USN Heavy 1 Pdr How do I know if this is inert?

I’m assuming this is inert although I wouldn’t set it next to a fireplace. How do I know if it’s live or not? Did these have loose powder inside or cordite? I realize cordite would not rattle. It has a good hollow ring to it when i put it up to my ear and tap on the brass. At any rate it’s a nice specimen I think. I normally collect martini henry ammo and big game english hunting rounds. This was offered to me and I am considering accepting it. I sent this question to John Spangler and he said the next volume on the 37mm will have the loaded shell weight so perhaps that is my only sure way to know. The projectile is quite solidly in place.

Do you have a set of accurate digital kitchen scales?

I am sure another member on here could provide you with the weight of a known inert example. You could then weigh yours and compare the weights. If yours is a similar weight as the inert one, that should give you a good indication that it is inert.

I doubt it would have been loaded with cordite. That was largely confined to the British Empire.

Yeah I thought of that last night after I posted. Perhaps someone will weigh their’s. I have a postage scale to weigh this one. I’m pretty sure it’s empty but the round is so solidly crimped I can’t remove it to be sure. It’s certainly a lovely shell.

I have a couple of those 1 PDRs and trying to determine what’s inside, by weight, can be kinda tricky.

But, FWIW, a loaded Common cartridge should weigh approximately 1.65 pounds. The catch is that an unloaded one will weigh approximately 1.5 pounds.

The tricky part is that it could have an inert load to simulate the real live weight. I do that to mine. Also, you don’t know if it has an inert fuze which would add a little to the weight. Mine have inert fuzes.

So, all in all, it’s a crap shoot. Assume that it’s live until you find out otherwise.

Good Luck


BTW, it is possible to pull the projectile. It’s actually easier than you might think. I don’t know where you’re located but a chap like Falcon probably has the tools, as do I.


I assume this one was simply armor piercing since it’s just a black projectile?

No, not armor piercing. That’s a Common projectile. Hollow with a bursting charge ignited by a base fuze. It’s heavily rusted and pitted. It would have been painted a slate gray.


Did the information on weights help you at all?


What happened to the IP??? Did he take the information and run?? I hate it when someone goes thru the trouble of getting information in response to a question and then never hears from the IP again. A simple “thank you” will work wonders for the next time a guy seeks help.