What type of powder is this loaded into 7.65x54 Argentine?


Had a dud round today at the range. I pulled the bullet to save as a component to use later on. When I looked at the powder from the round I noticed that a few of the grains were like Hotchkiss Glass Plate Flake. The primary powder loading is a very fine ball powder where the “grains” are so round it was very hard to keep them from rolling off of the scanner.
I pulled the bullet of another cartridge and found it too had the flakes but no where near as many. Any idea as to why they did this?
Was it to mark the powder like “Red-Dot”, are the flakes a deterrent to help control burn rate? A whoops on their part?
The ammo is not a reload. When did ball powder come into military use?
Thank you for your answers.


Well its certainly not red dot or anything similar. That powder is way too fast for a rifle load. Ball powders are usually associated with fast burning acceleration. Very peaky, no good in a rifle. In this case it must have a lot of retardent in it to slow it down. Perhaps (?) a US military powder if anyone knows of one.


Wrong word, it should have been MARK. Some shotgun powders are marked with a colored flake or some other means. Yes, I know the burn rate would not be correct for a rifle. I’ve been reloading since 1964 LOL.


There were rifle-compatible ball powders available in 1943, but I doubt Argentina had access to them. Winchester produced .303 with this type propellant during the second war, but I can’t help but think what you’ve extracted from these cartridge cases wasn’t put there in 1943. Jack


Ball Powder ( Spherical granules,of Double base, produced by a Liquid phase colloidal process) was first produced by Olin ( Winchester-Western) prior to WW II, and though used in some ammo during WW II by W-W, but only fully developed for US Military use after the War. It has been in parallel use in US Military ammo with Tubular, single base Powders since the early 1950s, AFAIK.

Since then, many other countries, either under license, or with their own processes, have produced “Ball Powder” for Military and sporting use ( one of the first outside the USA was Israel, with its “IMI-655” Powder of the 1950s, used in , firstly 7,9mm ( 1955, 56) and then 7,62 Nato ( late 1950s onwards). Possibly the “655” denotes “June, 1955” when it was introduced by IMI?

I would say Argentina, being in receipt of US Military Technology, also used "Ball "Powder, having used European “Flake” Powder technology since the early 1900s, brought in from Germany.

Now to the cartridges under examination:
Flakes mixed with ball powder can come from two or three different causes.
(1) Machinery for loading was not properly cleaned out when changing from Flake to Ball Powder, resulting in “Contamination” of the Ball Powder…an inconsequential ( probably) matter wrt loading density.

(2) The Flake was specifically introduced to the Ball Powder to modify its Burning rate or Pressure Curve ( Blending); usually this is done with Powders of different batches, but the same type ( ie, Ball with ball, etc)

Highly unlikely, as the Flakes could jam Powder metering devices designed for the freer flowing Ball Powder.

and Possibly (3), the small quantity was used as a “Marker” to distinguish a particular batch of Ball Powder in Lot Loading and Firing Tests. Again, here, the quantity would have to be miniscule, so as to avoid Powder “bridging” and blocking metering devices, and giving incorrect loads.

AS is known, “Ball” Powders are coated with different Flame retardants ( DNPP etc) which themselves are combustible, but at a slower rate than
Nitro-cellulose or Nitroglycerine ( components of Double Base Powders); also the “spheres” can be flattened as well, to change their surface area, and thus their burning rate.

Ball Powders are used (in different grades) in everything from .22 RF up to .50 cal. So saying the Argentine “Ball Powder” is "similar to Red Dot"
is an assumption without any foundation…Ball Powders cannot be differentiated by their “appearance”, nor even approximately by their shape and size…only by testing by "Pressure Bomb"
and other involved scientific tests, and the results are even then, only approximate, given that Military Powders are Blended to give a certain “Burning rate and pressure gradient”, and then the charge is calculated (per Batch) to give the standard Velocity and pressure in the chosen cartridge…
That way, Charge weights may vary, batch to batch of Powder, as well as Lot to Lot of cartridges ( differances in Bullet Weight over the “nominal” range)
…Bullet-making automatic Weighing machines weigh bullets and group them in batches of a particular weight, sufficient to affect the Powder charge, to give the same Velocity parameters…saw this process done at S&B for 9mm Parabellum projectiles back in 1993.

Anyway, has this “Mixture” of Powder types been seen in a lot of cartridges in a Particular year batch?
Not just one or two cartridges, but hundreds?..for any sort of statistically valid deductions and assumptions to be made about the reason for this “Mix” one would have to sample an entire lot or lots of these cartridges…

Otherwise the most plausible finding is that a minor “contamination” of the Ball Powder occurred either during Blending and or Coating ( large rotating drums, like confectionary coating mixers , are used), or because the Loading machinery ( Most European machinery for loading uses “in-line” Powder feed from Hoppers and rotating or sliding measures, just like Normal handloading, whereas the USA used “Plate Loading” right up till the adoption of SCAMP systems.) was not cleaned out properly when changing Powder types.

