9 mm Parabellum SAKO box S - 42 9MM

I found this box in a local gun show this morning. I know these cartridges and boxes are known, but I was surprised to find them in France in 2013.



Once these boxes were quite common in the US, but it has been many years since I have seen one on a table at a gunshow and I cannot recall seeing one on Gun Broker recently.

Very nice find. Congratulations!

Enjoyed seeing you at the ECRA meeting in Holland.


It’s a pity these boxes don’t show up here in Australia much or at all.
Always looking at any plain type box in the hope of finding that SAKO name.

I’ve not been fortunate enough to have encountered one of these boxes before and I’ve got a few questions to ask.

HS = S-42 (over) 9mm

Center portion of the box label: Pistooln I assume translates as Pistol, Patruunia translates as Cartridge and the rest is Cal. 9mm, SAKO Riihimäki (Finland).

Black primer annunlus = ball load?

Purple ink stamp, (vertical to long side of box on the right side of the label):

VRT 159/42 ; VRT stands for VRT (Valtion Ruutitehdas)? Manufactured the primers? Lot #159 1942?

On the next line is 0.39 g; I assume this is a weight designation (0.39gm) for something?

Production date: October 8th, 1942

Any input is appreciated.

Nice box!!!



Pistoolin Patruunia = Pistol Cartridges.
VRT 159/42 = Powder lot# & year.
0.39 g = Powder load in grams.
8.10.42 = Loading date.
The black PA seal has no meaning. Later on colours were used to indicate primer type.



Thank you for the information.


Interesting thread. Thanks to EU1 for his translation. Below are the Sako WWII era boxes from my collection. Thanks to Chassepot since I was missing an image of a 1942 box.

Based on my collection, the headstamp style in Chassepot’s bob (S-42 9mm) occurs on cases dated 1938 through 1942. During 1943 and 1944 the headstamp became “SO43 9.” I was surprised that the change in headstamp styles was a clean break between 1942 and 1943. The two boxes for the later headstamp style or at the bottom of the image below.

The top left box appears to me to be the oldest style and Mika Pitkanan and Timo Simpanen in their great book on Finnish ammunition from 1918-1945 identify this as a commercial box from the 1930s. They also illustrate some box variations that I don’t have, including a 50rd box for their Steel case 9mm that was tested!

The 70rd boxes are known from 1938 but my earliest is 1939. Both of my 50rd boxes as well as one of my 70rd boxes are dated 1941. The two lines below the bullet drawing on this 70rd box reportedly indicate the use of mercuric primers which were introduced during 1941.

If anyone has other variations of Finnish boxes, please post them!

EU1 any additional translations not covered by your previous post would be appreciated.



Parabellum pistoolin patruunia. = Cartridges for Parabellun pistol.

VRT:n räjähdyselohopeanalli
VRT:n räj. eloh. nalli = Mercuric primer made by VRT

Varottava piipun jälkiruostumista = Look out for barrel corrosion.

Erä (in ink stamp) = lot

Did I miss anything?


For whatever it’s worth, the off white box in the lower left I have with a 28 . 8. 44 date, & I can’t quite make out the date on the 2nd from the top right side 43?

My 41 is 6 . 4. 41.

My empty 42 has a:
VET 149 / 42
0 . 385 g
5 . 8 . 42
stamp & is the same color as Chassepot’s