W.R.A.Co. .45 ACP Blank


#1

This fired blank is made from a .45 ACP case headstamped “W.R.A.Co. .45 A.C.”. It appears to have been made from a regulare length .45 ACP case closed with a 6 petal star crimp. It is heavily bulged and split over halfway down the case on one side, and the primer cap has been pierced clean through by a large firing pin. This appears that it would slip too far forward in the chamber of an ordinary .45 ACP calibre weapon. Is this a regular blank or something else eg. some sort of tool blank?


#2

Any ideas?


#3

It could be intended for use in a revolver with a half-moon clip.


#4

Guy - that’s so darned simple it is absolutely brilliant! I didn’t chime in on this thread because although I have that short-case, rosebud-crimped blank from W.R.A.Co., I never figured out what in heck it was for because it would go too far into the chamber of a Model 1911 to fire. Talk about thinking inside of the box! I guess I worship at the alter of the Browning/Colt so much that I never even gave a thought to the fact that for use in a revolver with half-moon clips, it makes no difference at all how long it is, either for headspacing or for firing.

I can’t exclude that it might have been for some other use - we have brake-reflex test blanks, bomb-cluster releases, and other cartridges using the basic .45 Auto case in one form or another, but I would bet that you are right!


#5

Cheers Guy, I should have thought of that one. However, the dent on the primer looks like it was made with something far larger than a revolver firing pin. The diameter directly above the extractor groove measures .475", and this has buled to from .490" to .500" is some places on the side of the case. It is the pin mark and bulge that make me think it could be something else.

@John: What are brake reflex test blanks used for exactly?


#6

Falcon,
Did you locate this on the shooting range?


#7

Falcon - first of all, what your .45 blank was fired in doesn’t necessarily represent the reason for the blank’s existence.

The brake relex cartridge to which I am referring (there could well be many other calibers, types, etc. with which I am not familiar) used a .45 A.C.P. round that looks much like the M1923 shot cartridge with red paper shot container in place of a normal bullet. Some have no cannelures on the case, as do the shot cartridges, but others do. My two rounds are both headstamped “PETERS .45 A.C.” with the one having no cannelures being earlier manufacture than the one with two deep cannelures on the case, ala the shot loads. They are much lighter in weight than the shot loads, which can be felt easily just holding them, since the paper bullet is filled with yellow chalk.

They were chambered in an apparatus attached to the underside of the car you were being tested in, and measured the time from when some sort of signal demanded you start braking, and the time you actually hit the brake, which fired the cartridge and made a yellow “splash” on the pavement. That told you exactly how far you had traveled from the time you were signaled to hit the brake to the time you actually did. I don’t know what the signal was to hit the brake, and I have never seen the apparatus. I don’t know if they were for civilian testing or for military use. Of course, it is clear that not every driver’s license testing facility in the U.S. used such a thing. The only place I was ever given a brake reflex text was in the Army, and that was on a “trainer” that was much like when you are playing a video game. When a hazard appeared on the road (on a screen, like a movie) that required braking, the “game” measured the time it took you to use the brake pedal (an actual replica of a brake peddle on the floor) and how far you would have traveled before hitting the brake, at the speed you were going on the “game.” These were all electronic and did not use any sort of cartridge.

I don’t know when these cartridges were in use, either, but I suspect it was in the 1920s and 1930s, at least the ones that used the .45 A.C.P. cartridges in question.

Sorry I can’t tell you more about them than that. If anyone has a picture of the .45 device, or knows of others that used otherwise conventional cartridges of different calibers, chime in!


#8

High school driver’s ed. I was 15, so that would have been around '68/'69. The State Police came around with a car rigged with the above mentioned brake reflex gizmo. Was mounted on the front bumper. It was cartridge activated and shot pieces of chalk (handy at a school) and showed us the distance differences with respect to speed and braking. I wasn’t an ammo collector then, so didn’t consider collecting spent blank cartridges.


#9

The device was still being used in 1971 using .22 Long blanks. I have seen a box that was red with white lettering
if I remember correctly, that indicated they were distribated by AAA for drivers training classes. The cartridges were nickeled cases (diamond headstamp) with yellow wads and looked like .22 Long tool blanks.


#10

[quote=“Guy Hildebrand”]Falcon,
Did you locate this on the shooting range?[/quote]
No, this came in a box full of all sorts of old cases. It looks like it was outside for a long time as the brass is completely black and it has dust on the inside. We can’t even legally own pistols here in GB (I use the term “Great” Britiain very loosely).


Thanks for the explanation on the brake reflex blanks everyone. It looks unlikely that I have a .45 ACP one of those.

I know what it was fired in does not necessarily represent the reason for the blank’s existence, but it must have had a very oversized chamber (possibly even not .45 ACP) and a very large firing pin and powerful firing pin spring.


#11

Falcon,
Please go to my web page at oldammo.com and send me an e-mail so I can get your address. I have some items you may have an interest in.


#12

I found the fired blank this thread is about the other day.

I had a thought. Due to the fact that it is split and the primer is pierced, could it have involved kids + vice + punch + hammer??


#13

I know, a bit off the track but it was brought up in the tread so…
The brake test rounds were also made in .38 S&W Spl. caliber. They show a white paper topwad secured with a slight tapered mouth crimp & no sealant.
Headstamp is: REM-UMC 38 SPECIAL
The box is interesing in that it is a folded inside out, red and green Kleanbore Remington Targetmaster with a tan, typewritten label (only) on the top. It states:
50

      BRAKE
                    TESTING
                                     BULLETS

Hope the offset formatting for label this works. edited it didn’t, the 50 is centered the rest are steeped across the label.

A .45 ACP brake testing box, as mentioned above, in my collection has a 8 sided (rectangular in general shape) red bordered typewritten label stating:

.45 Cal. Wax Bullet
for
.45 A.C.P Pistol.
These Cartridges
must be used
Single-Shot only.

This a 2-piece full cover box with the partial wrap-around label with the wide red P and a orange border. It originaly was for a 230-gr. loading & both ends have the “NO.4504” and “230 GRS METAL CASED BULLET” carefully blackened over. Contents are as described above by John.

Can probably photo both if someone wants to post them.


#14

Pete - I can’t post them - too dumb - but I would love to see those Brake Reflex labels, especially the .45 one. I have never in my life seen the box for these loads.


#15

Boxes for Brake Reflex Test cartridges.

Collection of Pete DeCoux.