.32ACP importation question


#1

I was wondering if anybody knew the frequency of occurrence of any steel core .32ACP having been imported in to the U.S. in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s? I had heard vaguely that there was some Czech surplus? or some specialty loads from Geco, and I had always assumed they were the mild steel core type loads like the 08m.E. 9mm, or some of the 7.62x25 steel core loads. Anybody know how much of this stuff came into the U.S., or how common it was? Like more or less common than say 9x18 mak steel core cartridges being imported?


#2

Are you confusing mild-steel jackets with mild-steel cores? I don’t know of any steel-cored .32 auto rounds. I am NOT saying they don’t exist, simply professing ignorance to which are, even though I have over 1,000 specimens of this claiber in my collection.

Much European ammunition in this caliber has been made with mild-steel jackets (CNCS, GMCS, BrassCS, plain steel), but I have never seen a sectioned round that revelealed a steel core in this claiber.

My point here is only not to assume a bullet has a steel core because it takes a magnet. The problem that causes is that it becomes almost impossible for most of us to determine if the bullet has a steel core or not if the bullet is magnetic, without sectioning. Sometimes, with some bullets, a weak magnet held at the very tip of the bullet can reveal that a jacket is not magnetic, even though the bullet, overall, takes to a magnet. This indicates steel in the core, of course. However, this works best with ogives with a long nose, where the jacket material is deeper at the nose than elsewhere. Most .32 auto rounds are very round nose and even a weak magnet at the tip will be attracted to the core if it is steel, because the jacket is still thin there.

Without sectioning, the matter of core material becomes a difficult question.

Do you KNOW of any specific .32 auto rounds, by headstamp, that have a steel-core? If so, it might provide information for further exploration of your question.


#3

Ok, that’s what I had always assumed, and I must be seeing misprints or misspoken context then in regard to these actual .32ACP steel core Eastern Euro / Geco type cartridges. I think that “steel jacket” is more likely what is meant. But like in this older post: http://iaaforum.org/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=2465&highlight=ktw
where “geco steel core 32acp” is mentioned right near the top in regards to a test done on Spectra. I know there’s some examples in KTW and THV out there in .32ACP, and thought it was plausible that some Euro country had produced some of these with a true steel core, but it makes sense as to why they probably wouldn’t when there was already a ton of 9mm steel core floating around. But then again maybe the Geco cartridge in question from the old post was the elusive “Geco Black” cartridge which came in a few calibers and is supposedly a BAT cartridge with a steel-core cone-shaped thingy, instead of a copper thingy?


#4

Reading the entire thread that was referenced, I see that “Forensic” who is very knowledgeable on such things also felt there was never a steel-core Geco .32, and that later on down the thread, I put in my two-bits worth and agreed. I have not changed my opinion. If one reads that entire thread, I think it is pretty clear that the so-called steel-cored .32 from the first entry of the thread was probably simply a mild-steel jacket, either CNCS or GMCS (I think Geco has made both).

Further, I don’t know of any steel French THV in .32 with steel core or steel bullet, although they fooled around with this THV concept so much I can’t rule it out completely. Some early KTW .32 were, but later on, they were common brass, not even bronze. I had a late .45 spectrographed and it was common brass. The half bullet with the burn mark is the only KTW item, other than empty boxes, I have left, since it is not a serviceable component, having been cut in half lengthwise.

By and large, I would say that few 7.65 m/m (.32 Auto) cartridges ever had steel cores, and few that have (KTW, perhaps American Ballistics - don’t know off hand if they fooled with this caliber - that was another field of ammo California law forced me to remove from my collection so no longer have the American Ballistics stuff for examination) are very “special” types, pretty obvious upon examination. I am referring primarily to rounds with what appears to be normal FMJ bullets.


#5

John, there were some S&B 7.65Br. sold commercially having mild steel cores but it stopped soon after the customers found out. These must be around a lot but mostly unencountered.


#6

Thanks EOD. I’ll see what I have in dupes and maybe cut some apart. Can’t tell any other way with most .32s and any with a steel jacket take a magnet. They are probably early ones with the SBP headstamp, rather than the later S&B.

I suspect it wasn’t just the customers who found out. If the government did, at least in the USA, they would stop the importation of them - either seize the shipment or make them ship it back. Costly either way. With the USA as a major market, a lot of changes have been made to European commercial ammunition to make it more acceptable to the US market.


#7

I know, I was just referencing that post for an example of how such things are mentioned. Urban-myth, misspelling, or mistake, it just leaves one to wonder sometimes.

That’s what I was thinking might be out there, thanks!

If anybody finds anything through sectioning, then try to find a duplicate of that cartridge (from the same box?) and take a grain-weight measurement of the complete cartridge. Then by finding such a weight and matching to the correct headstamp, there could be a I.D. system maybe?

Thanks!


#8

DK - usually, with common calibers and loadings, such as ball, 7.65m/m Browning 9.32 Auto Pistol), a standard bullet weight is set. In the case of 7.65 Browning, it is 71 Grains (4.60 Grams). These are nominal weights of course, and there is always a littlefudge factor due to tolerance-level allowances.

