.32 Smith & Wesson Long Cartridge - JANE'S


I just received a 2005-2006 copy of Jane’s ammunition yesterday and was paging threw it finding some super interesting rounds of all sizes and designs. I was also totally amazed to see that the forums very own Anthony Williams is also one of 2 Editors of the book. That’s just amazing! Anyhow, on page 12 & 13 their is a bullet with a design feature I have never seen before. I am still learning and realize I have not seen much outside my limited collection interests until joining the IAA and learning GOBS from all of you. Anyhow, this bullet is called a “.32 Smith & Wesson Long Cartridge”, and has the outside, circumference of its headstamp engraved like the side of a US coin. Why is that? Does it serve a function? Just caught my eye. I took a picture of it from the book. Note that the original photo as published in Jane’s was taken by Anthony Williams, as are numerous others in the book. I am sure most of you already knew this. Anyhow, their is some extreme greatness here :-)


Might the knurling on the case rim be an indication of a PROOF load? I have a few 9mmP cartridges like that.


Thanks Leon. I really have no clue what it is for. You could be right?


The load with the knurled rim is probably of European manufacture. The knurled rim would have no recognizable meaning on U.S.-manufactured ammunition, and would not be done to identify a proof load in this country. It is not a SAAMI recognized form of identification for proof loads. I would guess that the cartridge is either of Hirtenberg or Geco manufacture, or possibly, but less likely, Sellier & Bellot, in which case Leon would be correct it would be a proof load.


Well done John, it’s a Geco!


Well, you definitely know your stuff, John! Like a detective :=) Does the knurling mean anything in Europe? It just really caught my eye when I saw it in Jane’s as something unusual.


Well in Germany and many other states firearms where proofed by government befor they where sold. In Germany there are special proof rounds - overloaded - and producing a 30% higher gas pressures than the normal factory loads. That is law, and we have a special proof office.
The proof rounds are marked with a knurled rim to clearly ID them for everybody.


Where did you buy the book?


Genkideskan - While we have no national proof house in the USA, as is the norm in Europe, all responsible American firearms manufacturers proof-test their products. In this country, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Makers Institute (SAAMI) pretty much sets the standards for proof loads as well as how they are to be marked, including packaging for them, much like CIP does in Europe now. They usually have an all-red (or purplish-red) bullet and a red base, often accompanied by a tinned cartridge case (but not always). We simply have never used the knurled-rim form of identification for proof loads that some manufacturers in Europe use, albeit inconsistently.

One habit the European countries have that is poor in the extreme is the high-pressure proof testing of firearms that have already undergone proof when they were originally manufactured, and are so marked. Germany does this when a non-German gun is imported, I believe. We sold a nice British Sporting rifle - a Rigby as I recall - to a German customer. It was built on an original square-bridge Magnum Mauser action of German manufacture, like many fine British magazine rifles. When he imported it into Germany, they required that he submit it for proof even though the gun had been proofed in England when manufactured. The proof house managed to blow up, beyond any hope of repair, a perfectly good British rifle from a world-respected manufacturer, and an expensive one, at that. The German action simply came all apart when it was fired with the heavy overload of the proof cartridge. Firearms are not meant to be proofed over and over again. There is always a limit as to how many proof rounds they can fire over the life-span of the rifle before “letting go.”


Super facinating information. So, the cartridge is Europian and it is a proof round. That is why it has a knurled edge. Thanks John.


High John,

well any sort of color markings couldt be wear of in times, so a more reliable marking was used here.
Today a lot of foreign proof marks are accepted in Germany - there are a lot
of contracts between Germany and other countries or single companies or even importers.

You are right - we have the problem that even very rare and unique firearms need a proof shooting and the proof marks are hammered in an antique gem. With tough luck they blow away your baby and stamp it in capital letters “Unuseable”.

May be this a heritage from imperial times when the new M/88 rifle blow up from time to time.

But it is law useful or senceless - try to change it …


I agree that colored markings can wear away, but that is not likely to happen with a proof load unless they get out into private hands, which they are never supposed to do (glad they do - I have many, many proofs in my own collection and love them). In theory, these rounds go right from the manufacturer of the ammunition to the manufacturer of the weapons or to the proof house, and are never out of the box until they are ready to be used. So, there is no worry about markings coming off. The knurled rim is a good system, though, for sure. I wonder why they don’t stick to it. I have Sellier & Bellot rounds, identified to me as proof (and in one case, I have the box), with different colored bases, some with plated case and some not, and some with knurled rims and some not. I have a couple of Geco proof loads that instead of the knurled rim, they have a knurled ban around the case, a bit closer to the head than to the case mouth.

Regarding the box label for identification, I have a couple of proof loads that have no recognizable identification as proof cartridges once they are out of the box - a fairly modern Italian 9mm, and a WWII 1945 Danish round. The only ID on the Italian 9mm is a brass-jacketed bullet (this was from a time when Fiocchi used only GM jackets in normal rounds); this round came from the proof house in Gardone V.T., Italy, as I recall. Woodin Lab has the box label for the Danish proof.

The cutest proof load I have, and one I was incredulous about when I first heard about it, is a 6.35mm wax-bullet-blank proof load. I have the box for it also. It is from Geco (Dynamit A.-G.). I didn’t believe they would make such a round until I realized that even Blank and Tear Gas guns have to be proofed in Germany, so there are, of course, proof loads. I imagine even the “high-pressure” proof load in this case has way less pressure than a normal 6.35mm ball round.