.380 Auto by Orbea

Does anyone have an example of a .380 Auto headstamped ORBEA? I have a picture of a box but I believe that these cartridges were not actually manufactured or at least not delivered. These are of the same era as the 9 mm Parabellum, .38 Special, and other cartridges made by Olin for Argentina.

Fede - I don’t have, and have not seen, any Orbea .380 Auto Cartridge. I have the Orbea 7.65 mm and the Orbea 6.35 mm, as well, of course, as several variations in the Orbea .45 auto. I have never seen the Orbea 9 mm, although I knew about it, and that drives me crazy, since I have a fair Argentine 9 mm collection for a “Norte.” Tell us about this Olin thing. I knew nothing about that.

John, The 9mm Orbea were made by Olin. I first knew about them from the Olin headstamp list. Apparently they were made in other calibers. I only looked at the 9mm List so do not know what other calibers Olin produced, or at least assigned hsts, but my understand is that they actually made cases for all the calibers limited, even if they did not actually load the cases but delivered them as NPEs.



Why are they so hard to find? Seems to be just as hard to find them in Argentina! I don’t even know how to tell one of them from the Orbea rounds that were probably made either right before WWII or during the war. One of the .45’s is date towards the end of the war, so figuring most of the auto pistol made then. Min 6.35 and 7.65 mm rounds have nickel, flat cup primers we strikes me as a bit more modern, but the headstamps don’t look like any Olin product, at least to me. Admittedly, while I looked at them today I did not compare them to any Winchester headstamped stuff.

Were they commercial contracts, or some tiny little Police contract?

Anybody got any documentation on the Olin sales to Argentina that they could copy and send to me?

John M.

John & Lew, in the early 1990’s Orbea Argentina S.A.I.C. signed contract with Olin Industries for the production of .22 Short, .22 Long Rifle, .32 S&W Long, .357, Magnum, .38 Special, and 9 mm Parabellum cartridges, and also W209 primers for shotshells. It seems that these were first advertised early in 1994.

The 9 mm Parabellum of your interest is hard to find today and boxes are rare, which it is strange considering this is a very recent production. Cartridges are loaded with a 115 gr. GM FMJ bullet, have a nickeled primer cup with red sealant, and ORBEA 9 mm LUGER headstamp. I have a picture of a Winchester 1000 round carton which is coded Q4265 and labeled “9mm LUGER ORBEA 115 GR. FMJ”, which means that these were delivered as loaded cartridges. I have never seen any NPE cases or cartridges that look like locally loaded.

What it is interesting is that the 50 round boxes for all these calibers were printed in Argentina. This may explain why there is .380 Auto box but cartridges haven’t showed up so far. Maybe it was planned for future production.



I have two .380 Military cartridges marked Orbea 380 II 42 and 43…not .380 ACP…that’s all I have in my archives.

Curtis, those are British contracts made in 1942-43. After the war, excedent cases were loaded as .38 S&W cartridges with lead bullets and also as blanks.

yes those are the ones. I wasn’t sure what you were looking for, as far as pics. I will keep searching my friend.

Just taking up an old thread…

I was Lucky to find an ORBEA 9 mm at the September ECRA Meeting. Here it is:

Morten, nice find! Here is an ad dated April 1994 announcing these cartridges as new products. Next year the Orbea company ceased to exist but the brand was continued by Línea RD, a new shotshell manufacturer established in 1991.