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Picture Page

May 2012

A look at a few boxes of .45 ACP tracers......

I don't do a lot of shooting these days, but I can't think of anything that will get me in the mood to burn a little powder any quicker than when I find a few tracer cartridges in a bunch of loose cartridges I have purchased. There's something satisfying about watching the red glow of a tracer headed down range.

Over the years, I've picked up a number of boxes of tracer cartridges; I find that the commercial style boxes appeal to me more than the military boxes. This first box is one of several commercial boxes in my collection, this one made by the Remington Arms Company sometime perhaps in the 1950s or 1960s. I picked it up in a multi-box purchase from the estate of a retired FBI agent, and was advised that this particular box had been FBI property; the tracers been purchased for training purposes by that agency. While the cartridges in this box are all in excellent condition, the cartridge on the right in the picture above was taken from another box of Remington tracers and shows the effects of long term storage in a warm, humid environment, rather than in a cool dry place as the small pasted-on label suggests. In such conditions, the tracer compound in the bullets tends to swell, causing the bullet jacket and case to split.

This second box was made by the Peters Cartridge Company at about the same time as the Remington box and was included in the same purchase as that box. It is also former FBI training ammunition. Aside from the different headstamps and the lack of a case cannelure on the Peters cartridges, the cartridges in the two boxes are otherwise matching, not surprising since Peters was a division of Remington Arms at the time. Note on the backs of the boxes that the Remington cartridges used their Oilproof process of manufacture that allowed the cartridges to be kept in the gun with no worry of gun oil seeping into them to cause misfires or hangfires, while the Peters cartridges used that company's Oil-Tite process for this purpose. I suspect both processes were pretty much the same, utilizing a petroleum resistant sealant of some type as a sealant for the cases.