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Help With ID of WWII Ammo

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by NHSHTR, Feb 12, 2011.


    NHSHTR Well-Known Member


    A friend brought me a box of ammo that his father had from WWII, and asked if I could identify it. It's nothing I've seen before, but it's Denver, so I thought one of you folks could identify it.

    It has a PSP bullet of .308" dia., OAL of 3.040". The case is 2.305" long and tapers from the base of .468 to .435 just below the neck. case is marked DEN 43.

    They don't look in shoot-able condition. Some corrosion around the base of the bullet where it meets the case.

    Hope someone can identify it. Thanks.

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Clearly .30-06
    DEN 43 = Denver Arsenal 1943.

    Softpoint bullet = reload or "Mexican Match" (military FMJ replaced with a softpoint of the same weight over the arsenal powder and primer.)
    NOT a USGI cartridge.
  3. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...don't look in shoot-able condition..." The one in your picture certainly is. You can clean off the corrosion with 0000 steel wool. However, if it has the original primer(likely brass in colour), it's corrosive. No non-corrosive U.S. military .30-06 until 1952ish.
  4. Ian

    Ian Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't shoot it, because it's someone's handload. DEN 43 indicates a military cartridge, which would have had an FMJ bullet. The softpoint indicated that someone has replaced the bullet or used the empty case to reload a completely new cartridge. I don't like to use mystery handloads...YMMV.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    DEN 43 brass is very high quality brass. I was given several hundred (1400) rounds of new about 35 years ago. I pulled it down, neutralized the primer and used it in 270 and 30-06 handloads. I still have several hundred rounds of brass that has never been loaded. I change the primer and anneal and it lasts forever, it seems.

    NHSHTR Well-Known Member

    Guys, thanks for the information.

    The round I took the picture of was the best looking (condition) of them.
    Although the 30-06 is very popular, I don't shoot it. When I looked up the 30-06 dimensions in my reloading manual, the numbers seemed to be off enough that I thought it may be a different round. This OAL is .300" shorter, has a PSP instead of FMJ, case length is 190" shorter, the primer is typical steel/silver color, not brass.

    The father supposedly shot a Japanese rifle (an Arisaka(sp?), so I thought it might be a Japanese version of the 30-06. But with DEN 43, it couldn't be Japanese, so I was confused.

    So it appears that someone may have re-loaded these some time ago and not necessarily to today's recommended dimensions.
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I did not check the dimensions but rashly assumed a DEN case made in .30-06 would remain in .30-06. But it hasn't.
    The case length at 2.300 is about right for 7.7mm Arisaka.
    It has been done to reform .30-06 for 7.7 even though it will lead to bulging brass in the larger diameter Arisaka chamber. He should have used a .311" bullet instead of .308" but the heavy Arisaka rifling plan will shoot .308" well enough to kill game.
  8. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Well, now, I'm not going to bother with checking the dimensions, I'm too lazy to go fetch a book. But I know for a FACT that you can take .30-06 brass and modify it to make 7.7mm Japanese ammo. It will even use the same kind of bullets .30-06 uses. The cases are almost a 1/4" shorter, and ARE NOT usable in a .30-06 rifle. But the headstamps will still say .30-06, so they can fool you. These MIGHT be what you have.

    Here's how to do it.... http://surplusrifle.com/shooting2006/srtype99/index.asp
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I form 7.7X58 Jap cases from military 30-06 cases. The one in the picture may be shortened but it has not been fire formed.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    A .308 bullet is a bit too small for the 7.7 Japanese, which is really a .303, but the smaller bullet will expand in the barrel enough to give fair accuracy - "minute of deer" as someone called it.


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