I found this in my Grandfather’s basement. He served in World War 2, in the Pacific Theater. He sadly passed away and we have no idea if this is safe. Can anyone help with identifying this? It is 13 inches tall, and 3 inches in diameter. The only markings I found on it are T Z. Thanksenter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    If it is empty, then it is probably safe. 3 inches (=76mm) was a very common caliber of many guns (on tanks, ships, etc.) Use a flashlight to see whether it is empty. Probably it is if your grandfather brought it in his basement:-)
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 21:19
  • Thank you for the excellent photographs.
    – Schwern
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 3:45
  • Three weeks ago we found in our garden (in southern England) what looked to me like a WW2 grenade. It had rusted over. An emergency 999 call brought a policeman within five minutes, two more police in 20 minutes, an explosives expert 15 minutes later. The last was concerned because "it felt heavy" and the Army Logistics Corps were called and arrived after another 45 minutes. They x-rayed it and found to everyone's relief it was hollow. They were unable to confirm whether or not it was a grenade. We have lived in the house for 35 years and believe a fox had found it somewhere and dumped it.
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


WW2 Pacific Theater means US, British, or Japanese; let's start with the US. Long, solid, and pointy means anti-tank round, and it's capped. US anti-tank guns of 3" diameter means 75mm, 76mm, or 3 inch shell. 76mm and 3 inch would be overkill against Japanese armor, so probably a shell for the 75mm M2 tank gun. That cuts it down to an M72 or M61 shell. M72 is not capped, the M61 is. The M61's projectile is 13.2" long.

It is the projectile from a M61 or M61A1 75mm APCBC-HE-T shell (Armor-Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped High Explosive with Tracer). It is lacking its casing, which is good because that's a lot of gunpowder you don't have to worry about.

enter image description here

  • Armor-Piercing
  • Capped with a blunt, softer nose to prevent shattering against hardened armor or skipping off sloped armor.
  • Ballistic Capped again with an aerodynamic cap to improve performance.
  • Containing a small High Explosive charge in the base to detonate after penetration and fling shrapnel around inside the target.
  • Tracer at the back to help aim a second shot.

Because the ballistic cap is intact it is unlikely to have been fired.

The hollow bottom is where the explosive filler would go. It's empty so it's probably safe, but I'd still have an expert look at it. Perhaps call a local military museum.

Punching a 75mm hole in armor usually produced plenty of havoc and shrapnel on its own, and the explosive filler was often omitted.

  • I don't actually doubt you're right, but it would be nice to know how you identified that shell, to the exclusion of anything else.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 9:30
  • 2
    @DevSolar I've added my process.
    – Schwern
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 10:01

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