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Ordnance Identification

Article about: The only commerical company I can think of off the top of my head is BACTEC, I'm sure there are other companys in the UK but you would probably have to do a little seaching first Thanks Dann

  1. #1

    Default Ordnance Identification

    Recently acquired the item below. Am familiar with firearms but have no experience with this type of ordinance.

    Would appreciate any help you can offer to identify this item, its purpose, history, and if there is any danger associated with keeping it in the condition shown.

    Headstamp (correct term?) contains the following:
    W N Y
    E.C.P. (anchor symbol) W.McD

    Band at top of casing is marked:
    R.E.I. (anchor symbol)

    Unable to locate any markings on iron projectile.

    Thanks for any assistance you can offer.
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  2. #2

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    A round from a naval 6 pounder cannon. It looks like a live round and not sure if this is an explosive warhead.

  3. #3

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    Thanks for the feedback.

    What's best source of help in determining if this is a live round? Military base, gunsmith shop?

  4. #4

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    I would wait for more feedback from the guys here who really know their ordnance. I think you have an early 20th century roud there. I have had lots of rounds in my collection in the past which were live and never had a problem. If this is just an ordinary round, I would not worry. It would be like keeping any other "bullet" around and should be treated without being impacted or dropped.

    There is a link to the Hotchkiss gun that fired these things. The date on your appears to approximately match the ones shown so my guess is pre-WWI:
    Britain 6-pdr / 8cwt [2.244"/40 (57 mm)] QF Marks I and II

  5. #5

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    Hi and welcome to the forum

    This is a nice example of a 6 pounder naval shell. The '903' is missing the one off the front, making it '1903'.....a very old round !

    I am sure you're aware that the blast cap on the base of the shell has not been fired, which means there is a chance that this round is live. The projectile itself appears to be solid shot, but without having it in front of me it is very difficult to be sure. Not all 'explosive' rounds had external fuse caps. The drive band on the projectile shows no markings either, further confirming that the round is unfired.

    The only way to be totally sure it is inert is to remove the projectile. HOWEVER, given the round is so old I would not want to do this myself. There are documented cases of shells of this type exploding when tampered with, due to the charge leeching into the area around the projectile. Twisting it could feasibly (although unlikely), set the round off.

    There are a couple of ordnance disposal guys who visit the forum. I would wait for one of them to reply before you do anything with it.

    In the mean time, don't drop it on any solid surface and don't take a centre punch and a hammer and have a good whack at the blast cap......


    Steve T

  6. #6

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    With out physicaly holding it, and going only on looks, It looks like a live round to me. As mentioned earlier, the drive band is un rifled and the fit of the projectile on the case looks very good. When you hold it at the neck, does it feal heavy at the projectile end? Or quite well balanced?

    Does any other member have a similar case to weigh?

    I found these specs for the Quick Fire Mk1 & 2 rounds

    Weight of Complete Round 9.7 lbs. (4.4 kg)
    Projectile Types and Weights AP - 6.0 lbs. (2.72 kg)
    HE - 6.0 lbs. (2.72 kg)
    Propellant Charge Prior to World War II: 0.243 lbs. (0.11 kg) CT

    If its 9.457lbs, then there should be no propelling charge in the case. Now heres the problem, the projectile, although it looks like solid shot, I think is a base detonating round with a small bursting charge of 2.74 oz

    So from this I reckon your round could weigh

    a ,9.457lbs (Minus propellent with a Live HE projectile, or Solid shot AP),
    b, 9.287lbs (No propellent, No bursting charge in a HE Projectile (9.457lbs - 2.74oz (0.170lbs))
    c, 9.7lbs, 100% live

    Let us know how the weighing goes, these are specs off the web and out of my book so it will be intresting to see if the weights are accurate.

    ATB, Chris.

    p.s. This is just the first step, its a judgement call at the end of the day.

  7. #7

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    Good advice Chris.

    bsmith - Weigh the round as accurately as you can. This will give you an idea but will be by no means definitive. I would treat it with utmost respect and tenderness and certainly don't use it as a display piece on the mantlepiece or hearth !!!

    Steve T

  8. #8

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    Thanks to all for the feedback. I will find a way to get an accurate weight of the round and let you know how it comes out.

  9. #9

    Default re: Ordnance Identification

    Quote by bsmith View Post
    Thanks to all for the feedback. I will find a way to get an accurate weight of the round and let you know how it comes out.

    I would get this checked out asap as it may be a base fuzed High Explosive, in which case you wouldnt know unless the head was removed from the case which would be foolhardy for anyone to attempt. If it is an Armour Piercing solid shot then providing the firearms dealer or gunsmith who examines it deems it fit to attempt deactivation then a hole could be drilled into the case and it flooded with industrial oil to render the charge inert along with the primer cap. This needs to be examined by an expert as i wouldnt rely on an enthusiasts opinion when dealing with anything of this calibre which appears to be 'live'. In the meantime i would keep it outside locked in a shed and lying on its side just to be safe. Its not exactly huge calibre but if it went bang the business end could end up doing someone, something or someones property some pretty serious damage. It is also classed as an offence under the Firearms Act to possess live ammunition especially such items as this, so id play it safe, get it checked out asap and if its safe to deactivate will make a fine display piece as its a nice example and in good condition. Regards, Tim.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Ordnance Identification

    Can you imagine the face of the firearms dealer when he's presented with it!

    Unfortunatly if you called EOD, they would probably take it away and smeg it, live or safe. Does anyone know a commercial EOD operator in the UK who would have a go? I would have a look myself but I doubt my Military insurance would cover it. Not that it covers much anyway!

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