Original U.S. WWII .60 Cal Machine Gun T17 Wood Ammunition Crate
Original Item: Very few available. These are very rare. 100 round .60 caliber ammunition wood boxes designed to carry rounds for the WW2 experimental T17 .60 cal Machine Gun.
Crates are offer in good condition without lids. They are all marked slightly differently but typically read:
100 CARTRIDGES CAL .60
Offered in good useable condition each measures:
18.5 L x 9.5 W x 14 H
Weight: 13 lb
US T17 was a derivative of the German WWII MG 151. A little known US research program, called T17, reverse engineered an MG151 and adapted it for the US .60 caliber round, previously intended for an anti-tank rifle. Around 300 of these T17 guns were built, but none saw service, despite the availability of 6 million rounds of .60 caliber ammunition. Almost one million rounds were fired during the T17 testing program. The main US version produced, the T17E3, was made by Frigidaire. Further refinements led to the T39 and T51 versions, but these also did not enter service.
The Americans constantly searched for higher muzzle velocities in their HMGs, producing experimental weapons mainly based on the Hispano (T18 series) or MG 151 (T17 series) cannon. The T18s were adapted to 15 mm or .60" calibre, but the conversion turned out to involve too much work so they were dropped. The T17 was developed to accept the US Army's experimental .60" anti-tank cartridge (15.2x114) in a project which started in 1942 and continued until 1946, achieving orders for up to 5,000 weapons and production of about 300, none of which saw service. The T17E3 weighed 61 kg and achieved only 600 rpm; the T17E5 reduced the weight to 58 kg and speeded up the mechanism to 700-750 rpm. There was also a Johnson short-recoil design chambered for both the 20x110 HS 404 round and the necked-down 12.7x120 high velocity version (.50" HV), but this was equally unsuccessful.
The ammunition used by these weapons was impressively powerful for the calibre. The .50" HV achieved over 1,220 m/s with a 46 g bullet, the .60" anti-tank cartridge fired a 76 g bullet at 1,100 m/s, and a necked-down .50" version (12.7x114) propelled a 43 g bullet at 1,200 m/s, or 32 g at 1,340."
As a matter of interest, the .60 cartridge was also used in some postwar designs, namely the Vulcan rotary and the revolver cannon which became the M39, but it was rejected in favor of a necked-out version of the cartridge - the 20x102 - which is still in use today in the M61 Vulcan and various other guns.
In 1939 the US Army issued a requirement for an anti-tank rifle capable of penetrating 1¼" (32mm) of armor at 500 yards (460m). This produced the massive .60" cartridge. The rifle never saw service, neither did the T17 aircraft machine gun (developed from captured Luftwaffe MG151) which was intended to use it. Different designs of .60" machine guns (including revolver and rotary versions) were experimented with but without success.
In the constant USAAF search for higher velocity the cartridge was also necked down to .50", generating up to 4,400 fps (1,340 m/s) with lightweight incendiary bullets. None of the HMGs came to anything and the cartridges are merely collectors' items.
Ironically the Americans learned the same lesson as the Germans had with the MG151 and necked up the case to form the 20mm M39 round which has been the standard USAF cannon cartridge since the 1950s. Its most famous application is in the six-barrelled rotary M61 Vulcan cannon, which also serves as the business end of the Phalanx anti-missile system.
The USN decided that the 20x102 wasn't powerful enough, and their Mk 12 cannon (based on the Hispano) could take a longer cartridge, so they simply stretched the case to 110mm and fitted a slightly heavier projectile. This cartridge was only ever used in the Mk 12 gun (which saw considerable use in the 1950s and 1960s) plus that strange Mk 11 double-barrelled revolver used in the Mk 4 gunpod.
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