What kind of cartridge?


I have some boxes, 20 rounds each, of “30 cal M-1 ball, SPECIAL”. They have a red band around them. I can’t tell you the lot numbers until we get back from vacation the first week of July. So, any ideas of what these are, and their value? Thanks.


.30 M1 Ball was made from the 1920s to the late 1930s.

It had a 173grain projectile (Boat tailed), and its development stemmed from experiments done during WW I to improve the extreme range of Cal. 30 ammo for Macine gun use in the M1917 Browning series of guns.

Initial experimental trials used Swiss made 7,5mm cal M1911 projectiles, loaded into normal .30 cal cases, and trials were done on the long sandy flats at Daytona beach, where extreme ranges of 4,500 yards were possible and also visible on the Low tide Sandy beach.

The cartridge was also found extremely accurate at long range ( 300 to 1000 yards) for shooting out of the M1903 Springfield Rifle.

The introduction of the M1 Garand Semi-Automatic rifle sounded the death-knell of the heavy ball M1 Cartridge, (in 1936) as it was found the Rifle functioned better with the older M1906 (150 grain) projectile.

So a new Cartridge ( the US .30 cal M2 Ball) was introduced ( 152 grain, Flat based projectile) and production of “M1” Ball ceased for all intents and Purposes in about 1939-1940, except that the “Match” Cartridge retained the 173 grain Projectile.

The new “Improved Military Rifle” progressive Powders (such as #4895) were used in M2 loads specially tailored for the Garand Rifle gas system, and was found to be also accurate in the Springfield M’03 and the US-Enfield M17 Rifles as well. It was also suited (with the newer Powder) to use in BAR, and all the Recoil operated MGs in service.

Check the “Powder” type used ( printed on Packet)…normal M1 Ball has “IMR 1185” or similar numbers, very late manufacture starts using the #4xxx series of Powders.

Value: Sealed Packets, to a Packet collector, can vary on Packet markings and Lots. Can be from $20.00 per Packet up.
Given the Age, Rarity, and Corrosive primers, Not really a Shooting proposition, unless you have thousands of them, and then the primers may still be Cactus.

A photo of the Label – you can scan Packets on a normal scanner (full, unopened) quite successfully. THis will help with detailed ID by others more expert than myself.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


So…what does the “SPECIAL” designate?


Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll snap a flick of a box and post it as soon as we get back.