Original U.S. Vietnam War Inert 60mm HE M49A3 Mortar Round With Fuze - Dated 1973

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Totally inert and demilitarized according to BATF guidelines with hollow body and inert fuse. This mortar round cannot be converted to an explosive device and is not available for export.

This is a hard to find 1973-Dated M49A3 Deactivated Mortar Round, for the U.S. 60mm M2 Mortar. This cartridge is fired in 60mm mortars M2 or M19 for use against personnel and materiel, providing both fragmentation and blast effect.

The complete round consists of a projectile body, a point detonating fuze (staked), a fin assembly, four increments of propellant charge, an ignition cartridge, and a percussion primer. The projectile body is of pearlitic malleable iron (PMI), and is threaded internally at the nose to accept the fuze and at the base to accept the fin assembly. The body is filled with Composition B high explosive.

The projectile body of the M49A3 is of forged steel and is filled with flaked TNT. This example is in very good condition, with original arsenal markings stamped into the mortar round body:

AIM-16-5-73 60MM M49A3

The OD Green paint is retained very well, and there is no stenciled markings. Most likely this example was made as an inert practice version, and was never filled with any type of explosive.

The fuze also has the correct FUZE, PD, PRACTICE M775 marking on the side. Measures approximately 10 inches in length.

This is a great chance to pick up a scarce Vietnam War dated inert mortar round!

The M2 Mortar is a 60 millimeter smoothbore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used by U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War for light infantry support.

The U.S. M2 60 mm mortar was developed from the heavier 81 mm M1 Mortar to provide a lighter-weight alternative to company-level fire support. The M2 attempted to bridge the gap between the 81 mm mortar and the hand grenade. Normally employed by the weapons platoon of a U.S. infantry company, the M2 is of the usual mortar pattern of the day. It consists of a smoothbore metal tube on a rectangular baseplate, supported by a simple bipod with the elevation and traverse mechanisms. The firing pin was fixed in the base cap of the tube, and the bomb was fired automatically when it dropped down the barrel. Though classed as a light mortar, the M2 had considerable range compared to the 50 mm and 60 mm mortars of most other nations, and its fixed-firing pin design allowed a high rate of fire by trained crews.

Each mortar shell had a screw-on cap in its base. Inside the hollow in the tail, it contained a 20-gauge M5A1 Ignition Cartridge. This was a paper shotgun shell filled with ballistite powder.

The mortar had a firing pin in the bottom of the tube. When the shell was dropped down the tube, the firing pin struck the Ignition Cartridge in the shell's tail, detonating it. When the cartridge detonated, the explosive gases exited the base of the shell through two bleed holes. This propelled the shell out of the tube in an arc. Unassisted, the mortar shell had a range of about 200 to 325 yards (183 to 297 m).

To increase the mortar's range, shells were issued with four waterproof cellophane bags of propellant, called increments, fastened to the stabilizing fins with wire clips. The ignition cartridge would ignite the propellant, increasing chamber pressure and the shell's muzzle velocity. All four increments and the ignition cartridge pushed the maximum range to about 2,000 yards (1,800 m) at 45 degrees elevation (depending on the shell's length and weight). To reduce the mortar's muzzle velocity, increment charges were removed as needed before firing. This allowed great flexibility in the angle at which shells impacted the target area, allowing the weapon to drop shells behind hills or buildings.

The M2 Mortar could fire several types of ammunition.

  • M49A2 High explosive (HE) with Point Detonating fuze M52B1 [Weight: 2.73 lb (1.24 kg)]: An explosive shell used against infantry and other light area targets. It has a minimum range of 200 yards (180 m) when fired without a boosting charge at a 70° angle and a maximum range of 2,017 yards (1,844 m) when fired with four boosting charges at a 45° angle.
  • M49A3 High Explosive Cartridge (HE) with Super-Quick Point Detonating fuze M525 [Weight: 3.05 lb (1.38 kg)]: Often referred to in the field as "HE quick".
  • M302 White phosphorus Cartridge (WP): A "bursting smoke" shell used as a signaling, screening, smoke-producing, and casualty-producing shell.
  • Unlike regular smoke shells of the period, which used a "hot" chemical reaction to generate a smoke cloud, the white phosphorus shell detonates to expose its filler to the air, causing it to spontaneously ignite and generate a thick cloud of white or grey smoke. It also sets combustible materials in its radius of effect on fire, causing secondary smoke sources. If personnel are hit by burning white phosphorus, the fragments will continue to burn inside the wound. They need to be evacuated to a hospital to have the fragments removed under special conditions.
  • M83 Illuminating Cartridge (ILL): A pyrotechnic parachute flare shell used in night missions requiring illumination for assistance in observation.
  • M69 Training/Practice Cartridge (TP) [Weight: 4.43 lb (2.01 kg)]: A shell with a cast iron body, inert filler, and detachable fin assembly used to train recruits in firing the M2 mortar. The cast iron body is reusable and the fin assembly can be replaced if damaged.
  • M50A3 Training / Practice Cartridge (TP) [Weight 3.15 lb (1.43 kg)]: This practice shell is ballistically matched to the M49A4 HE shell, making it easier to train. They are the same size and weight, only differing in that the M50A3 is inert and emits a puff of white smoke on
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