That makes it hard to draw any conclusions about cores from bullet weights or overall cartridge weights. Steel-core bullets are often no lighter - the bullets are simply longer. Sometimes that can be discovered with a magnet run down the side of the case, but that is a bit of a crap shoot. Of course, in some cases, the steel core bullets in give loads ARE lighter by design. That is true of the S.m.E. 9mm Para loads from German, as opposed to the standard P-08 lead core load, for example. All in all, bullet or overall cartridge weight is not a reliable indication of core material.

I will not have time to tackle this problem for a couple of weeks, most likely, but I will try to remember the thread and see if I have any SBP dupes that might shed light on the steel core issue. Of course, there is a chance that none imported into the U.S. had such a core. EOD’s information is the first i have ever heard of the Sellier & Bellot use of steel cores in this caliber.


#9

[quote=“JohnMoss”]DK - usually, with common calibers and loadings, such as ball, 7.65m/m Browning 9.32 Auto Pistol), a standard bullet weight is set. In the case of 7.65 Browning, it is 71 Grains (4.60 Grams). These are nominal weights of course, and there is always a littlefudge factor due to tolerance-level allowances.

That makes it hard to draw any conclusions about cores from bullet weights or overall cartridge weights. Steel-core bullets are often no lighter - the bullets are simply longer. Sometimes that can be discovered with a magnet run down the side of the case, but that is a bit of a crap shoot. Of course, in some cases, the steel core bullets in give loads ARE lighter by design. That is true of the S.m.E. 9mm Para loads from German, as opposed to the standard P-08 lead core load, for example. All in all, bullet or overall cartridge weight is not a reliable indication of core material.

I will not have time to tackle this problem for a couple of weeks, most likely, but I will try to remember the thread and see if I have any SBP dupes that might shed light on the steel core issue. Of course, there is a chance that none imported into the U.S. had such a core. EOD’s information is the first i have ever heard of the Sellier & Bellot use of steel cores in this caliber.[/quote]

John, check the SBP ones please. The projectile length is 14mm and the head stamp is " SBP bomb 7.65 bomb". All red primer. The weight is as you said 4.6-4.7 grams.


#10

John, and here for your eyes only the image of it


#11

EOD et al. - o.k., I find that I had one dupe each of rounds with headstamp "


#12

John reading your posting I wonder if I grabbed the wrong one?


#13

EOD - I don’t understand your comment. The GMCS round looks the same as the picture you posted - that is, in profile and proprotionate length, the bullet is the same. It is much longer than the more current brass bullet, but the same weight. If it is longer, but the same weight, than despite the lead base plug, or whatever it is, the core must be lighter, unless there is a void under the bullet jacket, like the tip on the 5.45 x 40 Russian, but that is not likely. The CNCS bullet is the same as the GMCS, except for the jacket material.

You will have to explain what it is in my posting you didn’t understand, or explain what you mean by “I wonder if I grabbed the wrong one.”


#14

John, probably just my English sucks, after you mentioned the projectile length of your 7.65s I wondered if mine is lead core or if you have two steel core projectiles now. I also wondered why the one you have is 1mm shorter - must be a “lead core only”.
Again I think it is my English.


#15

EOD - if you read the last, long paragraph of that posting of mine, I think you will have the answers, but I will summarize them again. Yes, I found not only a long GMCS bullet like the one you pictured, but in the same headstamp, found a long CNCS bullet. The difference in overall length of the two Long bullets is insignificant.

The brass bullet is from much later cartridges with the “S&B” headstamp, not the “SBP.” I pulled one of them simply for control purposes, since they are totally non-magnetic, and therefore cannot be steel-cored.

The fact that the early two bullets are so much longer, and yet weigh the same as the short bullet (nominally the same) would require that either the core is a material lighter in weight by volume than is lead, or that there is a void (empty spot) underneath the jacket, which would only be at the tip. I personally doubt that scenario very much, but at this point, I have to consider it in this answer, since I have not the time now to section the bullets in my slow and primitive way.

Complicating the issue is that the core that can be seen at the open bottom of the long bullets is lead. However, as you know, it is not at all unusual for steel cores to have a lead sheath around them, under the outer bullet jacket. Only sectioning will tell the whole story, but I believe that the long bullets ARE steel core, and yes, there are two different ones, CN and GM.

I hope this clarifies my findings for you. It is a very interesting thing. While I didn’t discount the fact that there was ever a steel-core .32 bullet, only that Geco never made one, I honestly did not expect to find one in otherwise normal ball, especially commercial ammunition, from a major supplier like Sellier & Bellot, so I have learned something important (at least in the scope of the study of ammunition). I have now found an even earlier Sellier and Bellot duplicate, commercial round, and will pull that. I will also pull a military one if I can find a dupe in my stuff. I think in my collection I have an ersatz dummy round with a dated military headstamp, and I don’t mind pulling that since I believe it is an inerted live round, not a real dummy. I won’t get to that until next week though. I will be gone at a match all weekend, and have much to do today.


#16

John, I think I got it now. I first got misslead thinking you said the long ones have lead cores and I thought I had shown the wrong image. My bad. So everything is as said before.