Tombstone drums

Vehicle weapons and static display accessories
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Marshies
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Tombstone drums

Post by Marshies » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:49 am

Hey does anyone know how to load up a tombstone drum?
I have just restored a couple and would like to know how they work.
Thanks Terry

Starvingboy
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by Starvingboy » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:07 am

Isn't it just a belt wrapped around a spool in the middle? I don't have one, but there is not a lot of moving parts involved, from what I have seen.

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DaninNM
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by DaninNM » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:32 am

A round is clipped into the center drum and the "crank handle" that fits in the slot on the side of the drum is turned to wind the ammo around the drum. The drums hold 225 round so it takes two 50 cal ammo boxes full and a bit to fill one. Crank handles are usually missing but sold on Epay and elsewhere. Rare ones have a wooden handle - cheapies are the all metal ones.
Some drums have an embossed note on the front showing the direction the ammo rolls out of the tombstone....others used blue stencil with the "225 round" notation and a curved arrow showing direction of ammo winding on the drum.
reenacting and WWII history

Marshies
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by Marshies » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:22 pm

So without actually trying it with an ammo belt yet, I follow what you are saying, but when the spool is full would then the remainder of the belt lay into the bottom of the drum? There is a lot of room in there below the spool, it must be there for a reason?
Thanks Terry

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DaninNM
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by DaninNM » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:00 pm

Gun jerks the ammo off the spool.....of it rolls of it will lay in the bottom but the botton is not to be used to lay rows of linked ammo in. The weight of the linked ammo can cause the spool to rotate.
reenacting and WWII history


Robin
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by Robin » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:04 pm

This should help explain it.

Image
Image
41 M3 37mm A/T gun
42 M1A1 75mm pack how
43 MBT trailer
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44 MZ2 USMC radio Jeep
44 RL35 reel cart
44 K38 trailer
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M1942 USMC handcart
M1917 Litter Carrier
M1917 Ammo cart
43 Columbia bike

Robin
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by Robin » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:05 pm

Image
41 M3 37mm A/T gun
42 M1A1 75mm pack how
43 MBT trailer
43 WC52
43 WC62
44 Chevy 1.5 ton
44 MZ2 USMC radio Jeep
44 RL35 reel cart
44 K38 trailer
43 K52 trailer
43 M3A4 handcarts(8)
M1942 USMC handcart
M1917 Litter Carrier
M1917 Ammo cart
43 Columbia bike

Marshies
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by Marshies » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:37 am

Thanks Guys,
That cutaway picture explains everything, Thanks Robin.
I am guessing the end of the belt being wound onto the drum would be to equilize the weight of the belt and create the same drag through out the firing so as not to jam the gun .
apparently the drum weighs in at 89lbs fully loaded!!
sure sounds like a 2 man job?
Cheers Terry

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DaninNM
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Re: Tombstone drums

Post by DaninNM » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:33 am

WOW! Ya learn something every day....I was wrong - never figured there were layers of 50 cal in the bottom of the cans - CUZ I never put more than ONE can of 50 cal in a drum! LOL
reenacting and WWII history

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