Surprising toolbox find

Found this little bugger in a toolbox. I won’t bore you with where I got the toolbox but it did take me aback when I saw this under some other stuff. I’m guessing it is from a 20mm Oerlikon cannon round. It is 20mm in diameter and the copper band near the base is, I think, characteristic of the type.

I was worried that it might be live. You know, tracer, incendiary, or high explosive. The insert in the base and the brass tip made me think it was not a solid ball round.  But as i was handling it I felt the brass nose piece move and so I unscrewed it. It was empty. The stamping on the nose reads “6-1 Y.A.”

I’m not 100% certain it is an Oerlikon 20mm bullet, anyone tell me for sure?

Addendum: found this page on 20mm round identification. BTW, what I have is 82mm long.





  1. #1 by oldfussbudget on November 17, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Oerlikon seems plausible, see .

    Closest I ever came to a 20 mm round, a neighbor kid brought a live round into the house one day, his daddy had given it to him to play with. My father turned pale, grabbed it from him and hurled it into the middle of the river without a word. Kid was so surprised he forgot to cry.

    • #2 by albell on November 17, 2013 - 6:21 pm

      Thanks David. The illustrations in that link really have a beautiful hand drawn quality to them.

      Ill admit at feeling a bit, well, unsettled when found it. Seeing the base plug and the obvious nose section did make me wonder if there was any nasty stuff inside. And when i felt the nose section move in my hand well I put on my safety visor and leather gloves and unscrewed the bugger 🙂

      “Fools walk in” and all that.



      • #3 by oldfussbudget on November 17, 2013 - 6:59 pm

        I grew up with a shell recovered from the USS Maine. Steel with a copper band for the rifling, 4-5 inches long by maybe 1-3/4 diameter, maybe as much as 2. Small flat nose with ogee front section then straight sides. Brass fuze screwed into the base. Pretty small for bagged powder but there was no visible evidence of it having ever been inserted into brass. The bursting charge had been removed, but looking back I wonder about that fuze. We didn’t play with it, it was in Dad’s box of trinkets and we got to hold it once in a while.

      • #4 by albell on November 17, 2013 - 7:06 pm


        which USS Maine? the first or second?


      • #5 by oldfussbudget on November 17, 2013 - 7:08 pm

        The one that sank in Cuba.

      • #6 by albell on November 17, 2013 - 7:11 pm

        I suppose I should have known the one that started a war 🙂


      • #7 by oldfussbudget on November 20, 2013 - 8:09 pm

        I once had a rifle tracer cartridge long ago. One of the .30 cal WWII rounds for an M1 or summat. I wondered what the tracer actually looked like burning, so I wiggled the bullet out, held it in a pair of pliers and applied a flame to the business end.

        It lit up with a red flame that I’m sure was a foot long, along with considerable smoke, and it burned and burned and burned. It burned for weeks, I **** you not.

        About one second into this exercise I decided that having done this in a small bedroom was probably not the smartest choice I’d ever made.

        After a year or two it burned out and I hadn’t dropped it on the floor and the cats weren’t on fire and all that was left was a smoky room with a big stupid standing in it.

        But it was a good deal more exciting than I’d, um, planned for.

      • #8 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 8:14 pm

        I can see that, sort of along the lines of “hey guys, watch this….”



      • #9 by Angus on November 21, 2013 - 7:44 am

        Great story David, sounds like something I would have done as a kid – though probably not smart enough to extract the bullet first…

      • #10 by oldfussbudget on November 21, 2013 - 8:42 am

        Skip to 2:42 and watch the chamber very closely.

      • #11 by Angus on November 21, 2013 - 11:40 am

        As soon as he put the shell in I knew what was coming next. 🙂 Hopefully it was a single story house…

  2. #12 by Angus on November 18, 2013 - 8:55 am

    Well it’s obvious to me that your next step will be to head for the scrap tubing pile and build a rifle to fit it.

    Tracer is just a paint band circling the round, but I’m glad your safety visor protected you from anything worse on the inside. 🙂

    • #13 by albell on November 18, 2013 - 6:06 pm

      the face shield was a knee jerk reaction that kicked in even during the foolhardy unscrewing of the top of the projectile.

      If i do make a rifle I come by it genetically. My father was once confined to barracks for making a pistol. Go figure eh? Youd think you would get a promotion.


      • #14 by oldfussbudget on November 20, 2013 - 8:12 pm

        Are you kidding? The army is absolute death on the idea of anyone actually having a weapon (that works) any time there’s not an official enemy in sight.

      • #15 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 8:16 pm

        Yeah, I suppose they have maintenance discipline 🙂



  3. #16 by Simon on November 19, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    Not the most informed comment… but WHOA.

    • #17 by albell on November 19, 2013 - 9:59 pm

      So what to use it for?

      Toothpick holder?



  4. #18 by Simon on November 20, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Too long for a toothpick holder…

    Syncro shift lever extension? ( I know how jealous you are of mine) 🙂

    • #19 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 6:22 pm

      Sorry, but I dont need an extension yet Simon 🙂


      • #20 by oldfussbudget on November 20, 2013 - 8:01 pm

        Magnifying glass still working for you, then?

      • #21 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 8:14 pm




      • #22 by oldfussbudget on November 20, 2013 - 8:18 pm

        Ah, perhaps I was taking that in a direction that you didn’t mean. 😉

      • #23 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 8:19 pm

        oh come on David, throw me a bone. Im thick.


    • #24 by oldfussbudget on November 20, 2013 - 8:22 pm

      I thought you and Simon were metaphorically comparing dicks, so I was extracting the urine on that account.

      • #25 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 8:52 pm

        metaphors, ah, got ya 🙂

        yes, he is like an old man with a cane using that shift extension 🙂


  5. #26 by Simon on November 20, 2013 - 9:28 pm

    “Throw me a bone”?

    “I’m thick”?

    Seems you’re still up for the double pun-tendres.

    Oh and by the way, my extender is an implant, not a cane!

    • #27 by albell on November 20, 2013 - 9:46 pm

      I just cant help it, it happens without me thinking.


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