Questions to ponder.

Doc AV,
Your ammo “Devil’s Advocate”

AV Ballistics,
Brisbane Australia


Further to my post above,
The cases are marked “1943”…that does not mean that the ammo was loaded in 1943…frequently ammo is loaded from cartridges cases made several years before the actual (filling) loading date. ( very common in Europe with the large ammo makers–Ie, FN cases made one year and HS for that year, but the labels show a Filling date one or two years later; during WW II,at 1944-45, German ammo filling factories were using cases made pre-war at the time ( all they could get) and these were NOT reloads ( case date noted on Labels).

Secondly, a lot of countries (up to the 1950s) still “remanufactured” ammo which had gone past its Powder “Use by” date ( usually 10-15 years). These cartridges could have been “Re-filled” ( Powder changed) in the late 1950s, for this reason; as sometimes the cases have flakes sticking to the insides, this could account for the varying contamination.

Whilst W-W used Ball Powder in Export .303 and other cartridges for export ( 7,9mm as well), I am not sure that W-W was authorised to use Ball Powder in US .30 cal during WW II?

Just a few afterthoughs from re-reading the original Post and looking closer at the photos.

Doc AV
Advocatus Diaboli.


Were on the same page Doc. The “marking” of the lot was what I was getting at. At NO TIME was the powder compared to Red Dot, just some powders have markers to distinguish what they are. Red Dot,Green Dot,Blue Dot,etc.
The late loading of the 1943 case makes sense. I have many rounds of this ammo and it shoots very well at long range 600+ yards.
This round had a dud primer. The powder left a faint oily film on the scanner glass. It may have killed the pellet of the primer.
Thanks for your reply. Will be interesting to see what is known about this loading.


I have unload many round to recover componentes and no pre-50 ammo was loaded with ball powder.
Fede and DGFM know more than I, but 7,65x54mm loaded with ball powder comes from Belgium.
As long as I know all 7,65x54 ball was loaded with A1. It is a powder cut in square fakes like the ones on this cartridge. A1 is an old german powder, probably for 1890.
7,62x51mm ammo is loaded with A27 a powder extruded into short cylinders.

BTW: Mixed load… it must be a reloaded ammo.
Hope this helps.


First of all, it´s a reload, as Beleg (Martin) correctly said argentine 7,65x54 Mauser ammunition is factory loaded with a powder called A27 wich comes as small cillinders.
Second, Argentina NEVER produced ball powder, the “Villa Maria” Explosives and Powders Plant of the General Directorate of Military Factories wich is the plant who suppplies powders to the ammunition plants dont have the machinery to produce ball powder.
This lack of machinery to produce ball powder, was one of the factors wich contributes to the abortion of the 5.56x45 M855/SS109 argentine made ammunition, the “Fray Luis Beltran” ammunition factory produced the M193 version, but when they tried to produce the M855 version the dont have the type of powder the perfomance of the M855//SS109 needs.


I forgot new ammo was loaded with A27, but old one was loaded with A1.
Do you know when they change powder type?



Who would have reloaded the hundreds of rounds I have? Why would they do it? Why use a FMJ bullet rather than a soft point for hunting? With the cheap surplus ammunition left over from WWII, we used to buy ammo with hunting bullets placed over the original powder load. There has to be more to the story rather than it was never done.


Although “beleg2” and “DGFM” are right about the powders A1 and A27 used in loading this caliber, those are FM model designations dating from the 60’s and 70’s. Until model A1 there were no previous designations about the powders used since FM was established in 1933 and local powder producer Fábrica Militar de Pólvoras y Explosivos “Villa María” was established in 1937. Some powders used were simply refered as “german”, “european” or “american”.

The neck crimp of the cartridge on the left looks original to me and also the primer and reddish lacquer annulus. I’ve never pulled argentinian 7.65 mm Mauser cartridges with ball powder but I think everything is possible in an era of non standarized powders.

It is also to be noted that the “1943” doesn’t mean anything in cartridges with a reddish lacquer annulus and in fact indicated that is was loaded probably in the 1950’s or 1960’s. Only a black annulus would indicate that an “S” cartridge was actually loaded in a year corresponding to its headstamp.


Fede, that makes much more sense.The ammunition I have shoots very well out of my 1909 rifle. Thank you too all who replied to the questions.