Underwater Ammo Cache Found In Paranoá Lake, Brasília

Gun writer Ronaldo Olive sends along these photos of an ammunition cache sunk in the waters of Paranoá Lake in Brasília. Ronaldo writes:
Guess what, my friends!
Some people fishing in the Paranoá Lake, in Brasília, last week started catching, probably in their nets, some unusual fish: ammo rounds! Police was called with SCUBA gear and eventually found schools of the .45ACP, 9x19mm, 5.56×45, 7.62x51mm, and .30-06 species. The latter were neatly grouped in M1 Garand clips…
TV Globo’s nationwide “Bom-Dia Brasil” news program (from which the attached captured images came) of August 18 showed footage of the unexpected discoveries. As usual, the presenters said it was ammo for “heavy weapons” and “capable to bring down an airplane and perforate the armor of a tank”. Wow!
Ronaldo Olive
Pictures of the portion of the cache that has been recovered are below:

munição lago paranoá 17AG02015_3

Some of the .45 ACP rounds found had a curious green lacquer coating the bullet and mouth of the case. A little independent research revealed that this green lacquer is used by Compania Brasileiro de Cartrouchoes (CBC) to denote “military only” ammunition:




munição lago paranoá 17AG02015_2 munição lago paranoá 17AG02015_1 munição lago paranoá 17AG02015_4


It’s unknown whether the ammunition was sunken deliberately or accidentally, but whatever the intent, the ammunition would probably not be safe to shoot again.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Patrick M.

    “the presenters said it was ammo for “heavy weapons” and “capable to bring down an airplane and perforate the armor of a tank”

    God Im getting sick of that

    • marathag

      sure, if the Tanks were these from WWII

      • David Sharpe

        My fingernail could take that take out.

        • Heretical Politik

          You need to cut those..

          • David Sharpe

            Actually I do. But even if they were trimmed, I could still pop those tanks.

        • The Brigadier

          Those were fake tanks the British set builder built to fool Rommel before the battle of El Alamein. It worked magnificently well. Considering the death and destruction that Rommel inflicted on the Brits before he was defeated, they owe a lot to those set tanks for their victory.

          • David Sharpe

            I know that, that’s why I said my fingernail could take those out.

          • Miguel Raton

            Actually, that’s clearly an inflatable in the picture, so I suspect that it is an illustration from the Ghost Army used in England during the build up to D-Day [w/ Patton nominally in command btw, since he was the only Allied tank commander the Germans respected at that time.] The Ghost Army owed its existence to the success of J.M. in the N. African theatre even tho’ he wasn’t in charge that time, so you are ultimately correct either way! 😉

    • Scoop

      Same when the media says “heavy fighting” in a “key” city. Meanwhile every little firefight is considered heavy and ever po-dunk town key.

      • noob

        I’d feel bad if my town wasn’t key. that means that nobody would be there to defend my land and the enemy would occupy it uncontested.

  • Ken

    That ammo could not have been underwater for long, or at least would have been stored in waterproof containers. It looks like it’s still good to go.

    • Secundius

      @ Ken.

      I suspect since at least WW2, some of the Ammunition was .30-06 in En-Bloc Clips. And Brazil was a US Ally in WW2. It probably got “Forgotten” or Lost in the Paper-Work and Miss-Filed somewhere…

      • Ken

        I highly doubt that it’s been in that lake as early as WWII. M1’s were used heavily in the post-war era and more than a few people (legally and illegally) probably have M1’s and ammo in Brazil. Likewise, I have giant pile of loaded M1 clips in my closet (for my M1’s). I could go toss one in a lake today, but that doesn’t mean it’s been there since WWII because it’s for a WWII era weapon.

  • Sianmink

    The same thing happened to my gun collection!

  • Bill

    I’ve watched members of a military unit toss ammo overboard after training exercises, even after mag dumps and slaughtering waves. Trying to turn in ammo that had been drawn out of stores apparently caused more inventory and accounting headaches than it was worth, particularly at the end of a long training day with gear to clean and beer to be drunk.

    • Anonymoose

      As someone who is on a tight ammunition budget, the very thought of wasting boolits horrifies me.

