What is this 30mm apfsds round?

I could not resist getting this unusual 30MM round. I know absolutely nothing about it but am guessing it is British. The only reason I guess this is the fact the case is marked almost exactly like a 30MM British Reardon (?) case for a Armored Fighting Vehicle. Other then that, I have no clue. Their is a very heavy, dense, thick plastic windscreen that is threaded to screw into a aluminum part of the projectile. I first thought it may be a sabot projectile but it may not be? The main part of the projectile is a one piece, heavy steel sabot thing that surrounds the dart sub-projectile. The only part of the projectile that looks pre-fragmented for separation is the aluminum ring part that the windscreen screws into. Anyone have any clues?


Is this made from a fired case or is it an unfired inert round? Please could you post the headstamp. I am guessing it will be headstamped “30mmAFV [date] [lot number] RG” if it is a 30mm RARDEN round.

Thanks Falcon. You are correct, it is on a fired case with those markings. It is stamped 83, assuming for 1983? I’ll scan the headstamp.


Jason, could you give us a shot of the single projectile with the cap on and tell the precise overall length?

It is definitely a British RARDEN case. I did think that it may not have a headstamp as I have seen a few British 30mm RARDEN APDS factory rounds with no headstamp and the projectiles properly crimped in. (prototype rounds?). You are correct that “83” is a 1983 date. there should also be another number, which is a lot number.

Yes, you are right again. I forgot to post that. The numbers are 291. I’m scanning the headstamp next. :-)

Here is a scan of the headstamp. Thanks again for your help.


That is a typical UK 30mm RARDEN headstamp, those cases are very common in the UK. Do you see them much in the USA? I can’t say any more on your round, other than that if it is a fired case it MAY not be original and COULD be a put-together, but I’m not giving any sort of certain say on that.

Hey EOD! Will do! Off to get my camera and a measurement!

This is driving me crazy. The guy I got it from had some others, all on the same case. Still, it could easily be a put together hodgepodge :-) Either way, it is the projectile that is so interesting to me. Dying to find out.

I am not really sure how rare these AFV cases are in the US? I have seen a few of them with a all blank, solid AP projectile here and their.


Ok, just took a pic of the complete projectile. It is exactly 7 inches from end to end. Thanks so much for trying to help id it.



Attempts to make a workable APFSDS for the Rarden have been going on since the early 1990s, with many different prototypes made. Yours is probably one of those (unless, of course, it actually should be with a 30x173 case).

Last year, all this work finally resulted in official approval for an adapted version of the Rheinmetall APFSDS projectile developed for the 30x173 as used in the Mauser MK 30-2 (new Puma MICV) and the Bushmaster II/MK44 (various vehicles). I don’t think that any have been ordered yet, though.

Thanks so much Tony! Mystery to me. I think the heavy metal sabot typed device may even travel to the target and not discard?


I doubt that very much. If the sabot didn’t discard, the projectile would be the right shape to be stabilised by the barrel rifling, so wouldn’t need fins.

Thanks Tony;
I see no way for the sabot (if it even is a sabot) to discard as it is one piece, metal with no visible petals or pre-fragmentation lines other then the aluminum ring the windshield screws into, unless it is fragmented on the inside? Even the windshield is 1 heavy piece. The penetrator, tightly, will turn inside the sabot body with effort. Makes no sense to me. I would think it has to discard somehow?

I may be able to get additional specimens. If I do, I may try to send the projectile of one of them away to get sectioned. The sabot part seems to be made from heavy steel instead of a lighter material. I always assumed it was the goal of most sabot designs to be as light as possible to reduce parasitic weight to the sub-projectile, while maintaining its strength to get out of the bore? I am really grateful for your help Tony. I am fairly new at all this and really value your expertise allot.


I just put a magnet to each of the components. The heavy, one piece sabot part is NOT magnetic. I thought it was steel, but it is not. The penetrator tip (windscreen) is NOT magnetic either. The aluminum part the plastic windscreen screws into, is Not magnetic. The main penetrator, IS magnetic, as is the fin assembly.

I wonder if the sabot part is indeed sectioned into 3 120 degree petals and is either pressed so tightly together or painted that it is impossible to see the line?


Ok, I had a break-threw :-) I removed the white plastic piece just above the fin assembly. It looks as if their is a 3 sectioned sabot that is “Wrapped”, inside a 1 piece thin, possibly aluminum wrapping? You can see this best by looking at the bottom right portion of the sabot in this photo. The sabot petal lines also line up perfectly with the pre-fragment lines of the aluminum part that the plastic windscreen screws into. I hope this description makes some sense.

I wish the picture was better. Very hard to photograph. I will work on a better one.



Ok, I feel like an idiot, but I think I am onto something. The main body or sabot is not metal at all. It is the heaviest, densest plastic or resin I have ever seen. It even has machining marks on it were it looks to have been made on a lath, just like metal. Anyhow, I am guessing that the outer wall and driving band gets cut down in the barrel on exit to reach the internal sabot petal cutouts, causing them to discard, or the sabot breaks on the lines of the internal segment breaks. Sorry for the long process of my brain getting to the bottom of this crazy round.

You are right that sabots are made as light as they can be. In fact, ones in 30mm calibre normally contain as much plastic as possible, with the necessary strength coming from some light-alloy parts. What you have does seem rather odd.

[edit to add: sorry, I didn’t notice your posts on page 2 before I posted this!]

Thanks so much Tony!


Well, I finally got the bottom of this round figuring out how its sabot is designed. This one was driving me nuts. Anyhow, I decided to section it after studying it for weeks to figure out my approach. Here are the pics.


This pic shows all the components of the projectile separated. It seems that their is a internal metal 3 petal sabot (guessing aluminum) that is intern embedded inside a single 1 piece resin outer sabot that is pre-fragmented in 3 places from the inside out. The resin windscreen is extremely heavy & dense resin that is also pre-fragmented in 3 places from the inside out.

I like sectioning the fin assembly to show the way it attaches to the sub-projectile penetrator.