45 acp id


Any one have information on these headstamps? This ammunition was mixed in with a shipment of WWII surplus ammunition I purchased from Paragon about 25 years ago.



The short answer is China. I’m sure someone will post the factory name and dating info.


Thanks much. That is a lot more than I had to go on. Can you recommend a good reference book for 45 ACP?


Unfortunately, no, there isn’t one. I collect military non-US .45 ACP and I’ve had to collect my info over the years from lots of different sources. You can find lots of books that include .45, but nobody seems to have taken on the daunting task of compiling a definitive work on the round.
Interestingly, you actually have 2 or 3 different variations there. If you have more you should look carefully at all the headstamp variations.


I have more of the Chinese that is not show in the photo.

I spent all Saturday afternoon shifting through around 1000 rounds that were left from the original shipment. Most was WCC41, WCC42, WCC43, RA 41, RA42 with a sampling of FA 42, EC 42 and WRA 45. A lot of the original shipment ended up 25 years ago being shot out of a Thompson. Needless to say I do not shoot the old stuff anymore.


You should especially look at the caliber marking on these rounds, if you have others. Occasionally you will find a .45 with “79” or “65” there. These are the result of using the bunter for 7.9 x 57 Mauser or 6.5 Japanese, both of which the Chinese made, as well as another that used the Model Designation, a two-digit number, for the Japanese Machine gun that used it, and represents the 7.7 Japanese cartridge. I forget the number right now.

The Arsenal mark of two circles with one atop the other, divided by a line, and enclosed in a circle, is the mark of Mukden Arsenal, also kown as the Shenyang Arsenal, at Mukden, Manchuria. They produced the 7.9 x 57, 6.5 mm Arisaka, 7.7 mm Arisaka and the .45 auto cartridge at least. The arsenal was developed by the warloard Zhang Suolin, who was aligned with the Japanese during the war.

The Arsenal mark of a square-like figure inside of a circle, the one on most of your cartridges, was a product of the 20th Arsnela, which was established in 1938 using resources of the Chungking and Nanking ammunition factories. Interestingly, the arsenal was originally a mint, established in 1929, and their arsenal mark resembles a Chinese coin of that period.

The dates on those are likely expressed in the Chinese calender, but that is a topic that I cannot go into right now.

Reference: IAA Jounral, Issue 420, Jul/Aug 2001, “A Guide to Chinese Headstamps, 1880-1950,” by Lewis Curtis, Bin Shih and Bill Woodin.



Thank you very much for that information. It is very interesting. In the past I have only collected US GI 45 ACP but this opens up an entirely new ballgame.


Ammo made by 21st Arsenal ( Chungking Plus Nanking)…now in Post Mao times, Factory 26 PRC.

Headstamp “Mint” sign ( traditional copper “cash” coin, with square hole for string ( “string of cash”-- qty. of the copper “cash” coins to make up one “Dollar Mex” ( Mexican Silver Dollar, from Acapulco and Manilla, worth 8 pesos ( “Piece of 8”) which was the common silver currency of Imperial China…the other value measurement was the “Tael” of silver, a standardised Silver Bar, which was used for larger transactions.
China did NOT use Gold for coinage or trade, only Silver.

“.45” calibre ( for Thompsons and Shansi .45 cal broomhandles)

9, 10 etc Month of production.

36, 37, 38 ( Years of the Republic)== 1947, 1948, 1949. CE.

Similar large quantities of this ammo,(re-) packed in 100 round cardboard boxes, was imported into Australia back in the late 1980s ( along with a lot of other WWII and Revolution ammo) from China.

The similar .30/06 and 7,9mm ammo was still in original boxes, and US WW II .30/06 was repacked, with clips, in wax wrappers, 20 rounds.

Primers on all the Chinese ammo is Berdan, usually copper cup ( possible sign of Mercuric and Corrosive) and usually .217" diameter.

Cases were badly annealed during manufacture ( a lot of the 30/06 and 7,9 both are split or even fragmented; they certainly split on firing.)

Whilst there are several headstamps on a lot of Chinese Rifle ammo, during the Civil War I have only come across the “Mint” H/S…even though other Arsenals did make it prior to WW II. Any further info here?

Doc AV
AV Ballistics



Great information. I would imagine this may have come out of the same place as that imported into Australia since it was being sold by Paragon in the US at about the same time.

I will try to find time today to go through the Chinese cases to see if other headstamps are present.



If you would like a list of the known .45 acps of this type, send me your e-mail address and I will send the list to you.

Butch Daubner