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Military History/Small artillery projectile


QUESTION: Mr. Patton,
This weekend I was in Bisbee, AZ, where I found a small artillery projectile in a junk shop. The shop owner told me that it was found on the site of a former US Army outpost in the area...the area of the 1916 Mexican Expedition.  
The projectile has no markings. It has a 55mm diameter...180mm  circumference ...170mm long.
I'd enjoy any info you might have. Thank you.

ANSWER: Blake:

Is the diameter correct?  I cannot find any 2" or 55mm guns in the US inventory for that period.   The small bore cannon was usually in the mountain gun or cavalry gun size range but I cannot find reference to that size in the US gun listings.

Hotckiss did make a 1.65 inch rifled gun that the US Cavalry used, in the late 1800's notably at Wounded Knee.

I take it the shot is solid?

Not to rain on your parade, but unless there is a specific letter or provenance, that projectile could have been found anywhere and the store is selling it as a local relict hoping that it could increase the price.

That it is real is not in doubt, is looks like the driving band is missing, it would sit in the recessed crenelated band, which would allow the projectile to seat into the rifling of the cannon barrel when fired.  I cannot find any reference to a 55mm bore cannon.

That does not preclude it from being something the Mexicans had, or some other European power.  But I cannot find reference to any that size either.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Mr. Patton,
I should have mentioned that the measurements were approximate and that the projectile appears to be solid and weighs a little over 6 pounds.
The shop owner also had an intact .50 caliber round found at the same time. The base of the casing was stamped with "L C 44" which indicates a 1944 production date. Might it be possible that the big projectile is a WWII era 57mm round?
I paid $30 for the big projectile and plan on using it as a paperweight on my desk.
Thank you for looking into the matter.

57 mm Drill Round
57 mm Drill Round  
Using you additional info, yes it is indeed a 57mm early armor piercing round. See the attacked photos.  It was probably a drill Cartridge, Drill cartridge M23AB1.  The copper driving band was probably removed for its value.  The British and Canadians also used the same ammunition but it was called a Six pounder.

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Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

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