1942 GFL M38 .380 w/Lathe Turned brass cases?


Some strange rounds of WWII Fiocchi Italian military 380 (9mm K) have been in my collection for a long time.

The lead bullets have ungilded steel jackets. Each round has the same 1942 headstamp.

The odd part is that each of the brass cases have tool marks on the outside which make the cases look like they were turned on a lathe.

I knocked the bullet out of one round and found the inside of the case to be free of tool marks and as smooth inside as any other cartridge case.

Any information would be appreciated.


They look like they were turned down at a later date. For what purpose I have no idea. Possibly to fit some sort of obscure calibre gun?


The headstamp suggests this is a case intended for the Beretta 1938 SMG version of the 9 m/m Luger turned down in a lathe for some unknown reason. Jack


Interesting idea Falcon. I checked the lathe turned rounds and compared them with various other .380’s (U.S., Italian and German). The lathe turned cartridges are no different from the others, they are all about the same.

As an additional check, I cycled one lathe turned GFL round through a Remington M51 pistol. The pistol stripped the round from the magazine and chambered it properly. I then pulled back the slide and the pistol ejected the unfired round without trouble. (I have no plans to fire any of these odd cartridges, I like the Remington too much to risk it).

For what it’s worth, 13 rounds of the lathe turned GFL ammo came in a mixed bag with various other WWII vintage .380 rounds with headstamps such as; DWM 540, C.A. B-42, M B-38, Z 1940 VI, etc. It was part of a vet.'s estate.


When a case is being drawn or formed I assume it is forced into some type of die. Maybe the inside of this forming die was never finished properly after it was turned on a lathe?



To me these cases look like they were a regular cartridge that had a few tens of thou skimmed off the outside on a lathe for whatever reason. They are very roughly done and the rough edge left around the extractor groove by turning has not been removed.


Falcon: They are regular cases turned in a lathe; they started out as Fiocchi made 9m/m Luger cases (for the Beretta M38 SMG) and they’ve been shortened and turned down but original headstamp remains. Heaven only knows what the bullet is. Jack


Very odd looking rounds. The bullet ogive is more like 9mm. What did the bullet in the one you pulled actually weigh? Also, it may be an illusion in the photo, but the rim looks very thick compared to either a normal 9mm Para or 9mm Corto (.380) round. Have you measured the rim thickness against cartridges of similar era in both calibers?

Regardless, interesting rounds. Probably come under the heading of “improvised munitions.” It would be interesting to know who did them, but that will likely never be discovered.

John Moss


I think they turned down the case since the 380 ACP has a smaller rim & head diam compared to the 9 mm Para / 9 mm M38 round ( about .020" )

According to me the rim thickness is the same .It looks thicker since the lathe erased the bevel of the rim

Obviously this can be discovered measuring rim & base diam and rim thickness


Thank you for your comments and ideas. In response to questions, I examined the lathe turned cartridges and this is what I came up with:

The Bullets:
I re-pulled the bullet from the turned brass round and compared it with a bullet pulled from a 9mm Parabelum round and a bullet pulled from a 380. The bullet in the lathe turned case is the same as the bullet from the 9mm Parabelum. As you would know the .380 bullet is much shorter. Thus, it looks like whoever remanufactured this ammo re-used the 9mm parabelum bullets but pushed them further down into the cases so that the overall length would be the same as standard .380 ammo.

The Case Rim:
The rims of the lathe turned cases are the same as those of other 380 and 9mm Parabelum cases. They look thicker because they are not beveled and because the flash from the turning process used to re-manufacture them extends into the extractor grove.

Best regards,


I hope they reduced the powder charge. Seating a 9mm Para bullet that deep into a .380 case would reduce the powder cavity volume sufficiently, I believe, to raise pressures considerably I would think. I don’t think I would fire those rounds!

I thought that might be the case, though, from the ogive of the bullet.

John Moss


I believe I have a similar Israeli round on an A E 8 case.