What is a factory chicken?

Fakes or reproductions that are intended to deceive are prohibited. Souvenir cartridges from collectors’ events, or others such as factory “chickens” are allowed since they are not intended to deceive a potential buyer. Fakes include spurious color tips on bullets and complete fabricated cartridges such as the so-called “thin rim” Winchester 70-150.

The above is a copy of SLICS rules.

A “chicken” is a dummy round made on purpose by a factory, such as Frankford Arsenal, Remington, etc. to exactly duplicate the appearance of a live round in every way. There is nothing to visually indicate the round is a dummy, although its lighter weight due to no propellant would be an indication. Manufacturers, especially Frankford Arsenal, hated to make chickens, even for educational display boards such as those made by Reflectone Corp. Chickens can very rarely also be made by accident, which drives everybody crazy.

There was an ad on GunBroker last year of deceptive .45 auto rounds colored coded with airplane model paint. The wording of the description was very vague. Wonder how many people sucked for it?

Mel and Vlad - I had never heard the expression “Chicken” applied to a cartridge
before. Thanks for the explanation. I am in the process of writing an article on the
9 mm Winchester Magnum cartridge for our Western States bulletin, and in fact, I
have a “Chicken” in my collection in that caliber - a dummy with an unsnapped nickel
primer cup and no powder, looking precisely like a loaded cartridge but being totally
inert, and obviously factory-made.

John Moss

A few years back when I attended an Eurosatory, I noticed a group of Chinese men and women who were making close-up pictures of small caliber ammo models and cutaways on show by one of the exhibitors. I asked the exhibitors sales man if he wasn’t afraid of them Chinese spying on the companies ammunition items. “No”, he replied while grinning, “we made all these show cartridges with slightly divergent sizes and measurements”.

EMZ, there is a whole range of attitudes exhibitors do have at the Eurosatory and other exhibitions.
Before I continue I have to say that I am not picking on the Chinese as literally everybody is being interested in stuff made by others.
Some for example are chasing Chinese folks away or simply do not allow them to take photos.
And as you say some do display items made only for the show which are not representing the original.
Once I saw a crowd of gentlemen from Eastern Europe (Czech?) which were all over an armored truck of Mercedes, they had tape measures in their suit sleeves and were pulling them out when posing on front of the vehicle details and did like they were taking random pics for their families (i.e. souvenir purposes).
They were opening every hatch on the vehicle (and photographing it) and squeezed into the wheel arches (with their black suits) and took photos even of the vehicle chassis and from below. I had to wait about 15mins till they “cleared the view” so I was able to take my own (random, no tape measure pics).
The best Chinese tactique seemd to be sending their women to interview the Italian exhibitors of armored vehicles and IFVs. I remember that one guy talked like a radio and was unstoppable (that lady filled a whole notbook in hand writing) - while the collegues of that Chinese lady were walking behind him taking about 1 million pics (while there were barn door sized signs saying “no photos”)…

Have to say that I am with my general interest in everything (and my photo habits) often get mistaken for some sort of suspicious person or even spy…
It is easy to be wrongly understood in this business.