” would be authorized for training purposes. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I would think the DU would be remanufactured into new ammo.[/quote]

Yes DU is safe as long as it is in solid, non-fired or aerosolized form. One should never cut or grind DU as the dust can be breathed in and then become very dangerous.

Rick, as far as I know, all us 105mm tactical APFSDS-T rounds (issued to US troops) were manufactured on steel M148A1B1 cases with 2 different types of primers depending on the projectile. I have seen photos of experimental US Apfsds-T rounds on brass cases and possibly some made under license in other countries.

John S, I used red and orange as purely artistic license. I would be real interested to learn if their was a standardized color code to sectioned ordnance as I would like to follow it if it exists.

Cyber, The “T” in APFSDS-T stands for tracer not TP. You are correct that not all APFSDS-T rounds have a DU core. The 1st tactical 105mm APFSDS-T round designated the M735 uses tungsten and not DU. The latter, M774, M833 & M900 all use DU cores in their sub-projectile darts. Their are also tons of other APFSDS-T rounds of all sizes that use tungsten instead of DU. A interesting thing about DU projectiles is that they are only allowed to be fired in times of war to the best of my knowledge. At least this fact is true with DU tank ammunition.


I would not be so quick in declaring Depleted Uranium to be relatively hazardless. I am not scientific at all, and I have no axe to grind in this discussion, as I do not collect any caliber of ammunition that generally has DU cores, nor was I ever in close contact with any such ammunition during my military service. I will say that this subject is highly controversial, and that the reference cited, which I have added to my one-inch thick file on this subject, is a statement by the U.S. Government, who certainly do have an axe to grind in this matter. I will, to be fair, state that I am skeptical of almost any statement made by Government Agencies in matters like this, based on nothing more than the repeated pattern of half-truths on subjects that I am either well acquainted with, or of which Government statements have been conclusively proven to be false and/or misleading. Just think for a minute of the statements of some government agencies regarding gun control, and I think you will find my statement to be not an outrageous one.

I am not qualified to judge the statements made in the source cited in this thread. Let’s just repeat that I am sceptical when Government exonerates itself. “Fox in charge of the Hen House?”

I could not possibly give a synopsis here of the many articles indicating that DU is a dangerous material to have around and to handle. I cannot even say that they are correct since I don’t know some of the organizations involved with them, and since there is a political question about DU, they may be slanted to the left on the issue.

I do know personally, and for over forty years, IAA Member Fred Davis, an active pro-gun Benefactor Member of the NRA, a Life Member of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, a Life Member of IAA and a highly educated and credentialed chemist who worked for years in a major U.S.Customs and Homeland Security laboratory. Please see his article entitled “Denal” - “DU” - “Depleted Uranium”: A Warning," that appeared in the IAA Journal Issue 434, November-December 2003, pages 20 and 21. There have been other articles in the Journal about DU, so mirroring the Government’s position and some inbetween. I cannot judge the qualifications of the author’s of those articles in relation to knowledge about the properties and potential hazards of DU, but I can judge those of Mr. Davis, and his credentials in this area are impeccable.

His opinions appear to be “somewhat” at odds with the Government’s positions, and while I take no hard stand on this issue out of my own ignorance, if I were a betting man, I will bet on source with no axe to grind.

Their is no doubt that DU can be insanely dangerous and really dirty up a battlefield after being fired. All kinds of nasty issues with it which is why many Governments are starting to reduce or replace its use. This is especially true as technology is advancing so fast with tungsten cores becoming more and more effective. As far as my own collection goes, I have a few DU artifacts but they are all in pristine condition with no rust or corrosion. My father being very cautious, brought home a geiger counter from the hospital to double check my DU projectiles and they all were safe. Whewwwww :-)


I’m with cyberwombat, the target will see the highest level of effects from DU, more a result of velocity than radiation. Akin to asbestos, it is relatively inert until stirred up. The numbers win out over emotions. The Geiger counter test settles it. Lots of rumor/scuttlebutt based on little or no facts, supported by disinformation. Don’t know anyone who’d be rubbin’ on one every day for the 25 years or so it would take to absorb a hazardous dose. The dinner table is more dangerous.

Really fine sectioning.

DU; if you have to own it advise your local FIRE DEPARTMENT . If you have a house fire the DU becomes a very dangerous substance for FIREMEN to be exposed too.

Further considerations : DU in your home may void the terms of your homeowners insurance and mortgage.

Best NOT to have DU in your home.

Good point on the fire hazards. Not sure as I’m going to run down and tell the firechief, though. Would probably make the paper. Insurance is a major issue as well. Have had firearms biz related home owner insurance problems in the past. Sad part of that is, the fine print will negate coverage in the event of a loss. Be careful out there.

Slick Rick - the information in Mr. Davis’ article is not based on emotion, but rather on scientific fact. I would read it before you dismiss it as emotion. You might also search the net for information on DU from sources other than the U.S. Government, who are trying to cover their anatomy at the lower portion of the back on this issue. We all thought asbestos was safe fifty years ago.

Hey John
While not referencing any article in particular, my comment regarding the emotion vs fact angle was a general statement. Could be applied to the gun issue or global warming or any number of other hot topics out there. No doubt there are those out there in the CYA mode. Being of a libertarian bent, I am probably one of the least trusting of the gubmint on this forum. BUT, I do have a few years of special weapons time under my belt, read just about everything published on munitions that crosses my “desk”, and conclude that the extremes of thought on this issue are just that. Extremes. I actually know a little about this nuke stuff. Have handled it in various forms, worked with it and seen the meters peg on occasion. Of the components handled and known about, I’m pretty confident that DU is exponentially safer than the chicken littles want you to believe. Everybody’s got facts. Sadly, few are able to produce definitive proof. I’ll stick with my concepts on this issue. I have no qualms with you sticking with yours.
I have many opinions. A couple of them are probably wrong.

Here’s a link with numerous opinions:

Which includes this little tidbit:
“Epidemiological investigation is subject to numerous confounders, and thus has very real and often unknown limitations in discerning low-level effects in a relatively small population group. Ferreting out possible small effects in one group as compared with another is an exercise that is fraught with potential for error, and there is often a tendency to give too much credibility to a single unreplicated finding, particularly by those in the media and other non-scientists who may have a particular axe to grind.”


You mentioned the cost of DU as being very expensive. I am not 100% sure if this is true or not, but I recall hearing somewhere that DU was actually free to properly licensed weapons manufacturing companies? Since it is a by product of nuclear energy plants it something they are happy to give away if legal??? I could be wrong on this.



No idea how the transfer of the material is handled, or the forming of the projectiles, in whatever form. The C130 utilizes DU material as a counterweight in the tail assembly, shaped to match the leading edge airfoil of the control surface. Off subject a bit, I know, but speaks to the utilitarian use of the material and low levels of concern.
As for cost to end-users, I’d think the producers are glad to be rid of it, saving the expense of landfill costs.

Rick, I also heard that DU is a relatively easy metal to work with if you the Ammunition Manufacturer follows certain safety protocols. That being said, I would never ever cut, grind or mess with it in any way. I have also read like you mentioned that it is also used in all kinds of aircraft as counterweight.