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Ground dug 50 cals

Article about: Great looking belt Steve. Those links are definitely a bargain.........!

  1. #1

    Default Ground dug 50 cals

    Hi all

    When the RRPG met up a few weeks ago to dig the RAF dump, a number of trades had been lined up for various bits n bobs. I traded some stuff for some ground dug 50cals from 381st Digger (Thanks 381st ). Now this wasn't because I didn't have any 50cal cartridges. Far from it! I have hundreds of them myself. No.........this was for a very specific reason. I wanted to get a stack belted up to make a display piece.

    So, I now had some ground dug 50cal carts that I could use to make up the belt, and already had plenty of 50cal bullets.

    Here is a sample of what they look like before any cleaning.

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    So first up I gave the carts a bit of a general clean. Then.......

    1. I took the bullets and dropped them into my rock tumbler with a couple of handfuls of sand, turned it on and left it for a day

    2. Whilst the bullets were being scrubbed in the rock tumbler I cleaned the carts. To get the shine back I took two cartridges and held them in a rubber gloved hand.

    3. Using a 'tough scourer' (the ones made of coils of steel strips), I squirted three or four squirts of original (orange trigger), Cillett Bang, into the scourer and onto the carts in my cupped hand.

    4. Scrub the carts quickly and vigorously, for a maximum of 30 seconds.

    5. Rinse off the Cillett Bang and check the carts. Repeat if they are not shiney enough.

    6. Leave to dry overnight.

    7. Retrieve the bullets, clean and check each by inserting them into a cartridge to determine 'fit'.

    8. Drop a drawing pin, (or something similar), into the bottom of each cartridge.

    9. Using a glue of your own choosing, glue the bullets into the cartridge, being careful to remove excess glue around the shoulder.

    10. Leave to dry.

    11. Whilst drying, ring Cobbaton Combat and get the lovely guy there to send you some original 50cal links, still in their wax boxes. £4 per box. Bargain !

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    12. Get linking !!! If, like me, you find some of them stick, just try twisting them. If this still doesn't work, grab a hammer and smack them home. I did this by opening my vice so that the cartridge shoulder fits inside the vice, but the link sits against the outer edge of the jaws of the vice. Now when you hit the base of the cart, you're hitting against a stationary link.

    And here is the result......

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    Close up so you can see them a little better. Not bad for a bit of Cillett Bang and a rock tumbler

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    And here are the bases to show they are all fired. Don't forget the top tip as well, to really show they are inert ........ a drawing pin into the bottom of the cartridge works great. The rounds rattle when shaken, making it very obvious to determine that they are spent and contain nothing but air, (and a drawing pin), should anyone ever think they are live.

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    Great display piece I think. What do you reckon?

    Steve T

    PS Thanks again 381st Well chuffed.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Just one more picture because you can't judge scale in the previous ones. The belt is damned heavy and about 3 feet long. So, to give it some perspective, here is a picture of me holding them up. Yes I know.........god awful taking pictures in mirrors, but it was the best way to show you the size of the belt. I'm 6 foot 2 inches tall by the way, just in case some smart arse thinks I'm 4 foot 4......

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    Love it ! Great display piece

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Well done they look great

    [h=3]e plu∑ri∑bus u∑num[/h]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Thanks Eric

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    They look very good Steve , a nice display !!
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Thanks Paul. Always wanted a 50cal belt

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Great job Steve,
    They've come out great and certainly look the part .
    Have you tried adding Cillit Bang to the tumbler sand it would probably speed up the clean. Just wondering are you going to paint the bullet tips perhaps with tracer every 3 to 5 rounds.
    All the Best.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Hi Steve,

    Nice belt, all those .50's look very impressive, fyi the links are British made, if they are stamped BP they were made by British Pens.


  9. #9

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Thanks LS. I am still considering whether or not to paint every fifth one red.........not sure at the minute.

    Thanks as well hangarman. The mark on the links is actually BII. Very interesting that they are British. I just assumed they were American, given that the British didn't use them anywhere near as much.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Ground dug 50 cals

    Oh, and LS, I don't add Cillett Bang to the sand because if you leave it in contact with the brass for long periods, it turns them that horrible copper colour. I have found fast and furious gives the best results.

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