      • Bill

        Concur. I hated to see it, but wasn’t about to personally try to save it from a watery grave and have my ride searched leaving the installation with Uncle Sam’s ammo in the trunk. It speak volumes about a bureaucracy that makes it so difficult to turn stuff back in that guys won’t go through the hassle. They were sent out to train with X number of rounds, not to return with Y number of rounds.

    • Aaron E

      My Marine buddies tell horror stories of burying cases of ammo to avoid annual inventories where the ammo was supposed to have been shot already. Apparently the general orders were to count everything above ground so burried ordnance was safe.

      • USMC03Vet

        Can confirm have seen and dug graves for unused ammo myself before.

        • iksnilol

          So… this ammo would show up on a metal detectors? I mean, just hypotethically.

          • USMC03Vet

            Pretty sure the majority of Camp Lejeune training area is nothing but buried ammo at this point. You don’t even need a metal detector.

          • iksnilol

            So… by training area you mean the safe side of the firing line? Not close to the berm or in the field where you throw grenades and other explosives?

            I am of course just asking for a friend of mine.

          • Zebra Dun

            The Training area is that area just off Onslow beach to the base, and from the Bay/river area there are or were 45 years ago several Live Fire ranges (Browns island target area for heavy weapons) in the vicinity clearly marked I recall out near the Hubert area several Machine gun ranges right off the highway.
            At the time most live fire went on at the Verona Loop area and at Camp Stone bay rifle ranges which had the BEST CHOW HALL in the entire Marine Corps at the time.

          • noob

            That exact thing actually came back to bite the Australian Defense Force in the ass during the State Mine Bushfire in October 2013. The site at Marrangaroo was full of ammunition and UXO. Ten students from the Defence Explosives Ordnance Training School were conducting a demolition exercise on October 16, the day of the fire. At the end of the exercise, their supervisors decided to detonate eight left over HEAT rounds, rather than return them to stores.

            The inquiry was told this was a common practice and permission was granted by the range control officer.

            Defense force members tried to beat out the fire with shovels but were driven back by shrapnel from the exploding material that had been buried in the earth. The Rural Fire Services were unable to get in because the explosives in the ground kept on exploding.

            “There was a lot of unexploded ordnance,” said senior counsel assisting the inquiry, Lieutenant-Colonel David Jordan. “It became exploded as the fire passed through.”

            The State Mine fire near Lithgow burned for almost a month, destroying three homes, seven structures and 56,000 hectares of land.

          • Zebra Dun

            Digging fighting holes in the CLNC training areas back in the 70’s always produced prodigious amounts of un-fired blanks and M-1 Garand ammo holders (deftly escaping censure for calling them clips/Magazines) it seems the Garand’s were fired and the ammo holders were simply left where they popped out.
            Most of the un-fired blanks were 5.56 for obvious cleaning reasons.
            In 30.06, 7.62 x 51 NATO and 5.56x45mm the stuff was every where.

            Not to mention C-rat cans, some still filled with Ham and Limas as well as Fruit cake, E-tools, and equipment buckles.

          • mikewest007

            Was that fruitcake ever edible?

          • Rooftop Voter

            Cuba, 1969. I found some cookies from 1943 in the tin and actually they tasted pretty good. Don’t know what they put in them back then but now I can turn on a lamp just by touching the bulb. Think I need to get that checked out?

          • Zebra Dun

            You could pound tent stakes into the ground with the stuff!

    • Cymond

      I have a relative who works in state government. He explained to me that if an agency doesn’t use it’s whole budget, then they will get a smaller budget the next year. As a result, many agencies spend money on stupid things at the end of the year. It’s literally “use it or lose it”.

      • Bill

        It literally doesn’t pay to try to save money, increase efficiency or be a prudent steward of the taxpayer’s dime. And by the time you factor in speccing, bidding, preferred vendors, trying to store 300 cases of copy paper in a two copier agency because somebody slipped a decimal point, but you can’t buy more than one toner cartridge at a time, because that’s the rule, a $200 toilet seat almost makes sense.

    • Scoop

      Yep. We did this all the time after training. Left over ammo? Better shoot it all, or dump the rest somewhere. The mindset is that “If we don’t expend all our ammo we won’t get as much next time”. Which, given how military pencil pushers act, is probably true.

