What type of .50 projectile?

Another day of detecting and smother unknown round, it’s certainly .50 and stands 25/26 mm tall (I would assume an inch, but deformed?)

Weighs in at exactly one once, I have looked around online a bit, it reminds me of civil war rounds, however I can my find anything with 4 grooves!

Cheers, hamish

1 Like

Where was it found? Area might help identify…

My take is that it was a bottom pour mould, as the sprue is showing.
It is similar, but not exact, in profile to original Sharps bullets, including the stub on the base.

1 Like

Found in south Australia, I found it at an older gun range along with the hexagonal whitworth, .577/450 and .577 Snyder, so I was assuming it was older?

I’ve searched online for hours and can’t find anything .50 with the 4 grooves in it, when I find something similar it’ll have 3 grooves and/or is a flat nose.

Once I saw the seam on the side and that it was a mould pour I doubted the possibility of it being older mid-late 1800s.

Regards Hamish

Just as an example, this is a 425 grain .50 caliber bullet for the .50-70 Gov’t cartridge sold by Dixie Gun Works, flat nose instead of round, but you can see the similarity.
I know a few prople that have custom moulds, made to the specs of the original bullets, used in North-South Skirmish Assn [N-SSA] competitions.
Question: How long does it take lead bullets to form that lead oxide, which in turn “protects” the lead from further deterioration?
Those could be 150 years old, or 20 years old… speculation?


That’s the closest I’ve seen to that one I found! The only ones with 4 grooves I’ve seen are very long compared to what I’ve got.

I’m hoping to find where they were shooting from, and the bullet casings, but considering what other older rounds I’ve been finding im also hoping that this ones an older round!

Cheers for the information!

Did you find any bullets without rifling engraved on them?

The first image looks like it has very faint rifling engraving.

I cannot see the engraving in the second image, primarily where the base of the bullet “bumps up” from the pressure of the expanding gases.

There should also be at least some slight melting of the base of the bullet, which I do not see evidence of.

I wonder if it is not a fired bullet, but perhaps one that has the rifling pre-engraved on it from a false muzzle, like that used on many competition muzzleloaders… just a thought from a former competitor who has fired an untold number of bullets from front stuffers, and black powder cartridges.

1 Like

Unfortunately that is the only one I’ve found of it’s type, it has 4 rifling grooves, but very faint compared to any others I’ve seen, I’ve found one very similar type projectile however it’s also very different, it has impacted pretty hard and it basically destroyed so I didn’t bother to attach it earlier. I will attach pictures of the comparison, as well as the other types of rounds I’ve found nearby

It was near a tonne of other fired rounds in the back stop area, so I would find it strange if it wasn’t fired and someone had later dropped it there.

Thanks again, hamish.

Nce haul!
I wonder if the bullets with shallow grooves were paper patched?
That might explain the lack of deep engraving on the bullets… paper patch to make a slightly smaler diameter bullet better fit the bore. Mamy military rounds were made this way, and quite a few long range competition shooters use paper patched bullets today, though admittedly many do not have grease grooves in the bullet.
Do any of the longer bullets on the left have grooves that are “V” shaped? That might indicate an Alexander Henry rifle.bore, but, going off on tangebts here…

1 Like

Now that you mention it, a few of the MH rounds do appear to have to have that, when looking at the base it almost looks like a suquence of chips out of the base.

I have noticed weird markings on a few of the Snyder projectiles, will try to take a picture, but not sure how it will show up.

It’s a little sequence of 3 lines together, that appears 4 times about the bottom of the round

Thanks again, Hamish.

That looks like a British Broad Arrow proof mark to me, but, I am not knoledgable wnough in what and where British Military, (also including Australia and Canada at one time?), proofs were made.

1 Like

I agree with Jack.

With those proof marks are you able to put dates with them? I’ve found probably 12-15 with those stamps and the others just have no marks and a very thin base “wall”? Not sure what the correct term is.

Or are they simular to proof coins where some are made every year?

Having another look over them just now, I’ve pulled aside all those ones with those broad arrow stamps, one of them after cleaned still has some kind of wad (maybe? Inside.

It’s bright red, initially thought maybe it’s hit a tree and wood inside but it has a very chalky texture and wood would have well and truly eroded away by now.

The other thing I’ve noticed is they all have numbers, I’ve noticed a big 4, a small 4, a 1 and three which are either 6 or 9

I will have to try to clean up the others a bit more!
I can’t believe I missed so much detail already!

I’m hoping the photos come through in decent quality, hard to get the focus right.

1 Like

The numbers inside the bullets are new to me, or my memory fails, either way I am sure there is something vaguely important there… British Bullet Guys???

Originally, the Minié Balle [bullet], as designed my Captain Claude-Etienne Minié and Henri-Gustave Delvigne, an armourer, in 1847 [+/- one year?], had an iron cup in the base to force the bullet to expand against the rifling, sealing the gasses behind for greater speed and accuracy at greater ranges.
Some countries used cork, wood, and a host of other things to do this job.
I have seen pictures of bullets that had some sort of fabric in the cavity ahead of a wooden plug, I suppose it was intended to stop the forward movement of the plug.

The body of the bullet is generlly called the “skirt”, at least among those I used to shoot against, competatively, that is.

EDIT to add:
I should mention that this is my well-after-midnight-overly-tired very brief explanation of how the Minié Balle works, and why it works so well.

1 Like