X-Ray Photos of Exotic Ammunition

    IAA Forum user PaulSmith received several x-ray images of ammunition, and was able to take photographs:

    Last week I was given some excellent x-rays. By having a diffuse light source behind the film I was able to take some pictures.

    The quality of the x-ray images are remarkable (these pictures do not do them justice). Examples:

    1. the solder in the weep hole of the 7.9mm PmK is visible (picture 2).
    2. the shadow of the headstamp is visible on one of the 12 ga shotshells (picture 4).

    While some of the rounds are easily identifiable (Karcher, Greener triplex, flechettes, Japanese 7.7mm Explosive), other have me stumped! There are some interesting patent ignition rounds.


    German 7.9mm PmK, and Japanese 7.7mm Arisaka explosive rounds, through x-ray.


    These could be .50-90 Sharps, with a .50-70 Sharps to the right (it’s difficult to tell; only the numbers suggest any kind of scale). However, the “1” on the right in this image is not the same cartridge as “D” in the last image.


    A number of cartridges. “H” is a shotshell, possibly a .38, which suggests “G” are also .38s (perhaps .38 S&W). Above “G” could be a .357 wadcutter. “1” and “2” look like they could be .56-56 Spencer. “3” could be .58 Chabot or one of the .58 Gatlings. “4” appears to be the .338 Amron Aerojet four flechette variant. “5” is the .321 Greener triplex, used in a modified version of the Martini-Henry rifle, “6” is .303 British “dum dum” round, probably a Mark IV.


    “7” is probably 8x50R Mannlicher, “8” is a 7.62×51 NATO M80 Ball analogue of some variety, “9” is a .30-06 gallery round, or possibly a kind of blank, “A” is a .303 British round, possibly API or a spotting round, “B” is a 9.53mm Winchester multiple flechette round.


    “C” is a .30-06 tracer round, most likely, and “D” is possibly a .50-70 Sharps. Above that, is another small shotshell, possibly a .410 or something more exotic. To the right are various shotshells.


    Seeing the rounds x-rayed like this is very cool, and trying to figure out which cartridges are what is a lot of fun. Can you identify any of the mystery cartridges?

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]