      • Rooftop Voter

        Supply PO for Weps Dept at Gtmo Bay. Learned from Chief to spend our yearly budget to the max or we lose it next time around. Back then, our allowed expense was 12K for the year so I tried my best to blow 1K a month at the ServMart down at the pier. I can’t tell you how many cases of spray paint and tool sets that I bought to keep the Cdr and Chief happy.
        The standard requisition form at the time was the famous DD-1348 multi-copy document that I filled out numerous times a day. I think everyone in the Ordnance Shop also had at least two new pairs of steel toed non sparking safety shoes in addition to the set they had on. Yeah, I did it and all was well in Gotham City after that. I could never understand that logic, especially when they also had money saving programs in effect that supposedly were receptive to your ideas on cutting costs. As we all know, it was the Beneficial Suggestions campaign aka Benny Sugs. Yeah, that went over real well.

    • As an Navy Lt., I’ve been out on live fire ops where we didn’t shoot all of the .50 or 7.62 that was allotted to us and we were told to dump it overboard rather than to check it back in. I was disgusted with the waste of taxpayers dollars that I used to see in the military at times, while at other times we scraped by and sometimes bought things we needed with our own money. Our government at work….

      • Bill

        I wasn’t going to front out the Navy, but I figured “dumped overboard” was probably a clue. During that same training I was loaned one of those auto inflating PFDs to wear, though it was missing it’s inflation cartridge. I was told that they were in really short supply, so guys were stealing them from other units, or having to buy them on their own. I was also told that there wasn’t a chance in hell that it would actually float anyone who was wearing their gear, but rules are rules.

    • Rock or Something

      I made the mistake of trying to turn in a pallet of unopened, sealed 5.56 rounds to Fort Bragg’s Ammo Point one time after we were finished with a range and didn’t have time to fire off the rest. Not only did I go through bureaucratic and paperwork hell, but I was informed if we didn’t use up all the ammo, our unit wouldn’t be allocated the same amount next time.

      They weigh the returning brass to make sure you aren’t sneaking off pallets of government issued ammunition for personal use.

      I guess it never occurred to some of these people that the resource requirements for agencies and units can fluctuate differently each year.

      Our government at work.

  • Cal.Bar

    AM I the only one a bit suspicious of this story as the name of the lake was “Paranoa”?(Paranoia perhaps a bit more fitting)

  • 5flytyr .

    Sensational b.s. “stories” like these are all you’ll hear from now on from the airhead media outlets. No one mentions if this stuff has been immersed for any length of time it’s junque and useless…..

  • Jim_Macklin

    Lake Paranoia ? Sounds phony to me me.
    Military ammo is sealed with lacquer at the primer and bullet. If the water pressure isn’t high enough to crush the case, it will probably fire and be within 5-10% of spec.
    The M2 Ball in Garand clips is sealed with red lacquer and the clips don’t appear to be rusted red and furry.
    Unless you’re dragging nets with a chain on the bottom on mouth a net won’t pick up stuff on the bottom.
    I saw the story is a plant.

  • Glock Guy

    Next thing they will be pulling up the rare grenade fish, just don’t catch it by the pin, err, I mean fin.

  • Jamie Clemons

    If the lacquer coating is intact it should still be ok to shoot. Do a few test rounds.

  • scaatylobo

    LOL, since the ammo was not safe to fire = this is a non story,about a story that is a non story !.

  • desert

    Their news commentator doesn’t know his butt from a hole in the ground! Take down an aircraft or a tank? “heavy weapons”….lol

  • Rooftop Voter

    Small arms pistol ammo and 30.06 from a Garand are not heavy weapons ammo and neither of these will perforate the armor of a tank. Who writes this stuff? More than likely the same peeps who want to ban “scary” attachments on the AR-15 platform.
    Take the time to click on “barrel shroud” on You Tube and you get the idea.

  • Secundius

    The Ammunition Find, is probably related to the M1 Garand’s seizure around the 28 or 29 of August 2015. The M1’s were Tricked Out in Sage International M1GALCS/PMRI Aluminum/Polymer Stocks. But it’s only a Guess…