John, you were interested in some information on Australian production of 9mm. The following is what information I possess, and is incomplete, and hopefully doesn’t contain errors. If it does. I’d be obliged to have them pointed out.
During WW2, the production of 9mm was essentially Cartridge, S.A., Ball 9mm Mk1. This consisted of a gilding metal clad projectile, brass case, and the specification called for a brass cap shell (primer),
Production took place at MF and MH. The headstamps were 120 degree apart, with the monogram, two year date and 9mm.
MH produced the headstamps 43 and 44
MF produced the headstamps 42,43,44 and 45.
In the MF 45 you will find three versions of primers. There was a particular and very definite reason for this. As mentioned above the primer was brass, filled with a mercury fulminate cap composition. In 1945 they experienced some cap problems at proof and found some of the brass cap shells had been unduly stressed during processing. This resulted in stress cracking in a few instances, accelerated by the presence of a mercuric salt, and caused failures on firing.
To maintain production, several batches of cap shells were nickel plated and used in production until the problem could be sorted. After trials, the cap copper alloy used in .303s was adopted for use in the 9mm.
After I asked the question, this information was given to me by the head chemist at the time who was involved in the process.
The MH production are different from MF, in that they have a three dot crimp. This was done to improve bullet pull. Footscray knew of this process but didn’t adopt it.
From memory, the MF production will be found with or without line crimps below the case necks. This again was done to improve bullet pull, until a method was found to avoid having to use them.
9mm Dummy/Drill rounds.
It’s hard to be sure if any dummy/drills were produced during the war. My information is that the first order for a Drill Mk1 was received in 1951/52. Footscray was not setup for 9mm production and had to use wartime stocks, some of which had to be broken down ball ammunition. Naturally these would have dates from 42-45. They have an empty cap chamber, and the only other identification is a nickel plated case. (Note: I haven’t confirmed this). I do know of a 43 dated dummy which has a plated case, which I thought was tinned, and no primer, which is probably from this order.
A second order for drill was received by Footscray in 1963, by which time Footscray had retooled for the 9mm. Before completion the order was amended to supply a portion as Cartridge, S.A., Inert, 9mm for testing of weapons. There are a number of dummy/Drill rounds all dated 1963. Footscray sent me photos of them at the time. The all had MF 63 9mmD headstamp.
I believe the Inert versions had a Blackened projectile, Plain Plated case, blind primer pocket. there are two versions of drill, with the same headstamp.
GM projectile, Plain plated case, blind primer pocket. the other is similar except the case has three red flutes. At least one of these also has a red painted primer pocket.
Some of the above are packed in cartons marked “For D & Q Only”.
The next order for drill rounds was received in 1970. This was designated the F2, which seems to indicate an Australian pattern. These have the GM projectile, Plated case and three red grooves on case.
Dates seen are MF 70 9mmF2, also 71,72 and 76. There is a 1975 version with a black primer which usually indicates a sugar filled dummy. There could be other dates but I’ve not seen them.
In 1965 and 66 there are drills headstamped MF 65 9mm2Z. The only information I can see at this moment is they are identified by not having a primer.
A couple of strange ones exist of wood bullet dummies on wartime cases. I know nothing of these, other than having seen specimens.
Next time; Proof, Standard, and Ball Mk2Z etc. when I get some more time to dig.