7.65mm Auto (.32 A.C.P.) Dummy

Headstamp is F N * and is plated all over. The primer pocket is filled with what appears to be a black polymer material.

Was this a commercial product or someone’s private creation?




My impression is that the black primer pocket filler was done some time after the dummy cartridge, which otherwise is a factory-original dummy round, was manufactured. It is not typical of FN dummies of the time.

I found some of these dummies once. I found six variations of F N * headstamp and three with GECO headstamps, one of which was the only with a magnetic bullet, which fit in with them all originally being chromed factory dummies from the two different factories. Two of the Geco rounds were with the fluted case of the later dummy rounds from that maker.

In all nine instances, the black plastic-like primer-pocket fill is absolutely identical to the parallel striations found on most of them. There were many more loose in the box in which I found these. I believe I found them on a business trip to Federal Ordnance, Inc., in South El Monte, California, perhaps 25 years ago. I am not positive - I have had them a long time. If not, I found them either at a big cartridge show or at a gun show.

Five of the six FN rounds have the same headstamp, but are variations in that one has no hole in the case, while others have holes of different diameters and different heights in the case sides. The sixth round has the unserifed “F N” but has a six-pointed star instead of five. One Geco has a small single whole, but it is much better executed than those on the FN-headstamped rounds, and I suspect it was original to the time of manufacture. The fluted-case dummies have no holes.

I would not at all say that these were a “basement” job by some individual shooter or collector. I think they were done “in mass” and purpose-driven. I consider them perfectly valid variations for a collection, even though I stick by my opinion that the black plastic fillers were not done by FN or GECO, at least not at the time of manufacture, and that the FN and GECO fillers were all applied at one source.

Just my own take on them, for whatever that is worth.

I also have the same round with the same headstamp without the black filler

Pivi - you are smarter than I. I should have mentioned that part of the “proof” that the black primer fill was added later is that I have the FN and the GECO dummies I mentioned in my collection, but also I have them with no black fillet. Some have inert primer cups and some have empty primer pockets, depending on by whom and when made.


Thank you for sharing your observations on this item. It is interesting that the black plastic addition seems to have been done in reasonable quantity with distribution as wide as both coasts of the US! I would guess someone had a market for a “snap-cap” type dummy in this caliber and the factory dummies provided a convenient platform especially if they were found without an inert primer cup installed.


Thanks for adding your item to the discussion. Does yours have an empty primer pocket or an inert primer installed?


my sample has an empty primer pocket. I also have a very similar, but unheadstamped 6.35 mm Browning dummy

I have no idea why I feel this way, and cannot find any documentation in my files for it, but I seem to recall getting the impression that these were done somewhere in Europe. That might explain Pivi having one, and also the .25 (6.35 mm), which I have never seen before. As mentioned before, I got mine years and years ago, and do not have clear memory about them, so anything I say on the subject, at this point, has to be counted as a “gosh and a guess,” since I have no documentation for the impressions and opinion about them.

Regardless, I think they should be considered a “remanufactured” form of dummy, made for commercial and specific purposes. I would not accept that they are just a basement job without documentation proving that. Since that would come close to trying to document a negative, it is likely not going to ever be forthcoming.

John, do you know or can you think of an approximate date regarding when the F N headstamp at 9 and 6 o’clock changed to F N *?

Just looked through my files. I also have a 5 mm Clement dummy. Nickeled case & bullet, no headstamp but primer cup in place.

If I remember well I received these dummies from the same guy in the same package, so they COULD have the same origin.

Here is an unusual illustration of an unheadstamped 6.35 mm dummy with empty primer pocket from a 1907 catalog:

Fede - I cannot even date the time when FN dropped the Serifs from their letters. And, that is part of the confusion. There are F N * headstamps with and without serifs, and their are the binomial (9 o’clock and 3 o’clock) headstamps F N with and without serif letters. I don’t have a clue. It is clear, though, that the F N * headstamps, for commercial ammunition, goes up well into the second half of the 20th Century though, before the started putting the caliber marking at the bottom. Maybe as late as the 1980s.

That’s a nice ad you posted. I have .25 Auto dummies with no headstamp - I simply have not seen one with the black filler. I will have to check my 25s to see if I have any with headstamps as well as any 9 mm Corto (.380 auto) dummies with the same black filler.

John, thanks, this is certainly a difficult subject and the long period of time in which these headstamps were used complicates things further. Regarding the headstamp with F N at 9 and 3 o’clock, here is a fragment of another ad in this case dated September 1904, although the illustration likely represents the letters layout and not their actual style (i.e., serif vs sans serif).


By chance I came across this small ad published in 1962. No way to tell if this is related but at least this shows that similar cartridges were made for commercial purposes.

Fede - interesting. I wish I could remember exactly under what circumstances I got mine. If I am right about getting them at Fed Ord, then they were probably imported, maybe even from Turkey (he had some Turk pistols he imported as I recall, and I found a Turkish dummy 9 mm Corto round down there, that I remember clearly. He said one was with each pistol, but they took them out to avoid any hassles in sending them. In those days, it was not uncommon for Dealer’s to mail pistols - you could do that from dealer to dealer. Perhaps you still can, but everyone uses UPS or FED EX these days. Theft used to be a real problem for guns mailed by dealers. Originally, you had to mark the outside of the package with big letters declaring “FIREARM” and some other wording required by the PO. Later, they did away with that, but you had a declaration you had to put inside the package, which made more sense. Lots of companies then started using their initials only in return address information - I remember we started using S.F.G.E. on our address labels. We didn’t send out any package with a visible “San Francisco Gun Exchange” name on it. Browning Arms used “BA Company.”

Still, some of the thieves in the PO knew the addresses of the bigger gun dealers and gun manufacturers, down to the PO numbers.

Thinking about it, they probably would not have had to do with the Turk pistols, as they were all the .380 caliber Walther copies from Kirrikalle. (Bet I spelled that wrong!)

Fede, I liked your ad for the M1900 pistol. The first use of the 7.65mm Browning cartridge was in the early model FN 1900 pistol with the short sideplate known as the M1899. Based on my research, I believe the 7.65 Browning, years later to be introduced as the 32 ACP by Colt, was originally tested with both rimmed and semi-rimmed cases. A batch of the F N headstamp dummies with just the F N headstamp you illustrate with the M1900 pistol, came out of a museum in Liege and it included both semi rimmed and rimless FN headstamped dummies! I suspect FN tested both types of cartridges before settling on the semi-rimmed when they introduced the cartridge with their M1899/M1900 pistol.

John, My dated FN 9x19mms have serif letters through 1927, but my 1936 and later specimens drop the serifs. As far as I know the simple “F N” headstamp does not occur on FN made 9x19mm. The earliest 9x19mm dated round I have is “F N 21” with serifs loaded for the Vickers Luger pistol with a truncated bullet.

The specimens in my collection suggest that FN dropped the serifs between 1927 and 1936.



Thank you for posting that ad for the dry fire cartridges. In 1962 I would have expected quantity lots to be six cartridges with the quick draw craze still in vogue. Offering “any caliber” sure is a broad claim if they provided the dummy loaded cases as well as the new “primer”!

Nice adds for the auto pistols, too. Why any gun maker would not show the ammunition in their adds as well is beyond me. Those works of commercial artists past obviously show they had respect for cartridge collectors of the future…

More great stuff from the “Fede Archives”!


Dave, another ad offering dry-firing dummy cartrdges with a “distinctive black non-primer”: