Beware. Fake civil war bullets and ammo that can explode

Were to start. Fake civil war bullets being sold or counterfeit bullets that can hurt the user? Lets start with the civil war bullets.

When I first started my old company, I was looking all the time for new products to sell. I had received some American Civil War bullets as a gift. I thought they were pretty cool.

So I looked online to see what prices they were selling for. After research, I found out that Amazon sellers were selling it for at least 2x what eBay was, and wholesale was about a 1/5. I could have just made money by drop shipping from those two sites. My biggest concern however was if they were real bullets or fake. You had to trust the seller. That is the main reason I did not start selling them. I just didn’t know enough about the industry of historical bullets from the Civil War period.

Perhaps it was a good thing, as chances are the bullets would have been fake.

Civil war bullets sold on Amazon and eBay are highly known to be fake. But not all sellers are selling fake ones. The problem you cannot tell from pictures. The only way to know if it is real or fake is to test it yourself, or if the seller is trusted with a lot of feedback in regards to selling bullets.
How to tell if your Civil War bullets are real or not

It is pretty easy to see if the bullet is counterfeit or not. A simple test is to put the bullet in a cup of water and let it sit for several hours. The white patina on bogus bullets will simply wipe off easily. In the second photo, bullets were cast in a mold and artificially made to look old.  Note the crude mold seam down the bullet from head to bottom.  The mold seam even runs down so-called fired bullets. The lead probably came from tire balancing lead weights. The dirty looking patina easily rubs off.

Buyers who just want to buy these bullets as a gift or one time collectible will probably never know if they are fake or not. You have to know what to look for when it comes to historical items. Here is a guide by eBay to help anyone who wants to buy a Civil War bullet.

There is  ammo that looks 100% real, but is extremely deadly to the user who fired it. 

The US military along with others such as Syria commonly make ammo that looks legit, but when the user fires it, the bullet explodes hurting the user. This tactic is used to hurt enemy moral and the supply chain. It was first used in World War II, and is used in today’s Iraqi war by the US military. Syria uses it against its enemies in their current civil war. While this ammo is not likely to make its way into the US or most other countries, it can still find its way to innocent people.

The practice has principally involved rifle and machine-gun cartridges, but also the projectiles for rocket-propelled grenades and perhaps mortar rounds, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen rebel leaders in Syria and many fighters, as well as an examination of shattered rifles and the contents of a booby-trapped cartridge. The tactic is highly controversial, in that it is potentially indiscriminate.

The primary source for doctored ammunition has been the Syrian government, which mixes exploding cartridges with ordinary rounds on the black markets through which rebels acquire weapons, the commanders said.

“The problem with them is the same as with land mines,” Mr. Marsh said. “You can’t be sure who is going to pick up and try to use the spiked ammunition.”

From nytimes

That is a big worry about the ammo since it can be resold to a civilian. No one will know a bullet is fake until it is fired. Well, there are tests, but who is going to test a 1000 round box.  Here is a picture of a rebel’s hand after using a fake bullet.


counterfeit bullet ammo round

I remember a video came out around 2007 during the height of the Iraq war. I did not know the reason why his mortor tube exploded until years later when reading about the logistics of the Vietnam war when I learned about fake ammo. Reading comments on the other videos that have this explosion, many people do not know about the dangers of fake ammo. Most of the comments assume he was hit by a US airstrike or a counter mortor.

Here is the link to the fake mortar that kills it user:



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